Last Friday, I marched into work and shouted to anyone who would listen, “Guess who pooped on the patio this morning?!”

That announcement was met with weird looks. I pointed out it was not me, but the new dog, Wally, who’d done the doody. (It’s never crossed my mind to drop trou on the porch, promise.)

Being excited about poop at all —let alone the location of the a.m. BM — is definitely new. I’ve had Wally for two weeks, and in that time I’ve cleaned up three barfs, four pee stains and six different brown cobra infestations. I haven’t had to mess with this much puke since college, and never someone else’s dirty squirties.

Technically, he’s house trained. But technically, I don’t know anything about dogs and didn’t realize asking him to hold it for 12 hours was insane. Of course he’s gonna download a brownload in the living room if I hit a happy hour after work instead of running home to let him out.

It’s been quite an adjustment. I’ve been getting up early to feed him, walk him and watch him through the window while he builds a log cabin on the porch. I’m running home at lunch if things didn’t go well in the morning. And I’m scurrying back after work to make sure he bakes another brown biscuit outside instead of three feet from the couch.

When I’m not with him, I’m worrying — not just about accidents, but if he’s barking and annoying the neighbors or eating something he shouldn’t, like my cat, who is not pleased in the least about the new roommate.

I used to think superficially about the work parents do. Now I’m realizing I don’t have to worry about Wally getting into a good school or developing a meth problem — the amount of bodily fluids I’ve had to clean up recently has my heart going out to every parent who’s fished turds out of the bathtub, wiped puke off their good shirt, or apologized to the grocery clerk for the cleanup on Aisle 9. I don’t know how you guys do it — for years — and stay sane.

Soon Wally will be done adjusting to a new house, and we can get back to the important tasks of checking the mail and watching detective shows.

But that’s not true for parents. Your kid gets potty trained and then you get to worry about them biting kids at school, or stealing from the 7-Eleven, or having their heart broken, or dropping out of college, or nine million other things that can happen.

While steam cleaning the carpet, I’ve been thinking about this. I have some serious respect for you parents out there. Thanks for cleaning up all my poop, Ma, and I promise not to do meth.

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