Fixing It

This sign has been in our front yard since we moved in. The dog hunched over in pooping stance and the word “No!” painted across its side. I’ve contemplated removing it many times. It sends a message I don’t really want to send. I don’t feel precious about the patch of lawn on our front yard anyway. In fact, once we have the energy and funds, we plan to xeriscape the area. But I’d think to myself, do I really feel pooping-dogs-yes! ? And so I left the sign up.

At a block party this weekend, my husband said everyone he talked to about our house asked, “Is it the one with the no-pooping-dog sign?” And he’d have to say yes. We agreed we would finally take the stupid thing down, but we didn’t get around to it right away.

Yesterday, I heard the news of the massacre at Robb Elementary while I was in the pick-up line at my child’s school, waiting to pick up my own 4th grader. I felt nauseous at the news. I teared up and took deep breaths to try to stay in control of myself. When my kid got in the car, we chatted, and I kept it light. I already knew I’d have to tell him, but not yet, not yet. We drove home and he talked about how his friend has been to Meow Wolf in Las Vegas.

And when we got home and I pulled into the car port, I immediately, without thinking, got out of the car and marched out to the front yard, took this picture, and then pulled the silly little sign out of the dirt. My child hollered after me, “What are you doing? I want to go in the back way, not the front!” I grunted back, “I just want to take care of this.” It was lodged firmly in the dirt. It took both hands and all my strength to pull it out. In the end, I think a part the stake broke off and is still buried under the desert willow tree.

I carried it with me to our backyard, and stuck it in a flower bed there where it still is, ridiculously saying “No!” to nobody but us when we walk by it. The front yard is open season. Come poop on it, dogs of the neighborhood. Please get your person to pick up after, but poop all you like. We are a poop-yes household. We have no control, it feels, over the things that matter. No matter how hard we donate and vote, no meaningful gun-control laws ever seem to get passed. We drop our beloved child off at school every day and if we think about it too hard, our hearts are in our throats. There is so much wrong in the world. But dogs may poop on our useless lawn.

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