Sunday, July 20, 2008

Serving Your Neighbor in a Small but Significant Way

My husband wears size twelve shoes. This became important as I was ruminating about what the subject of today’s blog would be. I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best (mental) writing while my hands are busy, and this particular ruminating moment, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing doggy doo out of the carpet of our travel trailer. We were at a family reunion where there were several dogs, and as my husband was setting up, he stepped in a generous pile and, unknowingly, tracked a size-twelve-ful of it through every area of the trailer.

That’s not the first time we’ve had this kind of trouble, lately. We live in a small town, but it’s a well-run little town and has a well-enforced leash law. You never see a dog running loose in town. However, we live on the very edge, and the people across the street live in the county, where the leash law doesn’t apply. They have a black and white spotted dog who must think our front lawn is malnourished, because he fertilizes it regularly. These are very nice neighbors, and I don’t think they know about their dog’s personal service project, but it’s been impressed upon our notice (and our living room carpet) on several occasions.

Our son (also size twelve shoes) was visiting from college and had to walk across the lawn to get to his car one Sunday morning. He got halfway to church before he realized the persistent odor hanging heavily around him was emanating from the soles of his own shoes. Since eau de doggy doo doesn't enhance one's coolness, he had to go home to clean up and was half an hour late.

This is not an earth-shaking problem. There are lots of more serious problems in the world. In fact, there are more serious dog problems in the world. We had one, once. When we lived in the country, someone gave us a beautiful husky-shepherd cross that we just loved. However, he started running with a couple other dogs, and one day, they killed a neighbor’s sheep. We had tried to keep him home by tying him up in a stall in the barn at night, but he chewed through the rope and dug out of the stall. Then, after the deed was done, he went back to the stall and acted like he was all innocence. The chewed rope and blood on his muzzle told the tale, though, and we got rid of him and paid the farmer for the sheep.

On a simpler note, I’d like to think, if I had a dog that left a pile on my neighbor’s lawn, I’d take responsibility for that, too. That’s my Service Topic for the day: monitor your dog. Pick up the poop. You will be serving your neighbor, and your neighbor will be grateful. Especially, if you live across the street from me.

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