Highland Park resident’s Mr. and Ms. Howling schedule monthly dog poop pick up service, but a very important detail seems to be missing. Read as the mystery unravels in this 5 part series.

“We got a new lead!” exclaims Diane, as she quickly jotted down the phone number on the screen into her leather bound contact book. Ivan, who’s been going through the photographs on his camera, looks up and asked “Oh, great! What neighborhood?” 

Highland Park, I think. You know the McClory bike path? I think they’re over there.”

“Such a nice place to live! I bet their dogs love to be so close to the park. Wait, how many dogs did they say?”

“Well, that’s the interesting part! They want to schedule residential service, only monthly dog poop pick ups, but they wrote in the form that they have eight dogs!? Who has 8 dogs and only cleans up their dog poop once a month? That’s funny, isn’t it? They must host a really busy play date.”

“Well, whatever makes the doggies happy I guess.”

***

Diane calls Florence Howling.

“Hello? Am I speaking to Ms. Florence Howling? Well, hello, this is Diane from Master Scoopers. How are you? … Thank you for asking. I am calling in response to your message regarding our services. I just want to confirm some information and then we can schedule our first dog poop pick up.

Great, let’s start then. The form says you want a monthly cleaning?

Oh, yeah, we can do every four weeks instead of monthly, no problem at all. We have openings next week if you’d like to schedule early … Of course I can wait, go ahead … Yes, the 16th sounds good. Does the afternoon work? … Excellent

And how many dogs did you have? The form says eight but … I see, two dogs, but you’re inviting friends over, I see. That sounds like fun! How long has it been since the yard was last cleaned? … Oh, welcome to Chicago! We’re looking forward to provide you our services! … That sounds wonderful, Florence. We’ll call to confirm again the day before. Take care! Buh-bye!”

***

It is a sunny day, and Ivan feels peaceful as he pulls the van in front of the Howlings’ address for their first pick up service. It’s a one-story building, with landscaping in the front, the architecture reminiscent of Southern California modernist styles.

The gangway leads to a grass yard adjacent to the park, surrounded by elms, pines and dogwood trees breaking up and scattering patches of sun across the grass where multiple dog poops are camouflaged in the broken light, waiting for a pick up.

The Howlings are not home, and they confirmed that the doggies are safe inside. The big window opening to the living room shows a tastefully decorated interior, but the dogs must be too shy to say hello.

“Wow, that’s a big one if I ever saw one,” he mumbles with half a laugh, as he scans the yard to get an estimate on the amount of dog poop. It does look like there was quite a poop party here, but it’s definitely not the worst he’s seen. The poop looks fresh, probably from last day or night. As he sets up for the scooping work, Ivan notices something peculiar. Yes, he’s definitely seen some big poop before, but the piles in front of him seem to have a different consistency and odor than the dog poop he used to pick up.

I wonder what they feed their pets,” he thinks to himself, shoveling the waste into the big plastic bag he’s brought with him.

…then he hears coming from a bit afar, “Hello?”

Read: The Mysterious Dog Waste Removal of Highland Park (Part 2 of “Meet The Howlings”)