The benefits of dog ownership are endless and can be both mental and physical. They’re there when you need them most — and when it’s finally your turn to speak up during the conference call you’ve been patiently sitting on for the last 37 minutes — and they provide the comfort that comes with never being alone.
They’re always in the mood for a bite to eat and will never turn down a head scratch or a belly rub. And when you need to give your legs a stretch, they’ll be ready to join you, leash in mouth and tail wagging.
Taking your dog for a walk can be one of life’s simplest pleasures. It’s great exercise for you and your pooch and it gives you an opportunity to put your acting chops to the test when you reluctantly wave and smile at that neighbor you can’t stand. It also serves as the perfect mental health break in this always-connected world. But if there’s one thing that can take your walk around the block from enjoyable to debilitating in an instant, it’s the sinking feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach when you reach for a poop bag and come up empty-handed.
Picture this; it’s a crisp fall morning and you’re a mile into your two-mile stroll, coffee in one hand, neon leash in the other. Your dog is having the time of its life and decides to pull over for a pit stop. This is great for two reasons; first, your dog is about to relieve itself and continue the walk with an extra pep in its step and, second, the likelihood of having an accident in your house has been minimized.
However, during this particular walk, you’re unequipped to handle the current situation. After you’ve come to grips with the fact that you’re stranded and poop bag-less, you’ve got three options:
1. Make a run for it and never look back. Be careful. While this is the easiest route to take, it’s also the rudest. Someone has undoubtedly been watching this scenario unfold and will stare you down the next time they see you.
2. Wait until that neighbor you can’t stand walks by and pray the neighbor has an extra poop bag handy. Come on, you’ve faked enough smiles to land a minor role at the local theater, what’s one more?
3. Head home, refill the bag holder, and return to the scene of the crime to collect your dog’s droppings. This option is the noblest, but there’s some risk involved. It’s possible someone sees you flee the scene and fails to see you return to where your dog left its mark. While your conscience is clear, they’ll consider you a doo-doo-ditcher.
Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that your actions not only represent you, but also your dog. If you want your furry friend to be respected throughout your neighborhood, it’s in your best interest to always keep a well-stocked poop bag holder. And while you’re at it, stuff an extra bag in your pocket so that when the opportunity presents itself, you can be the hero that stranded neighbor desperately needs.
Robert Spinrad lives with his wife and dog in Glenside. You can connect with him @robertlspinrad.