Maybe it's because as the sun rises and casts new shadows in the dog yard, I see "deposits" I didn't spot the first time I came around. After all, those little oblong rolls of brown do have a way of blending in with the dusty gravel around the dog houses. So let's just say it takes me 20 minutes to scoop the living area of 7 to 8 dogs. By the time I come around again, the sun has lifted several degrees higher in the sky, and voila, new "tootsie rolls" are illuminated, lifted out of the shadows, egging me on to scoop some more.
Today I made the rounds 3 times! That's a full hour of scooping poo, my friends! I know I never changed baby diapers for a full hour. Why on earth am I such a dork about this?
The more I tackle the chore, the better I become at recognizing shapes. This may have something to do with my years as a beader. Here's what I've identified so far:
- The acorn imitator -- it's probably the tip of a full deposit that's been decapitated somehow
- Crepes -- likely started off in a rather liquid form and has hardened with somewhat smooth edges
- The smushed "playdoh ball" -- like the "crepe" but with fluted or cracked edges (someone flattened this baby while it was still pliable)
- Links -- these look like a miniature version of a couple sausages
- Shiners and cigars-- beware, these are relatively new on the scene
- Crumbles -- could easily be mistaken for gravel, but if you kick one, it travels a lot further, owing to its loft
I'm sure I'll be able to identify more shapes as the weeks go along.
I might also add that my pups have definite housekeeping preferences.
One leggy male is by far the most fastidious. He must aim his bum out as far out as possible along the circumference of his 12 foot circle and as far from his house as possible. I never find crumbles in his space.
But several of the females, well, clearly they would flunk home ec class. Or maybe they don't care because theirs "just don't stink" like the guys' do?
And then I have a "hider." I really have to search for her deposits. She manages to camouflage acorn imitators, a few crepes, and some crumbles under bits of twigs or grass or hay from her house. She also likes to dig, so sometimes I find a link or two at the bottom of her excavations.
I tend to sing to the pups when I'm scooping, kind of like "whistling while you work," which does seem to make the job a little more pleasant. And it's always amusing to watch the pups watch me. They're mostly curious and sometimes come closer enough to inspect my work. But I have no idea if they appreciate the effort or think I'm one very weird and demented dog that stands on two legs.
I realize that I'm behaving much like a new parent, pretty obsessed with what comes out of my pups at the moment. But I swear I don't talk about it the way I did when I had infants and haven't written about it (till now, of course). I'm sure the novelty will fade at some point.
Still, I can't help but think it will be interesting to see how the winter tundra alters the physics of poo.