Monday, December 11, 2017

"The (Arguably Unverified) Doggie Doo-Doo Predicament - A Minor Incident With (Possible) Legal Implications"

“It does not take much to send a guilty person over the precipice.”

– A Recognized Unnamed Guilty Person


Rachel and family went away for the weekend.  What that means for us is that we babysit their little dog Bean, the travelers reluctant to include him, as he insistently whimpers on long car drives.  By that standard, they would not be taking their youngest son along either.  But no complaints.  Bean and I are compadres.

Although physically diminutive, Bean is a born and bred “Guard Dog.”  Anyone comes to the house – friend or foe – Bean barks incessantly at their arrival.  And for several minutes thereafter.  Nobody really likes that.  It is noisy and annoying.  Taking Bean’s side, however, I cannot imagine how it feels to perform your encoded duties and all you receive for your efforts is,

“Bean!  Stop!

It’s like,

“What?  You don’t want to be protected?  Fine, I’ll stop.  No, wait.  I can’t stop.”

Nothing is sadder than outdated genetics.

I enjoy dogsitting Bean.  But here’s the problem.

I put the leash on the dog and I take him outside.  At that point, I am fully responsible for his safety.  I swear to you, not once have I exited the house without thoughts of a rebuking step-grandchild, staring at me with mournful eyes and mumbling, “Pappy…” – they call me Pappy –

“Did you kill my dog?”      

That’s the “guilt bundle” I carry… as I take Bean for a walk.

And not entirely without reason. 

Years ago, a couple I knew, going on vacation, left their pet goldfish in my care while they were away.  It succumbed in two days.  I was mortified.  I got two episodes out of it – one on Taxi, one on The Cosby Show – but I’ve felt terrible about it ever since.  

I had killed a pet, entrusted to my care.

Like goldfish – like Bean.

That’s a guilty person talking.

Who will now experience this.

Introducing the most recent installment.

We are heading for a nearby park, the one my daughter Anna and her husband were married in, and also, more recently, the one where an alleged murderer was wounded by the police.

On our way to the park, Bean has peed four times in ten minutes, a feat I could not fathom earlier in life but have less difficulty with today.  It is now time for “the other thing”, for which the appropriate “collection bags” have been provided.  I cannot take Bean home till he is fully evacuated, fearing he will complete the “Daily Double” inside our house.  The thing is…

As we enter the park, I spot a police car parked ominously by the adjacent curb. 

I am not thinking about the earlier shooting in that park.  Okay, I am thinking about it a little.  What I am really thinking about is the police officer inside that patrol car, likely of Junior Grade, deployed by their superiors to insure that dog walkers responsibly pick up the poo-poo. 

Or else.

I immediately imagine an obsessed Javert-like “Pooper Trooper”, scanning the perimeter for malevolent miscreants.  For them, it’s

Not a job. 

Not a duty. 

It’s a crusade.   

“I shall not rest…” 

That’s who is sitting in that patrol car.

And I know…

They are watching me walking my dog.

After foraging around for… I don’t know, do dogs eat grubs? – and while I’m hyphening, what are grubs? – Bean abruptly curtains his activities, hunkering down beside a large tree.  From these giveaway signals, I know,

“It’s ‘Go’ time.”

And he goes.

Then – this is the testimony I imagine delivering in court – I reach for a bag, ready to fulfill my custodial duties in the park.  But as I do so, Bean, fronting the excrement, rapidly churns his back legs, effectively “covering the evidence.”

Now I’m in trouble.

The dirt he had kicked up is brown.  The twigs on the ground are brown.  The surrounding dead leaves are brown.  Because of that camouflage – and my less than optimal eyesight – it’s like a “perfect storm”…

I cannot see…

What I am expected to pick up.

And I know…

Someone is watching me.

What exactly am I supposed to do?

It turns out I have practice in this regard.  There is a family member who bristles at discarded cracker crumbs in the bedclothes.  I myself cannot see them.  But, to dutifully accommodate – and retain peace in the valley – I climb out of the bed, scoop up the invisible (to me) food crumbs into my hand, walk over and dump what I have meticulously “collected” into an accommodating trash bin.

That’s what I do.

And that is exactly my M.O. in the park.

I open my plastic-bag protected hand wide, stoop down, and gather… a bunch of stuff, which hopefully includes Bean’s diminutive “Number Two”…  But, seeing and – with apologies – feeling nothing demonstratively determinative, I can not exactly be certain I have completed the assignment.  I then walk over… directly in front of the patrol car… and make a show of dropping “the entire package” into a provided receptacle. 

I then go back… to “make sure”, or at least pretend to make sure, for the benefit of the hovering police officer… and possible surveilling security cameras, positioned strategically up in the treetops.

And then we go home.  Five retraceable houses away.  And I’m thinking,

“I know I tried.  But what if I missed?”

Me – and I am sure this will be brought up at trial – who has left an incriminating  “paper trail” in this very venue, complaining of people carelessly leaving their pets’ solid wastes on the sidewalks in the great, surprisingly poopy city of Rome.

I was not in Rome.  But there was the possibility

I had done like the Romans.

I am on record.  And therefore culpable.  As a shameful poop-abandoning hypocrite.

Maybe I’m crazy.


Maybe I did my duty without knowing it.  Maybe it’s enough to make an honorable effort.  Maybe he didn’t actually go.  I am probably in the clear.  Likelier than not, the “Long Arm of the Law” will not be coming for…

Hold on a second.

Was that the doorbell?
Joyful Addendum:  A little girl, scheduled to arrive on January the 20th arrived instead yesterday morning, small but full of fight.  We have a new grandchild, named after my Mom, Gertrude.  And the beat goes happily onward.    


Wendy M. Grossman said...

I can relate, re the guilt factor. The scariest moment of my life was when I realized once that I was driving my best friends' two young children in their most prized possession, their car. Injury to any *one* of the three could have been a relationship killer.


JED said...

I have been in a similar situation with our dog a few times. My feeling is - do your best. If you miss something, it's not the end of the world. Where do people think the squirrels, the birds, the raccoons, the rats and the mice go? Also, what about all the cats that people leave outside (just so they don't need a litter box in house)? What about all the stray dogs? Yes, it's important to pick up after your dog (especially if it's obvious - like on the street or sidewalk) but I no longer accept the scorn of the "perfect people" when it comes to our dog's once-in-a-blue-moon hiding of her poop.

FFS said...

Congratulations. Grandchildren are one of the very few good things about getting old.

Stubblejumpers Cafe said...

Congratulations on that new granddaughter. I like the name she's been given. There are too many Kathys (me and all my friends) and Ashleighs and Brittanys and Caitlins. Gertrude will be one of few, nowadays. No one seems to call their daughters Ruth or Bertha or Doris anymore, though a few older names are back in style: Emma, Grace, etc. I named my eldest son Emil, after my grandfather. He's now the only one of his generation that I know and it's a welcome reminder of a grandfather now gone for 20 years.

The requirement to pick up doggy doo is the reason I never, when visiting the city, agree to take someone's dog for a walk. Nosiree. Even out here on the farm I don't like getting a glimpse of it, never mind that I don't have to gather it. Farm dogs with no borders should have better manners and do their business out of sight, but they don't always -- darn their hides. I would gag if I had to look at it AND pick it up. Ewwww! How did I ever raise children ...