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WRITE TEAM: Mind your step

Even with losing that hour of sleep, I’m generally pleased when Daylight Saving Time kicks in. I was all for it when President Bush tacked on a few extra weeks back in 2007. In moving the time around, we gain a little "extra" light. I like that.

Walking Meeshka the Wonder Weimaraner after dinner can now be done while a bit of light still exists around the edges of the day. Of course as the year progresses the light of day lingers much later, and walks can be adjusted for that. But beginning now, we stop walking with the flashlight. People have asked me why, even with streetlights illuminating the sidewalk around the city park, do I carry a light? It’s all about having the right tools.

If you walk when it’s dark, using a flashlight is a pretty good idea just for safety. People driving can see you pedestrian-ing better. If it’s snowy, seeing a patch of ice and being able to avoid it is a good thing. As the earth thaws, you can watch where you’re going and make sure you aren’t about to fall into one of the 4,396 sinkholes that crop up (crop down?) in Streator each spring. That’s a big deal right there. Walking in daylight alleviates the need for the torch.

And that brings me to today’s rant:

Dang! You still better keep an eye where you’re stepping, especially if your journey takes you around our park. What has become visible in the daylight are about 200 piles of dog poop. All shapes and sizes of piles, lining the sides of the walkway. From tiny little Yorkie-sized poops to more, ah, abundant Great Dane-size poops and everything in between.

And then there’s the guy who, judging by what’s left behind, must be walking a medium-size dinosaur of some type. He needs to apprentice with the equine cleanup crew from the Rose Parade and get to shoveling his mess.

Dog walkers, listen up. Just because your doggo’s poop freezes in your yard, it doesn’t mean that you should leave it to do so when you take your dog someplace other than your yard to do their business. What is the matter with you? Picking up after your dog is nothing new. It’s common courtesy, it’s good etiquette, and in some locations it’s the law. But never mind the law for now. Let’s just talk poop.

No matter what size pup you have, no matter how much you paid for that purebred, or from what country roadside you rescued your mutt, they all have some basic things in common. They steal your heart. They eat. They sleep. They sniff butts. They pee. They poop. It’s just straight up biology, people.

Don’t tell me you "forgot" to bring a bag. Please. You’re taking your dog out for a walk, you know they’re going to go. It’s what they do, even if they’ve already "done" it for today. Even if you somehow left the house without one, bags are RIGHT THERE in the park. The city provides them for you. Four rolls of them, two stations; the dispensers are rarely empty. Get your butt over there and get one and pick up after Fluffy, would you?

The littles aren’t in the park yet, but they soon will be. If your kids or grands were playing there, would you still leave your dog’s leavings behind, as it were?

Canines have not evolved into self-monitoring poop-picker-uppers. Science hasn’t developed a new breed of dog that will grab the newspaper, go park it in the bathroom, flush when they’re finished, and then spray a little Febreeze. It’s pretty universal stuff here, nothing has changed. So why, in the name of all that is holy, are you not picking up after your pup? You better get to scooping. I gotta go scrape off my shoe.

SHANNON HIGGINS CONNOR is a mom, a voracious reader, a jewelry maker, a bipolar wonder, a dog mom/chauffeur, a tequila enthusiast, and (kind of) a writer who currently lives with her Weimaraner, Meeshka in Streator ... but is always scanning the horizon for the next move. She is a believer in both climate change and "Leave things better than you found them." She can be reached at

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