This morning, I walked down my hill and, feeling a slight chill, I stuck my hands into my jacket pockets. My fingers brushed against several scraps of paper that I have, over the past week, hurriedly folded into the jacket's dark, forgotten corners.

It's not unheard of for me to find cash forgotten in a pocket, but money has a very distinctive feel to it. I did not feel that texture against my fingers. Still, though, in the hopes that one of these scraps of paper might just somehow prove to be a forgotten twenty dollar bill, I turned out the contents of my pockets to see what was there.

There was no money. Instead, my pockets merely held:

1) A crumpled Barnes & Noble receipt from last Sunday's purchase of Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale", three Star Wars books, and a grade school-age appropriate biography of Barack Obama, specially requested by my seven year-old,
2) A grocery list and receipt from last Saturday's grocery shopping at Trader Joe's in the amount of $122.57, and,
3) A business card from someone I recently met but will never contact.

I confess am hopeless when it comes to throwing small pieces of nothing like this away. I suppose I'm always worried I'm going to eventually need whatever it is I've tossed. After all, what if I eventually wish I still had the business card I only accepted as a gesture of politeness?

This morning though, I put such worries aside and determined I was going to toss these bits of nothingness away. I was in luck because it was trash pickup day on my side of the hill and all the blue and black rubber trash bins were sitting out on the curb. I halted for a moment and popped open the lid on one of the bins.

Right on top of the ubiquitous white plastic trash bags, I saw a heap of matted brown fur. It's odd how quickly our minds deduce what it is that we're seeing. Within about three seconds, I went from thinking I was seeing a cast-off fur coat, to realizing I was actually looking at the golden-haired carcass of a dog.

Shocked, I immediately dropped the trash bin lid and backed away. Perhaps 30 seconds ticked away as I stood there, unsure what to do, the receipts, list and business card still in my hand.

I don't remember exactly when I stuffed it all back into my pockets. My mind was too busy wondering what kind of person tosses a dog into the trash. Was this the work of a psychopath? Or was it simply the result of city living? Not everyone has a yard to bury a dog or the money to pay a vet to dispose of the body.

I contemplated whether I should call the police but imagined the snickers on the other side of the phone.

"You want us to come check out a dead dog in one of your neighbor's trash bins? Oh, yeah. Sure. We'll do that in between tracking down murderers, child molesters and drug dealers."

I quickly discarded the idea of phoning LAPD and decided, for once, to not involve myself. I selfishly continued on my way.

The scraps of paper are still in my jacket. I know I'll throw them away eventually. I wonder if it was as hard for someone to throw away their dog.


Anonymous said…
Very sad. As you suggest, Liz, probably someone who doesn't have a yard or can't pay a vet (I'd like to think so anyway). I just hope the dog had a good life and wasn't maltreated. It's amazing what people throw away, but that's another story.
Jameil said…
awww! that's so sad!! now please throw away the scraps.
Mizrepresent said…
Wow, very poignant piece...i too walk around with scraps of paper, in my pockets and in my purse. I still have a problem discarding them, i just move them from my purse to a drawer...packrat yes, but i feel like you mosttimes that i might just need it. About the dog, i thought you had to call animal services to remove them...not sure about putting them in the trash, seems and feels so inhumane.
Unknown said…
My heart bleeds, but I guess thats life in the big city. I hope you went to get a chai after that...Enjoy the day!
Mamita Umita said…
How sad!! It is so wrong to abuse animals in any way, as they have no voice. I could not imagine getting rid of my dogs or hurting them in any way, as they are like my children.
I hope it's what Nick said.

Liz Dwyer said…
I hope the dog had a good life as well. It is amazing what people toss away. I hope it is what I guessed. I'd hate to think someone purposefully killed a pet.

Yes ma'am! I'm going to go toss them in the trash right now!

It does feel inhumane, doesn't it? I have no idea about disposing of them since we've only had hamsters and we've buried both in the backyard.

One thing about always having a scrap of paper on me is that at least I always have something to write on if I feel inspired! Or at least that's what I tell myself. I'm probably a bit of a paper pack-rat as well. :)

No, no chai. :( I'm still fasting so I can't eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. I have one more week!

It does feel so callus to toss a dead pet in the trash. I wish I had some way of knowing how the dog actually died.

I hope so as well.
Lola Gets said…
Perhaps that dog wasnt a pet of the trash can owner, but a passer-by picked up the carcass off the street and just put it into the first bin they could find? I know some friends that did that in my neighborhood. I wouldnt do that though.

I dont know what the city services are like in LA, but here in DC, one can take animal carcasses to DC Animal Control and they will either incinerate the body or hold it in their freezer til you figure out what you want to do with it. Im actually amazed with that last service there - thats really nice of them!

Liz Dwyer said…
It could be that someone picked the dog up off the road. It seems gross to do so but maybe someone didn't want it to keep being run over. I've only had a fish and two hamsters here so I have no idea about most animal related city services. That IS very cool that they do that in D.C. though.
Jen said…
Very sad. And I'm hoping it was done because no other alternatives were found/thought of.
Liz Dwyer said…
I hope that's the case. It's a sad end for a pet though.
Moobs said…
The problem is that there is a slot of memory that is reserved for tings you have recently thrown away with a direct link to your most creative imagination thereby ensuring that you can never last the week without thinking of some vital use for your discarded item.
none said…
A lot of times when a dog is hit by a car someone will drag it out of the street to avoid further unpleasantness.
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh good! I feel better knowing there's some actual science behind my inability to toss this stuff away.

It's good of people who have that ability to pick up a dead animal like that. I don't think I could.
Anonymous said…
Everytime I think the human race can't do anything else to horrify me, something like your story happens.

My head hurts just thinking about it.
Miriam said…
That is quite strange. I guess they weren't sure what to do once their dog died ??????

You can call PETA and have all *** break loose.

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