Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, poo

Call me neurotic, but when it comes time to do a little housekeeping with my pups (otherwise known as scooping poop), I just can't stop myself. Scooping involves walking around with a contraption that looks like a big metal dustpan on a long handle and using a rake or hoe to direct the Number Twos into the dust pan.

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.


  1. Cracking me up! I, too, am well...anal...about scooping, but with 15 dogs in the yard, keep it to twice a day! I don't sing to the dogs, but do tend to talk to them about stuff on my mind. After all, dogs are people too:-)

  2. Hehehe, Michele! Clever. Twice a day is quite impressive. And when I'm not singing, I'm chatting it up with them, too. Great to have all those good listeners. Um, well, except for Lydia, who keeps up a incessant rurrurrrwooorrrur whenever I'm not in her space.

  3. The poo freezes and gets buried if you miss any and it snows.....now spring is the most interesting time for poo in my mind....;-)

  4. WoW! I have to get a dog now, just so I can experience some of this creative joy!

  5. Qualities of a great professional pooper scooper. Steamy, come winter and fresh!

  6. thanks for the scoop on scooping. who knew that dog logs could be so intriguing?! it makes sense to me though. i wonder what the pups make of it all?!! steven

  7. Hope training is going well. Thought of you today in the Target toy section on seeing "Doggie Doo" by Goliath- feed and walk your puppy, if he makes a mess you clean it up! http://www.amazon.com/Goliath-Games-30594-Doggie-Doo/dp/B003CJJE4Y

  8. I am also rather particular about scooping. My yard is scooped twice a day & most school days it's scooped a third time when my son gets home. My goal is to have no more than one pile by any dog at any time. The dogs are turned loose after eating twice each day & I follow my beauties around with my scoop the whole time. Quite often, there are no piles near any house & that's just how I like it. My lifestyle makes this routine possible & for that I'm grateful. I prefer to not use the word poop, so at our place (with young kennel helpers) any pile is called a "doodle" & parts of piles are referred to as "nuggets". We also have a simple rhyme about it that I recite any time one of my young kennel helpers groans about scooping - "Take a loop with the scoop & pick-up some poop." I can't say that it makes my kennel helpers any happier about helping, but I enjoy making a comic moment out of it anyway...