Wherein Having Ethics Alarms Ringing 24-7 Again Proves To Be Inconvenient…

I took Spuds out for a walk in the light rain, and was relieved when he relieved himself with his usual impressive fecal discharge early on. I dutifully collected it in a blue New York Times bag—using the delivery bags for this purposes amuses me, as the final content of the bag is less noxious than its original product. Spuds even did his doo-dooty near a trash receptacle. “Now that’s over with!” I thought. Then I took my sweet dog on walk down one of the boutique streets in the neighborhood: lovely houses, elaborate gardens, perfect lawns. And Spuds walked quickly onto one of the latter, and duplicated his earlier performance. Topped it, in fact.

He almost never does this, but I almost always carry a second New York Times bag in case he’s feeling prolific. This time I hadn’t.

All the way back home, I was thinking of rationalizations and excuses for just letting the pungent pile stay. Hey, it was raining! It would be mostly washed away, right? Heck, it’s just manure on a lawn! You could hardly see it from the sidewalk. Heck, dogs leave equivalent gifts on my lawn almost every day! And I would have cleaned it up, but I was out of bags! Besides I don’t know these people. Why am I acting like this is a big deal?

By the time I got home, I had concluded that the only ethical course was to grab a bag, drive to that house, get out in the rain and remove the stuff.

Naturally, I was foiled. In the relatively short interval, the occupants had returned, and being as fanatic about their lawn as its appearance suggested, they had already removed the offending biological waste product. I briefly considered ringing the bell and apologizing, but that seemed excessive.

How I long for the golden days, not all that long ago, when I would have said, “Ah, the hell with it. It’s just some dog poop” and forgotten about the whole thing!

18 thoughts on “Wherein Having Ethics Alarms Ringing 24-7 Again Proves To Be Inconvenient…

  1. I don’t like it when someone leaves their dog’s poop in my yard. Most people do pick it up but there is the occasional person that leaves it behind. The main problem is that for some reason our yard is where everyone seems to stop. I mean, I don’t generally watch out the window but when I’m on the PC i can see the front yard. But, I’ve never confronted anyone that left dog droppings behind even though, depending on my current mood, it could put me in a snit.

  2. I buy commercial bags, and always have extras. There have been a handful (HA!) of times, though, at night, when I…just… couldn’t…find it. Where’d it go? In each of those instances, I’ve gone back the next morning, and every time it’s been impossible to find. What could happen to it overnight?

  3. My dog refuses to do her business anywhere other than my backyard. She never does her business in other people’s yards. I didn’t train her that way. She just got it into her little doggy brain somehow that backyards were where she ought to do her business, and nowhere else would suffice. Works for me!

    I don’t really care if a dog drops a gift off in the lawn. The sprinklers will take care of it. I have seen people’s dogs defecate on the sidewalk before, though, and the owners breeze off like it wasn’t their problem. I found that a bit rude.

    • Worse than rude, disgusting. Spuds usually seeks out secluded spots, and I generally don’t let him walk up onto lawns if he’s about to display any bathroom-like conduct. This time, he surprised me.

    • Right. I could not pick up the poop, because they did it before I could. I did not apologize because I wasn’t the one who pooped on the lawn. Applying the Golden Rule, a someone who hates being bothered by unsolicited visitors, I would prefer to be undisturbed than to have some stranger bother me to say he his sorry for something that has already been addressed. However, I am making amends now by letting your comment get through to lie on the lawn of my blog even though you, that neighbor’s agent and not your dog, use a fake email address.

      • Knocking on the door and apologizing would have been a really great way to meet a neighbor. We live such isolated lives in suburbia, it would have been a great opportunity. Who knows, maybe you might have met the managing partner of a medium sized law firm in need of countless ethics seminars. Or who knows, they might be avid Ethics Alarms readers. Think positive! Go over there right now.

  4. This is part of the reason we went from lawn to front gardens with fences. It’s also the reason our town has been strict about ticketing people who allow their dogs to use the grass strip between the sidewalk and the street as a toilet every day. Back in the 1970s and 80s when I was a kid we used to deliberately crowd each other walking to school to try to force each other off the sidewalk onto the grass strip to step in it. July and August REALLY brought out the best in it, sometimes you could barely walk without holding your nose.

  5. The thing that irks me is when people bring a bag, use it to secure the $#!t, and then drop the bag on the ground.

    FF’sS; you’ve gone to the trouble of doing the right thing, complete it by getting it in the end zone!

    Tremendous Karma using NYT bags like that!

  6. I have not walked my dog in over a year. I have my own $#!+ to deal with. Plus other problems…

    Wife walks him. I wish my body could repair itself so that I could split that duty with her. She uses a bag like a glove, to pick up the scat. I never liked dealing with it that way, and only rarely did it her way. My way, I am more comfortable with: I bring a bag (or two) – I don’t read the NYT, so I use grocery bags (sometimes, one nested inside the other) – along with a garden trowel (reserved exclusively for poop-scooping – not used in any garden!), PLUS a gallon-sized milk jug that I have carved into a kind of intermediate receptacle (a FAT trowel). I scoop the $#!+ into the jug, using the trowel, before dumping into the bag. I have to bend down just like the wife – not an easy task for me, since more than 10 years ago – but I don’t let my hands touch the scat.

    The dog is getting old, and more frequently lately, upon returning home, wife has reported “diarrhea.” For that, if it happened to me, I would have to leave the lumpy, mushy puddle (or liquid “lawn paint”) as-is. At least, that is how I behaved in the days when I could walk him, and the poor beast had a rare case of the runs. Now, I suspect, if I could resume walking him, I would take along newspapers and attempt a quick tuck of them under the dog’s squatted tail, in the “drop zone,” so that the poop would never touch the grass, be it solid or diarrhea. Then I’d just wad-up the pooped-on paper, and put it in the bag. I would still carry along the trowel and milk jug, I think, in case I am not quick enough to tuck the paper.

    Well, that’s just to share about one way to clean-up. I can’t boast about it, because I don’t do it anymore, because I can’t do it now (and maybe never will be able again). Sure: it’s a bunch of stuff to haul along besides the dog, and woe to me if he decides suddenly to jerk the leash to chase some other animal, because he is big and strong, and I can’t hold him back. But I’ll be damned before I put my hands that close to a dog’s excrement, cleaning-up the wife’s way, which apparently is also Jack’s way.

  7. I think you did all the right things, Jack. Many people don’t clean it up in the first place, and most wouldn’t have gone back afterwards. BUT-if you’re still thinking about it tomorrow, maybe leave a little note of apology in their mailbox w/an amusing anecdote about Spuds to make them smile.

  8. “All the way back home, I was thinking of rationalizations and excuses for just letting the pungent pile stay. Hey, it was raining! It would be mostly washed away, right? Heck, it’s just manure on a lawn! You could hardly see it from the sidewalk. Heck, dogs leave equivalent gifts on my lawn almost every day! And I would have cleaned it up, but I was out of bags! Besides I don’t know these people. Why am I acting like this is a big deal?”

    You forgot one: Hey, Northern Virginia is becoming just like San Francisco, Portland or Seattle and they let people poop wherever, what’s the big deal.

    Seriously, I think OB made a great point about apologizing. You get points for going back and trying to do the right thing. Theoretically, using the Golden Rule regarding being bothered by unwanted guests could easily be considered a rationalization itself to avoid facing the music. Not everyone is bothered by such acts. I too do not like people just showing up at my door but I would have no problem with someone who came to acknowledge their responsibility for for an issue that caused me grief.

    • I feel like bothering some one to say: “Hey! I’m the one who let mu dog poop on your lawn with no way to remove it! Just thought you should know that I’m really a good person!” is just virtue signaling and begging to be let off the hook. Nor is it an opportunity to meet “a neighbor”—this family lives a mile from me, and I just met this week a neighbor who’s lived next door for THREE years! The pooping place is also an area crawling with obnoxious BLM signs and other “I’m good, you’re not” signs. That meeting at the door could go all sorts of ugly places, because if the homeowner started giving me an attitude, I am not going to slink away.

      I did my best to fix the situation. There’s nothing substantive left to do.

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