Picking up poop is not an option.

Rather, not picking up poop is not an option.

My dad and the dogs

I recently spent some time on vacation with my parents and their two dogs, Tallie & Henry.  I often take the dogs running. It is a not-so quirky delight that they get so excited when they realize I am putting on my shorts and running shoes.  I put on their leashes and collars and before we leave a grab 2-3 plastic baggies to clean up any poops. It's just what I do, I don't think about picking it up or not picking it up-- if they poop, I clean it up-- no discussion.  Occasionally, I pick up theirs as well as stray poops left behind by not-so-considerate dog owners.

I have an uncle who loves the joke,"if aliens came down from space and saw a man and dog walking-- the alien would see the man picking up the dog poop and ask the dog to "take them to their leader."' This joke illuminates the odd power dynamic between a dog and their owner, which I found demoralizing when I was younger. Back in the days of middle school, one of my few chores was to take the family dogs on their daily walks.  I enjoyed the time and the freedom exploring my neighborhood with my very faithful companions. I despised being seen with a pooper-scooper. It was gross, uncool, embarrassing in my pre and tween perspective.

I went through phases-- sometimes taking the 3 foot long pooper scooper (you don't have to get too close, but jeez is it gaudy and totally noticeable to theoretical high school boys who might drive by), sometimes reverting to plastic bags (inconspicuous, but the proximity to the smell and heat of the freshly pooped poop is pretty gnarly) and sometimes I decided I was too cool to pick it up-- it would compost anyway right?

Once or twice I was caught not picking up the poop-- with a tail hung between my legs I would run home and grab a poop-picking up device and return to the scene of the crime. I grew out of the too-cool phase of life  and into the phase of taking responsibility for my own sh*#t-- and that of my dogs. I bet I could get away with a less poop picking up in my life, but I enjoy holding myself accountable better than anyone else can.