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Pencil Shavings

Photo credit: Bobby Jones – The Sentry

As I was walking around the dog park with my pups, I saw a man searching the ground in the middle of the field—grocery bags overflowing from his pockets, a large bag of poop hanging from one hand, and an inverted bag covering his other hand. He was picking up all the poop he could find.

In case you were unaware, it is common dog park courtesy to pick up your dog’s poop and throw it away. There are many people, however, who forget to—or just don’t—do this. And as I walk around the park and see old pieces of poo that have been ignored and forgotten, I usually just shake my head in disapproval of the negligent owner and move on. I do pick up this mystery poo occasionally, like when it is near the site of my own dog’s poop, but for the most part I just focus on my own pups.

I never realized how wrong I was acting or how hypocritical I was being until I saw this man, who had obviously come to the park with the intention of poop pickup, attempting to make the entire park poo-free—whether the waste came from his own dog’s butt or another’s.

When I scroll through dog rescue websites, which is quite often, I get sad because I wish I had the time and money to give all the dogs a home. I wish that I had more time to dedicate to volunteering. I blame my lack of helping animals on my inability to do so. But then I saw this man at the dog park making a cleaner, safer place for pets at a time he would probably be at the dog park anyways. I felt lazy and selfish.

I go to the dog park almost every day. It never occurred to me that this time could be spent making a difference. It made me question all the excuses I’ve made based on my lack of time in other areas of my life, too. Now, I search for more creative approaches to the things I want to do but thought I didn’t have time for.

I strive to be more like poop-bag guy, and I encourage you to do the same.

Tessa Blair
Tessa Blair

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