As long as we’re talking about it

By Mir
August 31, 2010

I promise that after this I will stop talking about dog poop. I mean, probably. For a while, at least. I did really enjoy how yesterday I thought I was making this offhanded observation about the dog being a pain in the ass (granted, an adorable pain, but still) and the next thing I knew, my comments were filled with people who were afraid I was randomly flinging dog poop into other people’s trash cans. Or who had terrible stories of random/unexpected dog poop. (I did go back to the comments to clarify that I am only dropping securely-bagged poop into public receptacles. Lest you think I’m a poop bandit or something.)

Oh, God. I’m writing an entire entry about dog poop. OH YES I AM.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to tell y’all about this, but as long as we’re just chatting about waste matter, WHY NOT!

So you know I’m on this whole walking kick now, right? I walk Monkey to school and then let Licorice drag me behind her as I loop around the neighborhood, listening to podcasts and hoping I don’t look too much like a total dork. I’m not ready to say I am ENJOYING it, but right now it’s pretty cool. The weather’s been good, I feel virtuous, the dog comes back and snores adorably, and I worry less about my thighs taking over Atlanta. It’s all good.

Well. Last week Monkey and I set out one morning and… there was dog poop in the middle of our driveway. Correction: There was SOME SORT OF FECES in our driveway. I didn’t know for sure if it was from a dog. But it was… weird. Licorice doesn’t go out front, and this was far enough from the road that something had clearly been in our yard. And assuming it was a dog (and further assuming it was, then, on a leash), who lets their dog crap in someone’s driveway and LEAVES IT THERE?

I told myself maybe it was from a wild animal. Weird, but whatever. Licorice was thrilled by it and we sort of knocked it off to the side with a stick and went on our way.

Well, a couple of days later I went walking with a friend and mentioned it as we passed it, coming up the driveway. “Maybe it’s from those damn feral cats that belongs to the neighbors,” I said. I have no idea what cat crap looks like; I assumed it looks like dog crap. But my friend has cats, and said no, it didn’t look like cat crap. Hey, who wants to come go for a walk with me? WE CAN DISCUSS CRAP. COMPARE AND CONTRAST! FUN FOR ALL!

Fine, whatever.

This weekend, Otto mowed the grass and commented that there were several piles of dog poop in our front yard. Curiouser and curiouser.

On Sunday, I walking outside to get something and clearly startled one of the neighbor kids, who was standing in the MIDDLE of our front yard with their two dogs (they keep the feral kitties company, apparently). Now, normally when we’re home we keep our garage door open, but lately we’ve been closing it because leaves and stuff have been blowing into Otto’s precious Man Cave Of Tools And Stuff. In an instant it became clear to me that the kid was startled because he had assumed a closed garage meant we weren’t home.

“Whatcha doing?” I called, keeping my voice conversational, still not fully comprehending exactly what I’d just discovered.

“Just, uh, trying to get the dogs to go to the restroom,” he called back. This kid is a year older than Monkey. And I’m pretty sure he has his own set of issues, sure (perhaps starting with not being smart enough to lie?), but even when your parents think it’s a super idea to open up your garage to every feral cat in the county, I’m guessing that if you’re in middle school, somewhere along the way you’ve learned that it’s not only inappropriate to let your dogs poop in someone else’s yard and then just leave it there, but that if you were planning to do so, you might want to walk further away than THE HOUSE RIGHT NEXT DOOR, DUMBASS.

“Oh,” I answered, actually stunned by his honest answer and the fact that HE STILL WASN’T MOVING. “You don’t have them do that in my YARD, please,” I finally added. “You need to take them back over to your house.”

“Oh, sorry,” he said. “I won’t do it again.” And off he and his two little poop-machines trotted.

What. The. Hell? Either you don’t realize it’s wrong, in which case I strongly suspect you are being raised by wolves, or you know it’s wrong and you’re doing it anyway, in which case I am a little afraid that you might be luring those cats in for use in your ritual sacrifices.

I, of course, found the whole thing extremely unsettling except for the one obvious bright spot: After all these years, I finally got to tell that kid to GET OFF MY LAWN.


  1. Jenn H

    I’m avoiding the poop altogether to congratulate you on your new exercise of choice– walking!! Good for you!! I have been walking my daughter to and from school everyday as well, and it feels good to be out and moving.

    And now I’m curious what podcasts you are listening to…. ;)

  2. JennyM

    Did you shake your fist at him and threaten to hurl rocks? I think that’s approved “You kids get off my lawn!” protocol, right?

    WOW, that is bold. I’m always mortified if Mabel chooses someone else’s yard simply to *do* her business, even though I’m standing there with a poop bag, basically poised to catch it before it hits the ground and whisk it away. (I don’t actually catch it in mid-air. But almost.) I can’t imagine treating someone else’s yard as a free dog bathroom.

  3. Leandra

    What the? Seriously? Have you offended these neighbors in some way? Is this some kind of sick revenge? Or just stupidity? Could I ASK anymore questions? Oops, there’s another one.

  4. elz

    Your neighbors suck. That’s just not nice. My skeptical mind- mom and dad told kid, “Take the dogs out, but we don’t want poop in our yard.” He’s been taking them to yours ever since. My husband has an easy answer for you- BB gun. Take aim on 1- feral cats (it will sting, but not main or injur), 2- the dogs or 3- the kid. Obviously you need to hide a bit when you do this. Actually, he suggested that you come out of the bushes and say- “Oops, sorry, did that hit you/your dogs. Gee, I wasn’t aiming for that. It probably won’t happen again.” That’s the good part about living in the South, no police aftermath. Win! By the way, I’m only half joking.

    *My husband uses his BB gun all the time to chase away the squirrels that get into the trash bags on our lawn and our neighbors’ lawns. I know, he’s a keeper!

  5. RuthWells

    Oh Mir, please remind me to sometime tell you about the time one of the semi-feral neighbor kids dropped trou HIMSELF to take a dump on another neighbor’s lawn… in my full view. (And yes, he was quite old enough to know better — I’m going to say 5 or 6 years old.)

    So, you know, it could maybe be worse…

  6. dad

    This is a mildly happier explanation for the mysterious fecal findings than discovering there are wild dogs,bears or coyotes in your area. Perhaps for Christmas you should provide super duper pooper scoopers to your neighbors.

    And once again kiddo, you have proven you can write amusingly about… anything.

  7. teachergirl

    yeah, so when i read your post yesterday, i imagined that you were throwing your adorable dog poop into people’s trash cans which were on the street, ready to be dumped.

    and thus i had zero problem with it. in fact, if you were in my neighborhood, you could put your dog poop in my trash can. as long as it’s bagged, what the heck does it matter?

    people have problems with lots of things that make no sense to me. you’re already putting your rotting garbage and kid poop in there–what’s the harm in being a nice neighbor?

    maybe i should get riled up about different things. mainly i just don’t like cranky people. it never occurred to be that i should be upset about people putting things in my trash can.

  8. Lisa

    I walked my entire neighborhood today-trash day-with a bag of poop. I was completely afraid if I touched someone’s trash can I would upset the universe. And that is how I feel as I walk the dog and he poops (I’ll talk dog poop with you!) in a yard and I wait, bag in hand, because I see other people’s dog poop in the grass-unbagged-untrahsed-and I don’t want anyone to think it is mine! I cannot believe the boy has just freely let his dogs poop in your yard like that! Wow!

    And this may get me in trouble with the pet lovers of the world, but I got our maltipoo a prong collar that our boarder recommended. It doesn’t hurt them, just gives them a little incentive to not act like a crazy dog. My dog is no longer a puller and our walks are choke free! The idea is to use it for a while and return back to the regular leash, but recently I had to go back to the prong for a little reminder session.

  9. Nelson's Mama

    If my can is out and hasn’t been emptied, you are SO welcome to drop off any bagged poop!

    A few years back we bought the empty lot next to us; we wanted it as a buffer to prevent someone from building a new house next to us. It’s wooded, we only mow the front and a two or three neighbors that we really like have dog walking privileges there (and there are no rules about picking up after).

    However, one really rude guy with two YAPPY Westies would appear over there in the evenings (ever present cocktail in hand) and let his dogs use our lot. I would stand and glare and him, but never had the nerve to say anything to him. I was never sure of his level of sobriety…

    He’d verbally accosted others in our neighborhood because they’d NOT curbed their dogs properly…and there he was letting them crap on our property. Happily they MOVED last month!!

  10. meghann

    Is it wrong that I’m sitting here giggling thinking it would be awesome if you catch it at him again, and chase him away with a weed whacker?

  11. Katie in MA

    HAHAHAHA! Being able to yell at him to get off your lawn almost makes the whole ridiculous and disgusting episode worthwhile. *Almost.*

  12. Heidi D

    At least you CLEAN UP the mess your dog makes. Many many times I’ve had to clean up dog (and on occasion cat) poop. It’s gotten to the point that I’m seriously considering putting up a small fence around the perimeter of my front yard.
    And it’s not like it’s so disgusting that I can’t (I have indoor cats of my own), but it’s just frustrating to clean up after someone else’s animal.

    Also, you were a lot nicer to that kid than I would’ve been.

  13. Little Bird

    As for the choking dog from yesterdays post, there are these harnesses that pretty much eliminate the choking, and it’s supposed to be easier for you to wrangle the dog once it’s in the harness. They can be left on (like a collar), all you have to do is snap a leash on it.
    As for the neighbor kids letting their dogs poop in your yard, get a shovel. Get a box. Shovel the poop into the box and return in to the neighbors telling them that as long as they continue to allow the dogs to poop in your yard, you will continue to return said poop to them. It should really only take one time to break them of this habit.

  14. Groovecatmom

    I’m impressed by how you always find the silver lining.

  15. Crisanne

    He probably gets in trouble for leaving it in his own yard, so he thought he was being tricky letting them go in yours. Nothing worse than playing in your yard and getting the poop shoe from someone else’s dog!

  16. daisy

    I hate to say that our neighbors do the same thing. I’ve caught them…requested they NOT do that…yet there is still poop. I’m ready to start gathering it and throwing it at them!

  17. StephLove

    I came here, really, to procrastinate writing an article about digestive problems. And I find instead of writing about people’s poop, for money, I am reading about dog poop for free. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to get back to work already.

  18. 12tequilas

    Please tell me you called him a “whippersnapper.” Or at least that you thought it.

  19. s

    oh my. I wonder what type of odd google searches will dump people on your site after these two poop related posts? too funny.

  20. Crystal

    This is brilliant. People who leave the dog poo should have to eat it. Ok maybe not that, but still–it’s nasty. I used to live in the NYC metro area, and people are tres horrible about it. I once went over to an offender and snapped his pic along with the dog poo at his feet and smiled.

    “What the f**K are you doin?!!!” He yelled, batting at my phone.
    “Pick it up. $300 fine.” I snapped, moving away.
    “Yeah? Or what?” He snarled.
    “I’m going to put this on my Facebook page.”
    Apparently that strikes fear in people? He did it.

  21. ~annie

    I suppose I should be thankful that my neighbors keep their large dogs in their own yard. They even pick up after them! Stacking the huge dog poops into a nice, neat pile about 3 ft. from my driveway. Yay.

  22. diane

    It’s only wrong if you get caught, or so they think.

    If steaming piles continue showing up on your lawn, I’m all for picking it up with a shovel and depositing it on their front porch with a note (attached to a popsicle stick pushed into the pile) that says “I believe this belongs to you.”

    We had a Malamute – talk about piles of crap. She only went in our yard, and we were kind of lazy in the winter…the first day the temps got above zero were always spent picking up piles of dog poop that had been buried in the snow. Oh – and you haven’t really been dragged along by a dog until you’ve been dragged by one BRED to pull. Yikes.

  23. Kirsty

    OK, so I know you guys are allergic to cats and pretty much cat-phobic, but this whole poop thing is EXACTLY why I prefer cats (though obviously not the only reason – I’m just not a dog person and, also, am WAAAAAY too lazy to take a dog out twice a day). My (house) cat NEVER “poops” (don’t like this word, sounds odd to my British ears but don’t much like any of the alternatives either) anywhere but his litter tray, which is odourless and easy to clean (it’s just like a mixture of sand and gravel, really). I have never been obliged to remove ***TMI ALERT*** straight-off-the-production-line (so to speak) poop via a plastic bag, in public, in my life.
    My life is pretty sucky right now, but for this, at least, I remain eternally grateful.
    And yeah, the whole neighbour’s kid-dog poop thing is disgusting and clearly worth turning into Carl from “Up” for. I like the idea of boxing it up and returning it, except that that of course means dealing with extra poop, but it might be worth it in the end…

  24. Alice

    I know this isn’t your goal, but knowing that other people have rather clueless neighbors makes me feel a little better about our wackadoodle folks. We came home from vacation last week to 2 large panes of glass, resting in the ditch right next to the road in front of our house. We left them there overnight, trying to figure out what to do, figuring that they’d been there for so long (grass underneath was dead), one more night wouldn’t hurt.

    BUT. Someone drove OVER the glass, smashing one pane completely. After gathering the safety glass into bins as we talked with the county about how one disposes of this kind of thing (without us paying for a special pickup), someone today smashed 3 of the 4 containers, spilling the glass all over the road. Again. I do NOT understand people. And I’m thankful we keep our cats indoors, as I’m rather afraid of this person’s driving issues.

  25. Alice

    ps – you’re totally welcome to put dog poop in my trash can pre-pickup. It is there for trash, yes?

  26. Karen

    Those of you who feel that it is okay to toss bagged poop into other people’s trash cans (which I know Mir was not doing), clearly don’t have trash service like the one in my area. The big bags are taken, and any smaller trash that has been ditched in there by others after the can was put out is left for us to deal with. I am not a happy camper when I have to deal with this.

  27. Karate Mom

    Oh, Mir, sometimes I forget that reading the comments on your posts is as much fun as reading the posts themselves!

  28. Brigitte

    Hee, I wasn’t the only one to have the word “whippersnapper” leap to mind! Sadly, I know of full-grown adults who do that too.

    And worse (TMI warning): with a wooded front yard and a long dirt driveway, we once had some guy pull into the beginning of the driveway, hang out his door and take an emergency dump ON OUR DRIVEWAY. Covered with a big pile of napkins that commenced to blow around in the wind, like that helped. More recently, someone has been doing it in plastic bags then chucking the bags in our ditch up front. Niiiice.

  29. Ann from St. Peter MN

    We have a fenced-in backyard, and I scoop religiously every day after our black lab. However, my nextdoor neighbor allows his dog to wander into my frontyard to do his business. I finally had to have the “talk” with him, and things have been fine since. The neighbor behind us had a 100+ pound dog who wandered the neighborhood, leaving huge piles of doggy doo where he wished. We had a neighborhood party (the dog owner was not there) and we all discussed our frustration about the dog and his owner. One neighbor watched the dog leave a large deposit in her yard, and she scooped it up with a shovel, walked it half a block to his own house and left it in their driveway! I don’t know how effective that was, but we all felt she was justified!

  30. joaaanna

    I can’t stop laughing at cat crap.

  31. Teri

    I’ve seen one of our neighbors make their black lab carry their own stinky little baggie: the dog wears some sort of harness thingy (not a dog owner myself, so I have no idea what to call the thing) so my neighbor just sort of ties the baggie to it. Voila! Hands free till you get home. Not sure what the dog thinks/feels about the whole thing though….

  32. mamaspeak

    Daisy, put it on the porch & LIGHT IT ON FIRE!!!

    Mir, I would like to suggest the same, if delivering it in a box does not have the intended effect. (I’m pretty sure it won’t. I’m also pretty sure he’ll be back.) Aren’t I a ray of sunshine.

  33. Lauren

    I’m not sure if your story makes me feel better or worse about my neighbor a few doors down. They let their dog run loose in the neighborhood (he is very nice, and doesn’t seem to even notice people walking on his “territory”) and poop wherever he pleases. Sometimes that is on our boulevard, sidewalk, and even once, the steps leading up to our front door (we don’t have a lawn, just shrubbery/landscaping). We didn’t have direct evidence that it was that dog until a few days ago, but now, we are ready to go have a chat. If that doesn’t work, poop in a box sounds about right.

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