As I hinted at in my last post, the cardinal sin of the dog park is not picking up after your pet. Nothing is more gross than chasing Fido through the park, only to have a dog bomb explode under your heel. I’ve heard people complain mightily about those who are “too busy gabbing ” or “too busy on their cel phones” to take notice of what “do” their dogs are doing. I’m sure “reading a book” and “looking around” are evil too, if they lead to doggie business left unattended.
It always bothers me to hear people complain about this. At best they’re santimonious, at worst they’re hypocrites. Unless you’re anti-social, never speak to others, and spend 100% of every minute focused exclusively on your dog, you’re bound to miss a few important moments.
Of course I’m not talking about people who deliberately look away when Rover heads to that spot the owner knows is Rover’s favourite dumping ground. Worse are the people who actually do see, and still leave it where it lies. That’s just inconsiderate and rude. But there’s always that time when we are preoccupied and just don’t see.
Yesterday, after a day spent in a hot kitchen slaving over a hotter stove, I took Our Best Friend for a quick trip to the park. It was just after 5:00; I hadn’t been to the park at that hour in over a month, and there were a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. I was cuddling dogs, talking, laughing, catching up… and paying absolutely no attention to where my dog was. At one point I noticed him halfway across the park, watching someone who had a ball. Another time he was about twenty feet away, being patted by a little girl. He could have pooped ten times in that half hour, and I would never have known. In fact, I’m sure he did poop at some point. Where? When? I have no idea.
I don’t think that makes me a bad person– just human. When someone gripes about “irresponsible owners,” I refuse to get caught up in the condemnation. I make it a point to say that it’s a sin common to us all. To poop is doggish, to scoop is honourable, but to err is human and to forgive divine. Shit happens; let’s all move on.