In the context of the simmering conflict of dog-poop etiquette that afflicts my adopted neighborhood, I recently encountered the most pathetic woman I have ever seen.
We surprised one another, early on Sunday morning, as I walked my bundle of curlicues on Van Buren Street in Monterey, on the sidewalk along whatever it is MIIS is calling itself these days.
The woman was startled to have been caught, red-handed, while stealing an entire roll of doggy bags from the nearby poop-bag dispensary. The Mitteldorf Institute of International Studies had erected the dispensary along the sidewalk some time ago as a convenience to neighborhood dog walkers.
For my part, I was frankly rattled to chance upon someone who would commit such a low-grade misdemeanor. I mean, really! Stealing poop bags?
Like most of us, administrators at the Marzipan Institute of International Studies are greatly bothered, if not inconvenienced, by dog owners who allow their little brutes to crap indiscriminately wherever they wish, but who then allow the steaming piles to remain where they land until a hapless pedestrian steps in it, soiling his/her footwear with a stench that will adhere to and alter the entire day. It’s happened to all of us, and it’s never pleasant. It’s like you’re unable to completely scrape the newspaper publisher off the bottom of your shoe.
Progressive institutions like the Murgatroyd Institute for International Studies erect these poop-bag dispensaries as gentle reminders to dog walkers and to promote public health. As the sign affixed to the poop-bag dispensary at Mockingbird Institute for International Studies reminds us, “Pet Waste Transmits Disease.”
We live in a civil society, for the most part, and a good number of dog owners in the neighborhood happily comply with the unspoken code of dog-walkery: Your dog craps, you pick it up and you dispose of it properly, preferably by tossing it at the family of neighborhood opossums.
Sadly, a handful of locals are barbarians who blithely reject their responsibilities and who won’t pick up after their dogs. You know who you are, you bastards. The road to your special corner of hell will be paved with festering piles of dogshit.
For the rest of us, poop bags are the currency of my neighborhood.
Forget the adage about good fences; good poop bags make good neighbors.
Even without the convenience of nearby poop-bag dispensaries, responsible dog owners can purchase poop bags at any reputable pet store for a reasonable price. They come in little rolls and the plastic bags withstand the normal exertions of a typical walk, in a variety of colors to suit all personal preferences. The truly conscientious dog owner can purchase cute dog bone-shaped poop-bag dispensers that snap right on to leashes.
The international dog-poop disposal industry has made it all easy, stylish and fun to accessorize.
Better yet, volumes of poop bags are available at Amazon for eye-poppingly low prices. A quick check: 700 bags for $14.99, and the online store will even include a free mini dispenser and free two-day shipping. Assuming your dog is good for an average of two dumps a day, that’s nearly a year’s supply of poop bags for a measly 5 cents a day.
But conscientious and thrifty dog owners can improvise, if need be. They can recycle their old plastic produce bags, if they wish, or reuse the plastic bags that allegedly protect your newspapers against fog and rain. And everyone is free to use the bags offered, one at a time, from the dispensaries erected by forward-thinking institutions like the Marlboro Institute of International Studies.
As I’ve mentioned, such dispensaries are meant as a convenience to the general public. Take one, if you need it, and leave the rest for others. Which is why it was so disconcerting to witness the offender in the act of stealing the entire roll of poop bags from the MiddleEarth Institute of International Studies last week.
Having been caught in the act, she clutched the purloined poop bags to her chest and dashed to her vehicle for a getaway. The pitiful woman refused to look my way as she made her escape, too ashamed to acknowledge my righteous entreaties. I noticed an accomplice in the back seat of the woman’s SUV. It was a large mixed-breed pooch with sad eyes that gazed at me longingly, as if to implore me to rescue him from his cheapskate owner.
Former newspaper reporter and editor Joe Livernois walks his dog with utmost responsibility as he sallies forth into Monterey each morning to capture photographic images of the city for www.goodmorningmonterey.com.