Ok, so what is actually with this stuff? It is poo. Excrement. Crud. Plop. Faeces. Crap. Turd. Shit. It stuff that smells putrid, contains an untold quantity of germs and is supposed to go down a toilet. So why on earth do I keep finding this stuff, only this stuff from dogs, on the goddamn pavement?! Dog mess. Or dog (insert any of the aforementioned words here).
I have no idea what other people think about this stuff. Indeed, I have witnessed people happily wading through steaming piles of it, either completely oblivious that it was there, or they simply didn’t care. And I don’t get it. I am totally repulsed by it. I’m sick to the back teeth of seeing it on the pavement, in the park, next to a tree, actually on a tree stump in the park the other day.
The thought of this stuff finding its way onto the bottom of my shoe gives me terrors. I’m not exaggerating. It has done so since I was a child and mum used to bang on about avoiding it at all costs. We were encouraged to always watch where we were treading when walking anywhere. This included in the park when running around. I actually don’t remember many times that we managed to sprint through a pile of turd, but when it has happened it has been thoroughly soul destroying.
As a teenager I remember having the misfortune of treading through this stuff with a relatively new pair of trainers and I’m certain that said trainers went straight in the bin. As an adult, I rode my bike through a huge pile of it and I don’t think I ever mentally recovered from the mess that created. Thank goodness the bike had mud flaps.
Even worse, one time as a student nurse, I was on a district nurse placement with my mentor, who we will name ‘Tat’. We went into a house to see a patient and the house was occupied by a family of deaf people. It was only after we finished our business and left the house did Tat realise that she had trodden in dog poo and had probably trodden it through the patient’s house. The next day we returned to the same house, and those people accused ME (in mime) of treading poo through their house! Needless to say I was mortified and strongly denied that it was me. Tat never admitted to them it was her, the cheeky mare.
So there are some examples of my dealings with canine crud, which I feel that I may have a few issues with, yet can’t really put a finger on why. My perception of other people’s feelings on this is that if it happens, it is a bit of a messy inconvenience, but not that big of a deal. I could be wrong.
I know that dog mess, like most other carnivore’s or omnivore’s stool, is riddled with harmful bacteria. In fact, I believe that some of the bacteria in dog poo is so dangerous, that it could actually cause blindness (Google toxocariasis if you don’t believe me).
So where am I heading with this? Well now that I am a grown-up and am have mastered the art of meticulously avoiding treading in dog mess, my attention now turns to my children. I feel like I am reliving my childhood avoidance of dog mess all over again. Keeping my eyes peeled while my unobservant toddler treads the streets, oblivious to the stinky brown stuff, whilst negotiating the double buggy on the (horribly uneven) Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames’ pavements is a potentially dangerous and smelly minefield.
I actually have major concerns about letting my toddler run freely in open green spaces (parks), which I think is a total shame. I find myself marking him closely when he runs off. He must be thinking ‘mummy, can you just please GO AWAY and let me run?’
With my mild dog shit OCD, I wondered if anybody else feels the same way. Do other parents happily let their toddlers and young children run freely in the parks and just deal with any footwear soiling if it happens? Are other parents woken at night with nightmares of their child’s size 7 Clarks being covered in doggy diarrhoea? Or are you all just letting them have a carefree time in the park, throwing caution to the wind and dealing with any puppy plop disasters if and when they occur?
I would love to know your thoughts.
Till next time.