Courtesy of Dorri Olds
“Lady, what do you want me to do?” the owner whimpered in defense. He tapped on his dark glasses. “I can’t see it.”
“Humph” snorted Ms. Pantsuit and stomped past the Chelsea blind center. I felt sorry for the guy—but not enough to clean it up.
I’ve been yelled at more times than I can recall for poop that didn’t belong to my dog.
One sunny afternoon my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Buddy James, and I were enjoying our afternoon jaunt. My iPhone rang. It was a client. No sooner had I picked up when a middle-aged man came charging at me, sweat flying off his brow.
“Hey lady, clean up your dog’s crap!” The man’s arms flailed about as he gestured toward a spot on the sidewalk. “AND GET OFF YOUR PHONE.”
I said to my client loud enough for him to hear, “Sorry, gotta go, ran into a crazy.” That client, a fellow New Yorker, understood my shorthand—no questions asked.
I looked at him with distaste and in my best schoolmarm tone said, “What happened to, ‘Excuse me, Miss?’”
He yelled louder and that’s when I lost it. I jutted my face into his, nose-tip to nose-tip and screamed, “You psycho.” He seemed frightened and backed away. As he scurried off I heard him mumbling, “People always on their goddamn cell phones.”
My loss of composure rattled me. I yell once, maybe twice, per year. A woman with a child hurried by eyeing me as if I were the lunatic. Two workmen across the street burst out laughing and into applause. They’d obviously witnessed the exchange and grinned at me with approval. As they clapped the men shouted, “Psycho! Psycho!” An elderly woman in curlers leaned out of her apartment window and chuckled, “Yup, he had that coming.”
After Mr. Psycho had scurried away, I retraced my steps and found the sidewalk poop pile—evidence of my alleged crime. Upon inspection, it became clear Buddy was not the culprit who’d left this mess. A mother can discern these things.
If Buddy spritzes on a tree, nature preservationists bark at me. If he lets loose on a curbside trash bag, sanitation workers chew me out. Other dog owners allow their little darlings to lift legs onto flower beds but not me. My code of ethics also requires Buddy to steer clear of parked cars and bikes. The only socially acceptable options left are fire hydrants and rare bare patches of unoccupied street.
During a walk to Madison Park’s dog run, Buddy stopped to tinkle at an empty bus stop on Fifth Avenue. A man with neck veins a-popping, drove right up next to us and yelled, “That’s nasty!” Not knowing how to respond I said, “I’m sure when you go, it’s nasty too.”
I’m more courteous than most. Carrying a water bottle during walks, I splash untidy spots left by my Bud. My environmental conscientiousness makes me buy biodegradable bags. In addition, I carry my empty soda bottles and cans outside to leave for the homeless to collect five-cent refunds. After lovingly placing my bottles into a trash can, I reuse the bag I carried them in for my next scoop. Unlike others, I never let my dog pull me willy-nilly zigzagging down the street. No, I religiously follow Manhattan’s unspoken sidewalk law of sticking to the right “lane” so as not to clog pedestrian traffic.
And yet, Buddy and I are often harassed. I can only wonder if the city’s dogless will ever realize that not every dog owner is irresponsible with their best Bud’s “deposits.”