Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Adventures in Poopland: An (Almost) Holiday Tale

I walk dogs part time. It’s a fun job, but around this time of year, it gets a little crazy. Between holiday stress, guests coming and going, and tasty baked goods lying around, a lot of dogs end up in some kind of mischief. I’ve gotten several apologetic notes from owners lately explaining that their dog ate an entire tray of muffins last night, or a sweater, or peed on the presents, or chewed the heads off the yard elves.

But so far, my actual time with the dogs each day has been stress free.

Today should have been so easy. It was my last day before the holidays; there were only three dogs on my schedule. I could have knocked that out in an hour and a half and been home and packing for my travels by lunchtime.

But there were…complications.

It started with the puppy who doesn’t poop on his walks. He waits until we’re back at his house and then wants to be let out to #2 in the yard. No problem. Except the ground's been frosty lately, and today it was warm, which meant the back yard was quite soggy. And as I crossed the yard to pick up the poo Puppy had just done, I stepped in a very large, very wet pile of older poo. In my effort to do damage control, I stepped in the new pile with my other foot.

There was nothing to be done for it. Wiping my shoes on the grass just got mud caked on too. There weren’t enough sticks in the yard to sufficiently scrape all that needed to be scraped. Puppy, meanwhile, was delighted, tearing around the yard and kicking up clods of muck. And I was rapidly running out of time before I needed to be at the next dog’s house.

So I took my shoes off, deciding the first order of business was to contain Puppy, who by this time was shooting through the house, tracking mud I had tried--apparently without much success--to wipe from his paws.

When I finally got him kenneled, I carried my shoes in and had at them with paper towels. But there wasn’t enough time, so I had to put them on and head to the next house and try to ignore the smell.

Dog #2’s dad was home. I asked the dad if he still wanted me to walk the dog. He said sure. And actually, it was nice, because I could just stand in the entryway and have him hand the dog off to me, so I didn’t have to come into his house with my poop covered shoes.

Two minutes into the walk, Dog #2 went #2, and I realized I didn’t have a baggie on me. We were close to my car and I usually have extras in there, so we went to the car and found a bag. Bagged the poo, threw it away, and moved on. Fifteen minutes later, the dog took another, massive shit. Once again, no bag. But as I rummaged in my coat pockets, I found one. A Christmas miracle. I started to pick up the poo and noticed it felt warmer than usual.

This, it turned out, was because the bag had a giant tear in in, and was only covering half of my hand. The rest of my hand was in the dog poop.

So now I had crap on both shoes and on one hand. I managed to wipe most of the hand poo onto the plastic bag, and threw the whole mess away. I took the dog back home. The dad was still there, and--I don't know what happened. I got embarrassed. I didn't want to stand in his entryway with feces on my hand and shoes and ask to use his sink. The next dog’s house was just around the corner, and I figured I could wash off there in privacy.

So I handed Dog #2 back to his dad (with my clean hand), wished him happy holidays, and hurried around the corner to Dog #3.

Dog #3 was overjoyed. He sniffed my hand, my pants cuffs, my shoes… Oh. Oh you smell so good. Why can’t you smell like this everyday?

I don’t know, Dog #3. Maybe because if I smelled like this every day, life would cease to be worth living. But thanks for the moral support.

I washed my hands. Over and over again. Then I took Dog #3 on his walk. We enjoyed the beautiful day. At one point, he was sniffing in a neighbor’s yard, and I noticed a pile of some other dog’s poop that hadn’t been cleaned up. So I started guiding Dog #3 carefully around the pile. Just to be safe. I mean, I didn’t really think I would have to tell the very docile, very intelligent Dog #3 not to walk though the…

He stepped right in it. Right in it.

So now, to recap, there was poop on both of my shoes, and on the dog’s left front foot. We headed back to the house. I could leave my shoes out by the front door, but we couldn’t leave the dog’s foot outside, so I was going to have to wipe him off. His owners provide a towel in the front hall for paw wiping when it’s muddy out, but I couldn’t very well wipe shit all over their towel and then hang it up next to their coats to fester for the next five hours.

The only other option was to use the emergency towel in my car. Long story short, that’s what I did. But not before I made up a little song to describe the dilemma, and sang it for Dog #3. It went like this:

I’m a good person,
And I don’t understand
Why there’s poop on everything—
My feet and my hand.

And now there’s poop on you;
I’ll have to wipe it off.
But I don’t know what to use

If I use the provided towel,
It will smell real bad
But if I use my own towel
I’ll be very sad.

I try to live my life well;
I try to do things right.
So why the #%$ is there #&$#ing @#%^ all over everything?
I never want to see dog%&^% again. How the *#$@ was this day such a massive ^$#@storm?

Dog #3 was very patient. He listened to the whole song, and then he gave me kisses. So, you know… good thing they’re so cute, is what I’m sayin’. I wouldn’t endure all this shit for just anyone.

Merry Christmas to all my pups.

And to all of you, however and wherever you’re celebrating. Hope you have wonderful holidays, free of ordure.