When life hands you lemons, toss them in the trash and eat cake

COL Letter: The Great East Side Dog Poop War

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: This is part of my series called Crotchety Old Lady (COL) Letters: Complaint letters written from the Crotchety Old Lady that resides deep inside my soul (and she doesn’t take Xanax, although she probably should).

PS – Thanks CS for reading my blog and getting me off my butt to write today, and thanks RK, who has no problem discussing poop with me (the hallmark of a true friend). XO to you both.


Dear Providence East Siders who Despise Dog Poop:

I understand. Dog poop is gross. In fact, all poop is gross. But it’s a necessary fact of life.

And thank God as inhabitants of the first world, with clean water and modern sewage systems, we can poop in the comfort of our own homes and then flush it out of sight/out of mind. (Unfortunately, approximately 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to clean, proper sanitation and do not “enjoy” the comforts we do.)

But the crotchety old lady digresses.

Unlike humans — at least modern first-world humans living where proper sanitation exists — dogs go outside. That’s another fact of life. And people, especially on the East Side of Providence, are very bitter about dog poop.

I’ve been chased, I’ve been cursed out, I’ve been screamed at by people in passing cars, I’ve been told that “your dog’s fucking pee kills my grass” (shouted from a 4th story window). By the way, a shout-out to the therapist whose office is on Angell Street: Do not stand out in front of your urban building and pontificate to me about the pros and cons of whether my dog should be pooping on your three blades of grass. Just make up your effing mind.

In recent years, a spate of letters have appeared in East Side Monthly magazine (I would post links, but this award-winning rag doesn’t have archives available online), with rants from irate East Side homeowners battling the scourge of dog shit on their perfectly manicured lawns. Here are some of the arguments and COL’s thoughts on the matter:

Argument #1: Use your own (bleeping) yard, not mine! It’s mine! It’s not yours. Nor is it your dog’s public restroom.

COL response: This is an urban neighborhood. Some people, including me, have no yard at all. I must walk down three flights from my rented apartment to the street below, regardless of the weather, and walk two blocks to find anything remotely resembling grass. There’s no shoving the dog out into a fenced yard when it’s 14 degrees. Where should I go, armed with my biodegradable dog poop bag?

Argument #2: Go to a park, not my (bleeping) yard!

COL response: Dogs are banned from the parks in my neighborhood. Come on, you know that! That’s where your nannies take your kids during the day to play.

Argument #3: Curb your (bleeping) dog!

COL response: So you’re asking me to make my dog poop in the road (ie, the curb), as you sit on your porcelain throne? How would you like your ass shoved into cold concrete where you must shit on command? Not so nice, eh? And, given the way Rhode Islanders drive, I would be downright stupid to stand in the street while my dog is taking a dump.

Argument #4: If you can’t deal with curbing your dog or taking it out of my neighborhood, you shouldn’t (bleeping) have one.

COL response: Sorry, my crystal ball was broken 12 years ago when I got my dog. I didn’t realize I’d be moving from a dog-friendly area to a neighborhood full of people whose biggest concern is cracking down on dog shit. What do you suggest I do? Return her? So she can enter back into a system where 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year? Taking on a shelter dog is one of the best things I ever did. Maybe you should look deep within your black soul and consider being a better person: Adopt a shelter dog yourself. And let it shit on someone else’s yard. Passive-aggression feels good!

Argument #5: Dog poop is full of disease and worms and (bleeping) gross stuff. It’s a health nuisance! Keep it off my yard!!

COL response: And that’s why I always clean up after my dog and I bring an extra bag so I can clean up after irresponsible dog owners. Yes, I am irked by those who don’t clean up after their dogs. Clean up, people! You give all dog-owners a bad name.

Argument #6: When you let your dog poop on my yard — regardless of whether you clean up — it attracts other dogs. Thus,  my yard turns into a (bleeping) dog outhouse. (Courtesy of the pontificating therapist on Angell Street.)

COL response: Whuh? And the squirrel, cat, opossum, raccoon, bird and skunk shit that is probably mashed into your yard DOESN’T attract other animals? Man, people just want to blame the dogs for everything. Other animals poop, too!

Arguments and responses aside, I propose a compromise: East Siders, you can keep putting up your

signs in your yard (tacky as they may be), and I will avoid those yards. (Anything else is fair game, sorry.) I will also continue to clean up after Dolly and will ask fellow dog owners to follow suit. In return, can you guys please stop using the Seven Stars Bakery on Hope Street as a child day-care center/mommy-and-me play group setting? If I have to keep my dog off your lawns, keep your screaming kids out of one of my favorite coffee shops.

Hugs and kisses,


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3 thoughts on “COL Letter: The Great East Side Dog Poop War

  1. This is great! I remember my dad used to freak about neighborhood people letting their dog crap on our lawn (and not clean it up). One day, a dog was about to do it’s business, and my crazy dad ran out there and put the shovel under the dog’s ass.

    I hope the East Siders accept your compromise!

  2. Dude. You’ve gotta write more. It’s too good to be so infrequent!

  3. robinbugbee on said:

    I don’t like this entry, I LOVE it!. Congratulations. You hit the nail on the head. I am a responsible dog owner who ALWAYS picks up poop and I use biodegradable bags. The number of block heads on the East Side who volunteer their opinions on dog poop is unbelievable. You got it crabby. I mean crochety.

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