Week 2: Outward Compassion, Doing my doody duty

For this essay, in the 8 Week Challenge, I will be using Tristan’s definition of Outward Compassion:

“….. looking at a situation and seeing how you would want to be treated in that scenario and then acting accordingly …..”

I think this one works as well as any, as it involves so many parts of what it means to be human: **Seeing that a situation can be altered **Recognizing another’s plight as our own **Engaging with it enough to find a solution **Taking the action to bring about the change **Doing all this on behalf of someone else

So, one small example ………………..

My dad & I, & Theo, went to a Dog Fest in a local park this weekend — our Earth Day outing. We gathered some water & a bowl, the leash & a towel for Theo, hats for ourselves, piled into the truck & we were off. We spent a very fun morning, talking with folks about their dogs, finding out about rescue groups & herbal tick repellents, & meeting Radar, a local TV station’s weather dog. Bonus: all the pooches were relatively well-mannered — we figured that those with aggressive dogs probably self-selected them out of the event.

In addition to the other ‘accessories’ we brought for Theo, I had come with a couple of plastic bags. When I’m out with him, I always pick up after he does “his business” — I mean, I really hate stepping in canine crap, so I won’t impose the indignity upon others. I’m a little bit obsessive about this, assiduously collecting plastic bags to keep at the ready — from frozen veggies, newspaper protectors, & any other such impermeable bag. When I’m out with the dog, I always carry 2 or 3 with me. On those few occasions when I’ve forgotten to carry a bag with me, I’ve even been known to steal the plastic sleeve off someone’s newspaper. So, I was “armed” at the Dog Fest, & ready to do my doody duty. And, naturally, given that there were many dozens of canines present, there were indeed some dog bombs. The one I encountered, the size of several small potatoes (Great Dane??) was smack dab in the middle of the main throughway, where many folks were strolling, not paying attention to where they stepped. Someone had already rolled their baby stroller through it so Something Had To Be Done.

Once I spotted the dreaded doo, I knew I would pick it up. How could I ask someone else to? But I wanted to find a trash can 1st, so I wouldn’t have to carry it around all over in the crush of people, & I could not see one anywhere! As I stood there, looking around, I had to keep catching people’s attention so they wouldn’t step in it — tugging on their sleeves, moving in front of them, actually pushing some aside. This gave me an inner giggle as I realized: A) among the vendors there were 3 separate businesses devoted to Picking Up After Dogs, &, B) I was actually standing guard over dog shit!!! Anyway, I finally spotted a trash can, efficiently whipped out my yellow plastic newspaper sleeve & took care of the mess.

This is a small thing, for sure (unless you’ve ever actually had to clean pooch poop from the treads of your sneakers), but it’s like everything else: Once WE have realized something needs to be done, how can we expect someone else to be the one to do it?! I hope someone witnessed my efforts, not to be thanked, but to plant the seed in their consciousness that we can all make the world a little less crap-ful for others, haha

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