Periodic Poo Post: A Nod to Dante’s Inferno

Not Dante

Now there’s a title you were not exactly expecting. Step back because lightning is going to strike me for either joking about circles of hell or using Dante and Virgil way out of line. Fortunately the woods are not dry (quite the opposite really) at the moment so if I get zapped there, the rest of you should be safe from a forest fire.

As you probably know because I’ve told you, I walk in the Weston conservation woods every day. Okay, every day that I am in Weston, so let’s call it 320 days per year, or so. I’ve walked in the lead-up to tropical storms (I don’t recommend that), -11 wind chill, snow up to the yahoo (Snowmaggedon year was hilarious, but darn good snowshoeing) and through buggy and hot summer. The woods change every day and I love this–first golden green in April, the lady’s slippers, dawn to day moments of wildflowers and giant green leaves to mushrooms, fall colors and then winter’s dark trees and white blanket. What never changes is poo. Doo doo. Turds, dung, crap. Excretory product. Squishy stuff that hardens in winter to my dog’s favorite snack: poopsicle.

While walking in Jericho this morning (did you know the word “Jericho” may derive from the Canaanite word for “fragrant”? Indeed, and fragrant it is, due to poo, but I digress in this long parenthetical diversion), it occurred to me that there are levels of bad stewardship among the dog owners and walkers, and it also occurred to me that Dante would have gotten an interesting tour with Virgil of the Inferno of Poo (I am guessing he would have had a better title for it like Doo-vine Comedy?) So, in the stead of Mr. Virgil who was unavailable for today’s tour, let me tell you about how I see the circles of dog poo scofflaws. No one seems to be stopped by fines, public shaming or our fine signs around town…so here is how I see which circle of hell you are going into.

Yah, no such thing as a Dog Poo Fairy. There is a Dog Poo Hell though. This is Highland Forest.

First Circle: These are the folks who see their dogs pooping off the trail and up the hillside. But the poo is far, and there is poison ivy and ticks, so what the heck? Let’s leave it. Honestly, there are not too many off-leash dog walkers who have not allowed this. It’s a crowded circle of the least bad poo leavers. They could easily move along to Purgatory if they could just get past the poison ivy.

Second Circle: This if for the folks who let their dog poop just off the trail, and can’t be bothered to pick it up. Yes, it does start to look like mushrooms after it is left long enough. It smells a lot in the summer. It is not nice.

The white one is not a mushroom.

Third Circle: This is for the folks who let their dog poo just off the trail NEXT TO A WETLAND. Duh.

Fourth Circle: Your dog has just pooed in the middle of the trail. That poo is lying in wait for your favorite WFTA trustee to step in. In spite of walking through A FOREST filled with twigs, you cannot find a stick with which to flick the poo off the trail? Really? See flicking would move you up at least into the second or third circle of hell. Why wouldn’t you? My shoes would thank you.

Fifth Circle: Not only is the poo in the middle of a trail, it is in the middle of the narrow plank bridge where people have to jump or step over the poo. This seems to be especially common on the plank bridges of the Bay Circuit Trail. In a way, I am impressed that your dog can squat and poo on a narrow plank, but on the other side, I am also negatively impressed that you are such a jerk as to leave it there. And if one single person tells me that is coyote poop not dog poop, you are immediately moved to the seventh circle of hell.

No poo on the bridge, please.

Sixth Circle: This circle is reserved for the folks who don’t clean up after their dogs on the Mass Central Rail Trail. We are not in Paris, folks. If there is poo on asphalt, we remove it. Remember, your dog has to be on a leash on the rail trail–you can’t pretend that you didn’t see your dog pooping. You saw it. Again, if you forgot a bag or this is a second surprise poop and you’re out of bags…FLICK! Find a twig and flick. Seriously.

Seventh Circle: this is a pretty bad circle, because these folks consider themselves virtuous. This is the Poo Bag leaver. You have picked up your dog’s poo but you leave it by the side of the trail or road or field in its green or blue or pink plastic bag–perhaps you think you will remember to pick it up, perhaps you have a memory like a sieve. I do not understand this one. Look down at your jacket. Does it say Patagonia? Look at your car back in the lot. Does it cost more than $35? Get the freaking dog poo carrier. There I’ve said it. This is my favorite dog poo carrier here. Also, your hands work. Well, most people have hands anyway.

Eighth Circle: Not only have you left your dog poo bag behind, but you have left it next to or on a sign that says pick up and take out your dog’s poo. I have no words.

If you leave a dog poo bag on a sign, you’re a jerk. There, I’ve said it.

Ninth Circle: You didn’t even read this all, but let your dog do whatever, onleash, offleash, jump up, poop everywhere. You are hopeless. I include in this circle the ones who let their dog poo on athletic fields. Burchard. Middle School. Who do you think is on that field? Kids. Gimme a break.

There, I think I’ve covered all I need to cover here. Or maybe I have just flicked it off the trail. This is really not complicated. And now maybe I will go back to covering “hard news” because I tire of the squishy stuff.

Carry on, Weston, and carry out.


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