For my rude neighbor

January 31, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Dogs, Jesse, Rants | 7 Comments

Yes, I saw you staring at me while my dog peed by the tree in front of your house. The glare was obvious as you stopped partway onto the driveway before heading into the garage. I also noticed when you then walked out to the tree and crouched down until you were practically squatting to inspect the ground. If you were that concerned, you could have just said something as you got out of the car, or even as you drove into the driveway. All I can say is, I can’t believe I ever thought it was the right thing to do to pooper-scoop the deposits left around the tree by other dogs. The next time Jesse chooses your tree as “the one” and there is already poop there, I’m only picking up his. I’ll leave the rest for you.

Why a rant about pooper-scooping?

I live in an urban neighborhood in the northeast. The homes in my area are mostly row homes. Some are single family, but quite a few are either apartment buildings or buildings where the owners rent out one floor and live on the rest. In this kind of setting, there isn’t much “natural” material for the dogs to use when they need to go to the bathroom. Before moving here, my dog had always had a yard and was trained to not go to the bathroom on concrete. That had to change pretty quickly. Here is a picture of a street that is similar to mine:

As you can see from the picture, there isn’t a lot of grass around. My street is a bit different- the houses are mostly three stories (plus basements) some with garages that are accessed from the front instead of just car parking pads. There are also a few more trees. They are about every 3-4 houses, rather than every 5-6 like in this picture. Still, that’s not a lot of trees to go around.

Out of respect, people treat anything between the “sidewalk” area and the houses as a “front yard”. That basically leaves the street, the sidewalk and the trees that are next to the street. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but some of the houses actually do have small flower beds, bushes, etc. I don’t even let Jesse pee on the bushes! There are a lot of dogs in this neighborhood. It’s not unusual for me to see four or five other dogs when I take him out in the evening after work. This many dogs + this few trees = poop central around the few trees that are on the street.

I have always hated when people don’t pooper-scoop. It is the law here, but it’s also a personal pet peeve of mine. I know that dogs don’t poop every time they are walked, but it’s something that will happen pretty regularly and a responsible pet owner will be prepared. Everyone has different ways of dealing with this. Most people stick grocery bags in their pocket when leaving the house. I use Bags on Board.

I bought mine at Target, but you can also purchase them through pet stores (I’ve seen this brand at PetSmart) and even through Amazon. If you want one, click on the picture and it will take you to the Amazon website. They even come in different colors and different designs. The first one I ever bought was a red fire hydrant. You can buy refill bags at the same places- they come in a package without the dispenser.

What I love about Bags on Board is that I never have to remember to bring a bag with me. They are always right on the leash. So, Jesse poops, I scoop and then drop it into the trash outside before even entering the house. When he picks a tree that has poop around it already, I pick up all of the poop I see. There have been multiple occasions when I have policed the area around this neighbor’s tree- sometimes removing more than one bag’s worth. Jesse will only poop around trees, so I’m really doing it for me. This way he has a place to go.

Because I do often scoop extra poop from this tree, it was upsetting to me that she was so rude. I didn’t just stand there and take it. As I saw her crouched around the tree I said, “All he did is pee”. I followed with, “I always pooper-scoop and keep the bags here so I am always ready” as I started shaking the Bags on Board dispenser on the leash at her. We talked about it for a minute or two and I agreed with her that there are a lot of people who haven’t been scooping and that I hate it too. I also mentioned that I have scooped extra poop from around the tree on several occasions. She was scowling and her face was pinched just about the whole time. I can’t help but wonder if some of the people who leave poop are people she has scowled at before.



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  1. Bravo for you for tackling the issue head-on! No neighbor rage for you…..

  2. Not quite neighbor rage, but I *might* be acting a little childish. When I took Jesse out this morning, there were already six piles around her tree (there were none when we left it last night). Normally I would clear them all up while waiting for him to finish. Today I left them there. I don’t care if it is childish, I’m not scooping extra for her anymore!

  3. Just walk him up the other side of the street.

  4. Unfortunately, there are only three trees on the block that have any “ground” around them. The rest are completely surrounded by cement. Sometimes this is the one that smells “right” to him. Also, the trees on the edge of the street are planted and maintained by the city.

  5. I have a theory that people target women with small dogs. That may not still be the case, but it used to be where I walked my dog in Chicago. No one would say anything to a guy with a Rottie, but let a 5’2″ woman, such as myself, walk her little dog and it is open season.

    It goes without saying that where I walked you had to pick up. One time a guy with bad eyesight started yelling at me to pick up after my dog peed. I just asked him, “Am I supposed to use a sponge?”

    The weirdest, most disgusting thing was the time I was ready to offer a bag — I would politely offer bags to people not picking up — when the guy saw me looking and used his bare hand!!!

    There, I no longer have to carry that image. Whoever sees this, it is all yours! :)

  6. I have an idea, move to a neighborhood that has room for your dog. I would be annoyed if there were piles of excrement around my tree too. The neighbor in question doesn’t know who is or isn’t scooping, she just knows that you have a dog and there are always piles of shit by her tree.

  7. Politux- The tree isn’t “hers”. It belongs to the city and is in the public right of way. There are even city employees who come by once or twice a week and pick up what the owners didn’t scoop. Either way, she didn’t wait to see if I would scoop or not, just started being rude and aggressive. Probably not the first time she’s done that to someone, and quite possibly part of the reason why there are regular piles around the tree, Beyond that, I don’t live there anymore and my dog has since died. So, you have no need to protect the tree.

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