There is No Poop Fairy

You’ve seen the signs at the dog park, outside your vet’s office, and maybe even on your neighbor’s yard: “Clean up after your dog.” Recently, I saw one of these signs that I was hoping actually encouraged people to clean up after their dogs (anyone of us who frequents the dog park has stepped–or at the very least nearly stepped in dog poop–people clearly ignore those signs). The fun, new sign said, “There is no poop fairy.” It featured a picture of a shimmery fairy taking care of puppy business. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a fairy who followed along on every walk, so our dog’s business could magically disappear? Unfortunately there’s not, so what’s a dog owner to do?

  1. Keep extra bags everywhere. No matter how much prepping you do, you’ll eventually find yourself without a bag at the most inopportune time. I keep a bag tied to each of my dogs leashes, as well as a roll of pickup bags in my car, my husband’s car, my purse, my overnight bag, the dog’s overnight bag, and still grab an extra stash (when I remember to) when we go out with the dogs. It never hurts to have extra bags–especially if you end up needing to double up on bags, or if you have a dog that gets really excited and poops every five minutes at the dog park until they’re empty (not that I speak from experience or anything…)
  2. Keep your dog in sight. You can’t stay in control of your dog at the dog park unless you can see them, and you certainly can’t pick up after them if you can’t see where they stopped. Be a responsible dog owner.
  3. If you hate the idea of scooping up your dog’s stool with a bag over your hand, invest in a “pooper scooper.” These are long-handled, double-sided shovels so you don’t need to get up and close with your dog’s messes.

If you really, really hate the idea of cleaning up after your dog, delegate. You’ll still need a solution for when you walk your dog (or you could hire a daily dog walker), but there are businesses popping up all over the place that hire themselves out specifically to make sure your backyard is dog poop-free. A quick Google search, or a talk with your favorite dog-service provider will help you find one if there is one in your area.

Feel free to pass along the name of your favorite poop-scooping company, or at least offer one of your spare bags (this is another good reason to keep spares on hand!) to someone you see not cleaning up after their dog. Try to be nice about them leaving their dog’s mess in your front yard, forgetting a bag once happens to the best of us. If it happens again, you could always put up the poop fairy sign to see if it works. (If you’re the one who forgot the bag, consider asking someone nearby for an extra bag, or check out a park if there’s one nearby–many offer cleanup bags for free.)

Speaking of getting ahold of some pet pickup bags–what kind of bags are best? Old plastic shopping bags and old newspaper bags make the perfect, cheap doggy pickup bag. But if you stop in the cleanup aisle at your local pet store, you’ll see compostable and biodegradable bags as well. Do your research if you want a bag that you can toss in your compost pile (though dog waste doesn’t compost well, I’ve heard). Get a thicker plastic if you hate the idea of being able to feel what you’re picking up. If you don’t want to pay for the bags, use the leftover bags from your newspaper. In the end, the best bag is the one that you’ll use.

No one likes to comes across a left behind dog mess on their daily walk. Dog waste can contaminate groundwater, encourage disease, and attract rodents–so clean it up. With more responsible dog owners around, cities are more likely to allow dogs into city parks, businesses will be more pet friendly, and your neighbors will love you (and your dog).

Until that poop fairy shows up, it’s up to dog owners to do the cleaning up. Happy scooping!

By Rachel Leisemann Immel