Please Keep Your Paws Off My Lawn

I want a dog someday. The reason I want a dog someday and not today is because I’m not yet ready for the many responsibilities that come with owning a dog. So it drives me absolutely bonkers when I see dog owners not taking responsibility for their dogs, especially when their dogs plop that responsibility right on my front lawn.

All the more bonkers when that plopping becomes a daily occurrence.

I tried to be cute about it. I nailed a sign to my tree that reads, “Please keep your paws off my lawn.” Nothing.

I added a bin of plastic bags with a sign reading, “Don’t let another plastic bag die without purpose. Use it to pick up after your pet.”

Unfortunately, my signs seemed to be taken as a challenge to certain dog owners. Over the months, the front lawn became a minefield.

It was time to get serious. I went to Costco and bought bulk containers of pepper and drowned the circumference of my lawn. But the pepper party was in vain. I would go into a sneezing fit every time I left my house, but the dogs simply walked further into my lawn to do their business.

It was maddening.

I started having anxiety every time I pulled into my driveway, afraid of what I’d find. Is this what Vietnam was like?

It had to stop.

I was cleaning my shoe from a recent failed attempt to navigate my lawn, when I saw an old lady, of about 80, walking her two Pomeranians.

Not you, too, Grandma.

Something snapped.

I stayed at my window, wanting to catch Old Woman River in the act. She didn’t have a plastic bag with her. This tart was mine. And then: Boom goes the dynamite.

I bolted out of my house, shoe still in hand. I ran over to the tree where the dog had been and tried to locate his droppings. Aha! There!

When I looked up, the little old lady had scooted her tiny butt down quite a few houses. For someone so severely hunched over, she sure could move fast.

“Are you going to pick this up?”

“That’s not mine,” she said. “I picked up after my dog.”

“Show me the bag then. Show me.”

“No,” she said. Moving as fast as her little brittle legs would carry her.

I was a crazy person. I power-walked toward her, screaming.

“Why not? Because you don’t have a bag? Because you didn’t pick it up? Because your dog’s crap is still on my lawn?” I said, catching up to her.

“I won’t pick it up. You can’t make me,” she said.

I stopped in my tracks, stunned by her defiance.

“Pick up after your dog,” I said.


“Fine. Then I will just follow you home and crap on your lawn. Do you hear me, old lady? I will find out where you live and pull down my pants and go right on your lawn!”

Granny shuffled across the street to get away from me. I was just about to follow her, when I noticed a dozen neighbors staring at me. People had heard me yelling and come out of their homes to watch me verbally accost and threaten someone who looked like Mrs. Claus.

This was a new low.

My rage dissipated, replaced by shame. I tried to explain to my neighbors.

“Her dog — she didn’t — my lawn. Never mind.”

Head hung, dirty shoe in hand, I walked back home.

Over the next few days, I took down my signs, washed the pepper away. I had lost the Battle of the Dogs. But as the weeks went on, I noticed my lawn cleared. The minefield, gone.

I ran into a neighbor, who said, “Heard you went Rambo on old lady Peterson. People are afraid to walk their dog past your house.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be sorry. Those jerks are avoiding our street altogether. My lawn never looked better.”

I guess it’s one thing to defy friendly signs but something else entirely to challenge a crazy person who might chase you down the street, threatening to defecate on your lawn. Lesson learned.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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