It’s in the Bag

We like to walk the dogs in a neighborhood that adjoins ours. They have something on their street that I haven’t seen anywhere outside of a park: one of those boxes that dispenses poop bags. Did the village install this? We don’t have on on our street.

And these aren’t just any old bags, these are printed with instructions on how to pick up the poop.

Poop bag instructions
I didn’t think instructions were necessary, but I’ve been at this for a long time.

Curious, I visited the website listed on the bag for Dog Waste Depot. The online merchant is well named, for it is rather like a Home Depot for your dog shit needs. It turns out that installing one of these bag stations — either as an individual or maybe by a neighborhood association — is very affordable. Free shipping, anyone?

But people are people. They may have a fancy schmancy sign and poop bags,  but there’s still plenty of poop lining the lawns. Maybe they need better directions.

A Good Walk Spoiled

Today we return to a theme explored in many blog posts that you’ll find here: dog poop. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m certainly an enthusiastic amateur.

Albany’s Capital Hills golf course welcomes dog walkers during these winter months when the links are closed. It’s a terrific place for dogs to run, and this year it’s especially nice because El Niño has deprived us of snow.

But as usual, somebody has to ruin the good time.

There are a certain class of people who feel no responsibility to pick up the piles of poop left behind by their pooches on the course. For the purposes of this blog post, let’s refer to them as assholes.

Seriously, it’s everywhere.

So, on Saturday I’d been doing a fine job dodging the hazards, but in a moment of inattention, stepped in a huge mound of fresh crap that some asshole couldn’t be bothered to pick up. No, not the end of the world, but c’mon.

what's trending in your life and in mine
Capital Hills even has special poop cans located on the golf course.

I’m sure there are no assholes reading my blog, but if there were, I’d tell them this:

Dear dog walking assholes,

Just because nobody’s watching doesn’t mean it’s OK to leave your dog shit wherever you like. Pick it up. Believe it or not, doing the right thing will actually make you feel good, even if it involves something as unpleasant as picking up dog poop.

Thank you. Assholes. 


My wife says to me, “There’s poop on the front lawn again.”

And says I, “Human or canine?”

Look, in the burbs, letting your dog shit on someone’s lawn is the ultimate anti-social act. I’m quite sure people are peering from their windows when my dogs squat on their lawn, so I don’t just pick up the poop, but go though elaborate kubuki-like moves with the poop bag to make it obvious that I’m cleaning up.

Not everyone feels this way.

Lately we’ve found quite a bit of dog poop on the fringes of the lawn. Hopefully it’s just that dog walkers are lazy and not making a statement about me and my stupid blog.

Well, thanks to science, now you can figure out which dog pooped the poop. Several companies, like PooPrints offer DNA testing of dog sh*t with the aim of matching man’s best friend with your worst enemy. — in fact, according to the New York Times, there are Brooklyn apartment buildings using this technique to identify tenants whose dogs foul the elevators and hallways.

Great idea — but the problem? How exactly will you get a DNA sample from your neighbor’s pet to establish a match? If you live in a community strictly controlled by a neighborhood association or in a New York co-op, yes, you could require members to submit poop samples, but in the suburbs it’s a squishy proposition. Literally.

So, how does one collect a DNA sample from the suspect dog in a typical subdivision? Maybe let the Canine of interest lick your face and then swab your cheek — or sneak into their backyard to collect a sample?

I don’t know — they make it look so easy on CSI Miami. It would probably be easier — and cheaper — to just accept that sh*t happens.

If a Dog Poops in the Woods

Walking the dogs in the winter is cumbersome, especially when they do their business. Picking up means fumbling with two leashes, heavy gloves, poop bags — you get the idea. That’s why I’m not sure I can also handle a compass on top of everything else.

A recent study claims that dogs align themselves on a north/south axis when pooping. Naturally, this makes me curious, so I’d like to confirm these findings on my own — and while I generally know which way is north, if we’re being scientific, accuracy is important.

Anecdotally speaking, the study seems to be hogwash.

If anything, my dogs appear to line themselves up parallel to the road or path — and on a public street they seem to always face the direction of oncoming traffic. As for the backyard, at this time of year a veritable minefield, there appears to be no discernible pattern. I might as well be reading tea leaves. Maybe we need to consult the Delmar Dog Butler.

But in the name of science, the results must be documented. I encourage you all to take up the cause with your own dogs; maybe we can crowdsource a reply of some sort. Meanwhile, do not rely on dog poop for navigational purposes.

A Gift for the Dog Enthusiast

Maybe you’ve seen this dog toy called the Humunga Stache? It’s a big black moustache with a ball on the back for a dog to grab in its mouth. When Fido does that, it looks like he has a big huge moustache.

Hahahahahahahahaha. That’s hilarious, isn’t it?

But what’s really funny is when you spot this thing on the rug at 5am, because before coffee and in dim light it looks exactly like a huge steaming pile of dog sh…  ummmm…. poop.

The people who make this thing are quick to point out that the Humunga Stache has won several major awards and it’s great fun to see your dog with a giant moustache, but they neglect to mention how much it looks like poop. And this is not just me just me obsessing over dog poop,  everybody in our house agrees.

Personally, I think this is the perfect gift for your friends with dogs. It will provide hours of mirth and merriment — and it’s not nearly as slippery as the real thing.

The Politics of Dog Poop

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Senate candidate Joe Sestak likens the mess in Washington to dog poop:


Now that’s somebody I could really get behind — especially if it’s real dog poop in the bags.

This commercial says Sestak’s a guy who’s going to do something about all the sh*t going on in Washington. Nevermind that he spent the last four years serving in the House; that’s the sort of stuff that ruins a good metaphor.

Sestak’s spot may hit the mark, but I’ve gotta confess, one has to wonder about Belle. I don’t share my dog Maddy’s contempt for fluffy white pooches, but, well… it just may not send the right message.

This is not to say that your dog is a reflection on your character. Just because I wouldn’t want to be seen walking that thing around my neighborhood doesn’t make it bad.

And isn’t it unfair to judge a man by his dog? What are you going to do next, get down on Carl Paladino over his pit bull?

Poop Deck

Laura Northrup, who writes for the world’s most excellent consumer affairs blog, The Consumerist, just knew I’d be interested in this post from yesterday: Man Sues Petsmart For $1 Million After Stepping In Dog Poop.

If you’ve ever been to PetSmart, you know that pooches are welcome. But just like out in the real world, customers at the pet super store may be less than attentive about picking up after their canine companions. She writes:

The Virginian-Pilot reports that a man is suing PetSmart in federal court after slipping and falling on a pile of feces in a Norfolk, Va. store. He alleges that the fall exacerbated his existing back injury and knocked out four of his false teeth.

Wow! Good thing he didn’t knock any of his real teeth.

Lawsuits being what they are, there’s probably something in there about the store causing the plaintiff, Robert Holloway, embarrassment and humiliation. If he wasn’t embarrassed and humiliated then, he is now.

The suit states that the store, “negligently allowed animals to enter the premises and deposit feces in such a manner as to create a dangerous and hazardous condition.”

See! I keep telling you that stuff is dangerous and hazardous.

ARA: How Many Times Have You Written About Dog Poop?

poop bag - photo by rob madeoA reader asks:

Have you ever tallied up how many times the subject of dog poop, picking up dog poop, etc is mentioned in one of your blogs?

That’s a great question, BL. I already knew that dog poop was a running theme in my blog posts, but I’d never actually bothered to keep track. I added them all up and did a little content analysis, throwing in cat poop just for good measure. The results were sort of stunning!

Term Mentions
Dog Poop 24
Dog Crap 6
Cat Poop 5
Cat Crap 1
Dog Poop Mentions in Comments 36
Feces 4
Total 76

The interesting thing is that whenever I mention dog poop, it gets a lot of response. This is obviously something that people find interesting. And anyway, they say write about what you know, and people, I know about dog poop.

Please rest assured that I would never talk about dog poop just to get hits — well, I might if I were paid to write this blog. If they paid me to do this I’d totally pander to the dog poop lovers.

The Poop on Winter Dog Walkers

Every December the lawns in my neighborhood are decorated with more than electric reindeer and blow-up Santas: they are sprinkled with dog poop. It seems when the snow flies many people stop picking up dog crap. I have several theories about this:

1. The dog is not actually pooping on a lawn, it’s pooping on the snow. Dog walkers think that this forms a protective barrier over a homeowners grass. It doesn’t.

2. They are leaving it to pick up later. Everyone knows that frozen dog poop is a lot easier to bag than warm, steaming, fresh dog poop —but let me tell you, it does keep your hands warm.

3. People do not wish to soil their gloves. If you get dog crap on your hand you can just clean it off. Smear it on your glove and that glove will never seem the same, no matter how many times you wash it.

Don’t try telling me that they can’t see the dog poop because it’s so dark in the morning. If anything it’s much, much easier to spot against the white backdrop of the snow. It jumps out at you on even the darkest nights. Yikes!

There’s one other possibility: people are leaving it because it’s dark and they figure we can’t see them. Here’s some news for you: I get up very early and I can see you. Unless you want me to come by with my two dogs, please pick it up.