Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Everybody Poops June 21, 2013

It’s time to talk poop. That’s right, you read correctly. Everybody does it. I hear there is even a book about it for toddlers who are potty training. Taro Gomi’s aptly named “Everybody Poops,” brings to life one of life’s most private and unspeakable things. Well, consider this topic private and unspeakable no more.

If you’re a dog, you already know what I’m about to say. If you’re a human, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed the spectacle firsthand. Either way, the poop circle is a very real thing in the canine world. Most of us labor and pine to find the perfect spot to go number two and just because we find it doesn’t mean the process has ended. Indeed it has only just begun. There is sniffing. There is turning in circles. There is more sniffing. And more turning. Until finally, sometimes a minute or two later, the deed is done.

Embarrassed?

I’m not sure if what happens next is true of all breeds, but (at least in my case) there is usually a (somewhat crazy) celebratory dance that completes the poop circle ritual. It’s nothing I consciously think about and yet it happens every time. The ritual is not complete without my (occasionally downright spastic) little jig afterward.

I got to thinking about this today after I witnessed the unthinkable at the dog park for the millionth time. It doesn’t happen often, but today I watched as a big black lab (whose name I didn’t catch) did his business right out in the open for the world to see. This is not unheard of, I realize, but the owner was amidst the audience (saw it happen) and physically turned away refusing to acknowledge what had transpired.

Shortly thereafter, the man and his dog left the park without doing anything about the stinky pile of poop in the middle of our shiny new exercise area. It only opened a few weeks ago, so everything about it is still so fresh, new and exciting. Then things like that happen. After the man left, one of the nice ladies my mom has befriended went to pick up the aftermath and said “pay it forward” while she tossed it in the nearby garbage can.

Her positive attitude made me reflect on that moment of freedom and celebration after the deed is done. The truth about the poop circle is there is no real mystery behind it. I’m sure there have been some studies that research why dogs do what we do to make the magic happen. But to me there is a lesson to be learned from all this. “You have to motivate yourself with challenges,” American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld suggests. “That’s how you know you’re still alive.” Poop happens. Everybody does it, but beyond that poop happens in our lives every now and then. Are we going to ignore it like the man at the park did? Or are we going to face it head on and pay it forward like the woman? The choice is ours.