the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Featured community question wherein I am not the valedictorian

Today’s featured question comes from user Onemoremomblog:

Yes. Always. Wait… that’s not true. Let me explain before you throw a flaming, unscooped turd at my head.

I’ve got jackets with pockets full of poop bags, because whenever I take the dogs for a walk I want to make sure I’m prepared. In fact, I’m even pretty diligent when I take them to an off-leash park, as long as Chuck doesn’t wander off onto some hidden cliff in the forest with a copy of The New York Times.

If that last part doesn’t make sense to you, then consider yourself lucky that your husband doesn’t routinely walk into the bathroom with his iPad only to return four hours later, the blood pooled in his ankles.

During those four hours I could be tending chickens.

Just saying.

It’s just the dog poop in the backyard during the winter… fine. I’m going to admit this. We don’t ever go back there. Because the whole yard is usually covered in snow from October until May, and there’s no point. It’s an unusable space for eight months of the year and serves only as a toilet for the dogs during that time. We consider it That Magical Wintery Place Where Brown Popsicles Grow!

Come the end of May and we fill several garbage bags worth of our laziness.

In answering this question I had to go ask Tyrant if he’s cleaning up after the dogs, because he’s been taking them on their walks lately. He said he loves to take walks and wanted this added to his schedule. Armstrong and I were a bit hesitant given Coco’s irrational and erratic disposition, but I figured, come on. He’s a Tyrant. He’s a Tyrantosaurus. He tyrates. His title alone says he can handle this.

And then the first time he returned home after a walk he threw open the door and was all THAT IS ONE CRAZY BITCH!

You have no idea how many times Armstrong and I have repeated that exact line in his terrified voice to each other.

We shared with him a few techniques, and now his walks are much less dramatic, except… you guys. Tyrant is a rule follower. And this is not a bad thing, to some degree. I am a rule follower, too. I mean, I pick up after my dogs. I pay my taxes. I buckle my seat belt and disguise cuss words in front of my father. This is when conversational French comes in handy, you kids in college!

But, every once in a while. No, that’s a lie. In fact, it’s very frequently. A lot. Many times I have taken my dogs to a place where they are not supposed to be off leash and have let them run off leash. Never near a busy street or a school full of young children, no. Usually in large fields backed by the mountains. Or on the golf course when it is covered in snow. This is horrible, isn’t it? I shouldn’t be allowed to take the sacrament on Sunday, I KNOW. Jesus would have always walked his dogs on leash, HEATHER.

So there’s this giant open park near our house that is a perfect place to let the dogs run off leash. But. There are signs at every entrance that say DOGS MUST REMAIN ON LEASH AT ALL TIMES. Oh, signs. You don’t know how to party, do you? Loosen your tie a bit, SIGN. Here, have some tequila, SIGN. I’ll pay for you to get laid, SIGN.

And Tyrant is very aware of these signs. Obeys every one of them. Never lets the dogs off leash. And then when he passes other people who are walking their dogs off leash, Coco goes, well. Coco. She cocos. That’s a verb now. Cocoing. Is your wife yelling at you because you didn’t put the orange juice back on the right shelf in the refrigerator? She’s cocoing. An unsolicited foot rub will cure this, I promise.

Tyrant got so fed up with other people breaking this rule, in fact, that one day he came back after a walk and slapped down a piece of paper on my desk.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I made sure that no one saw me stapling these to the fence at the entrance of the park.”

“I think this should work, don’t you?” he continued.

My favorite part is not even the menacing clipart Pitbull he found who knows where, but the part in parentheses. As if the whole flyer doesn’t communicate that EXACT THING.

  • Jeca51601

    2010/06/10 at 9:01 am

    I like this man…

  • kayakgrrl

    2010/06/10 at 9:04 am

    Bwahaha. I think he’s a keeper.

  • RathrBeAtWrigley

    2010/06/10 at 9:05 am

    I love it!

  • knolting

    2010/06/10 at 9:05 am

    I think Tyrant is my new hero.

  • katliz

    2010/06/10 at 9:06 am

    Aw, now, Tyrant… As a proud Pittie owner, this makes me sad. Because of this stereotype, I encounter people who will cross a busy city street because I’m heading toward them with a “hungry pit bull.” People assume my Gentle Leader collar is a muzzle. Yet the worst my dog would do to anyone is nuzzle them to death.

    Couldn’t you have used a Chihuahua instead?

  • Tricia

    2010/06/10 at 9:10 am

    I find this kind of behavior (bullying others into following the rules) extremely sexy in a man. Alas, I’m already married to a man who refuses to come to a complete stop, use a turn signal, fasten his seatbelt BEFORE the car starts rolling… I can only imagine what would happen if we had a dog.

    Good job, Tyrant!

  • simpliSAHM

    2010/06/10 at 9:19 am

    Posting signs & calling people out for not following the rules? Yeah, that would be me.

    I once taped similar signs on the basketball hoops illegally placed on & blocking sidewalks (instead of in the driveway or curb) because I was tired of people ignoring that rule and having to dodge them with the stroller everytime I went for a walk.

    My husband thinks this is un-neighborly (& a little bitchy) but I remind him that you simply cannot break all Mormon related habits at once. Baby steps.

  • momozima

    2010/06/10 at 9:20 am

    Oh no he didn’t.

    Did he really?

    I love it! That is definitely a tyrannical thing to do. I don’t even want to know how he handles other tasks like, for example, dealing with customer service representatives who are sassing him.

  • aslapintheface

    2010/06/10 at 9:24 am

    I think that he should add “and I have trained them to detect whether or not an owner has EVER walked their dog here without a leash … so if they EAT YOUR FACE OFF … you were warned” 🙂

  • Monkey

    2010/06/10 at 9:25 am

    No to be a party pooper (ha!), but really? Perpetuating the pit bull stereotype? C’mon now. (Sorry, I work with an animal rescue and have come across some absolute darling pitties who don’t get adopted as quickly cause of said stereotypes.)

    And speaking of chickens, you saw this, right?

    Print it and hang it right in view of the toilet!

  • cmsanto

    2010/06/10 at 9:33 am

    Ha! I love tyrant. I want this in pdf form so I can print it and put it up in my local park.

    I keep my dog on his leash, not because I’m a rule follower or as we Mormons like to say a PHARASEE .. but because he goes insane and tries to kill other dogs if he’s off leash.

    Guess what he still tries to kill other dogs who are off leash and come up to smell his butt. I think it is torture for him.

    Also there were a bunch of college kids walking their dogs together last year and NONE of them were on leashes, so being dogs, they ran at me in a PACK because dogs are you know pack animals and knocked me down while my dog tried to kill them.

    The apology went something like this Sorry! shouted as dog was on my chest. And although he said sorry, it sounded more like. Stupid fat whore why’d you fall down.

  • WebSavyMom

    2010/06/10 at 9:35 am

    –>I think he should add…

    Michael Vick”

  • sonjabean

    2010/06/10 at 9:38 am

    Gotta say, I walk my dog off leash all the time, and if we’re on grass that someone has mowed, I still pick up the poop. If we’re out in the woods on a trail, then no, I don’t pick it up. But if my dog poops ON the trail, I’ll use a stick to fling it off the trail.

    Tyrant’s sign wouldn’t scare me. My dog is a pit, who is extremely friendly, and even though I walk her off leash ALL THE TIME, she’s still under my control and will come to me and heel until any unfriendly dogs have moved on.

  • eleanorstrousers

    2010/06/10 at 9:39 am

    As a regular looking person with a secret irrational phobia about dogs bigger than 10 lbs or so, can I put in a good word for keeping your dog on a leash if someone else is around?

    No matter how well-behaved or friendly your dog is, my brain will see your dog and FREAK OUT and assume your dog wants to eat my face with gravy and fries. Which leaves me occassionally sobbing on sidewalks or dashing into traffic, because OMG someone is walking their labrador on the sidewalk and it will try to kill me, once it puts down that cute squeaky toy.

    And that’s when they’re ON a leash. You can only imagine how well I react when they’re off.

  • smdinnen

    2010/06/10 at 9:49 am

    That just made my day, thank you.

  • MsIndigo

    2010/06/10 at 9:55 am

    That is AWESOME! LOL! Such a rule follower, no wonder he’s a tyrant.

  • EJoyner105

    2010/06/10 at 10:00 am

    I love me some Tyrant! His sign would certainly put some fear in me!

  • EJoyner105

    2010/06/10 at 10:00 am

    I love me some Tyrant! His sign would certainly put some fear in me!

  • abi

    2010/06/10 at 10:09 am

    Heh. If ever a sign belonged on Passive Aggressive Notes, it is this one. High five, Tyrant.

  • dragonflyvisa

    2010/06/10 at 10:09 am

    Sorry, but Pit Bull stereotyping has got to end. Our shelters are full of them. Gentle people are often afraid to adopt them, and evil people keep using and abusing them.
    Other than that I love your new Tyrant;)

  • apostate

    2010/06/10 at 10:34 am

    I think I love tyrant.
    Pitbulls are mean.
    “Voice control” is a myth. It works until a situation arises where the dog chooses not to obey.

  • ees4173

    2010/06/10 at 10:29 am

    i LOVE tyrant.

  • SandraDee

    2010/06/10 at 10:31 am

    This shit just made my fucking day.

    Tyrant needs his own show.

    That is all.

  • Leslie_Yum

    2010/06/10 at 10:32 am

    OhMyGod I want to marry your TYRANT. I promise to follow all posted rules. RAWR.

  • susanfishy

    2010/06/10 at 10:39 am


  • labegg

    2010/06/10 at 10:44 am

    I don’t have a dog, and one of the reasons is I don’t want to clean up after it–I want to SCREAM every time I find a nice, big, smelly pile of poop on my front yard! And I want to shout–community fields and playgrounds are not your dog’s toilet!!!

  • Nancy D.

    2010/06/10 at 10:45 am

    ….and then in some weird blog infinite loop, it’s featured on

  • tracy

    2010/06/10 at 10:50 am

    This is my life. Without my own tyrant.

    We always come prepared with poop bags but if Porter does his business out of the way, we *ahem* leave it there.

    Our backyard becomes a giant poop receptacle during the winter and then come spring, we pick it up gradually as the snow melts off. Buckets & buckets of poop.

    And, when it’s not more convenient for me to break the rules, I am a die-hard rule follower. Ask my husband how many times I’ve screamed THERE ARE RULES! to bad drivers

  • AlyCat

    2010/06/10 at 10:54 am

    That is awesome.

    Can we see another picture of Tyrant? PLEASE.

  • Fifi Coon

    2010/06/10 at 10:59 am

    OK – so I absolutely think you (we) should clean up after our dogs. My children have small dogs that poop little tootsie rolls (some special food from IFA). If you are a Utahn – you know what IFA is.

    We – the parents – have a 100 lb black lab, courtesy of our son who now has a small, tootsie roll pooping, chihuahua (spelling?) mix thing. Needless to say – the 100 lb black lab poops a lot larger than a tootsie roll – even larger than the giant tootsie roll.

    I took the black lab, along with zip lock bags, paper towels, etc on a walk in the river bottoms – we went about 100 yards and he decided to do his business………….I needed an extra large 5 gallon zip lock back for that poop – and a shovel to get that poop in the bag – not a paper towel.

    Needless to say – the 100 lb black lab no longer goes on a walk with me in the river bottoms (he has his own pasture – 3 1/2 acres – to play on and poop on at home).

  • naysway

    2010/06/10 at 11:02 am

    Passive aggressiveness! Be still my heart. Who is this man, where has he been all my life, and does he believe in interracial marriages because I think I heart him.

  • chicgeek75

    2010/06/10 at 11:03 am

    I must say… I am one of those people who get extremely frustrated at people who let their dogs out in public areas without a leash. Until a couple months ago, I lived at an apartment complex where the back of the property was a bluff above the river – full of scrub brush, trees, and other Texas ‘crap’ that we get. There’s a small grassy area and a short walkway for dog walking and picnicking.

    My issues are this:
    1. You can never guarantee how “great” your dog(s) are. They could go off at any second because they get a whiff of something.
    2. If your dog takes off down that bluff… into the trees… out into the street… you’ll be lucky to see them again, alive or otherwise. Leashes are humane in that they protect the dog from coming to harm.
    3. Dogs on a leash will see those OFF a leash as a threat.
    4. The owner of leashed dogs has struggle with her/his own pups who are straining and barking to get away, just because an unleashed dog is taunting them.

    I get it, it’s “easier” to let a dog out off a leash. I do beg to differ that the cons of the dog’s safety far outweigh the pros of the owner’s comfort.

    We have dog parks here, and fenced yards – let your dog out there off leash…

  • mydeaddogma

    2010/06/10 at 11:07 am

    OMG, I want a Tyrant of my own!

  • mommyoffour

    2010/06/10 at 11:09 am

    Bahahahahaha…I LOVE the Tyrant!

  • neeroc

    2010/06/10 at 11:11 am

    Heh. Another member of the world police! I think that Tyrant, my husband and all other members need to start wearing uniforms. mmmm uniforms

  • wendyml

    2010/06/10 at 11:15 am

    I have to say I ADORE Tyrant’s sign…I have two large dogs, who are ill mannered enough that I cannot let them run off leash. (The fun of chasing the fast one through the grocery store was enough to cure me of that.) First I have to describe them. Both of them are over 90lbs, one is a great pyrenees mix (hairy as hell this time of year) and one is a siberian husky (again hairy and mean looking) They have a gentle leader because they are unruly walkers without it. SOOOO, we take them to a gathering at a park and keep them on a leash because the above and because people think they are vicious with the gentle leader. Except for the one person with the tiny little yippy dog who insists that their dog is friendly and decides to let all the leash on the retractable out. I always say “my dog’s don’t like little dogs.” But to no avail they always think they know my dogs better than I do. So what happens, little 10lb dog approaches 90lb dog all territorial like and my friendly looking great pyrenees lifts her paw and squashes 10lb dog like a bug. That’s how my dogs play with each other, they’re a little rough. Such an event is always followed by my “I told you so” look and their look of disgust that my dog just beat up theirs. Ahhh, I would love that sign on a t-shirt so I could avoid such looks.

  • littlebit

    2010/06/10 at 11:15 am

    Gotta admit I am frustrated with the perpetuation of the Pitt myth. I have a pitt and she is the sweetest dog in the world. I DO however understand that people are afraid of big dogs and my dog is one of them. So she stays on a leash.

  • Ells

    2010/06/10 at 11:18 am

    Ok, I sympathize with you on wanting to break the leash rules sometimes. Personally, as the owner of an aggressive dog and as someone without the money to pay the $350 fines my town gives out for breaking the rules, I don’t break the leash rules.

    I like that you have a list of places you don’t let your dogs off leash. But please, please, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, add to that list “places where there are other dogs on leash.” It is dangerous for your dogs, it is rude to other dog owners, when you let your offleash dogs approach dogs that are on leash. My dog has almost hurt other, off leash, dogs when she was on leash. That poster, while not necessarily true in this instance, very well could be true in another.

    Stop it. Really. Stop. Please.

  • wordsupmixed

    2010/06/10 at 11:19 am

    chickens!?! I’ll show you f-c-k-n chickens!

    A post apocalyptic story of chickens and the struggle to acquire them.

    I can just see the Divine Ms D screaming at the tyrant catch those chickens. hmmm… maybe something like:

    And if you’re interested, you can read it in the original Spanish.

  • slcEB

    2010/06/10 at 11:20 am

    Wow, Tyrant is awesome. Not only am I a fellow rule-follower, I even follow the rules for OTHER people. Yes, I will scoop un-picked-up poop on the trail, in the park or in my ‘hood. As long as it’s not … well, you know … not really scoop-able. Of course, as I do this, I mutter to myself about how rude these non-rule-followers are. Crazy-muttering-poop-lady. That’s me.

  • hoosiergirl1962

    2010/06/10 at 11:25 am

    I am a small dog owner and I ALWAYS scoop my poop…In fact, we have a neighbor with a big, huge mastiff-type thingie and, on occasion, I find his gi-normous poops and I pick those up, too. We are very lucky that we also have nearby an actual doggie park, with seperate (but equal) fenced in areas for small and large dogs, so our Jack Russell often has the kingdom to himself..Our daily newspaper comes in a bag every day, so we recycle/reuse as many bags as possible for poop……As for the “walking off the leash” thing…My dog and I were attacked by an off the leash Great Dane and I called the police, who swiftly came and ticketed the Great Dane’s owner for endangering my dog and I…

  • wordsupmixed

    2010/06/10 at 11:31 am

    a little more on topic comment about dogs and leashes.

    I want to be able to walk with my dog molested through public spaces. I don’t mind a friendly sniff and wag and I also don’t mind if my dog sniffs and wags with the other person’s dog.

    What really gets the hair on the back of my neck up is when an unleashed dog comes rushing up to my dog (well socialized rescue but still nervous about other dogs) and puts their nose where it just doesn’t belong without proper invitation. it’s hard to come across as friendly when you’re talking with people through gritted teeth.

    Teeth grind twice as hard when people say that their dogs under control but when they try to get their dogs attention, they call the dogs name a half dozen times and the dog is most pointedly ignoring them.

    Off lead dogs are like secondhand smoke, it’s harassment for anybody within range.

    And in case it wasn’t clear, I hate chickens because I had to take care of my fathers chickens when I was a teenager. I referred to them as Hawk food. But that is a story for different day. I hope you enjoy the post apocalyptic chicken comic. Remember, watering the chickens should be done with a high-pressure hose. Do it right and the inside of the chicken coop will sound like a washing machine with a lumpy load.

  • refinedhedonist

    2010/06/10 at 11:47 am

    We have our own “Coco”. Her names Deja Vu and she makes people look at us as if we lace her kibble with crack. We don’t, although I do admit to having considered valium from time to time. Needless to say, when we lived in North America, she was always on leash.

    It took us moving to South America where there are stray dogs all over, friendly enough, but they wander in packs, for her to learn to be off leash but stay close to us. Even then, I trust the stray dogs here more than the local drivers who like to make their own roads.

    Sometimes leashes are just better. Especially for the crazy ones who get a wee bit too excited when they see another dog. Or a squirrel. Or hear a weevil burrowing into the ground 40 miles away… I’m just saying.

    As for the poop issue, in public I used to pick up after the dogs. Here in South America, I’ve had to train myself to NOT do so, lest the locals start to think I’m a lot crazier than they already think I am (considering I brought my own dogs when they throw them away here). In the winter back home (Canada) we just let our yard get nasty and once it all started melting, we hired one of those pooper scooper businesses that offered spring cleaning services. It. Was. Awesome. Best $75 I ever spent.

    We don’t have that in South America, have to do it ourselves. It really cuts into our laziness. So now, we walk them off leash in the hopes that they’ll do their business outside where people look at you weird if you try to clean up after your dogs. Except that Deja finally learned to stay close, so more often than not, waits to poop in her own yard.

    Sometimes, you just can’t win 😉

  • BrittniRose

    2010/06/10 at 11:41 am

    While your post is funny, the pitbull picture only makes the stereotype worse. I have a pitbull and she is the sweetest thing ever. I would like to say to Apostate that in the nicest way possible, you are stupid. “To everyone who thinks that your dog listens, it does until it chooses not to”, that is simply ignorance. My dog is never on a leash and i dont care when it is, she listens because she knows better. Just because you cant train your dog not to listen does not mean that i didnt. Nine out of 10 pitbulls are big babies. I can guarentee you that all the dogs that i have ever met are a hell of a lot meaner than my dog because she isnt mean. Know what you are talking about before you say it. (Heather, only the first sentence is for you, the rest is for all the stupid commenters who obviously know nothing about pitbulls)

  • TexasKatie

    2010/06/10 at 12:06 pm

    That is hysterical. Except it is rather menacing. He is basically saying he will sic his vicious dogs on anyone else’s poor dog that might be off its leash. It isn’t the dog’s fault it is off its leash! The pitbulls should go after the owner, no?

    Anyway, pitbulls can be very nice doggies!

  • Charmings Mama

    2010/06/10 at 12:09 pm

    My son is only 3 and doesn’t know caution yet and he LOVES dogs but alas, is allergic to dogs so I really, REALLY appreciate Tyrant for following the rules.

  • Circe74

    2010/06/10 at 12:11 pm

    We have a huge span of open, wooded land in the middle of our subdivision, and several people take their dogs there and let them roam free. Mind you, “several” is about five, the dogs are all labs or goldens or other mixed-breed, fuzzy faced cuddle bears, and “free” is generally within ten feet of the owner, because the dogs are particularly loyal.

    A few months ago, a metal sign appeared in front of the park saying, “Dogs MUST be walked on leash at all times. Please pick up after your dog.” This sign was placed there — welded to a steel post and sealed into the grass in concrete — by a homeowner who lives ACROSS THE STREET from the park, and did not own a dog or have children who played in the park.

    Some people are control freaks, and when they don’t have control over their own lives, they want to control the lives of others.

    I have a photo of my dog peeing on that sign. Off the leash, of course.

    I’ve also had a local neighbor who flipped out because my dog peed on his tree (which was on the edge of the street, and surrounded by rocks) when he was ON his leash. Some people just want to control the world.

  • RoseTattoo

    2010/06/10 at 12:15 pm

    I am Tyrant, hear me roar!

    Rules are for following. Just saying.

  • Circe74

    2010/06/10 at 12:19 pm

    Btw, I should say, before people flip their shit out, that I am NOT saying that anyone who expects people to walk their dogs on a leash hates dogs. Not at all.

    I carry Max’s leash with me, in case a stranger appears, whether they have a dog with them or not, on a leash or not. And I immediately call Max over and leash him while I verify if the person and dog are friend or foe. Granted, my primary focus is to protect Max.. but it’s also my responsibility to not inhibit anyone else’s freedom, either.

    BUT, I get irritable when people aren’t impacted in ANY WAY by what someone else is doing (aka walking a dog off the leash when the dog is nowhere near them and not ANY kind of threat) just because they think people should do what THEY want.

  • MsMollyD

    2010/06/10 at 12:21 pm

    Good for Tyrant! I’ve been someone who would be inclined to let dogs off the leash even in posted areas too, until I read this:

    (The gal in that link has a phobia of dogs, wants to walk in a park where it’s posted that dogs must be on a leash, and is too scared of the dogs to go up to their owners and ask them to leash them.)

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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