The Zen of Picking up Dog Poo

Yes, you read that post title right. And no, this isn’t an Onion article.

I love dogs. I mean, LOVE them. A guy’s lack of interest in canine parenting was the potential deal-breaker in any relationship. “You don’t see a dog in your future? Then we have no future. Buh-bye.”

But with dogs comes  responsibility for their care and feeding. They need vet visits. Grooming. And sadly, unlike cats, they don’t do their business in a litter box. In our case, they do it in our backyard. IMG_9200(Dying lawn courtesy of seven-year drought and crummy sprinkler system. In the winter you can see mountains in the background. Okay, now I have to share a pic of the winter mountain view across our neighbor’s roof…)


At first, poop patrol was an onerous task. I’m not alone in feeling this way because there are companies nationwide dedicated to this job with great names like Doody Calls, DoodyDude, and DooCare. (Doggy parents, see how I provided links? You’re welcome.)

Then my life got complicated – a job, book deadlines, a sick mom, parental stress over the kid’s high school junior year and college prep. When I went out to the backyard to do doo due diligence (honestly, not even sure that makes sense but couldn’t resist!), something unexpected happened. I found the task calming. And immensely satisfying. As I spent the fifteen or twenty minutes needed to patrol the yard, I tapped into the zen of the simple effort. My mind could even wander in a way that it couldn’t during the rest of my waking hours, and I came up with ideas and fixes for various creative projects.

Oh, by the way, here are the mess makers:


(Pogo always wears Christmas sweaters because he’s cold 99% of the time and I buy them at Target during the holiday season for cheap. Wiley’s the white furbaby)

I now look forward to the zen of  doggy waste management. In fact, sometimes I need this break so much that I’m disappointed when I’ve already done the hunt for that day, and try to come with excuses for another go at it.

I assume there are other, less fragrant ways of achieving a zen state. But as a workaholic, I just can’t give myself permission to sit for ten minutes with my legs folded and my eyes closed taking deep, calming breaths. However, I can allow myself to do a job that must be done and has an added zen side benefit.

I need to complete this post because Wiley just went outside and assumed the position. FYI, I considered posting a picture of today’s full-to-bursting bag of doggy business, but chose not to. So once again… you’re welcome.

Readers, is there some odd, mindless task that gives you a zen moment?




27 thoughts on “The Zen of Picking up Dog Poo

  1. Weeding. Totally mindless (well, except for making sure NOT to pull out the onion/beet/cilantro/fennel/dill/whatever veggie you planted). As much as it sucks to have to do it over and over and over again, there’s a mindlessness to it that is relaxing. I’ve come up with a few (writers) block-busting solutions while playing in the dirt. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I walk my guys twice a day, but have to be on patrol for other dogs since I have a couple of barkers and I always end up apologizing to neighbors whose dogs aren’t. AND then there’s the occasional coyote appearance. Seriously. Boy, is that the opposite of a zen moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki, I actually get excited when my dogs do their business simultaneously. I’m not kidding. If that’s what excites me, it tells you something about my life these days.


  3. My daughter and son-in-law have a dog and I told my daughter I would help out with Beau, but NO POOP pickup. Sorry. I will change diapers when the times comes for grandkids, but I draw the line at dog poop. Don’t get me wrong I thing Beau is a champ, but poop is poop.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My zen moment? Making chocolate chip cookies. I know the recipe by heart, and I use an ice cream scoop. So there’s no thinking involved, just peace. Especially when I’m using the fork to cream the butter and sugars.
    Or actually when I’m doing anything in the kitchen, even cleaning. My tiny kitchen is my zen garden.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We specifically bought a house without a pool, and our first summer here I was like, i want a pool. Still don’t have one. Lucky you, Cindy! And thanks re: our furbabies.


  5. Love it. Must be a nice past time, lol. I understand the importance of a dog for sure. Love your babies – little poop monsters for sure 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ohhh….I hate all chores. I just think of what a waste of time they are when I should be writing or having a life. Guess I need an attitude adjustment. The mindless chore I hate least is folding laundry. I like bringing order to things. Like Cindy, I figure out plot points while swimming laps. And driving. I’m in the car a LOT.

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  7. I hate almost every chore. Because some really aren’t mindless. That’s why this one works for me. I admire both you and Cindy for swimming laps. I’m not a swimmer. But I drive a lot like you do, and have some great ideas at red lights!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never noticed because when I do that, I’m totally engrossed in that plot point. I think there used to be more of that happening, but with everyone on cells or talking through their cars, I think nowadays people just assume you’re on the phone. Which makes me a little sad for some reason.


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