I took my two dogs for a long walk on Monday since I knew we were in for some winter weather later in the week. After the cold temperatures we’ve had lately, 60 degrees felt almost balmy. I actually had to take off layers and I think I may have broken a sweat at one point (although at five months pregnant it does not take much for me to break a sweat). The dogs certainly appreciated it, especially since they do not get many walks when the temperatures are freezing outside. They were starting to give me this look of, “oh come on, don’t be such a wuss, we are going to start eating your couch if you keep us cooped up much longer.” So off we went around the block, along with my toddler in the stroller, to get some fresh air before Winter Storm Leon descended upon us. Two dogs and a stroller may sound like a lot to take on a walk, but I’m so used to it now I don’t even think about it, plus a stroller provides a nice little storage basket to store…DOG POOP!
Scooping the poop is even more important when you are expecting snow. Not only is the snow going to hide all that poop from your unsuspecting shoes, but when it starts to melt and head for the nearest storm drain, your pet’s poop gets carried along for the ride and ends up in our local waterways. That’s right, your pet pollutes! Rain and snow melt that come in contact with pet waste pick up bacteria and nitrogen that are harmful to aquatic life and dangerous for public health. That poop that’s in your yard could be polluting waterways that are miles away. Human waste is treated in a septic system or at a wastewater treatment plant to protect our health and the environment, and properly disposing of pet waste is just as important for the same reasons. Since pets “go” outside, and stormwater is not cleaned at a treatment plant, we all need to do our part.
That’s why I always bring plastic bags with me on walks. No, you will not look cool picking up your dog’s poop. But being responsible isn’t always about looking cool. Plus, if you don’t pick it up, you will be “that neighbor” to those who notice you pretending you didn’t just notice your dog taking care of business in their front yard (and yes, they ARE watching).
If you are horrified at the idea of carrying a bag of poop around the block, your neighborhood needs a pet waste station, so be sure to check out the free pet waste stations you can apply for right now through askHRgreen. Monday after our walk I also made sure to pick up all the poop in the backyard, and I’ve been checking more diligently than normal, so Leon doesn’t turn my yard into a source of contamination. The forecast is calling for above freezing temperatures after the snow stops, which means melting snow and a fast-track for pollution to get to local waterways.
Being a responsible pet owner during winter weather means more than just keeping your dog warm indoors, make sure to scoop the poop so you can stay green, even when it’s white outside.