Willie and Garbage Day

Our 6 1/2-year-old chocolate lab Willie has an incessant demand for routine in his life.

One such example is garbage day. Couldn’t say how this set of rituals began, but they are set in stone now.

Early every Wednesday morning, Willie wakes up dutifully aware of the daily responsibilities and tasks to unfold. As I hurry to do a few household chores, Willie impatiently awaits the time for garbage day procedures. It is very important to remember not to unleash the beast by speaking too soon. It is recommended however that one forcefully holds onto any solid structure as the following words are uttered: “Willie, is it time to take out the garbage?”

Of course, the predictable response is one of sheer elation, including elaborate dog dances and enthusiastic jumping, bouncing small objects from nearby tables. Carefully maneuvering my way through an obstacle course past the hyper hound, reaching for the garage door while watching for his torso, I grab the door frame for stability thus allowing the canine compulsion to discharge like a rocket through the barely open doorway.

Immediately, Willie heads for the car impatiently waiting for the back door to open. Hurdling inside he immediately bites the dog towel lying on the seat — a necessary item we included after discovering the “nibbles” on the seat belts. I pull the car out of the garage, move the garbage and recycle bins out and load the glass bin into the car for transport to the end of our driveway. Next, we circle the driveway and maybe a second time just for fun and place the car back into the garage. Now it’s time for Willie to leave the car and march by my side as the garbage and recycle bins are placed next to the glass items. We then return to the house and all in the world is well for Willie.

Unfortunately this routine was unintentionally broken one week when my husband, unaware of the importance of this task for Willie, took over the responsibility. In order to get the job done quickly, Tom completed the garbage-day ritual without canine assistance. Tom hurried back into the house ready to leave for work only to confront a depressed dog that could have been a poster child for animal abuse. Being the thoughtful person he is Tom mocked the entire ritual, of course with Willie at his side, delaying his lengthy commute to work.

Willie was once again placed into my car, they circled the driveway at least a couple extra times for good measure, and then Tom found another item to be placed into the garbage can as together they frolicked to the end of the drive. Willie returned contented and proceeded upstairs for his morning nap and Tom was off to work — late. What a good dad!!

Love your pets  ~nan~



Moved to Clark County in 1981. Spent our first year of marriage in Alaska and childhood and college years in Ohio. Happily married for over thirty years raised four dogs, two cats, and one son...life is good!

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