Monday, October 1, 2007

Day Eighty-Five - Oh Shit

Picking Up Dog Poo the Eco-Friendly Way

I know this doesn't apply to a lot of people and I'm sure my country-living friends are laughing their asses off at the mere thought of picking up dog crap. But hey, I'm a true-blue suburbanite now and it kind of comes with the (very small) territory.

You see, our stunningly palatious lot is a whopping two tenths of an acre. That's right folks, and our fenced in portion where the dog is free to roam is a colossal 50' x 20'. That's 1,000 sq feet of space for a 100 pound black lab with an insatiable appetite and two willing, and charitable, little accomplices. You do the math on this one.

I have tried to convince dear Oreo to use one specific corner, which I have "left natural" for her (meaning I don't bother to rake the leaves there). I don't know if I have a very stubborn dog or if I'm just a very gullible person, but this supposedly "simple training technique" of tossing existing poo into the area just ain't workin'. So I am left with the enviable job of "dog poop remover". Yeah, being a stay-at-home-mom isn't quite as glamorous as you might think.

My old method of removal was pretty wasteful: Take two grocery bags and wrap your hand in them (using two bags mitigates the possibility of "breakthrough"). Pick up dog poo with this wrapped hand and place into a third grocery bag. When done, put the first two bags into the third, tie up and toss in the garbage to be taken to the landfill where it will live for a thousand years. Finally, scrub furiously for about five minutes, all the way up to my armpits.

My new method is much more green. Take one biodegradable, corn-based bio-bag and wrap it over your hand (these are sturdier than grocery bags, so no need to double up). Pick up dog poo and toss it over the fence into the tree line where it becomes natural fertilizer. When done, place bio-bag in compost bin. Then, scrub furiously for about five minutes, all the way up to my armpits.


Dog poo duty (hehehe) is usually performed once a week or so. That's 3 plastic bags every week for the sole purpose of dog-crap-on-shoe avoidance. Multiply that by one year, and you've got 156 plastic bags per year, plus all the dog crap that ends up in a landfill, which is not what a landfill should be used for!

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

There's definitely a risk involved here. I mean, what if my hand slips and the dog poo flies in an unintended direction? What if it hits the kids? or me? or goes SPLAT on the fence? Oh well, I guess it is this inherent uncertainty, the thrill of the unknown, that makes dog-crap-flinging such an extreme sport. Keep an eye out for me at the next X-Games.


leslie said...

We call it the "Poo-Pickin'-Party" at our house. The dog thinks it's hilarious.
I use the plastic bag method, because that is what is required by our trash people, that poo be bagged.
But we have a rural neighborhood that gets it's share of 'leavins', and I just carry my hoe with me on dog walks, and scrape a little divot in the ground, pull the poo into the divot, and cover.
Who the hell cares if people think it's weird, or that I'm crazy? The earth can compost it better that way, no smell, no flies.
By the way, this is one funny piece of writing. You are quite good, you know.

Big D said...

I totally agree with leslie - you are such a delightful writer! I'm gobbling these posts up.

Anyhow, I am not a suburbanite or a rural...ite? I am a city dweller. Which means my dog poo goes in the garbage or the toilet.

I have been struggling with this problem for a while - I have one dog trained to go outside and another trained to go on a (now washable and resuable) pad inside - thank goodness the outside dog has such small poo. It can usually be tucked under leaves or something, but I've been trying to figure out the best way to dispose of it that doesn't include the trash bins.

if you've heard any good ideas, let me know! I certainly would love to have a fence and treeline for disposal purposes!

Wendy said...

I rake the poo onto my garden shovel, and then toss it over the fence into the tree line where it becomes natural fertilizer. No bag necessary, and thus, no need for disposal ;). Saves money, too, as I don't have to buy anything to pick-up the poo. And it saves time - at least 5 minutes of washing ;).

Anonymous said...

Seriously? you people "toss" your dog poo over the fence? Whats on the other side of the fence? I had this horrible image in my mind of some poor neighbor having to deal with you as a neighbor! By the way, letting dog feces biodegrade is NOT an eco friendly thing to do. Your dog(depending on size) will produce almost up to the weight of dog food per week you feed it. That feces will contaminate the water table in your area. There are many articles written on this topic. Please just bag your poop in bio bags and leave them for the garbage man, or flush your pets poo down the human toilet.

Burbanmom said...

Ha! I never even thought about what people might think was on the other side of the fence! We have a wooded area on the other side of the fence -- I would never dream of tossing dog crap into the neighbor's yard!

While I don't agree with bagging feces and putting it into a landfill, I agree that flushing would be a better option than tossing. They also have some cool "dog poo composting" units availalble now, which I've been checking out. Haven't got the cash to invest at this moment, but it's on my wish list!