November 8th, 2016
I have come to realize that there are two kinds of dog owners. Those people who do. And then, those people who don’t. What am I rambling about? Dog poop! I doubt many soon-to-be puppy owners give much thought to the disposal of poop. That is, until they bring the adorable fur ball home. Don’t misunderstand me. On your private property, I don’t care if you pick up each time, daily, weekly, monthly or even at all. It’s the public outdoor places that I speak of.
Our sidewalks are littered with these potent land mines. Playgrounds should be sacred places devoid of dog waste. They are not here in Labrador West. It is even problem at places like the local dog park or Tanya Lake Trail where free poop bags and waste containers are available. Seeing that brown mound smack in the middle of the trail within reach of the poop bag dispenser and garbage can makes my blood boil. Our walk is spoiled because I am not focused on enjoying the natural surroundings. Instead, I must be vigilant by constantly scanning the ground for potential hazards for Bailey and myself. I have stepped in dog poop. Cleaning a boot tread of embedded poop is not an experience that I wish to repeat.
I use to give the benefit of doubt to owners. Telling myself that they simply forgot to bring a bag or they missed their dog doing the drop. I was wrong. They know and don’t care. Take Bailey’s favourite walking trail as an example. I loved hiking this trail with Bailey because very few people used it when we first discovered it. Minimal usage meant less garbage strewn around and very little dog waste. People have learned about its existence and some of them have, through their actions, spoiled it for others like myself. One of these days, I might find myself tracking the culprit back home to leave his/her dog’s waste. Well, I can dream.
Those of us, who are the other kind of dog owner, notice and care. My friend and I walk on the local trails and streets with our pooches. We not only collect our own dogs’ stuff but, on principle, pick-up that of other dogs. I have a Newfoundland dog and trust me when I say, “that’s enough to collect and dispose of properly!” On an average day, Bailey makes 3 deposits. Each one makes it to the garbage receptacle. Our community’s public outdoor space would be ruined quickly if I left Bailey’s stuff on the ground. Mathematically speaking, Bailey could be leaving 21 piles each week (probably more) without my diligence in cleaning up after her. Now, think what things would be like if every dog owner just decided not to take care of his/her dog’s waste. It would not be a pretty sight. Besides, animal waste is a breeding ground for unwanted parasites.
It is definitely the topic on our walks. WE RANT. WE COMPLAIN. WE ACT. Today, we picked up our dog waste as well as that of four other dogs. Our collection also included a coffee cup, empty cigarette package and a wire wrapped stick. Are these wasted efforts? Possibly… But, I am a believer in change. In doing nothing, your inaction says it is okay to litter and not clean up after your dog. I fantasize of a day when hiking with Bailey will be void of the remains from garbage and dog poop. For those of us who care about keeping public outdoor spaces clean for our pets and ourselves, I work towards making this happen. Join me.