A few weeks ago, my partner Lisa and I were walking our two dogs around the block. She had one and I had the other. We were only a few houses away from finishing our walk, when the neighbor (I’ll call him “Joe”) across the street came out of his house to chat with Lisa (I was lagging behind by about 10 meters chatting with another neighbor). I noticed a lot of hand motion going on with Joe as he talked with Lisa, so I made my way up to get in on the conversation. Turned out that he was making it absolutely clear that he did not want our dogs on his lawn, nor does he want our dogs to pee or poop on his lawn. This point has always been pretty clear to us, considering he has signs all over his lawn that say “NO DOGS ON LAWN!” We’ve never allowed our dogs to step a paw on his lawn. Apparently, however he saw our dog, Balto, pooping on the lawn next to his – and he didn’t like that either.
|Getting "the picture" yet?|
Balto has a bit of poop anxiety in that he’d really prefer to go in private, where no one can see him. Getting him to poop in our crowded neighborhood is always a struggle. There just aren’t enough places for him to find his own space. He’ll hold it in to the very last minute, until he begins to go into the poopy panic and pant. It’s a gift when he finally goes (yes, poop can be a gift), but it’s so painful, out of fear the neighbors will be upset, to have to pull him away from lawns when he’s just about to go. I get it. Some folks don’t want pee burn stains on their lawn, nor do they want other dogs pooping on their property, even if it is cleaned up. I understand. For the record, we ALWAYS clean up! Always.
Back to my story. So, one evening I was walking Balto alone and he did his usual, hold it in to the last minute thing. When the anxiety of no longer being able to hold it set in, he pooped on the side of the lawn of the house next to Joe's. There was nothing I could do but let him do his thing. Apparently Joe must have been looking out his screen window, and saw this. He also saw me pick up the poop AND he witnessed Balto peed on the telephone pole across from his property. His comment to Lisa during the conversation I witnessed was this; “Your buddy, you know, your running buddy, allowed THAT (pointing to Balto) dog to poop on this lawn (pointing to side of the neighbor’s lawn). Lisa’s response was, “Well this is not your lawn and we never let our dogs on your lawn. We also always pick it up the poop and I’m sure that Martha picked it up.” Joe came back with, “Well she did not pick it all up.” Okay, this is totally not true. I picked it all up … to the point I was scraping the grass with the bag. When I finally approached the two of them to get in on the conversation, he reprimanded me, telling me not to allow my dogs to poop or pee on his lawn, NOR can they pee on the telephone pole across from his house. I told Joe that I never allowed my dogs to do business on his property. He went on to tell me about him witnessing Balto poop on the neighbor’s lawn … and that kid’s play on that lawn sometimes ….. so don’t let my dogs on that lawn.”
|This one says, "keep off the grass."|
I was so stunned that I wasn’t sure what to say. My first thoughts were, “Really? Is this what matters to you? Is this kind of thing that causes stress in your life? Is this how you spend your time – watching and waiting to see if dogs poop on or near your property?” I decided that this was a battle that wasn’t worth fighting. I felt sorry for Joe. I felt sorry that he had such misery and anger in his soul. I ended up putting my hand on his shoulder and simply apologizing and walking away. I felt he didn’t deserve to take any of my power or energy from me over this ridiculous scenario/situation. What did sit with me was his reference to me as Lisa’s “running buddy.” I did not learn of this comment until we got back to the house. It’s pretty clear in this neighborhood that we are partners who own a home together along with two dogs who occasionally can’t hold their poop in long enough to make it to the park a few streets away! I do plan on letting him know, for future reference, that Lisa is not my running buddy, but rather my partner in life and in marriage. He’s going to have to get over that one. I’ll stand up for us on that one.
The point of this story is that I am constantly reminded of how many people miss out on what’s really important in life - what’s really GREAT about life. I’m reminded of how something so insignificant can cause such stress in one’s life.
What REALLY MATTERS IN LIFE FOLKS? What matters to you? Here’s a few on the top of my list:
- That I am providing value to others (enrichment of their lives) and feeling valued in my life from my job and my relationships. This is huge! If I don’t feel valued in my personal relationships, it’s not worth cultivating. I’ll walk.
- To remind myself of all that is going well and is good in my life. To appreciate those things and be grateful for them – especially when I experience times of indecisiveness or am on the verge of resigning into a crappy mood.
- Being kind. Being honest. Being real. Take off the mask people.
- Simplicity. I don’t like having a lot of stuff. Things don’t matter. What I do with my life and the relationships that I cultivate do matter. I could be happy living in a 500sq foot home. I don’t because I’m not sure that Lisa feels the same way! Actually, I am sure. It’s true that “all you need is love (and a garden).”
- Authentic conversation. I don’t enjoy small talk – although it’s a great, and sometime necessary skill. I’m not a big crowd, social person. I like one-on-one – let’s face each other and talk about stuff below the surface. Ask questions. This is what best friends and close family members are good for in life.
- Times of silence.
- Having people in my life that listen.
- A big belly laugh … the kind that makes it hard to breathe or stand up straight. They are hard to come by.
- Dark chocolate with almonds and a glass of wine at night (not necessarily together … but that’s good too). They matter to me. Simple pleasures.
- The freedom and joy of taking an outdoor shower.
- My health and the fact that I can move, sweat and get my heart rate pumping .... especially during a run in the warm summer rain.
- Having and expressing compassion - especially for dogs …. And especially for dogs with poop anxiety).
|I need poop privacy|
|Nothing like peeing in the kiddie pool.|