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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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The After-Walk Walk of Shame

My dog is constantly finding new ways to embarrass me.

Our new(-ish, now) condo is located on a nice little residential street, with brownstones and apartments and small parks in most directions. To the right, a five-minute walk or so past the small local library, we have easy access to a bustling neighborhood intersection with shops, restaurants and public transportation. That’s also the only direction I’ve found, within a several-block radius, to feature an available public trash can.

So when I’m walking the dog, does she walk toward the right?

No. The dog, recalcitrant hellbeast that she is, wants to walk anywhere out the door that’s not ‘toward the right’. She’s happy to go left. Eager to bound straight across the street and down the avenue beyond. Around the corner, behind the building, up in a balloon, down a mine shaft toward the earth’s molten core — these are all agreeable destinations for the dog, because they can in no way, shape or form be confused with ‘toward the right’. Or the trash can.

Instead, she’s interested in trekking off to the far corners of the neighborhood, sniffing bushes and peeing on hydrants where no dog has sniffed or peed before. And pooping. Lord, the pooping. Something about our daily constitutional limbers up the old canine intestines, because when she’s ready to let fly — look out. And the farther we walk, the more prodigious the poops.

(I understand this, to a degree. I’ve heard — and follow personally — the old advice, “Don’t shit where you sleep.” I’m not arguing that.

But the mutt appears to be on a mission to “don’t shit where you’ve ever slept, might sleep, once yawned, or could drive to on a single tank of gas.” And that’s excessive, in my pooping book.)

So now I’m forced to trudge back to the condo carrying a bag of fresh warm mutt plop. That’s no picnic, in and of itself. Cost of cohabitating a slobbering idiot little fuzzball for reasons that escape me at the moment, I figure.

(And yes, by the way, I do often impose my will on the pooch and insist — nay, compel — that we walk to the right, toward the trash. Much tugging and pulling and dragging and stubborn sitting and glaring ensues. But I get my way and dammit, we walk to the right, when I say so.

“Six miles away, and the dog can fill a Hefty bag with recycled horse meat and cereal filler. In the shadow of a garbage bin — and miffed off at me for interrupting her route? Nary a turdlet.”

Mind you, we never do any actual pooping when we go to the right, out of some sort of scorned puppy spite I haven’t conquered. Six miles away, and the dog can fill a Hefty bag with recycled horse meat and cereal filler. In the shadow of a garbage bin — and miffed off at me for interrupting her route? Nary a turdlet.

And I know she’s just saving them up for the back room. Conniving little bitch knows how to stockpile ammo. Clever girl.)

Hefting the poop bag back home like a satanic Santa’s sack full of scat isn’t the worst part, though. I don’t want that thing in the house — and if it’s been an especially long walk, I’m not entirely sure it’ll fit through the door. So I drop the dog inside and head out — to the right — to deposit the bag in a proper outdoor trash receptacle.

This is invariably where I run into someone in the neighborhood who wants to ‘chat’. Could be an upstairs neighbor, or the lady next door, or some busybody from down the block. Whoever it is, it’s as though there’s a sign strapped around my neck with big neon letters screaming:

HI! PLEASE TALK TO ME RIGHT NOW, WHILE I’M HOLDING A STEAMING BAG FULL OF POOP! DON’T BE SHY!

And there’s simply no way you can ‘play off’ walking down the street in your neighborhood, sans pet, and carrying a fresh sack of shit. It can’t be done. Take the exchange I had following an after-work walk last night:

Woman: Hi there! We’re your new neighbors across the street, and wanted to say hello. I’m Amanda; this is my daughter, Zoe.

Me: Hi, great to meet you both — welcome. My name is-

Zoe: Hey, mister! What’s that in your hand?

Me: Uhm… big bag of turds.

Zoe: What kinda turds?

Me: Doggie turds.

Woman: But… there’s no dog with you.

Me: Er… no, ma’am.

Woman:

Me:

Woman: Zoe, come stand behind Mommy. We’re going to practice our ‘backing away from wacko strangers’ now, okay? Don’t forget the screaming, pumpkin.

Leave it to the mutt to turn the whole neighborhood against me, before I even have the opportunity to do it myself. These people never even gave me a chance.

On the bright side — if I ever want to get revenge by leaving a flaming bag of something on their porch, I’ll have plenty of ammunition. Especially if they live to the left of us.

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