Cleaning up after your dog

Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Oct 26, 2015, 11.46 PM IST

Clean up after your dog

I recently shared a story on my social network that raked up a laugh riot. I think it’s only fair that I share it with you too. Festive times call for sharing of love and laughter, don’t they?

This is a conversation I had with my dad’s housekeeper after walking my dad’s dog for the first time.
Me: Puma pooped and I did not have a poop bag with me. I had to clean it up with a leaf. So I’ll take my poop bags now.

She: Erm…well…would you like me to come with you to pick up the poop?

Me: Absolutely not. I am used to this. I pick up poop all the time with my dogs.

She: Oh! (Followed by a look that clearly conveyed she did not understand what I was telling her)

The next day, we had a conversation after the walk.

Me: Puma found a bottle of water on the street. He has brought it back. Once he is done playing we should throw it.

She: He brought it back? I thought you brought it back.

Me: Now why would I do that?

She: I DON’T KNOW! Yesterday you bought back poop. So I thought today you brought back pee in the bottle. I don’t understand you!

I am yet to stop laughing about it. But there is a message in there for us. Picking up poop is a cultural change. It is something our minds don’t wrap around yet – we do come from a place of absolutely not understanding the concept. But as our cities get more westernised in the amenities we come to expect of it, as citizens of a city in a state of rapid internationalisation, we need to catch up to international standards on civic sense too. For us dog owners, that would mean poop picking and good use of leashes on busy roads.

Recently, a friend of mine was telling me how after watching her pick up her dog’s poop, two more people in her neighbourhood have started doing the same. There are people drawing inspiration from your efforts and the wheels are turning in people’s minds.

Just keep doing what you know to be right, not for others, but for your own dog. On the face of it, it may seem incredibly futile to pick up poop when the environment around is so dirty. The way I look at it, my dogs (like most dogs), pick familiar poop spots. It’s their poop area and I am keeping it clean for them.

My dog once pooped in front of a house with the house owner watching. I reassured him, “Don’t worry, I will clean it up”. He smiled and said, “I know you clean up. I have seen that. So I’m not worried.” It’s not an everyday occurrence, but every once in a while we get a comment that shows us that people do notice and appreciate our efforts.

These days public and private spaces are opening up to dogs. I am sure most of us dog owners would like to see more such spaces. However, that is heavily dependent on how we maintain these spaces offered to us. Cleaning up after our dog is not an option anymore. We have enough pets in this city to make this a necessary part of city dwelling. So be prepared to be the laughing stock of onlookers who don’t get it. But catch up. You are now an international citizen. Act like one.

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