Those of you who know me may know that I have not one, but two, Bernese Mountain Dogs. Gryffin is 130 pounds of pure happiness and love. Nicky is 90 pounds of medicated hyperactivity. I love them both, but I really love Gryffin. He is the best dog ever. But there is one area in which Nicky beats Gryffin. Poop.
If you are a dog owner, or a parent, you can understand the ability and desire to discuss poop. Poop is indicative of overall health. Physical, emotional, mental. It is the essence of the being. You see, Nicky has his issues (please see Yes My Dog is Crazy if you haven’t read it already), but in the poop department, he is king. Regular, perfectly shaped, excellent consistency, not too hard or too soft, not overwhelming in size. And the best part is that he poops in the yard every day without fail and NEVER poops on a dog walk. And since I live the life of a princess, we have someone who comes pick up the poop in the yard and take it away twice a week so I NEVER have to pick up Nicky poop. Ever. That is perfection.
Gryffin, however, poops every time we take a walk. Which is every day. It’s as if he can only find comfort in pooping on someone else’s lawn. So a daily part of my life is picking up his poop and carrying it home with me. Now, here’s the thing. Gryffin has food allergies. If he eats a bite of something he shouldn’t, his poop falls apart. And then, too, so does my day. Easy, one might say. Just make sure he only eats what he is supposed to. Yes. That sounds right. But the only food that doesn’t make Gryffin sick is Hydrolized Soy Protein. So any bite of food that falls from anyone’s hands, anything that’s left on a coffee table, any tempting piece of morsel – runny poop. Cheese, milk, any dairy, pork, chicken, fish, duck, venison, we’ve tried it all. The only protein we haven’t tried is kangaroo. I like kangaroos. I can’t believe it is a dog food. But we’re not buying it. Might as well be called “cute furry creatures”. So in the meantime, poop.
I’ve come up with a system for rating my poop days. Remember, Gryffin is 130 pounds. So he has poop the size of a human. Sometimes more than any normal human. So in order to have an easy time of picking it up, despite whatever size it may be, it needs to have a consistency of perfection. That makes it possible to use the first piece of poop to pick up the other pieces of poop, sort of like stacking pieces of playdough against each other. This is what gives me joy.
So perfect consistency allows for a one bag wonder. And no, I don’t mean one of those little Ziploc bags for snacks. My friend uses that for her little dog. We will never be in that club. I am one of those people who pays money for decent bags so I can pick up poop and throw out my money. I can’t even buy the bags with handles because they’re not big enough. Despite all these limitations in my poop-picking up life, a one bag wonder is a dream.
Two bags, really, this is pretty good. It usually means that it’s user error, that we could have been a one bag wonder but we dropped some, or missed some and had to go back, or maybe perhaps the consistency wasn’t perfect and we need to pull some grass. Sometimes I wonder if people would rather that I pull their grass and potentially wreck their lawn, or leave the poop stain and remnants and hope that it rains soon. Usually Gryffin tends to aim towards crab grass so I feel like he and I are doing a service and pulling the grass is a good thing for everyone. But it also means that the average weight of the poop bag begins to creep up so that carrying this home is much like doing bicep curls.
Three bags, things are getting desperate. Yup here we go. Lots of times the first nugget looks great and I get all happy and excited. But then – what comes next is mush. Consistency is all off. Sometimes it turns from perfection to liquid fire in 3.1 seconds. My hopes and dreams are dashed. WTF did you eat Gryff? I blame Brian. I blame the kids. I hope the neighbors aren’t home as I set my mind to get every last drop. I tie the two dogs to a tree so I can stop getting pulled the whole time I need to clean up this toxic waste. Nicky is not a good citizen – he sees Gryff done with his business and he’s ready to get out of Dodge. If it were up to him we’d be those awful people that don’t pick up after themselves. But I stop, I pick up. I am cranky. I pray I don’t get any poop on my hands. Lord it’s everywhere. But I got it. I got it – poop contained. Move over, coming through – we gotta get home with this before I lose consciousness.
Four bags. JFC. Brian hates that term. I think he’d be saying JFC and worse if he had to pick up four bags worth of shit every day. I curse as I rip grass, shrubs, trees out of my neighbors’ lawns. This is Chernobyl. Burn it down. Salt the earth. Forget praying for rain to wash this away. I should walk around with a supersoaker gun or a firehose and spray this shit away. But where would I aim it? Into the street? Spread it across the grass like the cats do in the Cat in the Hat Comes Back? Pink snow – much better than shit snow. Or shit grass. Or shit anything. At this point there is no hope for total clean up. This is Exxon Valdez. This is Deepwater Horizon times ten. This, is my dog. This, is my life. This, is the poop of the beasts.