Strolling through nature’s beauty

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter (in all senses both literal and metaphorical). The arrival of spring has us all but dancing around with cartoon wildlife. Never has a return to normal life and pleasant temperatures been more highly anticipated than this year, I’m thinking.

And never has there been a happier canine than one Spoiled Rotten Licorice, who is reaping the benefits of our spring-drunkeness in spades. The nice thing about a tiny little mutt like her—12 pounds of terror, man—is that she doesn’t HAVE to have a daily walk. She’s not an insane breed whose brain goes berserk without proper exercise, plus (let’s face it), at her size, we can toss a ball in the house or let her out into her run and she can get all the exercise she really needs. Still, walks are ZOMGEXCITING and lately she’s getting a walk every day.

Is there anything more soothing, more American, more simultaneously meditative and invigorating than clipping a small animal to a rope and then alternately dragging her/being dragged around outside on a beautiful afternoon? THERE IS NOT.

It has gotten to where as soon as anyone starts putting on shoes, the dog starts dancing around in little circles.

At first, Chickadee and I would take the dog out, together. Then one afternoon I was still busy working, so Chickie took her on her own. And something interesting happened: Chickie discovered that she could listen to her music and text and walk the dog all at once. (She’s a talented multitasker, my kid.) This led to endless admonitions about wandering into traffic while texting, but either she really is good at multitasking or cars are swerving to avoid her. Who knows. Anyway, this further led to my darling child deciding that she likes walking by herself, just her and the dog. And her dozen closest friends with whom she’s texting. Whatever.

So I’ve been missing these walks, some, but I like that the dog is getting out and Chickie seems to be enjoying things, so for the most part I’ve just waved at them on their way out. (Recently I’ve also added, “Try not to get lost!” owing to an incident from last week where someone missed a turn and ended up quite a bit further away than planned.)

But yesterday it was BEAUTIFUL out and I needed a break, and so I announced that I was going with them. Chickie was all, “No, that’s okay, I don’t mind going alone, in fact I kind of like it,” and I was all, “That’s nice! Let’s go!”

I’ve noticed that on a good day, I’m all Sunshine! Birds! Trees! Lovely! But on a day when I’m a little less… shall we say… delighted… a walk has the potential to mellow me out and cheer me up, but my point of view is definitely shifted.

Like… I notice the cars that drive way over the speed limit on residential streets, and also the cars that have no business being on the road in general. (Why no, we do not have compulsory vehicle inspection here, that would be big government keeping muffler-free rustbuckets on giant wheels off the road and that is UNAMERICAN, you commie.)

I notice that our dim little doggie wants to walk wherever you’re walking, like right in front of where you’re walking, like HEY WHY DID YOU KICK ME I AM SAD PUPPY NOW infuriating repetitive creating-her-own-trauma walking. Hey, Licorice! Might be time to rethink your life choices, girl. You may in fact be contributing to your own unhappiness, and there’s PLENTY OF ROOM TO WALK SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN UNDER OUR FEET. Stop being such a victim, Licorice. Take control of your life. Geez.

I notice that we are apparently the only dog-owners who pick up after our dog. And I don’t know, I can almost give it a pass when we’re talking about edge-of-the-forest, sort-of-wilderness areas, but when we get into giant piles of poo on the edges of people’s lawns, I find I have rage. RAAAAAAAGE. It’s like the ultimate “I am the most important person in the world” dick move, letting your pet shit on someone else’s lawn and then just leaving it there. I don’t understand. Further, there is exactly ONE giant dog in our neighborhood, and it’s not like there’s any question at all about whose dog is leaving the 5-pound poop mounds around the block. I get it, no one wants to have to wear a backpack and a gas mask to manage their pet’s excrement, but maybe you should’ve thought of that before buying a great dane, buddy.

I cannot IMAGINE why my daughter doesn’t want me walking along with her all the time. I am a soothing influence, tripping over the dog and pointing out piles of poop and speculating on the parentage of the people who left them behind. YAY SPRING!


  1. MomQueenBee

    We live on a corner lot and one day I CAUGHT IN THE ACT the woman whose German shepherd left a huge steaming pile in the very yard where my tiny tots normally played. I chased after her with a newspaper. “I’m sure you didn’t mean to leave that there and must have forgotten your poop bag, so here you are!” She thought I was an idiot, but she cleaned it up and that made me the complete winner.

    • Tenessa

      My neighbor’s son “walks” their little pooch: out the front door, across the street, to stand in my yard/flower beds and let the dog do his/her biz. Nice. My kids play in that yard. So I caught him at it one day. I’d never been in a position to simultaneously see him walk the dog in my yard and bust him. So I did just that. I was backing out of my driveway and I spot him around the side of my house, standing on the sidewalk.The dog is delicately picking its way around my yard and pausing to crap. So I drive right up to him, roll the window down, and tell him to please not walk his dog in my yard anymore. I said, “Yes, ma’am.” And the problem seems to have been solved.

      What I don’t understand, is if you are going to not “walk” your dog, but stand around until they’ve relieved themselves, can you not do that easily in your own, ignored lawn?

    • Kim

      Oh, yes, it did. You win all the prizes.
      Plus, stoopid lady.

    • Em

      You are my hero! I have a German Shepherd and live on a corner lot that seems to be on the the Toilet Trail. My own dog is walked in my yard on a leash because we have one out of the way area I prefer she leave her droppings so my kids can play in the rest of the yard unoffended. So why are they sidestepping other people’s responsibilities? In our own yard? I have my suspicions sometimes but have never caught anyone in the act. I am not sure I would have the huevos to do what you did but I sure hope I would.

  2. Pat

    Try having a 6# dog with tiny, tiny poop; stays in her own yard & then has to contend with poop half her size from EVERY other dog in town (only 61 residences). I have invested in an air rifle that shoots little rubber balls. Not enough to hurt…just enough to let them know to STAY OFF MY LAWN!! Oh, and NO ONE uses a leash. Just turn them loose & let everyone else deal with them.

  3. Nelson's Mama

    We bought the empty lot next to us – it’s wooded and provides a buffer between us and some of the neighbors. We’ve given some of our favorite canine neighbors permission to “curb” there (with no need to pick-up), others do not have our permission, but do so anyway. It makes me SO MAD when I see them out there; I stand at the end of the driveway and glare in their direction (just like I’m intimidating)!

    Sounds like you may be walking Licorice on a Flexi-leash or better yet – she’s walking you! I use a fixed leash with Nelson and make he stay at my left side when we’re truly being serious about a walk. When we’re relaxed he can get ahead a bit, but not much – I’m the leader, not him. :)

  4. Korinthia Klein

    I expected the chore of walking the dog when we got one to be one of the downsides, but turns out it is pleasant to get out a bit every day, rain or shine. Our dog, however, is not always so excited to go. There are days we announce it’s time for a walk and the silly thing hides under the couch. He’s weird.

  5. Little Bird

    I love walking by as people are standing there with their dogs while the dog is pooping and getting dirty looks from the person because then they HAVE to pick it up. If you smile and nod in return to the dirty look you might get flipped off! Fun times!

  6. Holly Gault

    But, how else would you entertain her?

  7. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I used to live in Florida and there was this guy who would bring his dog over to my yard and then wait for the dog to poop on it.

    Finally, one day watching out the window, I had had enough. I ran out with a plastic bag and a shovel and handed it to the guy and said clean up your shit, buddy.

    He never did it again!

    Yeah spring! We got about six inches of snow here last night….

  8. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    I was one of those terrible owners yesterday, and I felt guilty the whole way home. BUT! But, I had a good excuse. My kids had gone with me, and I let my 10 year old ride her bike, and my 8 year old ride his big wheel. At some point, he decided he didn’t want to stay with me any more, and zoomed off. Out of sight. On his big wheel. He even went by the neighborhood entrance without stopping, and then around a corner and down a big hill with cars driving by him. I ended up having to practically drag the dog at a run, and she pooped in the street.

    p.s.-son ended up being fine, although he is grounded from big wheel usage.
    p.p.s.-I know you didn’t mean situations like mine. This was some sort of cathartic confessional for me, because I felt like the entire neighborhood was watching me through their windows. The crazy new neighbor that was dragging her dog down the street and let it poop there and just kept going.
    p.p.p.s.-I am tempted to take a bag and walk over there today and see if it’s still there and pick it up if it is.

    • 12tequilas

      I know, don’t you love how if we neglect to pick up for whatever reason we feel all guilty, and all those other folks just poop ‘n go without a care in the world. People suck.

  9. Megan

    Oh! Today, just today! I had this moment of complete bafflement. There was a neat pile of poo on the fourth step up a stone stairway leading up to the bridge.

    Think of what that took.

    Did the dog perch above the step? Was it half on the step, half below it? And WHAT was the damn owner thinking??

    Okay, now I realize that maybe I spent far too much time pondering poo philosophy this morning…

    … but still!

    Poo on a bridge stairway. I shudder for humanity.

  10. Kyle

    At the barn where I ride we’re expected to pick up after our horses – buckets and heavy duty rubber gloves provided. Ahh…what we do for our pets.

  11. Brigitte

    I had a PERSON poop in my driveway once . . .

    • Jim

      Ding Ding Ding !!!!!!!! I think we’ve found our winner !!!!!!!

      • Lynda M O

        Oh shit, woke the baby howling at that one, Jim !~!

    • Kate in MI

      Holy CRAP (so to speak). Yep. You win.

    • Jen-Again

      I had a person poop in my garbage can… at work.
      Of course, I work in a hospital and his hospital gown gave him easy access to pooping but still…

  12. Javamom

    We pass what some kids call the ‘poo alley’ on the way to school. No other time is it worse than in that in between not-winter-anymore-not-spring-yet time of year.

    People who let their pets, no matter how miniscule, poop on my front yard where my kids sometimes play….ohhhh. At one time when the kids were older toddlers, I actually posted a sign with the words



  13. Bob

    (you should channel George Harrison more often, maybe you would really be more mellow on these walks.)

    Try having a human poop in your yard. My sister-in-law owns a house in a rural neighborhood. Several years back there was a short period of time when a woman runner trekked down their street during her daily early morning run. One morning my sister-in-law’s husband was up earlier than normal and happened to look out the front window to see this woman stop, drop trou, and poop in the ditch in front of their house. She must have really had to go. And It happened more than once – I guess she’s pretty regular in her habits. And no, she didn’t clean up after herself. Eventually she changed her route and the poop ceased.

    • Jim

      Hold all your ballots!!!! I repeat, hold your ballots. We have a late challenger….

      • Mir


        • Elizabeth

          This is too terrible for words.

  14. Rachel

    I worked in a department store in college, and there was more than one occasion that we found human poop in the dressing room! I realize people want to try things on before they buy them, that are what the dressing rooms are for, but we had a public restroom in the store!! Use that! Sometimes it was a pile on the seat, sometimes more of the accidental variety IN a pair of pants. If you’re too sick to hold it until you get to the ladies room, you’re too sick to be trying on pants! I’m not talking toddler-potty-training-size pants; I’m talking misses/juniors size 9/10… Ewww. The joys of working retail! =)

    • Karen R

      I had that happen to me once when I worked in retail (finding poop in the dressing room, not leaving it). I never would have thought it was a common occurrence. This was in a nice department store.

  15. Jim

    We seem to have a three way tie at the top. Could the people who posted about human excrement please tell us a little more about a) the weight and height of the squatting humans who left the deposit and b) approximate measurements of the offending packages (i.e. tootsie roll size all the way up to the size of a tree limb).

  16. Nelson's Mama

    Well, I have absolutely NO proof, but Nelson came in Sunday COVERED in crap. It was embedded in his collars, caked on the kerchief he was wearing around his neck – this crap rolling incident required no less than two baths. He still puts off small odor…

    I don’t how or why there would be human feces on our wooded lot, but I’m convinced that’s what he smells of! He always ignores the other dog crag…

  17. Mir

    On the one hand, I am cringing over all these human-feces comments.

    On the other hand, it’s fair to say I started the shit-talking (see what I did there…?), so I should probably just go gag and weep quietly in the corner. ‘Scuse me.

    • Frank

      Insert the myriad of sh*t sayings jokes here… many of which would be appropriate to point out, but repeated occurrences of words and synonyms for the subject matter would make the Analytics of this blog go into the toilet… pun intended.

    • 12tequilas

      It’s okay; I’m sure you did not expect the human poop comments. And encountering people poop outside, or in a dressing room (aack!) is way, WAY more gross than encountering dog poo. I am also gagging.

  18. Lucinda

    Dogs pooping in my yard is so infuriating. There are A LOT of dogs in our neighborhood and invariably I find a pile in my moss, I mean grass. But the biggest dog (a Great Dane) is not one of them because his owner always has her little plastic bags with her. So the lazy ones infuriate me even more. Doesn’t help that I’m a cat person.

  19. Jim

    Has anyone been hit by a low flying aircraft lavatory turd ? Let’s see a show of hands.

    • Brigitte

      Jim, you are a naughty, naughty boy.

      It’s an indication of people’s fascination with poo, that my sister went to Costa Rica once and walked in the jungle and saw monkeys, and EVERYBODY’S first question was “Did they fling their feces?”

  20. SillyMe

    wow, tough competition. the worst dog poop story I have is the spring thaw right after a super snowy winter. we didn’t bother to clean up the poop in the backyard that sank down into the snow only to be covered up by more snow especially since the dogs kind of went over the hill to poop. out of sight… it turns out that snow is an excellent preserver of said poop and once the weather warmed up we had about 2 months of freshly thawed poop to deal with. (did I mention we had 2 big dogs?) yeah, it stunk.

  21. kapgaf

    We don’t have a dog but we live in a residence where you are not allowed on the grass so people stand on the path and let their dog poop in the grass so no one would actually want to go on the grass even if they were allowed.

    To the whole poop thing in general, I have just one thing to say : shit happens !

  22. Elizabeth

    The former governor of Mississippi used to allow his schnauzer to poop in our front yard.

  23. Erin

    I saw a comedy routine once about what aliens would think, were they to visit our planet and see us walking our dogs, on a leash, with a steamed up bag in our hands. Which being would the alien think is the one in charge? The one walking the dog? Or the one being walked by a subservient entity that is being forced to carry the excrement of the walkee in a bag?

    That said, my enjoyment of my walks with the dog increased significantly when there was a giant dumpster outside one of the houses on my route. I could pick up after the dog and then toss the bag in the dumpster and not have to carry poop the whole way home. The dog, being immense jerk-face that he is, would usually pick those trips to make a second (or third!) deposit, leaving me bagless and ashamed.

    • Mir

      Dogs are totally jerks like that. We have one of these clipped to the leash for just that reason—you can never have too many bags with you!

  24. Donna Young

    I have a plastic fire hydrant on my Flexi-leash to carry my dog waste bags. I figure it this way: I volunteered to own the dog, therefore I volunteered to not leave poop in someone else’s yard. Or, I don’t want your dog poop in my yard; I know you don’t want mine in yours! It’s a responsibility of the owners to clean up after their pets! Either buy bags and clean up, or save your newspaper bags or use a common Wal-Mart bag, but please – CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PET.

  25. Deanna

    I have a 140 lb male Great Dane and I ALWAYS clean up after him on walks. But I will admit I find those little plastic baggies quaint. We need to bring grocery bags. :)

  26. Nancy R

    A couple of weeks ago on a layover at O’Hare airport I witnessed a dog do the squat and poo, and it’s owner scoop up the dog and walk away. I was eating lunch- yum! I kept waiting for him to return…I finally alerted an employee and it took FOREVER for someone to get there to clean it up…

  27. Chris

    wow. I have no pets so no competing stories here but will note Jim made me laugh out loud!

  28. mamalang

    I have often praised our Swiss Mountain/Great Dane mix for his refusal to poop anywhere but our backyard. We have tons of those bags, and have used 3 in the 3 years we’ve had him, and those were at the dog park when we were there for hours and he was not happy about it.

    My MIL has two little yappies that poop on her sidewalk or yard (or mine if they are over) and she doesn’t clean it up. My kids yell at her, because then they have to clean it up. I cleaned up enough poop when they were babies, I’m done. :0)

  29. Em

    I have to tell you a ridiculous story. I took my dog for a walk one time with, luckily with a whole roll of bags. My stinking dog must not have been feeling well and went three times. WIthout getting to graphic I hope, let me say that the dog continued to stop, get into position and not produce. But I kept thinking no one who happened to see us would know that this dog already did all she had to do (which I dutifully picked up). So I would bend over pick pantomime pick up this phantom poop. That happened.

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