From Turtles to Turdlegate!

I remember a trip I made to California to visit the IB probably 15 years ago if it was a day.  During the visit, Jim’s wife, Minnie, called Jim “Turtle 1” and me “Turtle 2” the whole time.  I don’t remember why, but I’m sure it wasn’t complimentary.  Well, this week I finished up the housings for the headlights, and they reminded me of that trip.  You’ll see what I mean below.

Outside of finishing these up, I’ve got to admit that there was no other tractor work in the last week.  I got side-tracked building a new picnic table for our neighborhood.  That kind of thing is never as quick and easy as I think its going to be, and many hours have already been invested.  Its coming along though, and by sometime this week it’ll be finished, and I’ll be able to get back to the tractor.

But during the tractor hiatus we can cover some other things,  they’re probably more interesting anyway.  How about dog poop!  This is a problem that has reached near epic proportions.  In our lovely, little townhome community we’ve got woods, a nature trail, quiet roads, good lights at night for security, in short, all the things one needs for an appealing dog defecation area.  People walk here with their furry, four-legged mutts from all around, and it doesn’t take but one in ten to ignore the rules and we’ve got a disgusting mess around here. 

I wonder, how many people do you think would still buy a dog if the person selling the dog said something like, “Oh, and just think, for the next 15 to 20 years, your life will never be your own.  Your life will be ordered by your dog’s every need.  No vacations unless you can find a kennel.  No leaving the kennel without committing to the extra ten bucks a day for “VIP” treatment.  Constant walks in all kinds of weather, day and night, following the dog around, picking up his stinking business, and then happily swinging it back and forth in a blue plastic bag until you find a receptical to dump it in.  Years go by, your kids go off to school, graduate, move away and you’re still not free, because you’ve still got the dog.  Only now the dog is old, occasionally incontinent in the house.  There are numerous trips to the vet, each one more discouraging and expensive than the last, and then finally comes the gut-wrenching decision to put the hound out of its misery.  Then, after the tears are shed (because unaccountably you gotten to love the old fleabag), and the last dog hairs are vacuumed from the carpet and dry-cleaned from your clothes, then, and only then, are you finally free.

That’s pretty much how it went for us.  We got our dog, Snoopy (our son was nuts about the Charles Shultz version), because a very nice lady I worked with said that she had a puppy that needed a home.  Son Andrew had wanted a dog for years, so we went over to Jean’s house, looked at the black and white spawn of “Fluffy,” a cockapoo, and the rest, followed pretty much as described above.

Of course there were memorable moments, and as I think about it that dog had the nine lives usually just reserved for cats.
*  Every dog that came into the neighborhood bit Snoopy.  I’m not sure why, but probably because Snoopy didn’t have a clue.  She’d just stand there as a dog charged her, and before we knew it, Snoopy was a “chew stick.”  Track the dog down; track the dog’s owners down; had it had a rabies shot?  Then trips to the vet for stitches.
*  Because the dumb dog stayed with its mother too long, it had separation anxiety.  Our neighbors all looked at us funny, because of the blood-curdling howls that emanated from our house when we left her alone.  I think they thought we tortured her.  We were empty nesters for years, but couldn’t move into an apartment because of the howling.  Within three months of Snoopy’s demise, we moved into an apartment.  We were soooo happy.
*  Once we took Snoopy to run around on the golf course.  It was the dead of winter and a huge, fresh snow had fallen the night before.  We walked and walked and Snoopy, off the leash quickly took off out of sight.  It got to be time to go home, but we couldn’t find Snoopy.  She wasn’t coming when we called her.  We looked and looked, and finally found her in the creek.  She was clinging, panic-stricken to the icy bank and couldn’t get out.
*  We lived in the woods, and Snoopy was obsessed with chasing squirrels and chipmunks, but chipmunks were her favorites.  She’d chase em all over the yard, but they were almost always able to run up one of the gutter downspouts before she got to them.  One day, we were driving somewhere with Snoopy in the car.  As we drove by a church she spied a chipmunk in the bushes and launched herself out the car window, landing on all fours, in mid-stride and gave that chipmunk the surprise of its life.  How she didn’t get killed in that little effort I’ll never know.
*  She was also a cancer survivor, having had a tumor removed from her neck.

But I digress, several years ago the dog poop was up to our ankles here in the ol subdivision, so I volunteered to build a dog bag box (for “turds to go” bags), so that dog owners would have no excuse for not picking-up those savory little brown things.  Ooh, ooh, that reminds me.  It was so cold in Elkhart, IN where we lived when the Snoopster came into our lives that there were frozen turds along the street.  On several occasions I caught Snoopy playing with the stupid things, biting them and throwing them up in the air.  God, that dog loved poop.  One of her favorite tricks, and one that always earned her an instant shampooing, was sniffing around in the grass for fresh bird poop and then rolling in it.  Yech!

Here’s a picture of the box.  Note that on the lid there is a painting (courtesy of The Princess) of Snoopy, God rest her soul.

Also note how the box clearly states “TAKE A BAG.”  Do you think there is anyway of confusing this with, say “LEAVE A BAG?”  I don’t think so!  But in spite of this, we noted that people would occasionally stick bags of poop in the box.  So, I added a sign just below the box that said, “NOT FOR DISPOSAL.”  Things went on for a couple of years, some poop in the box, but mostly people were better.  Now this year everything went to, well, poop.  A neighbor pulled fifteen bags of poop from the box, and that was the end.  As another neighbor said, “This is moronic!”  This week the box came down, but we saved the lid with The Princess’s little portrait of Snoopy.

I’ve decided to call this whole stinkin mess, “Turdlegate.”  What should we try next?  I know you can’t just tell people to pick up after their dogs.  I tried that and was told that I was rude!  I heard that at an apartment complex up in New England, the manager is taking DNA samples from all of the dogs, so that she can link the turds back to the offending dogs.  I’m not kidding!

It’s September 11, and that means different things to different people.  But before 2001, to me it was just my younger brother Phil’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Phil.
Thanks for reading.

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