Be a Good Neighbor--Crap in Your Own YardBy Maureen Hardegree
By neighbor, I don’t mean the families who live in my cul-de-sac. My immediate neighbors are considerate. They scoop their dog’s poop. I mean you, the guy who lives somewhere in my subdivision, who walks his big dog early in the morning and lets him crap in my yard and probably in the yards of many other people.
I’d been wondering who the owner of the large piles was. I saw you. Don’t pretend we didn’t make eye contact as I was waiting for my morning coffee to finish dripping. I’m sure you felt my ire through the glass pane of my kitchen window. If I hadn’t been in my pajamas, I’d have walked down the driveway with a bag and asked you to pick it up and carry it away with you.
Why is your dog’s crap in my yard a problem? Let’s see. It’s rude. Do I throw my cat’s crap in your yard? Does the fact that I have a pet ever cause you to have to wash your shoes, your kitchen floor, your carpet?
Yes, this is an outright tirade. I freely admit it. But what happened to me Sunday morning sent me over the edge. It was a dark, dreary, rainy morning. The kind of morning that still feels like night. I had just returned from dropping my daughter off at our church and I stopped at the end of our driveway to pick up the paper. Because it was so dark and rainy, I didn’t see what I stepped in. Since it was raining, and had been all weekend, I assumed the mushy feel to the ground was that famous Georgia clay having turned saturated. I got back in the car and drove up to the garage to park. I walked across the breezeway, into the kitchen, to the den, etc. When I left to pick my daughter up from class, I noticed the smell of dog crap in my car, and it hit me. I’d stepped in it and trailed it through my garage, breezeway, kitchen and den. Yes, cleaning the floors of my house and the pedals and carpet in my van were the highlight of my Sunday.
Evidence to the contrary, I am a reasonable person. Many years ago, I accepted that the neighborhood dogs were going to lift their legs to my mailbox. Those repeated dousings killed the climbing rose I planted next to the mailbox. Rather than rant in the neighborhood newsletter and install something to shock those dogs (which my husband assured me I couldn’t do), I pulled up the dead plant and found a climbing vine that neither dog urine nor drought can kill. Autumn Clematis produces pretty white flowers starting in August and blooms until the first hard frost which can be as late as November in this part of the South. It has lovely little green leaves throughout most of the year. The added plus? The pretty scent masks the dog urine.
All I’m asking Mr. Neighbor-With-Big-Crapping-Beast is that you bring a few bags with you when you walk it. We all shop. We all have those plastic bags from the grocery store. It’s not like you have to spend any additional money to be considerate.
Take this blog as fair warning. Next time I see you and your dog stopping to make a deposit in my yard, you’ll be making a fast withdrawal as well. If forced to do so, I will follow you, with your dog’s crap in bag, and place it in your yard, so you, too, can share the joy of cleaning it off of your shoe and any surface that shoe touches inside your house.