In the courtyard, a most fetid surprise

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COLONIE – I did something I never expected to do.

I am not proud of it, although I have no reason to be ashamed. In some ways, I had no choice. Faced with an ongoing situation, I was forced to act.

Here is what I did: I bought a sign and stuck it in our lawn, near the road. He says, “Please clean up after your dog. “

I don’t like the sign, if I’m being honest. I always thought that such signs were a bit of a curse. I thought they looked worse than they hoped to prevent.

But that was then. Now I just want it to stop.

It all started about three months ago. I was on my way home when I discovered a nasty surprise. Poop and poo are soft terms for this, although you can certainly think of harsher terms.

Well, I thought, okay. Some pour soul got caught without a bag and forgot to come back for it. I picked up the incriminated stack, hardly thinking about it.

Soon after, a similar mound appeared in the exact same spot. Based on size and appearance, this is most likely the same dog. One of the smaller breeds in my opinion.

Not good, I thought, not good at all. I picked it up.

Then, in a few days, another pile to collect. Then another, and another, and another. And every time I leaned over, plastic bag in hand, the anger boiled a little more.

Who do this ? What kind of person ?! This disbeliever deserves to suffer !!

Suddenly I’m George Costanza, mad at Jerry and Kramer about a rude world.

“WE LIVE IN SOCIETY! WE ARE DESIGNED TO ACT IN A CIVILIZED WAY!

I wondered, in my darkest moments, if we were being targeted. Does anyone not like the cut of our lawn, the color of our house? Are the droppings a comment on my writing, a protest of my opinions?

Such paranoia is probably unfounded, as similar “please pick up your dog’s poop” signs have sprung up on neighbors’ lawns.
In fact, we find them in almost all neighborhoods in our region, little symbols of growing incivility. They are like tombstones, signifying the death of the neighborhood.

WE LIVE IN SOCIETY! WE ARE DESIGNED TO ACT IN A CIVILIZED WAY!

I don’t blame the dog, of course. The animal does only what it is supposed to do, a necessary bodily function. Even if the pooch wanted to pick up after himself, he lacks the opposable numbers necessary for the task.

We have a dog ourselves, a large German Shepherd who leaves his own piles in the yard. I don’t mind picking them up. I don’t like it, obviously, but task is a responsibility that comes with owning a dog.

“What would the world be like without the music, the rivers, or the soft green grass?” wrote poet Mary Oliver. “What would this world be like without the dogs?”

Dogs live in awe of every moment and encourage us to do the same. Dogs are a treasure. Dogs are a joy.

People are another story. Not all, of course. Just those who leave shopping carts in the middle of parking lots, who do not wait their turn on the entrance ramps of the freeways, who leave poo on the lawns of their neighbors.

The person responsible for our nasty heaps arrives and leaves seemingly under cover of darkness, a man dodging the responsibility of owning his dog. (And yes, I guess he’s a dude.)

Does he give a second thought to the filthy mound left behind? Does he care about the kids playing on that lawn? Does his indiscretion itch his conscience as he rests at night?

I doubt it, and I’m not sure my new sign will impact such a poor human. It seems unlikely that he will say, Oh I had no idea poop was a nuisance, but now that I do, I’m sure to be looking forward to picking it up!

And if the sign goes unnoticed, I don’t know what to do next.

I guess I could just resign myself to picking up pile after pile over the years, a depressing prospect if at all. Oh boy, no more poo.

Or maybe I could stare out our windows late at night, waiting for the disbeliever and his bastard to come and laugh.

I watched the dog sniff the spot before I entered that familiar hunch. And when the deed was done, and the couple started to walk away, I would jump out the front door and say …

Wait, what would I say?

WE LIVE IN SOCIETY! WE ARE DESIGNED TO ACT IN A CIVILIZED WAY!

[email protected] â–  518-454-5442 â–  @chris_churchill


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