Dog Walk Confidential

Today was the first day of two weeks of time off from my job at the major Bay Area public radio station. I celebrated first by going back to bed after Kate left for work this morning, then getting up and doing a work project for my employer that I had promised to do before my vacation started but couldn’t fit in to my normal hours. I understand from a colleague who was home sick that it was a really nice day today. I saw at various points of the late morning and afternoon that it was sunny and clear outside, but by the time I had finished the project, the sun had set in a coral blaze and the moon had risen. The Dog had yet to be taken for a walk.

So as the dusk deepened, we headed out, as soon as I rustled up a check I had to mail. As we walked up the adjacent block on our street, I realized that although I had brought a leash and a light–the latter to help me locate any waste the revered dog might leave along our path–I had forgotten to bring plastic bags to remove said revered waste. “The hell with it,” I thought. “Maybe I won’t need the bags.”

We walked down to the nearby shopping area, where there’s a mailbox. I mailed the check, and we walked up the block. In front of a very nice-looking salon, at the base of a tree directly in front of a window where a woman was getting done up, I saw The Dog assume his waste-dropping position. Perfect. I didn’t have bags, and I wasn’t going to pick up what was being deposited without them. I thought, “Of course I assume everyone’s looking at this when no one really is.” Nonetheless, I got between the window and The Dog and bent over as if I was about to do the civic duty incumbent upon me after the biological duty that had just been performed. Then I stood up straight and walked away, The leavings weren’t on the sidewalk, and I resolved to come back, maybe, and look for the crap in the dark.

A half-block farther up, same routine, except not in front of a nice salon. The dark, steaming canine waste nuggets came to rest on the sidewalk, so I covered them with leaves and brushed them with my foot to the base of a tree. Out of harm’s way from a human pedestrian’s point of view; and objects of immense interest from the perspective of other dogs that would soon happen that way.

I sometimes wonder, as I pick up bag after bag of dog byproduct on our daily walks, how come so much of it doesn’t get picked up. Well, this is how: You forget to bring a bag, or you honestly don’t see what’s going on in the dark, or you figure it’s out of everyone’s way. I figure it’s OK. There’ll be more to scoop up tomorrow, and tomorrow might be another sunny day, and I won’t have any work-type work projects in front of me.

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