Next time you take a seat on one of our beautiful UCSB lawns, consider whether the glistening of the grass is the dew left over from the salty sea air or a salty puddle of urine from a dog’s midday piss.
As one of many students that take refuge on one of these serene spots on campus, I find them comforting in the middle of a day polluted with chemistry, political science and logic. Some of these lawns have become a second home for me. Like many others, I eat, sleep, study, sunbathe my pasty skin in vain and commune with friends on them.
That is, until one afternoon, on my way to one of my “happy places” in the courtyard of Girvetz, when I was confronted with the horrific sight of a woman coercing her Shih Tzu to take a leak in the center of the lawn – the exact spot I sit on.
I walked past in disgust to seek comfort in the cement slab in front of Davidson Library. My afternoons of basking in the sun and sitting in what I thought was the smell of fresh cut grass have now been tainted with the nightmare of every dog I’ve observed on campus running around each lawn with a constant golden stream underneath it.
Don’t get me wrong; I love dogs. If my manager didn’t live in my apartment complex and wasn’t so anal about pets, I too would have a dog. I would probably even take it on campus occasionally to excite its sense of adventure. I sure as hell wouldn’t let it piss on the lawns in which a majority of the students obviously frequent, though.
There are plenty of areas to let your dog pee other than the school greens. There are bushes that line most buildings and dirt areas on the outskirts of campus or in corners of courtyards that most student tushes find unattractive. For those animals that commute to work and are forced to stay in the closets that the UCSB staff calls offices, I offer the suggestion of litter boxes. Cats don’t have a problem with them and after subjecting your dogs to such small spaces in the first place, I doubt they would expect much more.
I also understand that dogs feel the need to mark their territory. I will bypass the obvious solution of utilizing a leash and not falling bitch to your dog, and remark on the novel consideration of not encouraging the animal to the center of the grass. I am sure the location of its deed does not increase the pleasure of an emptying bladder. After drinking a liter-sized bottle of water and sitting through a two-hour lecture, it makes no difference which bathroom or stall I squat in. Either way, I know it is going to feel good.
It is really just common sense and courtesy. When you and your dog are at home, do you let it go to the bathroom on your couch or bed? I would hope not, as I hope you realize the school lawns, whether intended to be or not, are our couches and beds. Very few college students are blessed with an 8-hour night sleep and finish their reading assignments earlier than their break before class. If you lack pity for those that fall into those categories, at least have compassion for those like myself; it would be very awkward stepping over a bunch of pale white people attempting to tan on the sidewalks leading to your class.
Please, I beg all those that bring their dogs on campus, whether by means of driving, walking or toting in bags: Be considerate of your fellow campus-goers. As cute as they are, no one wants to sit in your dogs’ piss or crap, nor do we want to be confined to the safety of cement ground, fearful of having to do laundry regularly.
Sara Smith is a Daily Nexus staff writer.