Traci Lindsten
3 min readJul 28, 2020


Joy! Pure Joy. The feeling I get when around animals, known as Poopers in my clan. The wonderful thing about animals is that they aren’t human. That’s crazy, you say. Of course, they aren’t human. Duh! Yes, yes, I know they are not human, in the species way. What I mean is, they don’t come with all the drama human carbon units do.

Each animal has its own personality. They are as different within their own species as we are. Some have experienced harsh and sad starts in life. Some are pampered to the extreme. The difference is they depend completely upon humans for their care, feeding, happiness and exercise. WE have domesticated them. We are responsible for their dependency. We need to give them all the love and care possible.

It kills me when people rescue and then return animals to a shelter because they feel it’s too much work or they tire of their dependency. Not to paint all humans with a broad stroke, I do understand financial changes, housing changes, or death of an owner. If you look at the zillions of studies out there, all creatures experience feelings. The babies play and scamper. The teenagers fight. The parents are always close.

What I will never understand is abuse of any living creature. You can look an animal and tell. It kills my soul. I believe in non-violence as a rule of life, but when I see neglect, abuse, ignorance in any form, toward another living thing…well, it’s the closest I come to wanting to do harm to another carbon unit. In my neighborhood, I am known as the dog whisperer. I love the poopers. The worst of the lot come and stay with me. While in my care, they are docile, well-behaved, and loved unconditionally. My neighbors call me first to see if I am in town from work, to watch their poopers when they need a sitter.

This is the first time in decades I have been without a dog or cat. This job includes sometimes up to 40–45 weeks of travel a year. That would be crazy for a pet. They are pack animals and you are their pack. I wouldn’t do that to an animal that loved and relied on me. It’s inhumane. This loss of energy in my life is taking its toll on me, though. Since I have lived alone for the last 20 years, my poopers have been solid companions. We held long discussions and ate treats in front of the TV. I was about 30 pounds lighter, too. I walked the poops 3 x a day, at least a mile each time. I lived close enough to work to go home for lunch and if we didn’t get a mile in, it was due to a time crunch or weather.

It’s healthy to have a pet. They lower blood pressure, provide unconditional love, and provide a good energy into the world. They love everything when they are happy. Tails are up. Smiles are shown. Signals are understood. The gentle pawing at O-Dark-Thirty, when they need to go out and want to wake you up. The times when you don’t feel good and they need to go out, so they do their business quickly. The times they come in all wet or muddy and want to play while you are putting nice clean sheets on the bed. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

Being home all this time for COVID restriction, has really increased the angst in not having a pet. It’s made me analyze exactly what I want for my life. A pooper or two or three. Having a major medical issue that could happen at any moment, makes you think about such things. Love my job, love to work. Working is essential to a longer life with good engagement. That said, Iife isn’t about money.

If I lost my job tomorrow, a Pooper doesn’t care, if he still gets to hang with you. Poopers know when you are feeling down. They can smell illness. They are the givers of all that is good and depending on their size, a few choice droppings that are not good. All part of the gig. Poop patrol is kind of therapeutic. I never carried a phone or was distracted. It was me, the poopers and the rake and pan. Often, the poops knew when poop patrol was happening and would feel compelled to provide a gift of more poop while I was on patrol. It is a collaborative effort. They were giving me a present.

I would say that today, a bag of poop would be as valuable as a paycheck to me.



Traci Lindsten

Someone, who sometimes, has something to say.