One of my favorite segments on any comedy program is "New Rules" on Bill Maher's Real Time (HBO). (Maher's funniest rule: "Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to 'beef with broccoli.'")
I don't think that I am nearly as comical as Maher, but I would like to attempt to brush ever so slightly against the spirit of Maher's rules by giving a few of my own rules directed to people I encounter on a daily basis. I won't be giving an exhaustive list of rules here. I plan to give one now and others at future dates (which will basically be whenever I encounter troubling behavior).
Let me clarify that I do not consider myself too rule-bound or legalistic. I'd like to think that I am guided by higher principles like justice and love; but there come times when rules are needed; there come people who definitely need them. So, here is my first of a few rules:
To dog owners: if you really believe that your dog is a member of your family then stop letting your family member hike his leg or squat on my lawn when you walk him! The same goes for bitches. I'm tired of finding brown spots on grass. I'm tired of cleaning up your dog's deposits so that my family and friends will not step in them.
I would not allow a member of my family to come over and defecate in your yard. I could be arrested for indecent exposure (a.k.a. flashing) if I came over and pissed in your flower beds. So why do you allow your family member to soil my yard? If dogs are people, then why can't dogs (or better yet, their owners) be cited for indecent exposure?
I have a proposition for you. If dogs are really people and you want them treated as such, well then treat them as such: teach them to use the toilets in your home like all of the other members of your family do.
I'm just as much of a dog-liker as the next person. I've owned dogs at various times and we are going to get another one in the future. But I do not believe that they are people. That doesn't stop me from respecting your right to treat your dog as a person by letting him sleep in your beds, eat at the table or off your own plate, or ride in the passenger seat of your car (belted, of course!) while wearing a little do-rag or sweater vest. But at least be consistent! Why is it that you humanize your dog in every way possible except when it comes to taking a crap?
If you are going to let your dog go to wee-wee anywhere it pleases, rather than in the toilet where the rest of us humans go, then please make it your own yard so that your lawn can bear more spots than 101 Dalmatians, and you can get that excremass wedged in the lugs of your Birkenstocks or your running shoes and you can track it all over your own house. We don't want it at my house.
And the same rule goes for owners who don't humanize their dogs. For the love of Mike, my yard is not your cotton-pickin' canine's crapper.