Saturday, January 30, 2010

The toilet habits of dogs

I know this isn't a particularly "appropriate" post, but as a daily dog-walker, I have accumulated some interesting intelligence on the subject, which I feel compelled to share in a few short, and hopefully tasteful, paragraphs.

First, most urban canines are fairly well organized in their toileting habits. (Not all, my friends, but most.) They have favorite times and places. Our dog Ben, for example, won't "go" in our backyard, hence he gets two walks a day. (There IS a method in his madness.) And dogs do have particular "styles," if you will, of making their deposits. Here are a few of the most common:

The Stop-and-Drop
These carefree pups (Labs, in particular, come to mind) hit the park, lope around cheerfully, chase squirrels, fetch sticks, gambol with doggy friends -- then suddenly freeze, squat and, well, drop. There's no art nor science to this approach: Grass, gravel, rocks, concrete, playground sawdust -- when you gotta go, you go. End of story.

Note: If you have ever discovered dog poo on a sidewalk, which I personally always find a little disconcerting, you can most likely thank a Stop-and-Drop.

The String-along
String-alongs leave many dog owners scratching their heads. For some reason known only to themselves, these dogs feel compelled to keep moving while carrying out their defecatory duties.(Note: Yes, I know, I don't think "defecatory" is a real word either, but it DOES trip off the tongue nicely.) This is not a dog's finest hour in general, but String-alongs look more than comically pathetic as they crab across the park leaving a questionable trail behind them. It's got to be a real pain to clean up after them.

Mt. Vesuvius
These dogs must have amazing cargo capacity because when they unload, it's a payload of truly epic proportion. Steaming canine versions of the Kilauea Volcano if you will. Seriously.

Mt. V dog owners rarely pick up these gifts of love, leaving it to the rest of us to carefully navigate around them, strangely curious about the behemoth canines responsible for these notable landmarks. I am a strong believer of cleaning up after your dog, but I have to admit, I don't think they've yet developed a biodegradable REI poop bag up to the challenge of a Mt. V.

Privacy Please
Our dog Ben is a Privacy Please kind of guy. These dogs painstakingly seek out (we call it "spottin' up") the best tree, shrub or rock that affords them shelter from the park paparazzi while doing the deed.

Except it doesn't. And that's funny.

Ben's butt inevitably sticks out, tail in full extension (not unlike the needle of a compass pointing directly at you-know-what), and I know exactly what he's up to. He senses this, shoots me a reproachful "Do you mind?" kind of look, and then finishes his business.

I'm sorry. It always cracks me up. I just can't help it.

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