For your enjoyment and edification . . . I hope. Written by me sometime in 1994.
The Lesson of the Mutt-Mitt
Since I must now pick up after Rocky and Bruno's daily bowel movements while I'm walking them inside the Fallwood Apartment grounds, I've tried to find the ideal solution to the dilemma of what to use for that purpose. While visiting Noah's Pet Supply store recently, I discovered a product that proves that necessity is the mother of invention.
It is, of course, the Mutt-Mitt. Its design permits someone to stick his hand into a biodegradable plastic bag, whose double reinforced black bottom is folded precisely so as to permit the fingers of the hand and the opposing thumb to grasp securely, but without contamination, anything one might choose to pick up using it. Then by removing the bag from over the hand and arm, in much the way a surgeon might remove the latex gloves she wore to prevent contamination of herself and her patient, by peeling it backward until it was turned inside out, are the contents at the bottom of the bag enclosed securely inside without ever having come into actual contact with your hands. An ingenious invention if ever I've seen one.
Having two dogs, though, presents another dilemma. If I trap the contents of one of their bowel movements into the bag, the bag's effectiveness for any future bm's during that same walk is diminished considerably, because you can no longer rely on the double reinforced and properly folded black bottom to permit the sanitary pick up and disposal of this second coming of the bm. And since both my dogs tend to have two separate events per walk, I'm faced with the Mutt-Mitt being ideal for the first event, but less than ideal for subsequent ones.
So on this cold, first morning in December as I'm walking my companions at 5:30 a.m. and the temperature is making my breath into a steamy vapor trail on every exhalation, nature summons them at almost exactly the same moment, with only a few feet and a few seconds separating their urge to begin their bowel movements. I decide I'll pick up the remains from the one who finishes first, Rocky I think it was, and hold it, without reversing the bag, in the crease created by that fold in the bottom until Bruno has finished his business and then add the residual from that event to that which I'm already holding. But while I was waiting for Bruno to finish and still grasping Rocky's gift to me, I realized that for the first time since the walk began my right hand, the one in the Mutt-Mitt, was warm. It was like the heated brick at the foot of the bed on a cold winter's night, a welcomed thing.
Then it came to me. A revelation. An insight into one of life's greater mysteries. An epiphany of wisdom. I concluded that I didn't have to reverse the Mutt-Mitt to seal the contents inside until the walk was over, and in that realization I freed the Mutt-Mitt to be just as effective on its second, third and fourth use as it had been on the first. All I had to do was to cling to the stool using that specially protected fold in the black, plastic bottom of the Mutt-Mitt until both dogs had completed all their bowel movements for the walk. And the payoff was that I got a hand-warmer to boot.
I'll confess that the feel of holding the dog's stool between my fingers took a bit of getting used to and some desensitization of my silly cultural bias against handling such things, but when I thought of what I held in my hand as a source of heat rather than as a source of contamination, I found it much more tolerable. Thanks to the Mutt-Mitt, of course, it wasn't a source of contamination, and I was free to enjoy it as a source of heat.
The effect was that I came to view the chore of picking up after my dogs as a chance to get my hands warm, and rather than resisting it, I enjoyed it. I permitted myself to appreciate and experience the feelings associated with grasping with confidence that which I had previously chosen to handle only reluctantly with disdain and disgust.
12/02/94 06:06 am
Two Dogs and one Mutt-Mitt
As I was saying yesterday, I think I've resolved how best to manage walking two dogs and using only one Mutt-Mitt. One option, quickly rejected, was to use one Mutt-Mitt per deposit, rejected as being too expensive and too inconvenient. On a four deposit walk, you would look like you were returning from the grocery store with an armloads of groceries, carrying that many bags.
No, rather I think I've discovered some acceptable ways (to me) to deal with the multi-deposit walk. By accepting the requirement that I actually handle the residue and reassuring myself that the Mutt-Mitt creates a strong, impermeable barrier between my hand and that which it holds, I have learned a couple of other interesting tricks.
Yesterday I observed that picking up after them on a cold morning had a certain welcomed warmth, but this morning I explored the consistency of the residue I'm collecting. For instance, it appears to be Tootsie roll sized lumps of stinky silly putty. Usually I can gather the entire deposit in one opening of Mr. Mutt-Mitt's jaws, but sometimes I have to grapple for it with the grass, where it has fallen through to the ground, leaving the canopy of grass above it to interfere with my efforts. In one of these struggles, I realized that I can, and do, change its natural shape and size, and I compress it and combine pieces of it, until if I consciously decide how to squeeze it, I can make it into a baseball shaped mass, much as you would create a snowball, only with one hand alone. This hand conforming warm mass of brown silly putty then is comfortably out of the way for the next time I open Mr. Mutt-Mitt's adequate jaws to gather in another contribution to the collection, adding both mass and warmth to the pile. And of course, it is easier to carry too without dropping pieces along the way.
I probably should write the makers of Mutt-Mitt and offer my insights for their customers. I'm sure there are others out there besides me who have multiple dogs who have multiple urges per trip, and I'll bet they all are struggling with the same dilemma I was about how to manage this phenomenon. Since I've resolved this issue, I should share the discovery.
I'll confess that when I first purchased the Mutt-Mitt I wasn't too excited about the idea. However, I've grown much more respectful of the genius of the inventor of this simple little device. The double strength, double fold black bottom and very adequate sleeve up your arm help to allay any fears of accidental contamination on that hand or arm.
A tribute to two of my best friends