21 August 2013

Picking Up After Your Dog

Translation:  "Curb Your Dog"

I was riding my bike on Oleson Road, approaching the Garden Home Recreation Center.  It was a spring day and the afternoon sun was out.  A young woman was walking  her dog on the sidewalk coming toward me as I was traveling south in the bike lane.  It was some dark brown short-haired breed, smaller than a Labrador and while fifty yards still separated us, it stopped and hunched and shat in the middle of the concrete walk.

The woman was neatly dressed in blue shorts and a pink short-sleeve top and spotless white sneakers..  Her hair was long and brown and in a ponytail.  The dog was on a leash, but it seemed well behaved and not the type to lunge at passersby or dart into traffic.  The woman was looking at the plop on the walkway.

We've all been schooled on the proper way to use those little black plastic bags for picking up dog waste.  The park at the end of my street has these bird houses with the bags tucked in them, in case we forget to bring our own empty bread sack.

She seemed not to have one. 

This has happened to me before, walking Lucy, while bagless.  I just look around, first, to see if I am observed, and then I cover the offering with leaves or bark dust purloined from the base of a nearby shrub. Or if the extrusion is playdough firm, I'll launch it out of sight with the toe of my shoe and call it good.   

Lucy always picks a grassy spot and I salve my conscience with the thought of the smelly mess eventually, naturally, ecologically,  leeching back into the soil in the great circle of life, while I hum a tune from the Lion King.  

I also pray that no one decides to play tackle football in the vicinity for a few days.

Leeching doesn't work well on pavement.  Somehow I knew the woman wasn't going to just walk away from it.  She would scoop it up in a discarded Slurpee cup, or push it to the curb with a stick--though as I got closer I could tell it was too soft-serve  to push very well.  OK, so she would cover it with something, like Sir Walter Raleigh gallantly throwing down his cape, only no cape, so she'd smack it flat with a piece of cardboard box, instead.  But there weren't any of those items handy.  Oregonians do litter, but that stretch of sidewalk was neat.  I would have spent ten seconds looking for a solution and then shrugged and gone on my merry way, content that I'd tried.

But that is not what this woman did. 
What she did next astounded me.  She bent over and carefully, so as to leave as little behind as possible, picked  the waste up with her bare fingers.  I wasn't sure I'd seen what I just saw, but as we passed, she did indeed have the warm dog pasta cupped in both hands.

She kept walking the way she was going with her hands held away from her body; the dog following dragging his leash.  Was she going to dump the load in some berry bushes and wipe her hands in the grass or carry it all the way home?  Was her home or apartment nearby and just how was she going to unlock her door?  

Would you do what she did? 

Why couldn't this woman just leave it?       


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