43. The Dog Poo Piston


From the day on that we had sir Oliver in our lives, poop bags became one of my best friends. My philosophy is that everybody should clean up their own shit. And since we are the legal adopters of sir Oliver, we adopted his poo as well. It was all in the package, so to speak. Since day 1, I and my daughter have been taking care of sir Oliver’s shit. I’m very dedicated, seeing myself taking on the role of an living example within taking responsibility for one’s animal.

I mean cleaning up one’s own shit goes further than a pet, and the responsibility thereof. And that’s why I am sharing my story of today.

A few weeks ago I was sitting on my haunches in the grass, picking up sir Oliver’s poo with a poop bag. As I made a knot in the bag to close it off, an older man driving a scooter for disabled people approached me. I see the man almost everyday walking his dog with his scooter. We mostly chit chat for a few minutes and then move on. The man told to me to not bother with the poop bags. He said: they clean it after you. So I asked him, do they clean here with a dog poo piston? There was some hesitation and then he said yes.

This yes fucked with my mind. I live here now for 4 years, and I have never seen any dog poo piston as of yet. So my reaction was, when walking away from the man, he is just saying so. He wants to calm his own guilt. I mean how would he be able to get out of the scooter and pick up his dog’s poo? And thinking as well: why would this nice old man lie to me about a dog poo piston? I know in the city they have a piston, here in the outskirts I have never seen one.

Now this story about the municipality cleans up after our dogs, kept bothering me. I once had the idea of Googling it or call the municipality and ask them if it was true. Though I did not, I was actually fine with pondering about this question now and then.

I did not see immediately how I had labeled the old man as an silly old man, believing fairy tails about dog poo pistons. So then a few weeks later, the man told me how the dog leash had gone around his dog’s hind leg, and pulled so hard on the leg as he could not stop his scooter in time. The lower part of the dog’s leg was bruised. The dog was still not walking like he normally does.

I left the man after the conversation and moved on physically, but not mentally. Sentences went through my mind as: silly old man how can you let this happen? You do not deserve a dog, you should not have a dog, you’re simply a lazy man sitting in a scooter. Wow, I was really surprised by my ‘secret mind’ gossiping like my life was depending on it. Shit, am I such a horrible person, went through my mind. No, not really.

Over time I had accumulated the thoughts about the man, who told me I was doing a job that wasn’t necessary, according to him. And I had taken it personally. The man never said: you silly woman picking shit for nothing, are you trying to look like a good person? Although it felt like that when filtered through my mind. I simply had to face that I had allowed a certain form of gossip within me and not stopped it while I could and thus it accumulated.

Then 4 days ago the lawns were mowed. Probably the last time before winter, and all the leaves and all the dog poop was minced up and spread over the lawn. Now it was even dirtier to walk on the grass. So I thought maybe the old man was talking about mowing the lawns and mincing up all poo, and not so much about a dog poo piston. Imagine how silly the man became now within my mind.

Today while almost crossing a busy street, I heard a sound and I couldn’t recognize it immediately. So I looked around to see where it came from. And there it was, A DOG POO PISTON, man did I feel silly. For a moment my mind went: but he is not sucking anything, he is just driving around. As if that made any difference.

So next time when I meet the old man in his scooter and his dog, I will myself to disconnect the word ‘silly’ and all the accumulated thought that are attached to it and live the word ‘humbleness’.



4. A Dirty Story


The boarding kennel had told us that Oliver was not yet house trained, however they did tell us he does keep his dog basket clean. Laboratory dogs are mostly not socialized and therefore one has to treat an older dog the same as a puppy. These dogs have still lots of ordinary things to learn. So my daughter searched for the right way of house training that she saw as doable for our situation. The first days we let him go into the garden many times. Whenever he did pee a little bit inside the house, we took him outside and clean up after him with detergent, that way he would not pee at that spot again. And yes that worked.

Now we had to take him to the next level of going on walks with us and do his business, while on a leash with all kinds of weird and new noises and smells around him. So the first days after the first weekend we had him, I took him out 3 times a day for half an hour. My daughter at that point had to finish a temporary job, so the first week I was baby sitting sir Oliver. Well babysitting, the guy is 5 human years old, so 36 dog years.

Oliver had not done any pooping since he stayed with us, although he had been eating. As a physical rule says: what goes in must go out. Thus on day 3, I was almost home after a walk with him, he started all of a sudden wiggling with his butt high up to a wall. I stood there watching what on earth he was trying to do. Not much later I heard some windy sounds and sir Oliver groaning, the first excrement was a fact and it was glued to the wall. I directed him a little bit forward so the rest of the excrements would fall on the ground in the sand. Ready with a plastic goody bag, or shall I say poopy bag, I grabbed my first warm dog poop of the ground. I tried to get the poop from the wall and accidentally made  a hole in the poopy bag and ended up with poop under my short finger nails. I wasn’t pleased with the remaining poop on the wall and I wasn’t pleased with the poop under my nails either. My intension is to clean up after my dog and here I found myself with an expressive artwork from sir Oliver on one of my neighbors shed walls. I went home ashamed of not living up to my intension of cleanliness. My family members ensured me that the next rainfall would clean up the remaining mess…

While and after he had done his first poop on our walk, I praised him for the job he had done. So the next days I would say: Oliver you may pee or Oliver you may poop. I do this so he will eventually make a connection with these words and empty himself when on a walk. We’ll see how this will work out in time to come.

When fantasizing/talking about having a dog we decided that we wanted to clean up after our dog. As we see it as a responsibility to take care of our dog and how he affects the environment. Most areas I walk with him, are legal dog walking areas, and as well areas that are fun for kids to play. I do remember coming home as a kid having dog poop under my shoe and my mom not being pleased with it. So yes, dogs are of course not allowed at playgrounds, but public lawns are fun for kids as well as animals.

Our city has regulations that say, in this area one has or hasn’t have to clean up after your dog.  There is no municipality staff that will check on you, which means that the majority of dog owners do not give a shit about the “clean up after your dog” regulations. Soon to come, a new local law, goes into effect that says that every dog owner has to clean up after his/her dog, and still there will no one check up on the dog owners. It will take a miracle if this new law will make people become responsible.

At least I do not like to hop in between dog poop when walking my dog, would that make me the only one? That alone would already be enough reason to clean up after my dog. So even though the motivation might be egoistical in nature it would solve the issue. The real issue is of course self-responsibility, as long as we do not give a shit about ourselves and others, nothing will change from dog poop to war.