What a week!  Julie and I volunteered to dog sit for Lisa’s sister on the upper east side of NYC!  We split the week with DJ with a few day overlap.  I think Julie’s strategy was to make me fall in love with a dog.  She has always had one, or even two, at a time.  I have had none because feeding and taking care of three kids was ENOUGH. 

But oops, she may have got me.

I am slightly allergic to pet dander, my primary excuse.  I don’t want to pay for one, my second excuse.  And dag gone, picking up poop for any reason is a huge thumbs down for me.

Because his daily “routine” includes a morning walk where he does his business, my lovely wife took the morning shift.  On Tuesday, his system must have been turned around, because not only did he make hay at 7:30 AM with her, he also had a messy one at the corner of Park Avenue and 70th on my afternoon watch.  How embarrassing!  And he walks while he poops so I’m chasing his butt around with my little green baggy trying to discretely clean up.

There are a lot of dogs in NYC.  I met a lovely older woman, sort of looked like Nancy Walker, Rhoda Morganstern’s mother from the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  We had a casual conversation one night about 10 PM while Colby, my dog, and St. Francis of Assisi (I lie not), her canine sniffed each other.  It was lovely.  She frozen yogurt with all the toppings and her daughter recently moved to New Mexico.

One afternoon Colby froze, absolutely WOULD NOT MOVE, as we crossed Lexington Avenue.  I had to scoop him up as a Yellow Cab driver snarled at me and let out an aggressive honk.

Colby sniffed and licked most everything in sight, including my face.  I don’t even like to think what, by proxy, has been in my pores this week.  We played fetch with his slobbery orange tennis ball for hours – I throw, he runs, he brings back to me, I throw again.  It’s mechanical.

All this for six days.  Errr.  I miss him so!  He sat on me, snoozed on my lap, greeted me with great affection, whimpered when I left, looked at me as if I was his only one – sort of like my daughters, pre-teen.

We can’t get one now because we spend too much time away – but if anyone wants to join a dog share program, we are IN!  I think I eventually need one of my own.

Watch Your Step


Last Sunday I was headed toward a church service in town for an afternoon funeral.  A long time Y volunteer and former member of my church had passed away.  She was a good woman.

I had to park several blocks away and was finishing up a phone call as I neared the sanctuary.

I noticed a couple behind me, so I stepped onto the grass in front of the handsome, wooden double doors that led into the service.

I sort of paced a bit as the conversation was serious.  At 2:55, I hung up.

At 2:55 and 3 seconds, I realized I had stepped squarely into the middle of a HUGE pile of light brown dog poo.  Others were entering the church.  Several glanced at me.  One lady shook her head as if I had done something wrong.

I didn’t poop out here lady.  I just stepped in it!!

There were a few snickers from the forming line, and although I was not the pooper, my level of embarrassment must have indicated that I was.

I limped over to the side of the church and worked diligently to wipe the dung off on the lawn.  When it appeared the majority of the visible damage was gone, I slowly lifted my shoe toward my nose.  About chest high I realized I could not enter the church with this shoe on, I smelled like a stable.  I pondered my options…

  1. Hide the shoe under a bush and go in with one foot exposed. Perhaps people, other than those who had observed first hand, would perceive I had an injury.  I wasn’t wearing socks so I decided it might be obvious that nothing was indeed wrong with me.  That strategy was not going to work.
  1. Go home. I don’t like funerals anyway.  But I had driven quite a ways and had even left the beach the day before so I could come honor this really cool lady who had given so much to others.  Certainly there was something else I could do.
  1. Go in and look around as if someone else smelled like #$%&. I’ve done that before with gas.  It can work.  But it was risky with this kind of smell.  And unlike a poot, it wasn’t going away until I left the building.  No good.
  1. Find a bathroom and pray for the best.

I walked around the building and found a side door I thought I could sneak in.  Unfortunately, this church had an incredible Greeting Team.  There was a very kind woman standing on the inside of the door with a program for the service in hand.  I twisted my face and rustled my hair to make it look like I’d just driven in from far away.  I looked at her glassy eyed and whispered, “Where’s the bathroom?”

She pointed around the corner.

It was a three seater so there wasn’t a lock on the door, all were welcome.  My hope was most people were seated so perhaps I had the place to myself.  Again I removed the shoe.  I wiped it with a damp paper towel – didn’t work.  I wiped it with a wet paper towel and soap: better, but the smell still lingered.  Finally, I put the whole damn shoe under the faucet.  That was when the bathroom door opened and a fifty something-year-old man walked in in a three piece suit.  He looked nice.  Gray pinstripes and nary a trace of poo on his being.

I smiled and acted as if this was normal.  Don’t most guys wash their shoes before church?

He went to the urinal.

I tried to rinse the sink to the best of my ability and quickly tossed the wet loafer on my foot.  I’m sure he could hear my squish as I walked out toward the pews.  HU-MILIATING.

I don’t own a dog mainly because I’m away from home a lot and secondly because I don’t like picking up other’s poo.  But apparently that shouldn’t be a reason.  Because apparently you don’t have to pick it up.  You can just leave it for the world to step in.







The Dog Blog

She is cute...

She is cute…


Four months ago my neighbor walked up my drive. I was outside working in the yard.



“This is our new puppy, Penny. She’s just a couple of weeks old. You wanna dog share?”

As we talked, I realized he and his children had purchased the dog without full permission from his wife. He was trying to save his marriage.

“It’s an interesting concept,” I admitted. If I was ever going to have a dog, split custody would be the way to go. You’d have built-in care when you went out-of-town, and you could split the expenses.

I briefly wondered if there was someone who might want to do the same with my kids.

I’ve always felt I was sort of robbing my girls of one of a child’s most precious experiences by not allowing them to have a pet, well save the Hermit crab. Perhaps this was a way to give them what they desperately wanted with only half the pain for me.

We decided that my neighbor would potty train the dog and that we would keep it when they went on vacation in several months. That would be our test drive.

It’s several months, we’re on day 7 of 9, and we’re failing the test.

I have spent the last week of my life arranging my schedule around Penny’s bowel movements. There is only one being on this earth that I’m willing to make adjustments to my schedule for bowel reasons:  ME. I do not like this.

I wake up at 6 AM so Penny can pee. She then eats. My neighbor told me that exactly ten minutes after she eats, we must take her outside because she WILL be pooping soon. The one thing he had wrong is “exactly” ten minutes. It could be less. It could be 9 or eight. Just ask my dining room carpet.

Oh, and just because she poops ten minutes later does not necessarily mean she ain’t gonna poo 20 or 30 minutes after that. Just ask the rug in my living room.

And guess what? I’m out of plastic Harris Teeter bags. Wanna know why? Because when I take Penny out to do her business, I then have to PICK HER BUSINESS UP and CARRY IT WITH ME for the rest of our walk. Yes, I have to pick up her dung, it’s a law in Raleigh. On Tuesday I happened to have an itchy nose. I had the leash in my left hand and bag of her brownies in my right hand, although I sort of forgot. When I reached up to scratch my nose, I realized I had %$#& about an eighth of an inch from my left nostril. I gagged.

At work I was telling a buddy of mine this story and he said, as if he had pondered this on several occasions, “You know Danny, you never see white dog poop anymore.” He then walked out of my office.

He’s right! When I was a kid, there was petrified white dog poop all over our neighborhood. When I’d mow the lawn it would fly out from under the blades.

Never, ever do I see that anymore.  I miss it.

You know why we don’t see it anymore?  It’s because we PICK UP OUR DOG’S FECES! That’s not right. We shouldn’t do that.  It should stay in nature where it belongs.

Although Penny is extremely sweet, and I have enjoyed her, this week has taught me that the Tanner family will not EVER be getting a pet, not even a fish. I don’t want to go outside at 11 PM waiting on a dog to decide which blade of grass to pee on. Twice I went myself in the yard while waiting. I thought that perhaps my example might spur her on; plus it was one less thing I’d have to do once I finally got back in the house.

The beautiful thing about the week is that I don’t think any of my kids will ever ask me if we can have a pet again. They’re as exhausted as I am!

I think I’ll keep my kids full-time. I think I’ll keep Penny on the occasional weekend. That will be plenty for all.





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