Well, POOPING is natural. The effects dog poop can have on people and the environment is not.
Yesterday I ranted a little about pet owners leaving dog poop on hiking trails. Well, specifically, the rant was about people scooping the poop but then leaving the little plastic baggies on the side of the trail. I do sometimes see naked poop piles on the side of the trail too though (or the sidewalk around home) and it makes me so mad!
In my former career (I am taking a break to go back to school) as a Surface Water Quality Specialist, I did a lot of research on people’s attitudes about pet waste. Did you now that a 1999 study by the Center for Watershed Protection found that 41 percent of bay-area dog-owners rarely or never pick up after their pets? Yes, we would hope that number would have improved since then. However, the percent of dog-owning households has in creased since 1999 so I bet that figure is still about the same.
I found that a big factor in people’s resistance to picking up dog poop the perception that poop is natural – that it doesn’t hurt anything by leaving in on the ground and “letting it go back to nature”.
In actuality, there are a lot of issues with leaving pet waste on the ground. First, pet waste contains a lot of bacteria. Besides the fact that someone could get it on their shoe, on their hand when trying to get it off their shoe and somehow on or in their person (yuck, but kids eat dirt that can be contaminated with it) and get sick, it’s bad for the environment.
A pile of poo never actually “disappears”. Sure, it appears to go away but it really just breaks up into thousands of tiny poop piles that aren’t detectable by the human eye. Some of those microscopic poop piles get picked up on shoes, some nestle into the dirt where the bacteria can multiply and some take a float trip when it rains right into the nearest waterway. Pet waste is one of the most common contributors to making water unsafe to drink or swim in.
Another huge factor in people not picking up pet waste is not having a bag. Maybe they don’t ever carry them, or maybe they just forgot one at home, but it means that they couldn’t scoop the poop if they wanted to.
I recently found out about this great company called PoopBuddy. I was contacted by them because they are new subscription box service and they saw my post comparing all of the dog subscription goody boxes. This box is totally different from those boxes though – it directly helps to protect the environment.
The founders of PoopBuddy are not scientists but did a ton of research on the correlation between pet waste and poor water quality. I talked with one of the founders for an hour on the phone the other day and she pretty much told me everything I had learned in my 10-year career about the issue – the health risks of abandoned poop and how it can ruin our water supply. It was clear she was very passionate about it.
PoopBuddy has created a subscription service to help more pet waste be picked up. First, if you automatically receive poop bags in the mail monthly, you won’t find yourself empty handed when doody calls (punn intended).
Better than having an endless supply is that these bags are fun to use. PoopBuddy has scoured the market for eco-chic poop bags with the most fun and stylish prints. If your poop bags are making a fashion statement, you will proudly carry them and send the message to others that scooping the poop is the right thing to do. If the prints are fun, they will also make you WANT to use them and less likely to forget them at home.
I am going to be getting a little present (no, not a pile of doo doo) from PoopBuddy and I plan to write a full-review later to give you the total scoop (hey, this post is full of punn opportunities. Ha, ha). Until then, you can check out their website yourself or get updates from PoopBuddy on Facebook.