Red Dog asks: What’s a horse?

Red Dog Smith lives with Mrs. Smith and me near a state park in Colorado, a short walk from the Colorado River and a recreational trail that runs alongside it. Curious as a young child, he asks a lot of questions, at least when just the two of us are out for a walk.

He noticed this morning that what he surmised was a bigger dog ā€“ because a lot of four-legged creatures are bigger than he is ā€“ had pooped a lot of poop right on the concrete trail between our place and Corn Lake.

He looked at me with those big brown eyes. “When I take a dump, why do we always have to stop and pick it up and take it with us?”

Red Dog on the trail by Corn Lake

“Good question, Red,” I told him. “If everyone just left it lying around, the world would be way more stinky and unpleasant than it is and people would be stepping in poop all the time and swearing a lot more.”

“So why didn’t someone pick up all that dog poop?”

Another great question, and a learning opportunity. “Well, first of all Red, I don’t know. And that isn’t actually dog poop. It’s what we refer to as horseshit. In other words, it’s poop that comes from a horse.”

He nodded, letting that sink in a bit. “So why didn’t someone pick up the horseshit and put it in a bag?”

I’d been wondering the same thing. You don’t mind too much when a cow gets loose and leaves a pie or two along a gravel road out in the middle of nowhere, or even when a horse leaves a little horseshit off the edge of the trail.

“You know, Red, I guess some people forget to bring a poop bag along now and then, and some people just don’t care enough to pick up after their own dog. So I suppose some people who have horses forget to bring bags or don’t care enough about keeping things nice to pick up after their own horse. You’d think they could at least scrape it off the feckin trail.”

“It’s one of those ‘life’s mysteries’ you told me about, right?”

“Exactly,” I said, pleased to know he’d been paying attention a few weeks ago.

He nodded and turned to move along, pulling a bit on the leash before coming to a sudden stop next to the nearest pile.

“What’s a horse?” he asked.

Questions, questions, questions. “Later, Red,” I said. “I’ll show you some pictures.”


If your own dog has questions, please share them here and we’ll do our best to answer them.

B.J.

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