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Renner: Barkin' in the Bakken

There are so many issues of living in a boomtown other than the obvious. I feel obligated to inform the general public of these little annoyances.

I feel this way mostly because of the whole "misery loves company" aspect. When we think of the influx of people we don't automatically think of the influx of dogs that they are bringing with them. Many of the oil field workers have a dog to keep them company. Because of the nature of their work, every day is "bring your dog to work day." All these dogs are BIG dogs. I am talking about dogs that you could put a saddle on and the ones that when the let their tongues hang out of their mouth it is about the size of an elephant's liver.

While their master is in buying groceries, Mr. Man's BFF is hanging his head out of the window and his slobbering tongue is hanging out of his mouth. All the while the dog is thinking, "Please, please, please buy me a package of hot dogs for lunch."

Meanwhile, a fair-sized pool of dog dribble is collecting in the parking lot. This is one of those subtle annoyances that we wouldn't have thought about before the boom. We would swing into the parking lot and jump out of the car with no worries. Now it is highly important that before you step out of the car that you open the door and look before you leap.

You need to do a very thorough visual scan for tobacco spit, coughed up phlegm, upchucked chimichangas, puddles of dog drool or a dump of doggie do-do resulting from eating a whole pack of hot dogs for lunch. The other day I was in the grocery store parking lot and sure enough, there was a BIG dog waiting in a BIG white oil industry pickup. This particular dog was not drooling out the window, but was actually sitting very stately on the driver's side. It was creepy how the dog was looking around as if he was studying the parking lot traffic.

When he caught me looking at him, I swear his eyes told me that of course he was the designated driver and he winked at me. I so wanted to march over to that pickup, stick my finger in that dog's snout and tell him his BFF was inside the grocery store eating free brats and a banana split. But I didn't do that. I would like to keep my pointer finger if at all possible.

Besides the BIG oil field dogs, there are also lots of families that have moved in with their cute little dogs. In fact if I do some quick guesstamation math, Dickinson probably is home to 4,000 additional pooches. When I think of such statistics, my next thought is that these precious pooches have to poop someplace and you can bet it is not in their own yard. I would wager to guess they are doing their business in your yard.

If you don't own a dog and you go to mow the lawn, you don't think to do a doggie doo-doo check. After you blade through a couple of fresh canine clumps, the whole lawn-cutting chore turns into a crappy experience.

Renner is a Dickinson native and a retired Dickinson High School librarian who works part-time at the Dickinson Public Library.