Theories on the Doggie Problem
Along for the Rye’d
By Annabel Monaghan
PULLQUOTE: “On the surface honking means “get moving lady”, but deep down it means “for the love of God, please let my kids go back to school.”
In the same way that the President is not a doctor, I am not a social scientist. I like to watch things unfold, look for patterns, and then share my uninformed opinion like it’s fact. I imagine that I’m not the only armchair scientist who is waiting for history to review the effects of the pandemic on human behavior. There are myriad disorders that have emerged, including over-eating, over-drinking, hoarding, and organizing. But the first question we need to tackle is: Why is there suddenly so much dog poop on the streets?
I’ve done research in the field, observing with my own eyes the actual droppings. During the first week of the quarantine, I wondered if a 300-pound man had begun using Manursing Way as a toilet. Then I began observing smaller specimens along the way, at irregular intervals. Sometimes they are encased in plastic bags, carefully tied at the top, and then left on a rock to heat in the sun. Sometimes they are left unbagged in the grass with the plastic bag posed nearby, as if by a serial killer trying to convey a message.
I’ve scoured outside sources. Many documents on the Rye Moms Facebook page reiterate my findings, and comments on those documents support the fact that this problem is widespread. The problem has even made it to city government, where it was reported upon in my favorite and most trusted news source: The Mayor’s weekly COVID update. In short, it’s not just my sneakers that have been defiled.
So, I have some theories that I mull over during my walk through the minefield that is Forest Avenue.
Theory 1: We are walking our dogs so often that the poop has gotten away from us. The only explanation for all these extra walks is that people are looking for a break from their spouses. Who can blame us? Not since Adam and Eve have married couples spent so much time together. All Eve wanted was a minute to eat that apple in peace without Adam pacing by and asking a bunch of questions. What’s this bill? Why’s the pantry like that? Where do we keep the stud finder? Listen, I get it. In the pre-COVID world, marriage really just amounted to sharing a bathroom in the mornings and then catching up in the evening over “Jeopardy”. We need to walk the dog, and we’re sick of picking up after people.
Theory 2: We are cooking more at home so we are feeding our dogs more scraps, thereby increasing the quantity of feces to a level that cannot be managed. There was a time when I prepared only breakfast and dinner for a skeleton crew of three. Those two meals coincided with the feeding of my dog. We scientists call this “equilibrium”. I now prepare five breakfasts between 8 and 2, which overlap with five lunches between 11 and 4. These bleed into dinner. Is this enough to create an unmanageable amount of waste in a 14-pound dog? Possibly.
Theory 3: The leaving of the poop is an act of aggression against The Man. You’ve locked me up, you’ve forced me to wear a mask. I’ve been cooking for three months straight. You can’t make me pick up that poop. In my own psyche, I have noticed an uptick in aggression brewing just below the surface. While I am trying to focus on how nice it is to have this “bonus time” with my kids, and I’m sending friends photos of my homemade mayonnaise, there’s a rage simmering. People jogging on the wrong side of the street. Anyone posting about their kids helping with the housework. A woman removing her mask in the produce department to talk on the phone. (I stopped to listen; she was not reporting an emergency to Homeland Security.) I can almost see how people are driven to casually strew dog poop.
It’s not just me. I’ve observed that people no longer allow the one second grace period before honking at you to get moving at a green light. During the split second it takes for that green light to send a message from my brain to my foot so that I can move it from the break to the gas pedal, I am being honked at. I find this particularly interesting, because we have no place to go. Are you really in such a big hurry to get home? I guarantee your dog doesn’t need to be walked. I submit that pressing that horn acts as sanctioned yelling. On the surface it means “get moving lady” but deep down it means “for the love of God, please let my kids go back to school.”
In conclusion, I believe that the phenomenon we are witnessing is rage littering. It is an outlet for pent-up aggression in a time of crisis. The only known treatment is a COVID vaccine.