Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dog Crap

This evening I was walking Snug and, as he always does, he stopped in the same front yard he always does to take a crap.

I, then, dutifully pulled a small blue plastic bag from my pocket, stuck my hand inside it, reached to the ground, picked up Snug's droppings, turned the bag inside out, and tied off the bag. It's the easy part of dog crap management with Snug. I've learned Snug's crapping routine, so I carry three bags, and I am prepared, as I should be, to keep Snug's crap off lawns.

Dog crap left on lawns angers people. They write letters to the local paper, partly to vent, and partly to educate us dog owners that not only is dog crap a nuisance, it's also a health hazard.

To me, it's an admirable aspect of progressiveness in Eugene. Far more than the ubiquitous Priuses, anti-war signs, bumper stickers berating George W. Bush, and the Christian fish symbols turned into Darwin, the progress that impresses me most in Eugene is that people, by and large, pick up their dog's crap.

Picking up dog crap. Everyone knows we dog owners have to do this.

But how about the disposing of the little blue bag I'm carrying down the street like a toy Barbie purse?

For example, tonight. Snug is an unpredictable dog. He growls and lunges at other dogs. I'm never sure how he'll respond to strangers. Bicycles sometimes agitate him. My primary objective as I walk Snug is to keep him clear of dogs, people, and bicycles and skateboards.

Tonight, Monroe Park, where I can usually dispose of Snug's dog crap bag, was bustling with dogs, walkers, squawky children, skateboarders, and youth playing ultimate frisbee, so I stayed out of there.

Then I saw a neighbor's garbage can at his curb.

I don't know this guy, personally, but I know his reputation and I've read some of his op-ed pieces.

He's a progressive through and through.

He writes about empowering elementary school students. I've seen him leading groups of young students on bicycle rides. He opposes wars. He carries himself smugly, has an air of self-righteousness about him. I would bet my bottom dollar that he was once in an Utne Reader salon group. Probably hosted it.

Well, good, I thought. Progressives want dog crap off lawns. Surely progressives must welcome little blue bags of dog crap in their garbage cans.

Suddenly, I froze.

I panicked.

A few years ago, the newspaper had run quite a few letters written by people who objected to dog walkers dropping bagged dog droppings in their curbside garbage cans.

Did progressives write those letters?

I couldn't remember.

Suddenly, I realized I didn't know the rules.

Was it hard-line conservatives who objected to dog droppings dropped in the garbage cans? Or was is politically correct progressives?

I paused.

Snug pulled at the leash.

Aren't progressives community-minded? Don't they stand for flat social structures? For sharing?

But, then again, progressives can also be really picky about women wearing perfume and men wearing after-shave. Maybe dog crap bags are similarly invasive when dropped in a progressive's garbage can.

Why couldn't I remember the politics of dropping dog crap in a trash can?

I looked at my neighbor's house.

I saw no activity inside, no one peering out the windows.

I decided that if disposing of a little bit of Snug in my neighbor's garbage can was an offense, well, at least I wouldn't get caught.

I took a deep breath, composed myself, and boldly walked to the can, opened the lid about two inches, and dropped the blue bag in.

I'll keep an eye on the newspaper this week.

I'll see if my neighbor writes a letter to the editor about thoughtless yahoos like me that use others' garbage cans to dispose of their doggy's crap.

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