The wonderful thing about living with three dogs is that we get to use the word “poop” more than most people, unless they have a lot of small children. Whether it is “Did Maya poop when she went out?”(the optimistic thinking of a puppy owner) or “Hey, Max pooped on the terrace!”(the lament of the owner of an ancient dog) here, it is all about poop.

But it is not just about being able to say “poop” with impunity, a word which was forbidden for being vulgar in my fifth grade class. It is about being able to analyze, identify and keep track of poop. “I don’t know who pooped in the patio but I think it was Penny because she had carrots for dinner.” Or, “Who hasn’t pooped yet today? Come on, let’s go outside!”

Apparently, the word “poop” is from the Middle English word popen and originally meant to fart. It is considered profanity although really, what are the alternatives? I do feel that “shit” is crude and “bowel movement” excessively physiological as well as being two syllables too long. “Number 2?” Nope, my dogs can’t count. “Solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels” is too…well, you can fill in the blank here. Besides with at least six solid excretory products evacuated on a daily basis, who has time to say it? Remember also that we are speaking to dogs here (“Penny, you’d better poop right now because it’s going to rain any second”) and they don’t have the largest vocabulary among mammals.

I like the word “poop.” It is short and simple, with the same strong consonant at the beginning and the end. It can be used as a noun or a verb; it is a palindrome – spelled papertyper the same backwards and forwards, eliminating the possibility that the dogs will misunderstand because they are hearing it in reverse. It also has the intimate feel that you should have when talking to short friendly animals.

But please, should we meet, do not describe me as a poop expert; I am a scatologist with a specialty in dogs.