Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Great Suburban Traditions No. 3 - Dog Crap

Just say No! to Chelsea
There are two kinds of dog owners in suburbia. The first kind are the sane and the civilised who have a fenced-in yard, take their dogs for walks on the end of a leash, and who carry around small plastic bags to clean up their pet’s crap. My direct neighbours have a dog like this, a healthy and slim black labrador named Maggie I’ve just had the pleasure of looking after for the weekend while they were away. Just to get it straight that I love dogs, see.

The second kind are the sociopaths who have no fenced-in yard, and who let their dogs roam free to crap wherever they feel like it. After all, it’s a free country for dogs too, right? That would be the dog from two doors down, a spaniel of some sort who’s taken a liking to the smell of our front yard and constantly craps there. Now that the yard smells of nothing but its rear-end waste, she likes it even more.

That this dog is called Chelsea is a further blow. The crap-happy hound started shitting on our grass right around the time Russian billionaire Roman Abramovic took over my least favourite football team in the world, Chelsea FC, and they started winning trophies by virtue of the multi-millions they spent on Europe’s best players. That a dog with such a name would take to dumping on my space just as its namesake football team was buying its way to glory seemed doubly unjust.

I sent a very polite e-mail to its owner saying that I didn’t much enjoy clearing up her dog’s mess, and could she do something about it, please. Much too polite, as it turned out, because she ignored it. She’s employed ‘doing something on Capitol Hill’ (presumably not working on legislation to prosecute violators of environmental laws) and is a very busy woman, it seems. Professional dog walkers come during the day and walk the dog properly. At all other times, the voiding cur has free rein to squat on my turf and let it all out.

What sort of neighbour ignores a polite e-mail? If someone had sent me an e-mail like that, I’d have gone round with flowers, an apology, and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. Because, like most people, I’d be kind of embarrassed that my dog was shitting on someone else’s property. I’d see it as my responsibility.

Chelsea still kept calling around to drop off her fecal deposits. Sometimes I’d see her and try to chase her back down the road, but the animal was too dumb to realise I was angry, and would just unapologetically come over to be petted (I’m sure if she could speak she’d have asked me to wipe her arse too). And so I started putting her piles of crap in a plastic bag and leaving them on the neighbour’s doorstep. My other neighbours said I needed to post them through the front door to get the message home, and maybe they were right. One day I got so mad I typed out a firm letter. I threatened, reluctantly, “further action” (though I’d no idea what that would entail). Before I could change my mind I dropped it through the letter box. But the woman who works on Capitol Hill doesn’t work on Capitol Hill for nothing. She ignored it.

The next step was to actually call round. “Could you please clean up the crap your dog’s just left on our verge?” She squinted at me like I was a rogue pedlar. “Verge?” was all she said. Ah damn it, my big moment and I go and choose a British word. “You know, the grass part next to the road.” She cleaned it up, but with bad grace and, again, no apology. It’s amazing how some people have the knack of making you feel like you’re in the wrong for them having a dog that craps in your yard.

Finally, I stooped to her level. Last month I scooped up four piles of Chelsea’s crap in the snow shovel and dumped them right on her front doorstep. It took me over two years to get this far. Our garden’s been clean ever since. I suppose you have to speak the only language these people understand. Crap.

In another positive development, Chelsea FC are not doing so well right now. They’re six points off the lead in the English Premier League, and Abramovic is falling out with the coach Jose Mourinho for having wasted too much of his cash on expensive players who haven’t produced the goods. I like to think I’ve messed with Chelsea’s karma. In fact I think I’ve dumped all over it.


Uncle Sticky said...

Lovely folk tale. I was really hoping you were going to end up dumping all over her front lawn with local journalists and TV crews in tow.

This is the area where laser technology will come in handy, frying the little canine bastards as soon as they leave their own paddock.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Until then, Uncle Sticky, I'll have to rely on the old-fashioned boot. Yesterday, with the winter's snow freshly melted, the hint of spring air brought my canine friend back to her old dumping ground. I pulled up the sash and yelled at her to shift, but she just gave me that docile 'you are irrelevant' look before settling into the familiar, haunches-down pose. So I sprinted out the front door and caught her a solid one with my trusted right foot. Yes, I finally did what Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers et al have failed to do the past few seasons and gave Chelsea a good kicking. She was surprised, offended and unhurt (too much fat protection), and scuttled off down the road as fast as her unpractised limbs would allow. Hopefully from now on she will associate the spot with a rush attack from a bellowing, studs-up foreigner rather than the sweet smell of exorcised chow.