Yeah, I said it. It's true. No matter what living thing is in your realm, you will have to deal with poop. Dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, babies, friends... everything eats, so everything poops. The trick is knowing what to do with it. (We'll assume your friends have figured this out, so the focus today will be on everything else...)
Babies are relatively easy- they are the reason God invented diapers. (Although... the Chinese gods did not invent diapers, they invented split crotch pants and squatty potties which are too nasty to discuss here on this nice blog. But I digress...)
Toddlers are the next challenge, unless you have my daughter who potty trained herself. Really. (Go ahead, be jealous. You know you want to...) It's not that I wasn't going to do it, I actually had started- but she beat me to the punch. The whole thing was pretty much over with before I could even offer any M&Ms or raisins as a treat for using the big potty. I don't think I even had time to get her a Hallmark card to acknowledge the occasion! (I can hardly wait to teach her how to drive. She probably already studies DMV manuals with a flashlight under the covers late at night...)
And then we come to the real reason for talking about poop... dogs. Our dog, to be specific. Our dog with the black eyes and the little pink tongue. Our dog who thinks the outside world is his toilet. Our cute, cute dog.
The vet tells us that if we feed him food that has high nutritional value, he will poop less. We are supposed to avoid dog food that has fillers like wheat, corn and soy. (So that old saying about computer data- "garbage in, garbage out", might apply to digestion as well.)
When we take him for walks, we use poop bags. You put your hand in like a glove, grab the little gift he left you, close your hand and take the bag off- turning it inside out as you go. Lots of people use them, and it makes the neighborhood and local trails so much neater and less aromatic.
In our backyard, we use a very cool, high-tech, spring-loaded gadget called a Pooper Scooper. It's like a claw that you use to reach down, grab the gift, and transport it to the section of the yard that you would like the dog to use from now on. It's easy enough for a 9-year-old, and cool enough that she doesn't mind being on poop patrol.
Rules for Poop Patrol
1. If it is where no one will see it, smell it, or step in it... leave it.
2. If it must be scooped, don't scoop right away. Wait for the sun to bake it, or the winter to freeze it. At that point, scoopage is much easier and more tidy. If there is no sun or winter is a long ways away, you can always hope for the rain to dissolve it...
3. Never ever - under any circumstances - shoot it with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Well, there you have it. I hope this helps you deal with all the poop- literal or figurative- you may encounter in your life!
I checked the rear view mirror. My daughter was contentedly watching her new dog as he gazed out the window. She had prayed for a dog for a long time. She specifically wanted a Schnauzer/Poodle mix because they are smart, they don't shed, they aren't huge, and it's just fun to tell people you own a Schnoodle.
Being the practical mom that I am, I kept warning her that Schnoodles were "designer dogs" that could not be found at the shelter, and cost a lot when you finally did find a reputable breeder. I just did not want her to be disappointed. I diligently checked craigslist for Poodle-mixes that might be inexpensive, but most of what you find on craigslist are people trying to sell dogs that are "pure-bread" (I kid you not.), and one guy who wanted to sell his "Dautson". At first I thought that might be some sort of mixed breed, but then I realized he was selling a Dachshund! I came to the conclusion that craigslist might be ok for furniture, cars, and craft items- but not so much for pets.
So on a random day, at a random time, we hit the local shelter. We played with a couple of dogs in the play room, and Abby chose this one. The staff there said he was a Poodle-mix but they didn't know what other breed might be part of his DNA.
A day later, we went to PetSmart to get Friday some small treats for training purposes. As we waited to check out, a lady came in with her little dog sitting in the shopping cart. She saw Abby and Friday and bent down to pet him and oooh and ahhh all over him. Told Abby how handsome he was. Compared him to her little fluffy-dog. Asked Abby what kind of dog he was and when Abby said we weren't sure, the lady confidently pronounced, "Well, he looks just like a Schnoodle."
Abby's eyes lit up, and I thought of the second verse of that song:
God answers prayer in the morning
God answers prayer at noon
God answers prayer in the evening
so keep your heart in tune.
What a wonderful thing, that God would boost my daughter's faith by giving her the exact kind of dog she had prayed for- and at shelter prices.
According to Wikipedia, the Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle's Physics, 199a2).
I think we've probably had the hottest weather of this summer already, but the term "Dog Days" will always have special meaning for me and Ab because, well, we got a dog. I know, I know... now we can't just pick up and go on a trip. Right. Like we ever did that to being with. The look in my daughter's eyes, and the great hug I got were well worth the trip to the Humane Society and PetSmart and the subsequent "tied down" lifestyle we will now enjoy. Who can afford to go on a trip anyway? Besides, taking a trip will just give us the opportunity to pay some out-of-work teenager to dog-sit for us. We're stimulating the local economy.
We're going to take dog behavior classes at PetSmart as well. These will be aimed at teaching Abby the basics of being a good dog mom. She is so excited about this and I think she is old enough for this kind of responsibility. I'll play back-up, but she will be the pack leader.
He is a 7-year old poodle-mix that loves going for walks and car rides. No shedding, and already he is much better behaved than the last dog we got from the Humane Society. That was a poodle-chaos breed, I believe.
Abby named him Friday. No literary reference here, it's just that we got him today... Friday.
(Her other option was Elvis, so you can see why I might have steered her away from that. Can you imagine hollering "Here Elvis!" in the backyard? 'Course, praising him with "Good Friday" is a little weird, too...)
There were so many sad looking pups at the Humane Society. If you are thinking of getting a furry companion, please check there. Don't use craigslist- you'll be looking for love in all the wrong places.
I am a teacher, Abby is a student. How could we not love the 8 weeks we get off between school years? So in the spirit of counting our blessings, here is our list of reasons to be thankful for this summer- not in any particular order:
1. Camp. Horse camp, dance camp, sports camp. (Not for me, for Ab. Well, maybe horse camp for me, but can you see me at dance camp? Please.)
2. Sun tea. Of course I could try to make sun tea all year, but in the Pacific Northwest it would be called cloud tea and probably wouldn't taste as good.
3. The ceremonial Turning Off Of The Alarm Clock in late June.
5. Running through the sprinkler.
6. Our hammock. Yesterday, I actually had time to take a book to the hammock and read undisturbed for over an hour. Glorious. And later in the evening, Abby and I took blankets and snuggled on the hammock and watched the birds swoop through the yard eating all the flying bugs while the sun set. Had I known a hammock was this much fun, I would have splurged years ago! (Of course, there is a trick to getting in and out of it- much like there is a trick to getting in and out of a canoe. Thankfully, you don't get wet while practicing the hammock entry/exit strategies...)
7. Flip flops.
8. Staying in our pajamas for an entire day (that's Abby's thing, but I willingly agreed to it.)
9. Bike riding.
10. Time. Time to make dentist and doctor appointments, time to hang out at the park, time to visit with friends, time to do all those little things around the house that just stare at you during the school year and defy you to take action. Time to sit on the front porch with Ab and watch the birds take baths in the fountain. Time to read a whole book that isn't about teaching. Time to read a couple of books that are about teaching! Time to dream and plan for next school year in a different building with new kids and new curricula. Time for Abby to practice piano just for fun. Time to scrapbook and write letters (Ab loves snail mail pen pals, I prefer the electronic kind.). Time to learn new stuff on the computer. Time to drag out that box of slides from 20 years ago and figure out how and when to get them scanned to digital files. Time to shop for shirts for kids in Haiti. Time to pray. Time to nap. Time to veg out. Time to just simply be.
Be sure to count your blessings- even if you don't own a hammock.
There are a few blogs I read on a regular basis, and they almost all seem to be powered by blogger, so I thought I would switch to this format instead of using my previous one. Nothing really wrong with the previous format, I just like the clean lines and easy access on blogger.
I'll post more later- just going to spend some time playing with this to see how it all works.