I love my dog, Scout, even when I don’t particularly like her. I am confident she feels the same way about me. Our relationship status is “complicated.”

Yet Scout loves me like no human would. My daily “you are home” greeting is a hysterical, tail-wagging, face-licking love fest that makes me feel like the I’m adored every time I walk through the door.

It almost makes up for her negative actions, like the puddle of urine in the hallway outside my home office door. It’s Scout’s subtle way of telling me that my one-hour Zoom call has taken up too much of her attention time. It’s not her fault she is, by her very nature, unable to resist the urge to bark at every noise she hears during that Zoom call. Nor is it her fault that it is her duty to protect me from the terror of squirrels, cars, birds and other horrors outside my home office door. In her mind, my Zoom contacts should be thrilled, jealous even, of her protective prowess. If I had just respected that truth, none of this would have happened. Instead, wet socks.

I should mention Scout suffers from a mixture of excitement and anxiety which she expresses with a bark that is more a chirp, akin to a train whistle. Walking her is embarrassing. I have had people come out of their homes to see if she is being hurt. She’s not. She just likes to make big noises for a little dog. If we encounter another dog, she goes ballistic. It’s awful. Needless to say, her walks only happen in the twilight hours, when normal, emotionally-stable dogs are home.

On one such evening, I offered Scout a walk, but with the understanding that she needed to behave. As if. The little squirt who pees on every blade of grass in sight but never has a bowel movement when on a lead, decided to show me how she behaved alright. Walking along a quiet boulevard, around beautifully manicured properties, she decided to poop on someone’s lawn. Guess who didn’t have a baggie? Yep. Scout just handed me a lesson in preparedness and humbleness, quite literally.

I did what every dog owner who forgot their poop baggie does: I looked around for witnesses. Oh, don’t make that face, you know you’ve done it, too. Then I cursed myself out loud for not having a poop bag. Then I cursed the dog for having the audacity to poop in public. But I have stepped in enough lazy dog owner’s squishy dog messes to know I could not be responsible for doing that to someone else. It’s a disgusting disregard for other people’s property – and shoes.

I looked around again, this time for the biggest maple leaf I could find. No luck. Instead, I found two smaller leaves and placed them across my palm. Then, with a facial expression I can only describe as a stop-motion gag reflex, I picked up the steaming hot, mushy, odorous bomb.

Yep, I did. It gets better. I gingerly walked four blocks with my left hand extended in the air, like a queen stuck in a drive-by wave, just high enough to avoid the fragrant whiff but not so low as to accidently wear it. That’s what a good dog person does.

Scout will now attend all Zoom meetings and I will behave.

Stoop and scoop. It’s the right thing to do.

WriteOut of Her Mind