Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


What Others Think

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Several years ago, a totally blind friend lost one of her two little dogs. Since the other is getting on in years and not long for this world, she wanted another. But because she wasn’t able to pick up all the droppings from her driveway, she felt she didn’t deserve another dog.

You should see my kitchen floor, especially after I’ve been cooking. Not long ago, I made tuna and noodles. Even though the package containing the noodles was positioned inside a container, when I opened it, noodles went flying, landing on the counter and floor. Although I picked up most of them, my cleaning lady no doubt found more. Maybe I shouldn’t own a house if I can’t keep it clean. Maybe I should move to a nursing home because I’m legally blind and don’t do a good job of picking up after myself.

When I pointed this out to my friend, she admitted that she was too fearful of what others would think. “Someone might see poop in my driveway and ask me why I can’t settle for one of those trained blind dogs,” she said.

“Wouldn’t you have the same problem with a so-called blind dog?” I asked.

“Bigger dogs have bigger pieces that are easier to find,” she answered. “but I don’t want a big dog. I want a little Papillon.”

I knew that guide dogs are usually larger animals, but not having much experience with dogs in general, I didn’t realize that the bigger the animal, the bigger the poop.

I like dogs and cats. We had them when I was growing up back in the days when people didn’t obsess about picking up their droppings. I suppose it would be nice to have a pet, but after six years of caring for my late husband, totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes, I’m not ready to take care of another living thing. Even now, nine years after his death, I’m still sick and tired of picking up turds.

But dogs and cats bring my friend such comfort and joy. Why shouldn’t she have as many as she wants? Why shouldn’t all of us do what we want if we can, and if it’ll make us happy and not hurt anyone? If I worried that much about what people think of the state of my kitchen floor, I’d be in a nursing home where meals were prepared for me, and the floor was mopped every day, and I’d be miserable. The next time someone complains about dog poop in your driveway or dirt on your kitchen floor, hand them a pooper scooper or broom, and smile. Throwing yourself a pity party and denying yourself things that bring you pleasure just because you’re blind won’t help.

About the Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. She is currently working on another novel. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, The Writer’s Grapevine, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Visit her website

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5 thoughts on “What Others Think”

  1. Thank you, Ernest, for publishing this here.

  2. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. Some of these homeowner associations can get pretty draconian Leave 1 too many turds in the driveway, & you find your possessions in amongst them with an eviction notice on the door. I have no idea whether or not this was the case here, but such a fear can be legitimate in the face of some of the systems our country has in place.

  3. Abbie, I totally agree. There will be times we miss the mark and this is just means we are humans, not machines. Great post!

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