Picking my daughter up from kindergarten is an adventure. We have no bus service, so one has to either walk a short 15 minutes, or drive. I’m fine with walking, personally, but my 3 year old who has to accompany us has a different view on things. I’d like to say I just told him to deal with it, but with temperatures over 100 for the past two weeks, I can’t say I blame him for complaining.
I also have to contend with the fact that I have this puppy. A puppy with separation anxiety. A puppy who needs exercise and stimulation. Brody comes along.
We have a couple of options when we get to the school if we drive. We can park on a nearby street and walk a block in, which allows me to pick my daughter up right outside her classroom door, or I can wait in line to load her into my car. Option 2 is nice when the toddler is napping, or when Brody is being rambunctious, but man that line takes forever to get through. So I decided to chance it with walking in.
I was admittedly nervous trying to shepherd a 3 year old boy, a 12 week old dog, and a 5 year old girl along a busy street. I was also concerned with how Brody would handle being in the middle of a sardine can of cacophony when the kiddos filed out en masse. I had visions of a red faced kindergartner grabbing his throat in the throes of an anaphylactic reaction while the stern faced principal looked me up and down, disapprovingly writing down my name and conscripting my daughter to 6 years of hard labor in the xerox room.
Instead, it actually played out about as one would expect if you were to bring a Golden Retriever puppy into the midst of an elementary school. He was a rock star.
“Aw, he’s so cute!” said a parent. Times 10.
“Can I pet him?” asked a brave first grader.
“Sure, I replied. “Thanks for asking.”
“Can I pet him?” ” Can I pet him?” “How about me?” “Can I pet him too?” The next thing I knew, Brody was surrounded by 15 sets of little hands, reveling in the glory of his adorableness while his own 5 year old owner proudly announced, “That’s MY dog Brody.”
I was also concerned about using this school as a training tool, trying to teach him manners in the middle of about the biggest kind of distraction you can get. That ended up not being the problem.
The problem was forgetting to walk him before leaving the house.
Right as we were smack dab in the middle of the school grounds, surrounded by a sea of impressionable youngsters with questionable handwashing habits, Brody hunched over and deposited a nice, healthy compost heap in the middle of their grassy knoll.
I, of course, did not have my plastic bags with me.
There was a collective gasp.
I stood there. There was no escape. I had blown it. There would be no recovery from leaving a pile of poop at ground zero kid central. I looked around, panicked. The restrooms were miles away; between it and me, a sea of disapproving faces. We were surrounded by feet, many of which were wearing Crocs and/or similarly permeable foot apparel.
So I did what any respectable dog owner would do, and what any respectable mom would never do. I used my daughter’s art project from the day to clean it up. I HAD NO CHOICE. Ugh. I am sure this will end up being discussed in therapy 15 years from now, when my daughter is bitterly telling a bearded man in a cardigan how her mother used her beloved kindergarten memento as a poop bag. I owe her a pre-emptive ice cream/Barbie.