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Two stories, two sets of dog owners, two different levels of respect. The first story made me gag, darned-near literally. The second one is an example of being kind to your pet and your community.
Story No. 1: I was sitting in my cubicle facing Tell City's Main Street a couple of weeks ago. It was a Sunday and several people were walking down the sidewalk on what was an enjoyable sunny morning. A number of people, drivers as well as pedestrians, were stopping to purchase our Monday paper, which is usually available for purchase before 9 a.m. Sunday.
A couple walking a rather large dog stopped to purchase a paper. Their dog, apparently taking advantage of the break, moved his bowels in the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk.
The couple scanned Monday's headlines while their pooch finished his No. 2. I sat in my chair, watching it all through the window. The man and woman didn't see me, I suppose. The dog, who had no more modesty than its owners, couldn't have cared less.
Instead of doing the proper thing, by pulling out some sort of plastic bag and picking up their dog's droppings, the couple kept right on walking as if nothing had happened.
I sat in my chair, angry as could be, but too chicken to go out front and confront them and thank them for the gift their dog had left in front of the office. I regret not doing just that, of asking him to clean up after his dog and even providing a bag of sorts to get the job done.
There's a possibility, I guess, that the man and woman didn't see what their dog had done, though I doubt it. The pooch went about his business for about 30 seconds and left a pile anyone would have seen.
After about a minute or two of stewing, I walked to the cleaning closet, grabbed some sort of spade and went out and cleaned up the mess. It took two trips to the dumpster to do the job right and the smell nearly gagged me. I'd rather live next to a hog barn or cattle lot than a kennel of dogs.
Had I left the pile of dog doo on the grass, every green fly in five blocks would have held a convention all day and lots of people stopping to purchase newspapers would have walked past the mess. The lucky ones would have dodged the pile. Those with poorer vision might have stepped right on top of it, tracking the mess back into their vehicles.
I suspect most communities have laws requiring pet owners to clean up after their dogs. But I hope most owners have enough decency to do that without fear of a citation. Most do. But many don't. I wonder how many parks and sidewalks are left strewn with dog feces every day. One is too many.
Story No. 2: About a week later, I was driving through Dale and watched an elderly couple standing over a dog. The man, perhaps in his late 60s or early 70s, was stooped over, obviously cleaning up his pet's mess.
The dog was small, so I'm sure the job wasn't nearly as large as the one I faced on Main Street, but the fellow was doing the right thing.
More pet owners should be like him. We'll all be better off.