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Why we should pack out our best friend’s poop

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No, not that friend’s poop.

Few trail companions are more up for the trip than your dog. They don’t complain about snoring, stank socks or why we’re up so early. There’s the trail and there’s food, and that’s pretty much all they care about.

Al, my 15-year-old pooch of questionable genetic make-up, used to love hiking. Well wait, he probably still loves to hike. He just can’t. Like I said, he’s 15. But when he was out there with me, I never thought twice about letting him bust a deuce on the trail.

Coming from suburbia, where an errant pile of dog crap is treated like a hot mound of plutonium-239, it was good to not have to carry the dangerously thin plastic glove-bags around. Hell, the bears shit in the woods, right?

Still, I’ve always thought that people over-react to finding a dog’s doings on their yard. Relax, right? It’s crap, it’ll go away. Or someone will just carry it away on their shoes. Whatever works.

Being the ever-vigilant community dog owner subject to neighbor association Gestapo management tactics, I still pick up after Al whenever possible, even when it means having to filter out the rocks because everyone in Las Vegas has decorative gravel and yuccas in front of their house, not fescue blends and hydrangeas. I almost always leave behind a few stained stones. Look, I try; stuff smears.

Anyway, one of the bags I grabbed the other day came with a nice little list of factoids about “Why You Should Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop.” I thought I’d share:

  • A single gram (about the size of a dime) of dog feces contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria

  • Dog feces harbors dangerous bacteria and viruses such as: heartworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, parvo, giardiasis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, and campylobacteriosis. (I think they made up that last one.)

  • It’s not fertilizer, but actually kills plants and grass

  • Improperly disposed of or left unchecked, dog waste (crap, not their leftovers) pollutes our environment and can even filter its way into our water supply

  • So, go green (?) and pick up your dog’s poop. Not only will it help the environment, but it will ensure you and your dog a clean and safe area to enjoy together

There you have it, more than you probably ever wanted to know about Al’s turds. And given all that, maybe we should pack out what our dogs do along the trail. I’m sure the bears would if they didn’t have all that Snuggle hanging on the branches.

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