Working in The City is unlike anything else that a dog might do. First of all, you have to be clean every single time you go in. While it may be okay to go to the dog park or climb into the bed you share with Mom smelling like the dead bird you rolled in at the park, or like a mermaid from a day at the beach, you can’t go to work smelling like anything but Head and Shoulders for Men. Mom has to groom herself differently too. Instead of wearing stinky running clothes or comfy sweats with bits of food all over them, she has to put on fancy clothes that don’t fit her like a grocery bag. And the silly shoes! She wears the dumbest horned tip-toe shoes that look like a rhinoceros’s head, if it were rolled over on its back to get belly rubs. Not only do the horned tip-toe shoes look stupid, there’s no way she could ever run in them. I think that’s how they keep her at her desk without a leash.
When Mom takes me out for potty breaks, we always have adventures that confuse me. Today there was a human lying on the sidewalk in one of those sacks that Mom uses in the Covered Wagon to keep her warm at night, only this man wasn’t sleeping in his, he was singing and conducting an invisible orchestra with his hand. He also smelled like he hadn’t used Head and Shoulders for Men after the last time he’d rolled in a dead bird. So Mom and I crossed the street.
When we got to the park, I had to poop. When I stood up and sprinted away from my doo-doo like we sometimes do on the trail, Mom stood fast and tapped her pockets. She’d forgotten the bags back at the office, and now we’d missed our opportunity to run away. This was a place where lots of people took their dogs to play off leash, so I suggested we go find bag dispenser. At home there is always a bag dispenser.
Mom stuck a stick in the ground so we could find the poo again later, and we set off to find the nearest bag dispenser.
“Mom, why are all those people staring at us with mean eyes?” I asked. “Everybody poops. Even that guy over there eating a whole apple pie with his fingers poops.”
“They think that we’re not going to pick it up,” Mom explained. “And so they think we’re evil.”
To prove that we weren’t evil, we walked all the way around and around the park looking for the bag dispenser. We checked next to all the water fountains, trash cans, and signs about things you can and can’t do in the park, but there were no bags! “That must be why all the humans leave their poo on the sidewalk under the bridges and in the narrow alleys,” I explained. “No bags.” I was sure that this meant that we could leave the poo behind now.
“That’s not how The City works,” Mom said. “They give you tickets for leaving your car somewhere for too long, but don’t have places where you can park for more than 2 hours. Because the police are so busy giving parking tickets, they can’t send any out to prevent car break-ins. They give you a $1500 fine if you leave your recycle bins on the street for an extra day. I’m sure we still need to find a way to pick it up.” I thought about explaining to Mom that this is why we’re supposed to get used to eating poop, but now didn’t seem to be the time.
Mom walked into the street and picked up one of those advertisements that they put in your mail box so that you’ll think it’s a newspaper. Somebody had probably tried to throw it out, but since the recycle bins have to hide every morning, they probably didn’t have a place to put it so they put it on the ground just like the singing man, and the bags that used to have food, and the human poo, and all the other out-of-place things.
“Ohhh! Furniture!” I said. “Are we going to redecorate the Stuck House? I think we should replace the dreadmill with a couch I can stand on when I bark out the window at the squirrels.”
“No,” Mom said. “We’re going to use it to pick up your poo.”
She marched back over to where the stick was still marking my poo castle, and ostentatiously used the advertisement to pick up the turds so that all of the mean-eyed people could see what she was doing. As we turned and walked toward a trash can, I felt a tug on my leash. I turned to find Mom teetering on one foot. The ground had slurped up the entire horn of her rhino shoe, and held it tight when she tried to walk away. Now the shoe was lying on its side in the grass and Mom was waving her bare foot around in the air trying to free it so she could put it back on. With the leash in one hand, and my healthy, wet poo cradled in a fancy furniture ad in the other, Mom tried to get her shoe back from the grass without falling over or dropping the poo on her dumb outfit.
Later, Mom explained to me that if anybody asked me what it was like to work in the City, that I should tell them, “It’s like trying to hold it all together while balancing on one foot in high heels with a handful of dog doo.”
That sounded like it could be fun, but the way she said it, I guessed it wasn’t supposed to be.
Oscar the Business Pooch