Eva Bradley: A good girl gone bad

By Eva Bradley

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I've always been a mildly geeky sort of individual who likes to be liked. When I was young, I took apples to the teacher, I gave out party invitations to everyone (even the uncool kids with bad hair) and, as an adult, I abide by the law and with the odd notable exception do my best to make a good impression wherever I go.

Sadly, I can't say the same for my dog.

An infrequent washer, a messy eater, a lover of flatulence and known to shamelessly beg for food, her antisocial behaviour is legendary.

But by far her biggest fault - and one she shares universally with her species - is a penchant towards pooping in public and not giving a @#!* about it, if you'll please excuse the pun.

My own personal feelings towards being responsible for what she leaves behind is well documented and a little mixed.

As a dog owner I am painfully aware of my responsibility to collect Greta's waste, but just as those who grew up in the generation of free love resisted the introduction of protection, I got my dog a decade ago when we were all relaxed and Parisian about our pooches, and cigarette butts and the odd steaming pile were an accepted part of the modern cityscape.

Not so now, nay, not so. Watching and walking (as the crime is commonly known) has become almost more offensive than the act made by the dog itself. In fact the witnesses to some of my early crimes were so horrified I can hardly imagine them being more upset had I squatted down and left the offending pile myself.

After employing for some time the popular method of "what isn't seen didn't happen", I eventually bowed to public pressure and started carrying small plastic bags on my dog walks and doing the decent thing. Except sometimes a girl gets caught short.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, one poo slips past the goalpost. Either it genuinely isn't noticed, or (as is Greta's speciality) a dog is inclined to leave something behind not just once or twice on a walk but several times across several kilometres. And as anyone who has tried it knows, poo bags are not designed for multiple collection.

And so it was that this week my shame was not only witnessed but - in a way that can only speak to the sweet nature and simple ways of small town living - I got a dishonourable mention in a community newspaper. A "thumbs down" to the "prominent" wedding photographer whose dog, allegedly, fouled right in front of her and she just walked away.

I wasn't quite sure whether to be chastised by the public shaming, delighted the horrified witness to my crime was inadvertently giving my business an excellent endorsement or just confused as to whether she expected wedding photographers to somehow abide by a different (and higher) moral code than the rest of humanity?

Either way, my defence in this case is almost certainly going to be that after watching what seemed like the entire population of the world's most populous nation squatting street-side without a passing thought to picking up what they created and carting it away, I was perhaps just a little punch drunk to public pooping and didn't even notice my dog's offending until it was, tragically, too late.

And so now, in all this newfound prominence, I must endure the shame of it, the whispers, the glares and the stares, the pain of being a good girl gone bad and branded publicly and forever as one who (gasp!) watches ... and walks.

- Northern Advocate

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