Keep your eyes open for the poop patrol

I know all dog owners aren’t perfect. I’m aware there are some people who don’t clean up after Fido or who let Ginger off the leash and run on the school playground in spite of the clearly evident NO DOGS ALLOWED sign. But I would say the majority of dog owning folks are good dog owning folks.  

It’s the neighborhood dog police you have to watch out for.  

It seems like almost every neighborhood has one, a resident who apparently spends most of her time (and I hate to say it, but I’ve never met a member of the dog police who wasn’t female) glued to her front window watching for dog inspired infractions.  

Such as the time Rocky and I were taking a leisurely and serene stroll when we were suddenly confronted by a woman who wanted to know if we were going to “pick that up!”  

“Pick what up?” I asked, glancing around to see what I was missing.

“Your dog was over by that tree for a long time, and I want to know if you’re going to pick it up.”  

Rocky had been over by the tree for a long time, but all he’d been doing was gluing his nose to the ground as he sucked up whatever scent the chipmunk or squirrel that had recently trod on the grass had left behind.  

“There’s nothing to pick up. He was sniffing the grass.”  

The member of the dog police then sniffed loudly herself before going over to the tree to look for evidence. Not finding any, she turned and went back into her house without another glance at Rocky or me. Shaking my head, we continued our still leisurely but now a lot less serene stroll.  

Then there was time Mark and I were walking Rocky and Bailey, our second dog, and noticed a woman standing across the street watching us intently. I said, “That lady looks like she wants to say something to us. I bet she’s going to say how cute Rocky and Bailey are.”  

When we reached her and saw the steam coming out of her ears, I knew I was wrong once again. “Did you know your dog urinated on that bush over there?” she asked, pointing across the street.

 Actually, we didn’t since Rocky tends to lift his leg every minute or so on a walk. He never leaves much behind, preferring to meter his trail out as far and wide as he possibly can. “He did?”

“Yes, he did. And did you also know dog urine kills bushes?” This woman was not only a member of the neighborhood dog police, there was a very good possibility she was the founder and charter member of her particular branch.  

Not being experts on dog urine or bushes, we mumbled an apology and walked away. But once we got home, I hopped on the internet and Googled “Does dog urine kill bushes?” Here is what I found: “While large amounts of dog urine can kill shrubs, a single dog stopping to relieve itself on your bush isn’t likely to do much harm.”  

While the temptation to bring my laptop down to the dog police lady was strong indeed, I controlled myself. It was possible she had seen an entire parade of dogs walk past that particular bush that very morning and lift their legs. Or maybe she was having a bad day. Or maybe she just didn’t like dogs. But I still think she could have delivered her PSA in a far nicer manner.

Like I said, not all dog owners are perfect (a friend of mine was once yelled at by a dog owner for walking in front of her house and upsetting her dog) and I’m sure the dog police aren’t always wrong. But we live in a community and we each have a role to play, which basically boils down to being pleasant to each other, lending a helping hand when needed, and minding our own business, unless, of course, someone is doing something illegal, dangerous, or just plain stupid.

That said, it’s time to walk the dogs. I hope all of us behave and no one gets in trouble, especially me.

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