As I mentioned last week, I am not a fan of cold temperatures and opt to spend more time indoors than out over the winter months.
This decision has had a negative impact on my dog, Spencer, who has been forced to spend most of his time indoors as well, depriving him of the joy of long and leisurely walks through town.
In retaliation, he has taken his frustrations out on us by eating pillows, shoes, socks, blankets and anything else he could get his hands, or rather, paws on.
He has also begun barking for no reason, even after all of his needs have seemingly been met.
Feeling sorry for him and remembering his need for exercise to keep his behavior under control, I decided to brave the cold and wind and take him for a walk the other day.
The look on his face when I told him we were going for a walk was something between jubilation and disbelief; as if I were playing a cruel joke on him.
Normally he would jump up and down making it impossible for me to put his collar and leash on. Instead, he sat on the floor with his tail wagging a mile a minute while gazing at me with pleading eyes.
Before I walked out of the door, I made sure I had the necessary provisions should he find the need to do his "business" during our walk.
I didn't even make it off my own pavement before I spotted a large pile of doggie, well, you know, on the pavement in front of my neighbor's house. I shook my head and walked on. After all it wasn't mine, or Spencer's.
My happy dog held his head high and pranced his way across the street as he always does when he is out and about.
We didn't go 10 yards when I spotted yet another pile.
I kid you not, for an entire half-mile walk up the street we were dodging pile after pile on every block.
I could not believe what I was seeing and smelling.
For the walk back I crossed the street with the hope that the other side would fair better. It did to a certain extent; however, we still had to side step a few.
I found myself both disgusted and annoyed.
So here are the questions that beg asking: Why is it so hard to bend down and clean up after your animal? (There are even scooping devices specifically made to eliminate the bending down part.) Is it laziness, or a lack of respect for property owners and anyone who walks on the sidewalk?
Are you aware that not cleaning up after your animal can cause the spread of parasites and disease, and that young children are most susceptible?
Driving home yesterday, I saw some boys with a dog in Summit Hill. I could see the dog doing his business and as I passed I checked my rear-view mirror to see if the boys would do the right thing and clean up the mess. They didn't.
It's not just the kids. The adults are just as bad, if not worse. I have often seen people looking around to see if anyone notices them walking away without cleaning up. Silly humans.
I remember an experience I had about a year ago while walking Spencer. After picking up his mess, a woman actually pulled over her car and rolled down her window to thank me for cleaning up after my dog, stating that not too many people care enough to do it. It struck me as odd that she would thank me for something that I should be doing, but still, it was nice that she did.
I assume there are laws in Lansford and in all our communities requiring owners to clean up after their animals. I would like to see them enforced, as I am sure we all would.
As the weather warms, I would like to take family walks in the evening. Although bringing a flashlight and going on a scavenger hunt every night sounds like fun, I would much rather spend my time gazing at the stars and not worrying about what I will be tracking into the house later.
I feel that I couldn't properly end this piece without offering the following public service announcement, with tips on how to clean up after your dog:
1. The Pooper Scooper no bending required!
2. Plastic bags recycle your grocery bags or buy ones that are specifically manufactured for this purpose.
3. My favorite method newspaper and a plastic bag. Simply place the newspaper on the ground in the "drop zone," roll up and toss in bag.
For those who require more information on proper cleanup technique, Howcast has a video on YouTube called "How to pick up after your dog." No joking.
So spread the word, readers, so that one day, the sidewalks may be clear and safe for everyone; but until that day comes, you better watch your step.