The two former strays stood at the edge of the dog park away from the other dogs. Recently adopted together, they were easing into a comfortable life of leisure. Both had a fair amount of border collie in them but one’s fur was rust and the other’s a blue merle. The rust just finished pooping a few paces away and steam rose from it in the morning chill. The man who had adopted them broke away from his friends and started across the sparse grass toward his two dogs, baggy in hand.
The rust walked over to the blue merle and bumped him with his hip, his gaze on their approaching two-legger. “Now watch him closely. He does this every time. Like one of those dogs in the kennel who’s caught the tail chasing crazies, he carefully picks up the poop in a baggy, ties it nice and tight like he doesn’t want to lose any, and carries it away. It’s some sort of obsession.”
The blue merle wagged agreement. “It’s not just him, it’s all of them, and it’s not an obsession, it’s some sort of cult. Notice how if one two-legger doesn’t perform the ritual with the baggy, the others force him to or else they shun him?”
“So our two-legger belongs to a poop cult?” The rust shook his head and bit off a blade of grass to chew. “What could be so special about our poop that they want to preserve it in bags and carry it with them?”
The blue merle watched the two-legger approach, but had nothing to add.
“Maybe our poop is some sort of offering to these gods he’s so vehement about that keep damning everything?” The rust bit off another blade of grass. “Maybe the only reason he keeps us around is for our poop.”
The blue merle lifted his leg and peed on a nearby scent, his gaze still following their two-legger’s progress across the field. They could hear the baggy in his hand crinkle in the wind. “That would explain why he feeds us that cardboard laden kibble that smells of rat droppings and horse,” he finally said. “When I first started eating that stuff I pooped so much I thought something was wrong with me, like more was coming out than going in.”
“You too?” The rust finished chewing his grass and peed where the blue merle had peed. “Why doesn’t our two-legger just put the kibble in the baggies and give that to these gods? Then he could feed us some of what he’s eating? That burger he ate in the car yesterday sure smelled tasty.”
“You’ll want to rethink that. I once ate one of those drive-thru burgers and it flushed me right out. I had the squirts for three days. And the two-leggers who saw me? Boy, did it upset them. Every time I squatted to go, they’d chase after me, like I wasting their precious poop.”
The rust nodded. “More evidence two-leggers only need us for our poop, but why would their gods prefer poop over kibble?”
“Goddamn it, where is it?” their two-legger said as he stopped in the vicinity of the poop and gazed at the ground about him like he had dropped something very important, something very important that smelled really bad because with his free hand he pinched his nose and started repeating, “Pee-ew, stinky, stinky poopers.”
The dogs looked at each other and said in unison, “The smell.”
“We give the bland scented kibble the gift of odor,” the blue merle said.
The dogs thought on this as they watch their two-legger perform the ritual of the baggy. All the while repeating his mantra about stinky poopers, he bagged the poop, tied it tight, and carried it across the field, where he dropped it into a round concrete garbage can with a fixed metal lid with a hole in its middle.
“Did you see that?” the rust asked.
They both stared at the garbage can.
“I bet one of their gods lives in there. Let’s go talk to it.”
As they crossed the field, the rust said, “What do you think would happen if we cut out the middleman and made our own offering to his gods? I wonder what these gods offer that has our two-leggers so whipped.”
* * *
The usual Saturday morning crowd of chatting people stood around the dog park clenching their coffee cups, hoping their dogs would poop unnoticed so they won’t have to pick it up. Everyone moaned about the god awful smell when scooping poop and no one stood in the thirty foot radius stink zone that surrounded the garbage can.
Stan’s two new adoptees got everyone’s attention when they started barking at the can like it was some sort of intruder, but it wasn’t until the rust colored dog jumped on top of the can and squatted to poop into its opening that anyone said anything.
“Wow, Stan, that’s really something. Can you teach my dog to do that?”