This Little Shit That I Love

Every morning I walk my dog, Oliver, around the block in the freezing cold begging him to make a doody so we can go home and I can get to work. Yesterday while walking him, bundled up like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story, we’d rounded the corner to come home and he still hadn’t gone. So I began to plead with him, “please for the love of Jesus, just go. All of these spots are great! Look at this patch of grass!” I walked onto the grass and hopped around a little like, “oooh, aaaah, isn’t this glorious,” in an effort to show him that it seemed like the right spot to me. He stared at me for a second, taking in the whole scene, then continued to trot down the street. I tried making him run for a second to get his digestive system working. I even tried to get him to smell other dog’s poop to see if that would inspire him. “Look! Look at what this good dog did!” He just stared at me judgementally and continued on.

When we were two houses away from ours, he ran on my neighbor’s grass and sniffed around. Then he spun in a circle and did his business. The neighbor in the house next to this one, came out to warm up their car. And I started to get nervous. What if they think I’m not going to pick up Oliver’s shit? Or, worse, what if I pick it up and then another dog goes here later and they think it was Oliver?

We like our neighbors, a lot, and I’d argue that we live in the best neighborhood in the state. So, the last thing we want is to be labeled as, “those assholes who sprinkle their dog’s turds all over the city.” So then I got really showy about the cleanup. Once Oliver finished, I held his little bag dispenser up for all to see, sort of waving it in the air before taking a bag out. Then I shook the bag out in every direction so anyone looking would notice, “ah, yes, she has a bag. She’s not a terrible person after all.” Then I called to the neighbor warming up their car, “Well hello! Good morning!” I said in this weird Mr. Rogers voice that I’ve never used before in my fucking life. I waved hello with the bag in my hand. Once they waved back, I leaned down and scooped up his nasty little lawn ornament. While bent over and holding a handful of steaming crap, Oliver decided it was a good time to kick the grass and snow with his back legs, showering me with debris. I yelled, “stop it, you little fucker,” and looked up to see the other neighbor shuffling her kids into the car for school.

I stood up and dangled the bagged turds in my hand and waved, “Morning!” The mom shot me a “gross, good morning you freak,” look and I quickly made my way home to dispose of the doody, wash my hands, and pick grass out of my hair. Oliver stood in the window and screamed at people passing by while I searched for my laptop cord and keys.

He makes me crazy.

Later, a friend of mine was like, “so I’m thinking about getting a dog,” and I practically screamed, “No! Don’t!” at her while removing a small bit of leaf from my sweater. I love my dog, a crazy amount, but some days he’s such an enormous pain in the ass. But the other days? The other days he makes up for it by providing laughter and cuddles and love. Just focus on those days, I tell myself.

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