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Charlie Hatton
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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!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Poop-pire Strikes Back

Hello, after a short holiday break. Holiday travel was… well, holiday travel. It doesn’t change much, and hasn’t, for the quarter-century I’ve been doing it. In other, perhaps less predictable news, though:

I had poop on my hand today.

At least, I hope that’s not predictable. Though there was a time when it was, more or less — and today’s incident was a close analog to those bygone, poophanded days.

Before I squick you out any further, I’ll say that the poop in question is not my own, nor anyone else’s. It belongs to a dog, which I happen to be dog-sitting for the next few days. And which is reminding me how unprepared I sometimes am for the poop that often squeezes out of them.

In the archives here, if you’re so inclined, you can find several — actually, quite a lot of — posts dealing with our dearly departed pooch Susie, and the many turding adventures she created over the years. I’ve waxed poop-etic on poop bags, having money literally go to shit, poop habits, dying hard, sacks of crap steeped like sun tea — and I penned perhaps my favorite post title ever in an homage to an underporch turd array.

I’ve had a lot of experience with dog shit, is what I’m saying. Nearly as much as with bullshit. So, like, oodles.

I am, however, two years removed from my hard-learned “best practices” for walking a dog and effectively (or no) corralling its turdage. This was made very clear to me a few hours after my friend brought over their dog, which I’m watching while they’re out of town. The dog is great. A little homesick, I think, but very sweet and waggy and so far, quite low-maintenance, too. But a dog is a dog, and a dog’s gotta walk, so after some acclimation and a couple of treats, we took off for an evening constitutional.

I wasn’t totally unprepared for this. Obviously, I know how to dog. I dogged for a decade; no non-dogger, I. On the way out the door, I grabbed a poop bag (important) and my keys (also mucho important), and eventually also managed to gather the leash, the dog and my shoes, and assemble them in a more or less appropriate order.

(I did forget the treats. This dog is a during-walk treater, whereas my dog was an after-walk treater. I’m working on that. We’ll get there, poochie.)

We made it down the block and a couple of pees, when the dog circled in that particular way they have that means “POOP ALERT! POOP ALERT! MAN THE TORPEDOES!“. And then she shat.

It was kind of a lot. I’ll spare you the details, but this dog is a few pounds bigger than was our pooch, and with the extra intestinal mass and the stress of a new environment, she pretty well let loose. It wasn’t “climb on top” elephant-turd size, perhaps. But it was impressive. Good girl.

I fished the bag out of my pocket and scooped everything I could.

(It’s snowy and cold out there, and also dark, so it’s possible a turdlet or two froze in place. I’m making a good-faith effort here. A good-poop-faith effort.)

That pretty much filled the bag. I had a little room to knot the top and close it up, but it was full. And tied. Luckily, that session pretty much emptied her out.

Except, of course — it hadn’t.

Six steps later, and she squatted again. Dogs sometimes do this, if they’re not sure they’re done — but they’re usually done. She wasn’t done. Another three turds came out — from somewhere; I’m thinking the pooch keeps spares in a gallbladder or something — and plopped, plip plip ploop, onto the ground.

Naturally, people were milling around close by. I’m not one to leave dog turds lying around anyway, but especially when the neighborhood is watching, there’s no room for walking away, even for a moment. My condo with the other bags was a full block away; I’d have been tarred, feathered, fined and shamed before I made it there and back to corral those tardy turds.

So I did the best I could. I used the bit of “open” bag above the knot to scoop the poop as best I could, and hustled the dog back up the block for backup. And for proper disposal. Also, before she shat again, because next I’d have to use a sock, and my toes were already getting tingly in the cold. I passed a few people with my stinky parcel, making no eye contact and stopping for nothing, no one and no more turds.

When we got back, I saw in the light of the entryway that my second scoopage was… not ideal. There was some poop in the bag top, yes. But also lots of other places I didn’t want it, and am shuddering about now remembering the sight. Three hours into meeting this dog, and I’m wrist-deep in her shit. Now I know how veterinarians feel, I guess.

Anyway, I rebagged the poop, cleaned up and washed my hands several dozen times. And on our next walk, I’m taking three bags. Or six. Or a box of Hefty stretchables. I won’t be poop-fooled again. At least, not this week.

But give it a couple of years. I’m sure it’ll happen again. You can’t fight poop forever.

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