Shimmer and I were walking home when we heard what I thought was a bird in distress. A high-pitched “Pip, pip!” was coming from up a nearby hill, so we went to find out what was happening. The coyotes have new babies, and by the sudden increase in Missing Cat posters in the neighborhood, I know they’re hungry. Shimmer and I were ready to stop any trouble. We didn’t have an actual plan, mind you, and probably would have stood there and yelled along with the bird, but off we went.
Instead of finding a scene out of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, I saw our neighbor, Katherine, and her dog, Billy. And, it turned out she wasn’t yelling, “Pip,” but “Poop.” She’s from England, so there was a bit of an accent issue, which I joked about, but she didn’t seem to find it quite as funny as me.
“I’m late for a class,” she explained. “I heard that you can get a dog to do his business on command, so I’ve been training him. Poop! Poop, Billy! I suppose I sound like I’m a bit crazy.”
“Maybe you should have used a different word,” I suggested, noting Billy was studying a nearby gopher hole with sphinx-like intensity. Clearly his attention was elsewhere.
“Poop, Billy, poop! Poop! Poop!”
Shimmer and I, recognizing we weren’t helping, or even welcome, said our good-byes and left.
At the bottom of the hill, we could still hear her exhorting Billy to do his stuff. “Poop! Poop!” As her desperation increased, her voice seemed to grow higher with each word.
She should have said, “Fly, Billy, fly,” for all the good it’s going to do her, I whispered to Shimmer. He peed on a bush in agreement and we continued home.