Dog Poop Dilemmas & More

I am in a bad mood.  No, wait.  Don’t stop reading.  This won’t be a sob story about poor little me.  I promise.  This is about dog poop dilemmas.  Or more, if you’re lucky.

Maybe I’m in a bad mood because it’s raining outside.  Maybe it’s because I’m nearly nine months pregnant.  But, more likely, it’s because I’ve been reminded once again that people are selfish and lack sensitivity beyond their own shallow existence.

Yesterday, I arrived home just in time to see my neighbor’s dogs running loose in our postage stamp front yard.  As I drove into our parking space they attempted to run up to the car.  These are small dogs, like Maltese dogs or something.  The last small dog this neighbor had got run over by a car because it was off leash and ran into the street at night.  My neighbor, in spite of this tragedy, still lets the replacement dogs roam around without supervision from time to time.  She has, on the whole, tried to improve her dog tending, but when I arrived home yesterday she was nowhere to be found.  When she did appear, I asked her – in what I thought was a polite tone – if she could check to make sure the dogs didn’t poop in our yard. 

Over the weekend we discovered the hard way that there was dog poop in our yard so I was hoping to avoid a repeat.  Not that her dogs were responsible for the last turds, but she wasn’t out there monitoring them so I had no way of knowing whether they had pooped in our yard or not.  Looking back, even if she had been out there monitoring them, I’m not sure she would’ve picked up the dog poop anyhow.  Still, she balked at my request and became confrontational.  I repeated my request and probably sounded irritated myself at that point because she refused to even look beyond a quick glance at her own feet. 

She – my husband’s nickname for her used to be Vile Beast – wanted to know if I had seen them pooping.  “No,” I said, “I just pulled up and they were in our front yard.  I am just asking you to check to make sure they didn’t poop.”

My neighbor continued to argue with me over the matter and told me that I could find a nicer way to ask her, which just baffled me.  I hadn’t started out asking in a mean tone.  I simply wanted her to make sure they hadn’t pooped.  Given that they aren’t my dogs, I figure she needs to take responsibility for them.  Clearly, I was wrong.  Somehow the fact that she was in the house exonerated her.

In retrospect, I don’t think any tone of voice or way of requesting would have gotten through to her.  She doesn’t want to take responsibility for her dogs.  She doesn’t care if I step in dog poop.  She doesn’t care if my kids step in it or – Heaven forbid – touch it out of toddler curiosity.  She cares only about herself and getting out of life the easy way.  In essence, she wanted me to turn a blind eye to her negligence.

So, I am left to wondering the following:

1) Is it unreasonable for me to expect dog owners to pick up their dog’s poop?  Would it be wiser for me to assume that people won’t pick up their dog’s poop so that when they do I can be happy and feel grateful?  Because right now I feel chronically pissed off at them for routinely failing to scoop the poop, and I’m not enjoying the chronic irritation.  The evidence suggests – pardon the pun – that there are a good number of dog owners who just refuse to pick up their dog’s poop.   Perhaps my expectations should change in accordance, lest I blow my lid every time.

2) But, if I stop expecting people to be responsible, where do I set the bar?  Am I just supposed to roll over, play dead, and let people do whatever they want with their dogs?  Or not do what they don’t want, as the case may be?  Do I pick an arbitrary number of turds and excuse them because the real world dictates imperfection?

3) Am I being unreasonable in wanting my property to be treated with respect?  I mean, that’s how I regard other people’s property.  We are taught to obey the law of the land.  Obviously, not everyone takes those lessons to heart.  But if I stop caring, if I no longer expect others to respect what little property we own then what am I saying about the value of ownership?  It seems foolish to make such a big deal over such a small spot of land, I know, and yet the law (and our HOA agreement) dictates that we take care of it.  How I tend to my postage stamp says a lot about me as a human being.

4) Why am I surprised or frustrated by the inability of the police to enforce the ordinance that people curb their dog’s feces?  I mean, the owners can’t be held accountable without proof.  And how do you have proof in the world of dog poop?  It’s a $200 fine at best if you don’t scoop the poop.  Big whoop in the larger scheme of things, right?  Maybe that’s how the offenders rationalize their offenses.  ‘Hey, man.  It’s just dog poop.  It’s not like I’m murdering anyone.’  Better yet, I can hear them thumbing their noses at the cops, ‘You can’t catch me!  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  Take that, Authority!’

The bottom line is that I find dog poop in my yard offensive and annoying.  If I didn’t, I suppose I wouldn’t be bothered by any of it.  The part that goads me, though, is that I feel powerless to effect change.  If my husband and I go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of cameras and surveillance equipment we might catch the dog owners, but what will we have proven?  Will we have created in these people a sense of personal responsibility?  Will they suddenly “see the light” and become respectful, conscientious neighbors?  Probably not.  So our win would be a shallow win.  A form of tit for tat.  Which I don’t believe gets us anywhere.  It only engages the ego and our personal defenses.  It only antagonizes and escalates animosity.  It, essentially, shuts down the soul.  In my opinion, that’s still a loss.

That being said, I still wish these people would curb their dogs.  From now on maybe I’ll try not getting so upset about it, but beyond practicing a little more tolerance and patience I am at a loss as to how to feel and how to act around my neighbors.  Clearly, the people who act out of disrespect are not individuals with whom I want to maintain any kind of connection.  We could, as a neighborhood, raise HOA dues so that we can hire a dog poop scooper upper.  There is at least one business in our town that will scoop poop for a fee.  I kid you not.  That might alleviate frustration and punish those who don’t follow the rules, but it also lets the dog owners off the hook and might even encourage them to leave more shit on the ground.  It also forces those who do pick up their dog’s poop or who don’t have dogs to pay the price.

Oh, I can hear the outcries now.  Each side beating their chest over who’s right or who has to pay.  In fact, I hear that battle cry a lot these days in countless other areas like politics, religion, education, health care, foreign wars, you name it.  Only the battle cry sounds a lot like whining to me the more I hear it.

Is that it then?  Is that what being a community is all about, People?  Staking your claim and sticking to it at all costs, just to prove you’re right?  It is really just us versus them?  Is that as good as it gets?

Maybe it is.  And that’s why I’m in a bad mood today.  We are so highly UNevolved as a race, as a country.  My heart wants to believe we’re better than that, but maybe I’m wrong.

And, btw, I’m not leaving the comments section open in this format because I only get spammers trying to get lure me to some other website, which just furthers my irritation with the general human population.  Besides, if  you want to comment on this post or discuss the topic more with me, you know how to reach me in other ways.

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