Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part column. Read the conclusion of this column in Friday's Enterprise.

I guess you could say I'm nothing if not consistent. Probably bordering on boring.

And, my dogs have inherited that trait. We walk the same route every day. Although, I do it in reverse every other day. And amazingly, Alfie and Ralphie remember which way to turn at the bottom of 16th Street. They pull me which direction's turn it is — right or left.  Turning left is the hillier way; I prefer to head east toward the YMCA, at least starting out early in the morning.

And, although we do not intend to be trash collectors, it usually ends up that way.

We have picked up aluminum cans, cardboard, food wrappers, and unbelievably, a used diaper (yes, I picked that up too). Those materials that can be are recycled at the Washington County Recycling Center after cleaning. Those that fit in a pocket go there, otherwise I place them in a grocery store plastic bag, which I always carry.

A few memorable items stand out. On the sidewalk along North10th Street, there was a large part of a tire. Those like you see along the interstate from a big 16-wheeler type truck. It was a definite tripping hazard. I walked past it for a couple days, figuring an adjacent property owner would dispose of it. Didn't happen. So, I eventually picked it up and carried it to an industrial trash bin a ways away. Those are heavy.

Alfie and I walk either on the sidewalk or down the middle of the street. There are so many times when people have thrown food out their cars right on the street. That is where Alfie first met pizza. He gulps it down, so before I realize what is happening and try to pull him away, it's already entered his digestive system.

Just past the "old" library one morning, while I wasn't paying attention, he snarfed down something. I didn't even get a quick view. However, when we got home Alfie was clearly not feeling well. He was shaking and it wasn't because he was cold. Being the overprotective dog owner, I panicked. Had he eaten something poisonous? I called my vet, Dr. Johnson, and while I talked to him about what to do, out came this whole entire, un-chewed carrot. It was six inches long! After I got over the shock of seeing it, I grabbed it away and thanked Dr. Johnson for his time. Alfie had stopped shaking and seemed to be OK.

Earlier this year, at the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and Wilbur Street, Alfie was particularly interested in something. After putting on my glasses and using a flash light, it was a small sized crock pot. The pot itself was broken and placed inside the metal heating unit. I carried it home and wondered if I shouldn't keep the heating unit. It had rained recently and that may have compromised the unit so into the trash it all went.

There have been, however, a couple surprises that weren’t trash worthy.

Doug Cook is a Friends of the Jeanette Hunt Animal Shelter board member.

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