Does a dog sh*t in the woods?

I am a city dweller. and I have a 150 lb. dog.

Having such a big dog in the city requires due diligence. I have to keep him leashed. I have to watch him. And I have to pick up his crap WITHOUT FAIL. If my dog Max leaves even the barest trace of doodie on the sidewalk, I address the situation. So no unsuspecting soul will fall afoul. City sidewalks – as I have mentioned before – are busy places. People walk on them. Children play on them. And yes, dogs do their business on them. The city sidewalk may be a dog’s toilet. But everyone needs to flush. So, w/out fail, I curb my dog.

Having a big dog in the city requires additional planning when it comes to exercise. Our virtually nonexistent and unfenced yard is simply insufficient to meet Max’s needs. We joined a local dog park to allow for off-leash playtime. But Max likes to walk. Really WALK. So once or twice a week I take him to a local nature refuge for a 4-mile hike through the woods.

Yesterday morning we went to the refuge.  The walk had barely begun when we encountered an older woman coming toward us on the path.  GOOD MORNING! I exclaimed cheerfully.  HOW ARE YOU?  To which she acidly replied, “I’d be better if you’d pick up your dog’s poop.”

Well. Hold the PHONE.

As detailed above, I am fastidious when it comes to feces. NEVER would I leave crap near an unsuspecting foot! But when I take my dog to the woods, we are not on a public street.  We are on a trail. We are not someplace where an infant may pick up a turd and stick it into his or her mouth.  Where someone’s $500 pumps may be ruined. We are surrounded by the natural world. And I do not allow Max to ever dump on the trail itself. Oh no. But I do not see any problem w/ him pooping on the side in the grass and leaves. After which I take whatever large stick is handy and push/scoop/or fling said poop out into the woods – where it will not harm a soul.

I am not talking about letting my dog poop on a playing field.  Where children or lovers – or anyone – would be meandering.  That is just plain gross. But the only meanderers in this case would in fact be deer.  Or groundhogs.  Foxes, snakes, turtles, rats, birds.  YOU GET MY POINT! And no living soul is picking up their scat in plastic baggies to deposit in the trash. As I responded to the woman yesterday, it is natural. Left there, excrement (my dog’s included) will decompose and return to the earth. It is recycling in its most primitive form. Something beautiful in its perfection and simplicity.

She tried to explain to me that the ecological burden on the wildlife refuge is great enough. I have been visiting this refuge for 11 years. The acres are sandwiched between the city, I-95, and the airport. Oil pipelines run beneath it. The burden is great but the burden is ALL MAN-MADE. I simply fail to see how dog poop is going to push this land over the precipice.

There is nothing natural about bagging poop. Nothing. Though I do it, living in the city, w/out fail or hesitation. WHY? Because it is a matter of courtesy and b/c it is the law. But in the woods? No. I will not pick up poop. I will not. B/c it doesn’t make sense. If left to the air, excrement will decompose naturally w/in weeks or days. It is a matter of natural recycling. What is UNNATURAL is picking it up, sealing it into a bag, and placing it into a trash can. Where it will have to be picked up by a waste truck, carried miles to a landfill, to be dumped and sit festering for years to come. Where it will not easily – if ever, decompose. THAT, to me, is insanity.

I may be the only person thinking this, but I do not care. B/c in my heart it makes sense. In my mind, every dog has a right to take a crap on the soil and not feel like he or she is doing something wrong. I for one have pooped right there in the refuge behind a bush and I didn’t blink twice. WHY? B/c I had to go. And when nature calls, I answer.

13 thoughts on “Does a dog sh*t in the woods?

  1. Oh, right, because you are BY FAR who would let your dog doodie in the woods.
    Tell her to start chasing after the deer, squirrels and birdies who poop EVERYWHERE.
    Then fling the poo at her. because. that’s why.

    And thank you for cleaning up after your puppa… few things gross me out more then poo on the walk.

  2. I agree with you — that woman was deranged! She probably recently lost a pair of nice shoes to some insensitive dog-owner not being responsible, but she shouldn’t have taken it out on you.

    I can’t think of anything that makes less sense than picking up dog doo, putting it in a plastic bag, and then having it end up in a landfill.

    I also agree with Stephanie that a little “flinging” may have been in order…

  3. Uh-huh. You are so in the right and that woman was plain poop-stoopid. Did she even understand your perfectly valid explanation?

    You could even have argued that ol’ Max is filling the ecological poop-niche of the extirpated wolves.

  4. You should explain to the lady that you completely understand the ecological burdan. That is exactly why you are so cautions in what you feed your doggy. So when you do go into the woods and Max does his thing it is done with extreme forthought. Possums come from near and far to fight over Max’s dung pile… full of rich vitamins and roughage rarely found in one place.

    So you see Mrs. Old Biddy, Max in fact contributes to the ecological well being of the wooded environment. Not to mention the opossums love his poo!

  5. 4 miles? by car, i hope. hahaha.

    i’m hung up on the 150lb. dog sentence. i had no clue that dogs got to be so large. i thought after 100 lbs. they were ponies or dinosaurs…where can you possibly keep a dog of that size?!?

    as for the wilderness poo situation…the lady sounds like a crackpot. i would have tied her down and had the dog poo on her. or maybe i’m the crackpot.

  6. Bouncy babe, I cannot agree more. Few things infuriate me as much as stepping into a steaming turd left on the sidewalk by a callous dog owner. Makes my BLOOD BOIL.

    Heyya Carrie! I’d labeled her controlling and self-righteous, but deranged is fine by me too. However, No flinging, ladies! I am a MOTHER for pete’s sake. What would my children say? Oh, wait…

    Panny, my replies to the woman were terse, at best. If I had said much more to her than Oh, reeeallly…? Oh, realllly…? After my initial explanation of the poop being NATURAL, the whole thing would surely have come to blows. I could sense she was not one to reason with.

    Hayden, No Ass handing. Too messy. Even for a woman who wrote an entire blog post on dog poop. And as much as I like impressing you all w/ our walking – it’s really truly no big deal. We just love it!

    Mssc54, It never occurred to me to use that line of reasoning. And for someone obsessed w/ food — I Can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it..! BRILLIANT!

    Curly babe – he is a bear of a dog. In fact, I’d originally titled the post “Do bears sh*t in the woods?” Max’s dad was even named BEAR. But I digress. Max likes to sleep in the dining room. He has a child’s crib mattress instead of a dog bed, b/c he is so darn big. He loves it. But not nearly as much as the couch.

  7. City people…sheesh…LOL just kidding! I have no frame of reference for someone being offended that a dog is pooping in the woods!!! On the sidewalk, yes… the woods, ????? She’s just plain wackadoodle!

  8. I think, Connie, we are dealing w/ someone who likes things the WAY SHE WANTS THEM. There is no talking sense – or alternative viewpoint – w/ these people. NOT that I would know…. 😉

    Tracie you are Too Fuunny.

  9. Poor, poor Christy, I’m so sorry you’re sick! You need hot tea with honey, and chicken soup, a really great sappy movie, and lots of sympathy! Poor baby, feel better soon.

  10. The same thing just happened to me. I was taken aback, and figured I was in the wrong when a man confronted me about my dog pooping 15 yards back in the woods off a trail. I went online and found this…thanks for the lift!!

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