Drug Abuse Arlington: Doing Your Part for Soles Everywhere – Cleaning Up Your Dog’s Mess

By now, you’ve probably figured out how to clean up after yourself. But what about cleaning up after your best friend? No, not the one from high school who knows your most embarrassing secrets, I’m talking about the one who couldn’t share your those secrets even if they wanted to: your dog!

You wouldn’t expect a stranger to change your baby’s diaper, would you? Of course not — but if you don’t pick up after your dog when he or she relieves herself at the local dog park, that’s basically what you are doing.

Dog parks are the latest trend in many cities and towns. Local governments are creating them to provide residents a place where they can unhook the leash and let their dog roam and romp with his or her canine buddies. Dog parks are places where anyone can play fetch, splash in the creek, or teach their four legged friend a new trick or two — even if they live in an apartment.

Most dog owners use these parks responsibly, but a handful seem to abuse the privilege – — letting their dog “doo” their business without “dooing” their duty to pick it up. Here are a few of the excuses these dog owners offer, and the truth about them.

Excuse #1: All poop is essentially fertilizer, so I’m actually helping the grass by leaving it. Truth #1: You’re actually helping WEEDS grow. Dog excrement contains certain bacteria and proteins that harm grass and soil. Weeds love it, though. If you like romping with your best friend on lush green grass, then that’s one more reason to pick up after them when they do their business.

Excuse #2: Dog parks hire people to clean up all waste, including dog poo. Truth #2: Dog parks are clean because most dog owners do the right thing — picking up after their dog and tossing it in the trash. Even if some counties or cities hire a pooper scooper, that cost is one of the things that prevent these governments from opening even more parks.

Consider this — the people who regularly pick up after their dogs will notice those who don’t. If you’re among the people who sometimes don’t “doo” your duty, then other park patrons may be talking about you behind your back.

Excuse #3: It won’t hurt anything to let my dog’s droppings lie. Truth #3: Dog doo is full of germs, and these germs can make other dogs, people, and wild animals sick. Even worse, whenever it rains, the water runoff carries those germs into local creeks, causing a surprisingly large amount of water pollution! Even if your family isn’t drinking that water, some family downstream might be.

When you visit your local dog park, those are your tax dollars at work — funding a valuable service from your local government. So when you visit one of these parks, be a good citizen. Bring a plastic shopping bag you saved from your last trip to the drug store, or use a biodegradable poop scoop bag you bought from the store. When you see your dog “doo” their business, scoop it up and place it in the nearest trash can.

It takes just a minute or two — and there’s no excuse not to.

Are you a Virginia dog [http://www.northern-virginia-dog-blog.com/] owner? Then check out the Northern Virginia Dog Blog — your source for canine news and fun. This article was placed in this directory by the environmental message and communications company Water Words That Work, LLC, on behalf of the Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners.

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