Someone once told me that teaching dogs is no different from teaching humans: We’re pretty much the same.
All creatures great and small … blah, blah, blah.
But I think I’ve found the one thing that separates humans from dogs.
It is goose poop.
Why, oh why, do dogs like eating goose poop?
It’s not only my dog, either. Every person I meet in the park has eventually brought this up topic — especially right now, when the geese are happily mating by the pond and just as happily crapping all over the path that circles it.
I asked my vet about it the other day.
Maddie was there for her yearly check-up (I am proud to say, she remains a trim 63.3 pounds, exactly the same as last year) and the vet asked me how I was.
We’ve known each other through three dogs and a cat. I’d say we’re pretty tight.
“I’m good,” I said. “You?”
“Can’t complain,” he said, and began prodding Maddie, who was looking less than pleased.
“So,” I said. “Goose poop.”
In a sing-song voice, he said to Maddie, “Do you like eating goose poop?”
I realized in that moment there are very few people in the world with whom I could have a conversation where all I say is “goose poop, ” and they’d understand completely.
“Yes, she does,” I said. “Will it hurt her?”
He said he’d never seen any study indicating goose poop was harmful. Disgusting yes, but not harmful.
So OK, that’s good. But it didn’t make me any happier when Maddie and I were running around a field in the park before sunrise the other morning.
I was tossing her water bottle and she was joyfully fetching it, dropping it at my feet and waiting for me to fling it just one more time.
I threw the bottle and she raced after it — but suddenly swerved, nose to the ground.
“Maddie!” I shouted. “Fetch!”
I have always said there is nothing Maddie likes better than her water bottle — including me, I might add.
But I stand corrected.
Because apparently, she found a lovely pile of goose poop and was cheerfully digging in.
“Nooooooooooooooooo,” I yelled, running across the field toward her as fast as I could.
She looked at me, eyes shining, and grabbed a huge turd in her mouth before cantering away from me.
“Maddie, THIS IS SO GROSS!” I caught up to her, and pried her jaws open.
She licked her lips.
“Look,” I began, angrily clipping on her leash, “I know you’re a dog. I get it. You like garbage, dead squirrels and dirty paper towels. But GOOSE POOP?!”
We left the field and got back on the path. The human was holding the dog’s leash. We walked in silence.
“Just for the record, I am really disgusted with you,” I said finally.
Maddie raised an eyebrow … and smacked her lips.
I think, sometimes, a dog is just a dog — and a human is just a human.
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