Like a Good Neighbor

Despite my allergies, I admit to being a cat person—well, it's not so much that I'm a cat person as that I'm not a dog person. Don't get me wrong: despite (more) allergies, I think dogs are great. They're loyal, they're enthusiastic, they're (usually) obedient, they honestly enjoy hanging around people, and many of them play useful roles in human society—think guide dogs, service dogs, herd dogs, rescue dogs, and more. It's pretty rare to attach any of those attributes to cats.

Even though I grew up with a (great) dog and bear no malice towards dogs or their owners, as an adult I've never wanted one of my own—instead, I eventually wound up with cats. They're less dependent. Cats don't get emotionally devastated when you tell then they're bad; they don't leap up at your every word and hang on your every whim. Cats can generally fend for themselves, and don't need to be walked or run. If you go out of town for a few days, cats will cope. Cats will reliably use a litterbox—if they aren't angry with you—and are more apt to play with the toilet paper than drink from the toilet. Plus, domestic cats are (usually) a manageable size. When an enthusiastic cat wants to say hello to me, it brushes up against my legs. When an enthusiastic retriever wants to say hi, it's a wrestling match.

But I do think pet owners of any stripe should be responsible for their pets. So, it was with some regret I put this sign up on the back fence this week:

You Drop'em, You Scoop'em!

The new neighbors behind the house have a cute little black-and-white puppy; in the evenings I watch it bound enthusiastically down the little drive along the side of the house, then back up the little drive by the side of the house. It hops around the feet of its owners, plays, fetches, and generally does cute puppy things.

But last week I was out to the garage to get a bit of board to make a quick repair on a planter…and my shoe finds a little not-so-cute gift from the puppy. Then again Monday. And again Tuesday (which was a neat trick because, by then, I was alert to the possibility of stray stinkbombs).

I think the neighbors are just taking the little guy out at night for one last potty trip before bed and, it being dark out there, can't tell where he's made a deposit. But I seem to have an unerring knack for finding them!

Of course, one portion of The Yard, under the fig tree, seems to be poop central for the neighborhood cats. The aster and lemon balm seem to thrive on it, but when I harvest figs this year, I'm wearing the really old, nasty shoes, and leaving them outside.

Despite being a cat person.

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