This summer I became the Great White Turd Hunter. I am still trying to figure out how it happened. Part of it can be traced back to when the president of the community gardens learned I kept horses and sheep. Her eyes lit up like a pair of winning lottery tickets and me, forever the people pleaser, began spending perfectly good summer afternoons out in the pasture with a pair of five gallon pails hunting down horse apples and sheep pellets for the compost bins.

That should have been enough to fulfill anyone?s turd hunting spirit, but it didn?t stop there. Through a series of slightly confusing and unforeseen events I found myself with temporary custody of my son?s girlfriend?s pet rabbit and cat until they can find a pet friendly apartment in Vancouver. Landlords who welcome rabbits and cats are about as common as Great White Turd Hunters, which means our empty nest will most likely be full of hopping and meowing for some time to come.

The hopping and meowing doesn?t really bother me. I don?t even mind feeding and watering the pets. It?s the product of the feed and water that is the problem. Far be it for me to second guess God, but I just don?t understand why He made rabbit turds round. These are the sorts of questions I never asked before I became the Great White Turd Hunter. I?m just saying that if Buster spit out square turds then lifting out the tray of his cage would be a lot less daunting.

If you?re curious to know what this feels like, or perhaps if you have aspirations of becoming a Great White Turd Hunter yourself, then what you might want to do is put a cookie sheet in the bottom of deep box, dump in a cup of marbles and then try to pick up the sheet without any of the marbles rolling off onto the floor. Hey, maybe I could turn this into a boxed game and make a fortune! It could be bigger than Monopoly. Or not. However, if it should become an Olympic sport, I would make Canada proud.

?That?s her,? little children will say to their mothers, their voices filled with awe. ?That?s Shannon McKinnon ? Canada?s gold medal rabbit turd balancer!?

It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

I don?t get much of an audience when I balance the rabbit tray or hoist my five gallon pails through the pastures. The rabbit, sheep and horses all tend to ignore my poop expeditions. Cleaning the cat?s litter box is another story.

When I don my plastic gloves and seize the big slotted spoon, the cat hops up onto the nearby chair to supervise the operation. While I scoop and sift through the litter for clumps and turds Pasiphae zealously meows out instructions. This is better than barking them out I suppose.

?Get the pile in the southwest corner,? she meows. ?The one that took place after my luncheon with Captain Tuna.?

Let me tell you, it is more than a little galling to be down on one?s hands and knees fishing for feces while the feces maker looks down on you with a superior expression on her face.

The pendulum swung back into balance yesterday afternoon when I walked into the bathroom and found Pasiphae perched on the toilet seat with a guilty expression on her face and a set of wet lips.

?Well, well, well, ?I said, folding my arms across my chest. ?Who is fishing around in whose litter box now??

I might scoop poop out of a litter box, but at least I don?t try to drink out of it. In a summer where pride has taken a hit, this pleases me more than it should.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. She can be reached at