Raising a kid in a city filled with dog urine

Hydrant kid
Yep, my son will probably be touching that later. Credit: Thinkstock

Before I became a mom, I never realized that the spray zone of an adult male dog is the same exact location a toddler strolling down a sidewalk will touch. But now I am all too frighteningly aware. Reader: It’s terrible. When we go outside, my son touches a lot — and I mean, a lot — of dog urine. And I must quelch my horror with a big phony smile while my completely unaware, delighted son practically hugs a fire hydrant.

Let me backtrack: It’s not like he’s splashing around in the stuff. But he does like to explore things while we walk down the sidewalk; things that I know, deep down, Brooklyn dogs spray on an hourly basis. The corner mailbox is a lot of fun to bang on. Touching the lamp post? Hilarious. The tree, which is practically the Grand Central station of dog toilets? A must. Having only been on this planet for 20 months, it’s as though his guiding life force is, “If it’s there, I must touch it.” Which is incredibly similar to the mantra of a male dog — “If it’s there, I must pee on it.”

So if I know it’s revolting, why do I allow it? Because even though I want to dip my son in a vat of sanitizing gel when we get home, it’s important that he not be afraid of things. If I rip his hand away from exploring just because of a few, very filthy and gross germs, what message does that send? He should know the feeling of a cool fence post, of tree bark, of the side of a building. He should know our wonderful world is worth exploring, even if parts of it are covered in excrement.

The other day, a friend and fellow Brooklyn mom posted a photo of her deliriously happy toddler son playing in a pile of leaves with this caption: “Trying not to think just how much dog pee he is sitting in right now.” I laughed but also shuddered. Even I, who lets my son touch urine coated outside surfaces, has yet to set Sam in a pile of leaves. Look: I have a dog. I know the nasty stuff that goes down in piles of leaves. We all have our limits.

Follow Metro’s editor-in-chief,  Dorothy Robinson, on Twitter, @dorothyatmetro.


Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.


NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…


Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.


Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…


'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…


Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.


Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.


'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.


David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.


Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.


MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack


2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?


Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.


5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.


Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…


Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.