Saturday, July 16, 2011

When Doody Calls

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This is an article I wrote for a local newspaper.  They wouldn't print it.  Their loss.

They’re family members, our best friends.  They eat as well as we do, are pampered more than we pamper ourselves and are often dressed better.  They’re our pets, and with each pet comes responsibility.  However, no matter how loving the owner, it seems that one very important pet priority gets overlooked.

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another.  It starts as a familiar, but offensive odor that leads to a mad search to quickly find, and remedy the situation.  And it almost always turns out to be our biggest nightmare.  A shoe, carpet, floorboard, a bare foot, suddenly covered in your neighbors’ dog Fluffy’s metabolized dinner of lamb and rice.

Before having the inevitable fight with your friendly neighbor about cleaning up after their pets, arm yourself with some reasons why it’s necessary to clean up after our animals and offer some helpful tips on eliminating waste.

The Environmental Factor:
When it rains, pet waste and the bacteria that inhabit it, are transported to our storm drains that lead to our lakes and rivers, making swimming and other recreational activities unsafe.  A common mistake that people make with pet waste is that they think it’s a good fertilizer.  “This is not true and the reason is that almost all dog food is meat based and is not the same thing as cow manure or some other type of fertilizers which are vegetative,” said Lee Bowling of On Doody, a local pet waste removal service.

The Health Concerns:
Harmful parasites are transmitted through dog feces, including hookworms and roundworms, which can lead to serious illness in your pet, as well as in humans.  Additionally, pet waste attracts other unwanted pests, including rats, which are a whole different nuisance.  If dogs could pick up after themselves, they probably would.  But since they can’t, it’s your responsibility to keep their living space clean so they can live happy, healthy lives.

The Community Aspect:
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to an outside summer meal of grilled burgers and fresh corn, only to lose your appetite when an eastern wind, wafting the all-too-familiar smell of an unkempt  yard two doors down, blows through.  Try to be considerate of the people in your neighborhood who spend a lot of time making their homes a place where they can kick back and relax.  Also, take into consideration how hard our community works to keep up the appearance of the Cooper Young historical district.

It’s the Law:
According to the Memphis City Code of Ordinance, section 5-63, it is unlawful for cat (yes, this pertains to you too) and dog owners to “fail to promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces left by a dog or cat being handled by that person on property, public or private, other than the premises of the owner or handler of such dog or cat.”  You could face charges up to $50 for not being a responsible pet owner.

There are many devices on the market today designed for easy clean up.  You need only to take a trip to the local Petco for an array of disposal choices.

For the environmentally conscious dog walker, they offer biodegradable plastic bags that allow you to safely and sanitarily pick up Fido’s no-no’s and dispose of them in the trash.

If you’re the squeamish pet owner that shudders at the thought of feeling the warmth of Spot’s whatnot’s through a plastic bag, there is a jaw-like device with a long handle that grasps onto waste for quick removal.  Petco supplies the device for both grass and hard surfaces.

If you’re a pet owner on a budget, use an old-fashioned garbage bag or supermarket bag, stick your hand in it, grab the waste, invert the bag, tie it up and throw it away in the trash.

And for you busy pet owners, spend a few extra bucks each week to have someone else clean up after your pets.  Memphis’ own On Doody, a pet waste removal service in Memphis, TN, is happy to come clean up Lucky’s yuckies at a reasonable price.  They currently service many customers in the Cooper-Young district, and are pros at freeing your backyard of waste in an environmentally friendly manner.

And finally, don’t be embarrassed to pick up poop; it’s a crappy job, butt somebody has to do it, and since your pets can’t, that somebody is you.  Your neighbors and other passerby’s will appreciate your responsibility as a pet owner and the stance you have taken to keep the community beautiful.

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