This week, Canine Camp Getaway hiking and lure coursing instructor Bob Dealy is guest blogging for us with the scoop on poop, responsible dog ownership and why cleaning up after dogs sometimes takes a village.
In the reader sound off section item of this morning’s paper, a lady was complaining about dog owners not picking up after their dogs. She was a bit dramatic, stating, “Do I have to dress up in a uniform and issue summonses?”
My first reaction was, Lady, you have no idea how far dog owners have come.
In college I lived off campus, I constantly had to dodge piles that were left on the sidewalk on my way to and from classes. It was all over the place.
Dog owners are so much more responsible today. The fact I noticed this as rare indicates there have been great strides made by dog owners over the last couple of decades.
Still the reader’s comment is valid. My dog can still find stray poop along our daily walk. And if you’re a responsible dog owner, you know this shouldn’t be. Like a lot of you, I’ll sigh, tell my dog to leave it and continue with the walk. As someone who likes to run, I occasionally have to avoid it or clean it off my shoes after returning home. But rarely on a walk will I pull a bag out and clean up someone else’s mess. After all it’s not my responsibility!
But after thinking about it, I have to wonder, should it be? I reluctantly came to the conclusion, yes.
There are two reasons for us to consider this. One, dog poop is the greatest danger to our own dogs, as it transmits illness to our dog or other dogs in our home area. Active dog owners are at greater risk than the general dog-owning public. Two, it enhances the reputation of dogs and their owners within the community. Property owners are not responsible for the care of our dogs and that includes picking up after our dogs.
If you know where there is stray waste on your walk, take an extra bag and remove it. Set the example for responsible ownership in your community. The property owner will appreciate it, and maybe the person whose dog dropped it will learn from your example. (I highly doubt the second part but it’s possible.)
In a world where we are asking for public funds for dog parks, showing increased responsibility in ownership can only help us all.