Monday, September 23, 2013

Scoop That Poop Blog Hop: A Story of Grace

We dog owners should always, always clean up after our dogs. Like you, I've gone out of my way to make sure it happens. Driven back to the 'scene of the crime' when I'd forgotten a bag. Taken the wrapper from a newspaper in a strange driveway, carefully placed the paper on the porch, when I'd only brought one bag and unexpectedly needed two. And of course, I've 'tsk-tsk-ed' other people's blatant failure to scoop that poop:

"Eeewwww, Toby, leave it!"
This is Dogster's info graphic on some of the best reasons to never ever leave your dog's mess for others to step in.

Today, though, I'm sharing a story about a day when I didn't - couldn't - clean up after my dog.

Kasey and I were slowly trudging home on what would be Kasey's last walk. I had chosen to go just around the block - but even that distance was proving too much for my exhausted dog. He was too heavy to carry. I let him rest when he had to (mentally kicking myself). Finally, we were about to turn the last corner for home, just half a street from home.
Kasey, looking wise and noble.

We passed an immaculately groomed yard being tended by the homeowner. This yard has literally won the community "Yard of the Month" contest. True suburbanites, we lived half a block apart and therefore of course had never met. I was prepared to wave if she looked up from her weeding but she was absorbed in her task. She  glanced up just as we plodded by her mailbox.

At that moment poor Kasey let loose a wide spray of mustard colored diarrhea. He looked as mortified as I felt. Kasey had always been perfectly house trained. He was a bit embarrassed about going publicly anyway, and seemed to sense that this was not a normal situation. Meanwhile my mind was racing - what should I do? I mean, there is no possible way to clean this up without a hose...and Kasey still needs to get home...maybe if I brought back a bucket?

Our neighbor approached as I babbled apologies and explanations: my dog is sick, he has cancer, can I borrow your hose, I feel awful... She could have yelled at me or said something nasty. However, in a calm voice, looking less than thrilled, she said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it. Really. I've got it, I'll clean it up." From a practical standpoint there wasn't anything  I could do to help, so with a last apology Kasey and I crept around the corner.

 Later that day I bought a pot of miniature roses and the prettiest thank-you card I could find, wrote a note expressing my thanks for her gracious response to a horribly embarrassing experience, and left them on her front porch. Every time we pass her house I think of her kindness in not expressing the disgust she must have been feeling.

This incident makes me even more ashamed in hindsight. It should have told me that Kasey's battle with lymphoma was over. He could not even enjoy his favorite activity, his daily walk. He must have been making a powerful effort to control his bowels in the house, which he did right to the end. But I couldn't bear to let him go for another week.

If there is a moral here, maybe it is that we all fall short of our own expectations sometimes. When it happens, we need understanding and forgiveness. We need grace.

A selfie in a park near our vet's office before one of Kasey's last visits. Kasey still looks well. I'm trying hard to smile but you can see the sadness in my eyes.


  1. We take the bag lady everywhere as we always scoop the poop. Pity as she so cramps my style. Have a marvelllous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Accidents happen...especially when one is sick. I think your neighbor was terrierific for not making a scene over the incident. It's not like Kasey could help it...and kindnesses to others are always returned in kind.
    *Cairn cuddles*

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes as i remembered the last walk i took with Bruno...We barely made it back to the car and I had to lift him in...I've shared this all over as it touched my heart

  4. That story brought a tear to my eye but restored my faith in mankind It's nice to be nice. Have a great Monday.


  5. This has us teary too. We're glad your neighbor was forgiving. She turned the memory of your last walk with Kasey into something positive.

  6. What a great story. Thank you for sharing. IT's the little things that people do for you that really adds up. It was nice of you to return with a gift too :)

  7. What a great story! We all need a little grace sometimes, and to remember to extend it to others. I'm glad you ended up at the right place.

  8. A poignant story... both about Kasey and about human grace - yours and that neighbor's. Thank you for sharing it.

    And, yes, I see that sadness in your eyes. I can see the love for your Kasey.

  9. Aw how sad... lymphoma is such a yucky thing =/ I think that it was super nice what you did for the neighbor's kindness.

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  11. That homeowner was very nice and you were very nice for leaving such a wonderful thank you. It's those kinds of interactions that reinforce a positive relationship with dog owners and non-dog-owners.

    I had to giggle though when I envisioned the perplexed look on your neighbor's face when they discovered their newspaper with no baggie on it :)

  12. What a moving story about Kasey and about the neighbor. Like you, I always make a serious effort to pick up poop. When my first dog Lucky was battling distemper, she could sometimes walk a little bit but then would just lay down. I couldn't leave her lying there to go find a trash and I knew I'd be carrying her home. I'd leave the bag of poop and then go back later to pick it up. You're right: we do the best we can but sometimes need a little help and a little understanding.

  13. well now I'm bawling of course. I still miss Kasey so much.

  14. Sweet and moving story. Mom had tears. So nice of you to give the lady a card n flowers (mom says she'll do the same thing. We had some inconsiderate dog owners in our neighborhood. Golden Thanks for sharing and joining our #ScoopThatPoop campaign hop. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  15. What a sad and touching story. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking, yet beautiful story. If only more people were like that kind neighbor you encountered, the world would be a much better place.

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  18. I'm sorry for your loss, Kasey looks sweet. It's hard to know when the right time is to say goodbye to your dog, and I don't think you should feel ashamed. I'm glad the owner of the house was so nice, as I was reading I was expecting a flip-out.


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