I am a dog owner—a diligent, doo-discarding dog owner. My neighbors are also dog owners—indifferent, dookie-slinging dog owners. Yep, they pitch poo. I share a square of grass, a popular toilet for many dogs, with the feces-flinging monkeys. I pick up all the piles of poop that land on the patch, regardless of whose mutt made it; but even though it’s a daily “doody” of mine, I can’t patrol the plot 24/7.
Stray poop is more than just a squishy inconvenience. When left on the ground, dog doo, along with its parasites, bacteria, and microbes, can be carried to local watersheds, which can in turn affect drinking water and local wildlife. Worst of all, the bacteria can easily be transferred to curious dogs and kids who don’t think twice about what they put into their mouths.
To those dog owners and pissed pedestrians with arms crossed and brows furrowed, writing letters to the editor, fighting mad about all the poop on local trails and parks—here’s a reality check. While it’s true that taxes fund some trail maintenance, cleaning up crap is not part of the budget. Here are some simple ways to make a contribution more valuable than complaining:
- Donate time on a volunteer trail maintenance day, like the one Run, Dog, Run! recently organized to pick up poop at Peets Hill. (See the link to an article about it below.)
- If you haven’t already, purchase a city dog license—it’s your responsibility as a dog owner. Without that revenue, we wouldn’t even have waste stations, dog bags, or trash bins. (Which, lucky for us, are plentiful around the area.)
- Take two bags per dog, lift two loads (yep, one that’s not yours), drop them in the bucket, and move on. Burke Park alone has four waste stations, yet it’s still a minefield! What’s the energy output to slap on a plastic mitt, bend over, and collect some extra doodoo? I bet it’s less than what is spent stewing about it during your walk and then spewing about it later.
- And if you find yourself out on the trail, helplessly bag-less, at least make sure your dog goes to the bathroom off-trail.
My fellow dog-lovers, be the change you wish to see in the world… and all that Ghandi shit.
Read about Run Dog Run’s recent poop-scooping event.
And join TEAM BROWN at the Gallatin County Regional Park on Tuesday, July 17 at 4:30 pm to help scoop the poop. Tools will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Join local volunteers from Gallatin Valley Land Trust, West Paw Design, and Dump N Junk and help "Keep it Green." We hope to see you there!
*Photo credit: Ellen Kress