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Abandoned Puppy Parcels Try His Patience


September 17, 2020

I think we can all agree that other people are the worst, but that gives us no excuse to perpetuate that reality.

For those unfamiliar with the exact details of my daily life, I live in a house in a little neighborhood, with two not-so little dogs. Freya and Brunhilda, both pit-bull mixes. They are energetic pups who love going on walks around the neighborhood. And generally, I love taking them.

So when we moved into this house just up the street from a large green area, in an apparently dog-friendly neighborhood, the dogs and I were pretty excited.

Every time we go on our walks, I strap them into their harnesses, tie on my tennis shoes, and grab a couple of baggies for the inevitable pit-bull pit-stop. At first glance, you'd think this was a pretty normal pre-walk routine, right?

As I'm sure several of you already noticed, my walk-prep process involves a pretty crucial step that many dog owners seem to routinely neglect.

Now I take two bags, because I have two dogs, and 95% of the time, one bag per dog is perfectly sufficient. But I take the two dogs separately, because Brunhilda has a less-than friendly temperament to match her famous namesake. The process is, I take one dog, stop at the house, and switch them out at the front door.

This allows me to pay full attention to a single dog, and avoid unnecessary interactions with strangers when I have Brunhilda. I try to be a courteous dog owner.

Unfortunately, avoiding people on the sidewalks usually means taking myself and my dog off-road. But lurking in the grass, invisible to the eyes of the casual sidewalk occupant, is a field of landmines left behind by dog owners who have no such concerns about public perception.

This weekend, I had the rare opportunity for a mid-afternoon walk. I harnessed up Brunhilda, grabbed my supplies, and set out on my way. Perhaps because of the rarity of the opportunity, I did not realize that mid-afternoon is the most popular time for pedestrians in my neighborhood.

As a result, my first of two walks took place almost entirely off-road. Near the school in my neighborhood, I thought perhaps I could avoid encountering a minefield.

Kids play there all the time. They run, fall, and occasionally and inexplicably roll around in the grass. Who would be so careless as to leave behind their dog's deposits in a place designated for such activities?

Well, it turns out, everyone.

By the time I got to the park, I had already met of not one or two, but five of these hidden hazards, and my shoes would be ruined until cleaned. I was frustrated, but not yet furious.

Then, Brunhilda found a spot she felt suitable, and made her own contribution to the depository. I took a baggy out of my pocket, and reached down to disarm this freshly-set mine.

As I was doing so, I glanced around the area, and realized that my actions would not even make a dent in the area. It was a hot summer day, and flies alerted me to the location of every abandoned deposit site in the area. At this point I was angry, but not furious.

I returned to the house to make the swap, and as we approached, I noticed Brunhilda's back foot seem to slip just a little on the grass. Holding my breath, I backtracked a couple of steps to the area in my yard where it happened, and saw exactly what I had been dreading.

An already detonated puppy parcel was spread out all over the spot in my yard. I grabbed Brunhilda's foot to examine it, and found that like my shoes, she would not be fit to enter the house without being thoroughly washed. Finally, I had reached my full, furious potential.

Now I would have to remove my shoes, bypass an excited Freya, and carry Brunhilda to the bathroom for a bath before doing anything else. Brunhilda, my less-than-friendly, not so little puppy, was not any happier than I was. She does not like being carried, and she certainly does not like being thoroughly bathed.

After completing these obstacles, I set out with Freya for her walk. This time, I didn't bring any baggies. When it came time for Freya's pit-stop, something unexpected happened. I felt guilty.

Even if other off-roaders would still have to navigate my neighborhood minefield, did I really want my dog to be responsible for ruining someone else's afternoon?

I decided I did not, and took Freya home. I returned to the spot not with one bag, but several.

My three extra baggies did not solve any problems that day. But hopefully, if I chip away at the problem long enough, my neighbors will notice and start to chip in.


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