The Dog Shit Connoisseur

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I love walking on dog shit. I’m addicted to it. I love the squishy sound it makes when the weight of my body forces itself upon it. I love seeing the way it spreads out around my shoes. I love looking back at the imprint I have made. I love the cold mornings when it steams away its bodies’ heat. I love the different smells each dogs’ shit has. I can tell you if it came from a Chihuahua or a Rottweiler. That’s my gift. I haven’t found a use for it, yet. Not all gifts are useful. Sometimes the best gifts you get given are the ones that don’t have a purpose. It lets you, makes you, give it your own purpose. If not for my gift I wouldn’t have experienced the life I’ve lived. I’ve talked to people who never would have talked to me.

“What’s that smell?” they’d say. “Poodle,” I’d say – it wasn’t always Poodle – and we’d be having a conversation in no time. I’ve travelled to different cities and different countries. I’ve spent whole days walking around sampling the local produce. Walking on dog shits are some of my happiest memories. Every year it gets harder to find fresh ones. The government keeps increasing the fines for owners who don’t pick up after their dogs. I have to walk farther for longer in my search. I’m getting old, but I don’t want to give up. I’ve thought about getting a dog so that I would always have shit to walk on, but the idea of it always being the same shit doesn’t appeal. I want new shit. My dream is to walk on the shit of a Tibetan Mastiff. It’s a rare breed and I’m very old, so I know that it will probably never happen, but it motivates me to get out and search.

The Author

Michael Naghten Shanks (b. 1987) is a writer and editor from Dublin, Ireland. His writing has featured or is forthcoming in various publications and anthologies, including Bare Hands Poetry, The South Circular, wordlegs, Five [Quarterly], The Squawk Back, Noncanon Press, theNewerYork, Cadaverine, Bare Fiction, Ink Sweat & Tears, Burning Bush 2, The Honest Ulsterman, 30 under 30 (Doire Press), and New Planet Cabaret (New Island). He has been listed for prizes including the Fish Short Story Prize 2013 and the 2013 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year. He has read at events including the Shore Writers’ Festival, the 10 Days in Dublin festival, and at the London Irish Centre as part of a Young Irish Writers Showcase. He edits online literary journal The Bohemyth. For more information, visit

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