POO POO SOME SAY!
There is a long-standing source of discontent in Abernethy that, quite literally, kicks up a stink. Yes, it’s the dog doo doo, the pooch poop, the mutt’s muck that hasn’t been scooped up and disposed of. It isn’t nice and I’m fairly sure that most of us (myself, a fellow dog owner, included) would prefer to avoid it. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. I’m not saying it’s not a problem – it very clearly is – and one that has a simple solution to boot, but I’m conscious that, in focusing so heavily on this one aspect of doggy life, we are failing to see something else, something important, something (I’m going for it here) that actually changes lives for the better.
I have lived in Abernethy for about 14 years and have had 2 dogs during that time (I have children too but we don’t need to talk about them - those egocentric little munchkins get plenty of airtime on a daily basis - one article without them won’t do any harm). So, back to the dogs. Having dogs means I’m inevitably a dog walker, embracing our countryside every day come rain or shine.
Being a dog walker in this village generally means encountering other dog walkers also going about their daily routine and it’s in these encounters that I want to highlight the alternative narrative to the errant smelly stuff we so often hear about. In these moments round the glen or the farm tracks or Powrie Park, the dog walkers say ‘good morning’, they smile at each other, share in the elements, perhaps pause to say a little more, before moving on with their walk.
More often than not in life, we won’t know the inner workings of someone else’s mind, particularly someone who isn’t friend or family. We won’t know if they have had a terrible night’s sleep, if they are actually feeling terribly anxious, if they are mourning, struggling, sad or plagued with insecurities, and so we may not know that the ‘good morning’ we said to them with a smile helped them to remember that people can be kind and that, maybe, they are not as alone as they thought.
There has been a lot of focus in the wider world recently on the concept of kindness and the profound positive impact it has on us humble humans. For me, living in this village, walking my dog, I have the privilege of offering and receiving kindness every day. When my first dog died almost two years ago, my fellow dog walkers were open in acknowledging my loss. They let me cry, said they were sad, shared their own stories. In short, they helped me feel less alone in my grief.
In amongst all of life’s difficult and messy stuff (dog waste included), I am grateful to the dog walkers of Abernethy and their kindnesses. While those inner workings might still be whirring away in all of us, these seemingly simple moments allow us to connect with each other, often changing the course of the rest of the day, whatever the weather. So I would just like to say thank you to the dog walkers, because they might otherwise never know the difference they make. Now, where are those poo bags…