Dog Day Afternoon

It’s been a tough few weeks. The Cats have lost a few games, the Pies have won a few games, the Essendon saga has been dragging on longer than the Roman siege of Masada, the Poms are winning the cricket, the cycling, and Wimbledon, the Royals are breeding, which is frightening in itself, but it also puts them in the headlines ad nauseum  and sends the noble republican cause back decades, and I’ve been trying to teach my daughter how to execute a reverse three point park; a concept that seems to elude even experienced female drivers.


On top of all that the lunatics in the Canberra asylum called an election. Since that momentous announcement the media has discovered that Abbott finds some women sexy and Rudd flicks his hair and licks his lips a lot. Meanwhile the country meanders.


To escape the monotony I decided to put the rubbish bins out. Wheely bins are extraordinarily valuable; so valuable that local councils charge each household hundreds (even thousands) of dollars each year to empty them. I think they misspell the word “rates”. It should have a “P” in it rather than a “T”. But I’m thankful that each week I can leave my bin of refuse on the nature strip so the garbage truck can arrive outside our bedroom window at 5.16am, blasting on its air breaks, before slamming into reverse (BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!), cutting the corner of the gutter, breaking the crumbling cement, and crushing the pathetic plants I’m growing on the verge. (Then six months later I will get a letter of explanation from the Council telling me my rapes have increased by the size of the Greek debt because of all the repair work required on damaged gutters in the municipality).


So there I am dragging my green plastic waste management system across the footpath when I see a woman walking towards me with her dog. The dog is more your grizzly bear sized beast than your fluffy slipper size. A she approaches me she pulls reassuringly on the lead so the beast glances up at its boss and momentarily takes its eyes off me (I bet it was picturing me as a steaming hot, freshly cooked roast chicken surrounded by colourful vegetables and crispy baked potatoes).


I push the bin onto the nature strip and wonder why both woman and dog are still next to me. Upon closer investigation I realise that the dog is dumping a week’s worth of meaty bites right next to my native hibiscus. Not wanting to be too involved in the burly dog’s chunky dump I slip past the two of them and head for the gate.


Now it seems to me that dogs have the same power these days as Her Maj. Both have humans picking up after them (in theory). I wander what my grandfather would say, were he still here, if I explained that humans now pick up dog dumps? It would as baffling to him as a text message, especially as he used to run a newsagency in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, in the 1940s just a few doors down from the Builder’s Arms Hotel. In those days the local dogs were scrawny street survivors, and their owners were much the same. The only thing that got picked up in those streets were teeth from a recent fight.


I was about to close my front gate, comfortable in the fact that the dog’s land mine would be collected by its owner, when I noticed that both owner and dog were scampering away, leaving the steaming mess of old horse flesh sitting on my verge like a tourist’s plastic replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.


“OOOiiii!” I yelled after the woman, who was travelling fast enough to outdo Usain Bolt, “Come and pick up your dog crap!”


“I’ve run out of plastic bags” she yelled over her shoulder.


And there it was. SHE ran out of plastic bags, therefore I have to deal with her dog’s waste. What is the accepted behaviour here? Do I dash after her and make a big commotion about dog pooh or do I just slink inside and cop it sweet? Is there such a thing as dog pooh karma? Will an elephant dump on her verge one day? And if I did chase her might her grizzly bear take exception to my demonstration and chomp off my arm? Would it all be worth it? What would the “reasonable man” do in those circumstances?


Befuddled, baffled, bewildered I went inside without protest. Am I weak? Was my behaviour, my lack of protest, pathetic? What sort of message was the dog pooh sending to my children? I needed to do something. I needed to act. So I grabbed a piece of cardboard, a thick black texta, and scrawled a large sign for my front fence. I wrote:


“Ask not what your neighbour can do for you ask what you can do for your neighbour.”


I hope dog walker reads it.


The dog pooh is still there. The brisk winter nights have petrified it into a frozen miniature monument; a brown piece of modern art, sculptured and worked by nature’s magic that would not be out of place in Federation Square. It will not be moved! Long may dog walker see it if ever she passes this way again, well may she ponder her actions, and I hope her football team loses! (she wasn’t a Cats supporter – they don’t do those sorts of things).

About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Dips, how’s the look when dog owners see you as their dogs are laying their barkers eggs on your nature strip then go through the pantomime of rummaging through their pockets for a bag. Shocked they are that there isn’t one present.
    The key is to not avert your stare – they’ll try and pick it up with whatever is handy – sticks, ATM receipts….very entertaining.

  2. I see my Aunty Jean got the address right then.

    Sending uncle Barry and his pet elephant Dumper round tomorrow!

  3. Nice one MOC – that’s very funny.

    It smelt like a Collingwood supporter too.

  4. Dips, I agree with your deduction that the lady wasn’t a Cats supporter, if she was she would have blamed another dog. If she was a Hawthorn supporter she would have claimed her dog doesn’t poo. An Eagles supporter may have thrown it at you, a
    Brisbane supporter would have got another dog, an Adelaide supporter would have whinged that all the other dogs got to poo there, a Sydney supporter would have planted a flower in it, a Melbourne supporter would have tried to pick it up but fumbled and dropped it, a Richmond supporter would have been happy her dog managed to poo like all the other dogs, a Collingwood supporter would have played with it and if she claimed the poo didn’t stink she would have been an Essendon supporter.

  5. Aunty Jean doesn’t barrack for Collingwood.

    Dumper does though.

    One of those big green bags should do the trick.

  6. Our local park is a hive of multicultural activity where STWD (Shandy the Wonder Dog) and I walk most days. There are 2 soccer pitches that get activated for little league games and night time derbies that re-enact the Iran/Iraq war and several African tribal rebellions (except with smiles instead of nerve gas and machetes). Rain or hail in all seasons there is a ritual Sunday afternoon cricket match between sub-continental types. On the eve of the India/Sri Lanka World Cup final I asked an outfielder who he was supporting. He looked at me strangely and said “we are Bangla Deshi and the batting side are Nepalese.” There is a chubby left hander with all the batting mannerisms and flourishes of Arjuna Ranatunga who occupies the crease for hours nudging singles, oblivious to the exasperation of the fielding side. I think he snuck in by claiming he was Nepalese, but Tony and Kevin are onto him and I don’t reckon there is a cricket pitch on Manus Island. That should stop the blighters.
    Anyway the (eventual) point of the story is that Shandy and I were circumnavigating the cones that form the outfield boundary. Shandy is leashless as I figure he has as much right to the park as the ICC. Anyway he is his father’s dog so he generally gets in the way of the ball as little as possible. An outfielder looks across and see a mountainous pile where he may have to dive if he wants to be in the next KFC promo.
    “Pick up after your dog,” the illegal boat person and Cats supporter yells. I am incensed. “Go back to Corio,” I yelled pulling a pile of yellow plastics from my pocket. “What do you think these are – Richmond jumper offcuts?”
    Now my general rule is one for Shandy and one for the team. I try to pick up one extra dump on my way around, being a compassionate Eagles man, and I see it as compensation for the occasional one that Shandy sneaks in behind the changing rooms while I am not looking.
    The boat person and I form a sub-committee to forensically examine the offending heap. “Look mate its stone cold and congealed. And besides its the size of a Rottweilers. A Labrador couldn’t pass that unless he’d eaten a side of lamb in a single sitting.”
    The poor boat person concedes that perhaps he didn’t do the normal outfield trawl before taking up his position, and that on closer inspection the pile doesn’t look like a recent arrival. He trudges after a lofted cover drive with the spritely air of Watto in a county game.
    “Don’t bowl leg spin do ya?” I yell after him encouragingly, hoping to prolong his stay in our generous country.
    Thanks for reminding me of the difference between Liberal and Labor voters Dips. One mob leaves the shit hanging around in the belief that it will encourage others to be more self sufficient. The other mob steps in it and then says “what smell?”

  7. Brilliant Dips, and great response Matt

    Dips, surely the piece would be called Dog Do Do Afternoon.

    On the point of Dogs and footy clubs. I have my son Jackson (Cats supporter) pick up our dog’s do dos. I say it’s a chore but it may well be a Hawker exacting what little pain he can on a Catter.


  8. PB – you’ve neglected to mention the other political party in the shenanigans; the Watermelons. What would they do with dog pooh I wonder?

    R Kane – that’s child abuse! Just watch where Jackson is putting it. Has your car got a bit of a stench?

  9. Dips – The Watermelons would dry it and use it as an alternative energy source for power generation. Haven’t you ever heard of ‘brown outs’?

  10. Hoping the Hawks don’t have a ‘brown-out’ tonight!

  11. Any correlation between the calling of the election
    and the taking of a dump by the dog ?

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Entertaining article , Dips and amusing comments . Dips what is the update on the dog shit still there ? Thanks Dips

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