One summer evening when I was staying at a hotel in Colorado, I decided to put on my jeans and tennis shoes and go for a walk. As I approached the hotel from a distance, I saw a woman walking her Great Dane in the manicured lawns next to the building. She was not exercising the dog; he had been taken out for a ‘bathroom break.’ And sure enough, he did what she wanted him to do-right on the beautifully landscaped grass at the entry way to the hotel. Business complete, the handler turned and began to leave with the dog.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Are you going to clean that up?” The dog owner, who was in town for a dog show, spun around, saw me in jeans and tennis shoes, and said, “Why don’t you mind your own business?” Imagine her surprise when I told her who I was. Suddenly her tune changed and she said she was just on her way to her van to find a bag.
Cleaning up dog poop is clearly not one of life’s most rewarding activities, but if we want to own dogs, it comes with the territory.
From CITIZEN CANINE, here are two tips for being a responsible owner who cleans up.
* Develop the habit of putting a cleanup bag in your pocket every time you leave for a walk. If bags are kept near the dog’s leash, you’ll be more likely to reach for one before leaving. You can also purchase a small bag holder that can be refilled with bags. The holder clips onto the leash so that you’re always prepared.
* Follow the rules. If you see a sign that says “No Dogs,” that includes yours. In a large city where there aren’t many bathroom areas for dogs, the landscaping in front of a hotel may be tempting, but find another place. In public parks, where areas are designated for wildlife and off-trail use is not permitted, stay on the trail.
Cleaning up after your dog will help all dog owners retain the right to have dogs in public places. When owners fail to clean up after their dogs, all dog owners suffer. Before you know it, dogs have restricted access to the public places in which there are problems. Walkers, hikers, and people looking for pleasant places for picnics can become extremely vocal about dogs causing problems in parks. Responsibility begins with you. On every walk you take with your dog, you can set a good example for others.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THE POOP POLICE? How dog you handle it when you see someone not cleaning up after a dog?