Friday, March 5, 2010

Pooper Scooping Mysteries

Man, am I frustrated, perplexed and bewildered!

Ever since I decided to have a clean yard, I have been pooper scooping faithfully once, sometimes twice, a day. Armed with a steel shovel (forget the plastic popper scooper shovel--I'm dealing with ice and snow and frozen turds), the pooper scooper rake, and a bucket lined with a plastic bag, I set out every morning after breakfast in quest of dog poops.

Our invisible fence encompasses an acre of yard and woods, so I have a lot of ground to cover--ground which is covered by over a foot of snow, crusted with ice on top, so that I sink with every step and occasionally fall. Is this starting to sound like something out of Dostoevsky yet? Slowly I crisscross the terrain, scooping as I go until I figure that I have scooped three dogs' worth of excreta. Then I trudge some more, way out into the field, past the invisible fence, and dump out the day's harvest. Then I trudge back, putting my feet in the holes they had made in the snow on the way out, and store the tools and bucket in the garage.

After a moment of gratitude that the job is over for the day, I head for the shower.

I haven't been enjoying this morning task, but I have felt a sense of pride and righteousness over our newly hygienic yard. No more telling visitors "watch where you put your feet!" And hanging clothes out on the line, once the weather warms, will be pure pleasure without having to worry about where I put the basket.

I thought all was well until I discovered two days' worth of Lexi's poops in the downstairs guest room.

Lexi is an eleven-year-old dog who, since we adopted her at age four months, has never had an accident indoors. She has lived in three different houses, watched two new puppies come into the pack, traveled with us, accepted various house sitters, and dealt with housefuls of guests with nary an accident. If there was one thing I could count on in my life, it was Lexi's scrupulous neatness. And now this.

There was no sign of diarrhea. She hadn't been cloistered for longer-than-usual periods. In fact, the last couple of days the dogs have been outside even longer than usual, as I put them outside while I work on my wattle fence. The only reason I can think of for this dreadful turn of events is the pooper scooping. Lexi doesn't know what to make of the pristine yard.

I must admit I got upset. I dragged Lexi by the collar to the guest room and spoke sharply to her. Dog books say that if you reprimand a dog after the fact, it has no idea why you're scolding it. But Lexi is not just any dog, and I'm certain she knew just why I was scolding her. After I cleaned up, I let her out, and took Bisou out on leash as well for good measure. Lexi stuck close to me and pushed against my leg, ears back, tail low. She was making amends, and I forgave her.

But what am I going to do? At seven months, Bisou is house trained, but I still need to keep close tabs on her. I cannot imagine having to keep track of her bowels and Lexi's as well.

Maybe, as the yogis advise, I should not just do something, but sit there. Watch and see what happens. If Lexi has more accidents in the house, I will have to crate her--something she will regard as an affront to her dignity, I am sure. But maybe she will become accustomed to the sparkling clean yard, and get on with life as usual.

Wish us luck.

2 comments :

  1. i tried to comment on this yesterday, but i was using the wrong browser. (this kind of comment box doesn't work with firefox, by the way.)

    i'm wondering if there's something wrong with Lexi, that she simply can't hold it anymore. boscoe hasn't reached that point, but he poops sometimes the minute we get out the front door. he doesn't even always have to be in his squat. old age. old age.

    maybe lexi just needs to go out more often?

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  2. Laurie, this is bizarre--I use Firefox! No more problems with Lexi, grace a Dieu. I truly think she was disconcerted, and possibly miffed, by our pristine yard. But yeah, old age....

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