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Do You Ever Get Used to Scooping Poop?

Do You Ever Get Used to Scooping Poop?

At the neighborhood dog park recently, one of the regulars made an observation about me that made us laugh: “You make a face every time you have to pick up your dog’s poop.”

No way that could be true, I thought. I’ve been a dog owner for eight years. But sure enough, when I next had to pick up after my dog, Pelle, I caught myself involuntarily grimacing. To be honest, I’ve never gotten used to one of the most fundamental and grossest parts of dog walking: poop.

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I’m sure I don’t have to describe it to you, the ritual involved in this most tedious of pastimes: Your dog goes to the bathroom. You fish around your pocket or your purse for one of your plastic poop bags. Most of the time, you find one. If you’re on the street, you merely steel yourself, hope it’s not too warm and the bag doesn’t break, and throw the poo in the nearest garbage can. (If you’re in Brooklyn, like I am, you might find the nearest garbage can is several blocks away, which means that you often have to carry a bag of hot poop for many long minutes while running into every attractive opposite-sex acquaintance you have.)

If you’re at the park and your dog scampers off before you can mark where he relieved himself, you get the added bonus of having to find your dog’s waste somewhere inside a few hundred square feet of wet wood chips, dirt, and other, forgotten dog poop. This is a fun test: Do you find the poop by making a mental grid and visually scanning every virtual box until you find your disgusting goal? Can you spot the poop by watching where the flies gravitate? Can you close your eyes and smell your way toward the scent that’s more familiar than you’d ever want to admit? If you can, congratulations. You are accomplished in ways I’m sure you’re never imagined before you owned a dog.

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Worse still is when Pelle poops and I’ve run out of bags. In a public place like my neighborhood, this is a bona fide disaster. There’s no hiding. Sometimes I quickly run to a corner bodega, pulling Pelle all the way, to ask for an unused plastic bag. If I’m on a stretch of street with no businesses whatsoever, I can get lucky in one of two ways: A fellow dog owner comes by, notices my distress, and offers me an extra baggie; or I find a plastic bag that used to contain someone’s Chinese food lunch but is now serendipitously empty and lying on the ground. Yes, this is the height of luck, this old, dirty bag.

Here are some things I’ve used when I can’t find a bag and have to rifle through my purse:  An especially long grocery store receipt. A pay stub (sorry, meticulous record-keeping). A wedding invitation (sorry, Paul and Cindy). I’ve ripped corners off of cardboard boxes in construction sites.

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My friend Caroline confessed that in a similar situation, she cut the top off an old plastic bottle she found with her pocket knife and used it as a scooper, much to the revulsion of some nearby children. All of this is better than just leaving the poop in the street — which is rude and of course carries a large fine — but only marginally better. It can take me several hours to recover from having to carry a turd sandwiched between two torn cardboard box tabs from one neighborhood to the next while searching for a public trash can.

A wuss, you call me? Prissy, princessy, and overreacting? Hey, you don’t have to tell me. There’s nothing I’d like more than to pick up Pelle’s butt presents with the sangfroid I’ve seen in other owners. At least I love the dog and the neighborhood’s dignity enough to overcome it. But I often wonder if some of those other owners have never gotten used to it either and are only better at suppressing their “Oh, gross” face. Have you?

Photo: Two surprised ladies on the floor with pet dog by Shutterstock

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Humor & Inspiration, Pet Health, Pets

This post was written by Lauren Zimmer, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

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96 comments

+ add your own
1:25AM PDT on Oct 25, 2014

Thank you!

3:06PM PDT on Jul 1, 2014

Some things you never get used too. Sometimes you just have to Grimace and Bear It.

8:21AM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

thanks

10:54AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

We have so many community dogs in Sri Lanka that dog poop is not a big deal. It is extremely difficult to scoop poop in areas without any street lights but I have done so with the aid of the mobile phone light. Never leave home without some sort of bags, often times, re-using a bag which was meant to carry some other thing/s

2:46AM PDT on May 21, 2014

I don't find this a problem at all, thanks for the
post :)

2:18AM PDT on May 21, 2014

Think of it that way , we only have to scoop it up, we do not have to change their diaper or wipe their butt :) .

6:46PM PDT on May 13, 2014

I don't find this a problem at all.
Thanks for the post!

9:55AM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

I enjoyed the humor--dogs can go more times than normal on a walk or choose a difficult to access location (like when there is snow piled up).

9:39AM PDT on Apr 24, 2014

Picking up poop is no problem, at least we don't have to wipe them too :)

8:58PM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

We have a pug and a shih tzu so for me its fairly easy and the best bags are
old sliced bread bags and the long bags newspapers come in .

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