If you are squeamish when reading about the less pleasant attributes of dog poop, then continue at your own risk!
I have to preamble with an explanation of my initial hesitance about having a dog. There were numerous reasons why living with a dog was not immediately appealing to me however, in the context of this post, one key reservation was having to pick up their poop! To a (then) non-dog owner, it was a rather unpleasant task and, while I have handled worse situations over the years, picking up poop can be avoided by simply not having a dog!
This post is also dependent on the prior understanding that Ray likes to poop in peculiar places, one of which is over the top of long grasses (ref “Oops………Poops?” Nov 28). Our temperature on January 5 was -10C (approx. 18F) which, with the wind chill factor, adjusts to -22C (approx. -4F). Plants, including long grass stalks, tend to get quite rigid at these temperatures.
The plan for the walk was to let Ray pick the route, which would be adjusted as necessary such that I could get some banking business completed. This was going to be such an uneventful walk as Ray would be very happy as soon as he realized where we were going, and the temperature would reduce the number of people aimlessly wandering around!
We left home and Ray took his traditional route to “his” park where he had to check out the scents around the garbage bin, a blue post sticking out of the ground, and of course the fence line of the baseball diamond. He then cut across his acorn area (ref “Ray discovers acorns?” Oct 26) and headed for a road which he crossed. This would take him through another, but much smaller, park consisting of trees, numerous shrub and flower beds, and a few benches. On the far side of the park, where Ray would exit, are shrub beds which include ornamental grasses.
Typically after about 10 – 15 minutes into his walk, Ray has a need to poop and today simply confirmed his body’s schedule. We were at the point of leaving this small park when Ray started looking for an appropriate place. He went straight into one of the plant beds and, stepping over the tops of various plants, proceeded to circle around looking for that seemingly magical combination of conditions which made it a suitable place to squat …which he eventually did.
Unfortunately, his squat was centered over a particular group of grass stalks and (equally unfortunately) they were totally rigid. If the obvious result isn’t …… well …………. obvious, then imagine warm poop dropping onto what are basically thin, frozen and rigid sticks. The end result is something like an unusual kebab!
The challenge now was to somehow, using a poop bag, extract the poop off the sticks. I put my hand inside a poop bag (I am assuming that everybody knows this routine), and carefully removed one of his stools. Trying to remove the second one became complicated because it broke in half during the collection process however, both parts were eventually contained in the bag. The third and final one was removed and contained without issue.
Given the size of Ray, his stools are quite large and of course are very warm. Given the temperature at this time, I was very conscious of the heat coming through the bag material which, while not a problem, gave an unpleasant aspect to the whole situation! Having toasty warm hands because of a lot of dog poop is not the most congenial of thoughts!
Things started to get complicated when I inverted the bag and withdrew my hand. I had my hand outside the bag, and was starting to tie up the opening prior to dropping it into a garbage bin when I noticed that the bag had a number of splits. At that same time I realized that my right hand was still warm. I had smears of Ray’s poop over my hand! We concluded that trying to pull the stools off the sticks allowed some of the surrounding sticks to penetrate the bag material. I finished tying up the bag and deposited it in a nearby garbage bin, but now I had another problem!
We were about a 10 minute walk away from the downtown public washrooms and my right hand would not respond too well to a 10 minute exposure to -20C conditions; further, I was not going to put my soiled hand into my lovely lined mitt!
To be continued………………………