Fecal Matters (or Pregnant Ladies Do the Darndest Things)

We got our doggie—what my friend Jen aptly termed our “practice mammal”—five years ago. We fell for the little black-and-white fuzzball instantly, naming her Nico because I have a thing for The Velvet Underground. Nico deserves credit for instigating our most beloved family routine, evening walks.

It was such a foreign thing at first, leaving home in order to walk around the neighborhood behind an animal in the hopes that it might poop. Even odder was picking that poop up, securing it inside a little plastic bag and then carrying that bag with me as I continued to walk. Those first few outings, I could think of little outside of, I am right this instant holding my dog’s poop. I’d see other dog-walkers and for the first time, it hit me: They’re all carrying poop. Little did I know that becoming a dog owner also made me a member of the Turd-Carriers Club, legions of folks who routinely mill about the world with their beloved canine’s fecal material on their person. I knew that technically, it fell within the bounds of “normal,” but I still had the distinct feeling that it shouldn’t.

Flash forward five years, and I no longer think about the fact that I’m toting poop. It’s old hat. Yesterday’s news. My name is Berit, and on a daily basis, I carry my dog’s poop. Actually, now that I have a kid, on a daily basis I not only carry poop, I wipe up poop, hope for poop, plan for poop and cheer for poop. It’s a fact of life. A stinky, disgusting fact of life.

In all honesty, I don’t have to pick it up much anymore. In this house, being pregnant and therefore constantly on the verge of puking gets you out of poop duty. Now, on our nightly walks, Clint pushes the stroller and I walk the dog, and when Nico stops to do her business, I call out, “Pooper!” so Clint can turn the stroller around and scoop.

The other night we were on a walk, and for the millionth time I watched Nico do her thing—circle and sniff, then hunch over, all four paws nearly touching, with a look of slightly embarrassed forced nonchalance on her little doggie face. It’s hard to blame her. What if you were expected to poop out in the open, in front of the mailman and everyone, on a daily basis? I’ve had that thought before. I know I can’t be the only one.

Maybe I was overly giddy at finally starting to feel better. Maybe I’ve grown a little too comfortable with poop. Maybe I’ve simply lost my mind. But that evening, for whatever reason, I called out, “Pooper!” then proceeded to mimic Nico’s poop-pose right there on an unknown neighbor’s front lawn.

Yes, I did.

On two legs, not four, but I do believe I had the hunch and the face down pat. And as I waited for Clint to turn my way, I heard laughter coming from behind me. Meaning from the direction of the home to which the yard belonged. Luckily, this was a homeowner who did not get irate at the sight of a pregnant woman, family in tow, mock-pooping on her lawn.

“Of course you saw that,” I said, relaxing back into a normal stance.

“At least you’re picking it up,” she countered, as my knight in shining armor swooped and scooped.

Touché. Yeah, it’ll be a while before we take that route again.

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  1. by anti jen

    On September 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Being hyperlinked in the same paragraph as the Velvet Underground pretty much made my day. And it’s a really good day! I will note that we purchased our schnoodle solely for her lack of output. Being the primary poop-dealer in our home, no more drooling car-sized dogs (and their poop) that left fur everywhere. Low-maintenance is key when you’re the mammal wrangler. And for that, I wholeheartedly endorse the American Sledding Schnoodle to all families.

  2. by Eve

    On September 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Jen, your dog had explosive diarrhea on my lap, during a meal. Maybe you forgot that. I. Never.will.

    Berit at 38 weeks you will be looking at Nico with envy.

  3. by Eve

    On September 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Whoa. I swear, that was not my complete response. I do love little dogs. I don’t miss the troubles pregnancy poops.

    So glad you are feeling so much better!

  4. by Berit Thorkelson

    On September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Yeah, schnoodles are awesome. Even if the poop is explosive, there’s still less of it, am I right?

    Eve, I don’t remember OB poop problems! I hope I’m not blocking them because they were so horrid… it’d have to be fairly bad for me to wish I could literally poop on someone’s front lawn.

  5. by Stefanie

    On September 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    So in my dad’s family, poop is an acceptable topic in mixed company – even at dinner. This doesn’t fair well with my mom…but for whatever reason, we find it necessary to discuss. Whether it belongs to the dog, the baby, livestock, or us, it’s just a fact of life.
    As someone who walks dogs as part of her job, I often think, hmm…I’m being paid to carry poop…I also sometimes think – are people watching me let this puppy poo on their yard gonna yell at me before I have a chance to retrieve it! What a thing to have angst about!

    As for Eve’s comment – I agree. Nuff said.:)