31. Excrescence

Dear Boomer,


            What’s the scoop,

            Betty Boop?

            What’s all this fuss

            Over doggie poop?


            The humanoids are getting their snouts in a snarl again.  Seems that opinions are polarized on what to do about cleaning up after us.

            Some humanoids are elevated souls who understand that there is no greater calling than to take care of the lower members of the pack.  The lower members, sad to say, are us. 

            Our alphas acquire a degree of humility by stuffing their pockets with plastic bags and taking us to the park.  Christ washed the feet of His disciples.  Alphas clean up dog poop.

            One of the rites of passage in the weaning of humanoid pups is training them to pick up after the doggies.  Often my Alpha let’s the Pup or his friends hold my leash when we go for a walk.  He always asks if they will clean up the poop if I make a deposit during my perambulations.  Always they refuse.  They are not yet weaned.  Once a humanoid pup is old enough to clean up after a dog, he or she is no longer a pup.[1]

            And for our part, we understand the importance these routines, rituals and rites of passage have for humanoids.  So I do my best to hold on until we reach Windsor Park, where I know my Alpha will dedicate the appropriate attention and care to our daily needs.

            The humanoids erect shrines to these activities.  Spaced throughout the park, like stations of the cross, the garbage receptacles welcome our little offerings.  Every once and awhile, the high priests of these ceremonies come by and unload the receptacles into a city truck.  And therein lies the source of the dispute.

            Because some humanoids do not appreciate these rituals at all.  Or at least, they think the rituals should be extended by having the humanoids carry the dog poop back to our homes.  It should be flushed down the toilets, they say, and the poopy bags stored with the general garbage under the kitchen sink, I guess. 

            Or the humanoids should carry with them poop and scoop buckets, rather than plastic bags.  The buckets would be placed at the front door, along with our leashes and combing brushes.  But above all, say this school, poop bags should not be left in the garbage containers at the park itself.

            The humanoids get quite animated over this debate.  On the one hand, the challenge of landfill sites filled with plastic bags and excrement.  On the other hand the problems of hygiene at the home. 

            On the one hand, City councillors maintain that it would cost more than a million dollars to keep emptying the park containers.  On the other hand, dog owners say this is only a real problem in the summer when the aroma of the shrines can discourage humanoid activity in the vicinity. So why would it cost a million dollars to hire a couple of summer students and a truck for four months to go around to the dog parks? 

            They ask where the money from the purchase of dog licenses goes – and some say they wouldn’t mind paying a few dollars more per dog to get adequate service from the city.

            On the one hand, a television newscast maintains 90 percent of dog owners the City consulted have no objection to taking dog poop home with them.  On the other hand, we’ve found but one single dog owner, out of the 100 or so consulted in Windsor Park, who is part of this overwhelming majority.

            On the one hand, the demand for a higher degree of civic responsibility on the part of the dog owners so they don’t leave their litter in the containers.  On the other hand, a remarkable degree of civic responsibility already shown by dog owners.  They don’t leave the poop on the ground.  They are very hard on those among them who neglect to clean up.  And every Spring, they get together for the pick-a-poo harvest, when trowels and bags in hand, the humanoid gather together to clean up anything they may have missed in the snowbanks of winter.  And in the process, they clean up the park of all litter, making it a better place for everyone.[2]

            The debate continues.  Tempers are getting hotter.  So I have a modest proposal. 

            Neither Alpha nor I condone the civil disobedience of some who say, “Well, if they’re going to make it so much harder for us, we just won’t bother picking up.”  This is not the way to inter-species harmony.

            Nor do we condone the suggestions that the contents of the poop bags be mailed to city councillors with a note asking them to do something with it.  I, for one, have too much pity for the letter carriers.

            I like the idea of new technology for chemical disposal of waste in the parks.  But the city won’t spring for a couple of summer students to clean up containers, so I doubt whether it would go for special doggie doo doo depositories, or even biodegradable plastic bags available at the park entrances.

            But it seems to me that the heart of the issue is recycling.  We need recyclable containers for doggie poop, and we need something to do with it afterward.  And so what I propose is the wheat flour and corn starch cornets used for ice cream cones.  They are biodegradable.  They are insoluble enough for your average dog walk.  Using one cornet, humanoids can scoop our deposits into another cornet and take it home. 

            Put it in the receptacles and let the city biodegrade it?  Maybe. Take it home and flush it down the toilet, cornet and all?  Perhaps. 

            Or maybe just put them in the freezer for a few months and, on the hottest day of summer, when so many people have forgotten all the effort of the poop-and-scoop harvest, take them out of the freezer, go down to city hall while they thaw, and offer them to councillors and city employees.  Call them poopsicles, if you like.

            Just don’t go near the Dairy Queen.

            Advocating a dog representative on city council,


[1] R.J. Huxtable, “Rites of Passage,” Carleton University Review, Spring, 2010, comments on how Zoscha perceives the human progression.

[2] Zoscha often wrote articles about the annual cleanup of the park.  See, for example, “Poop Picking Harvest,” Windsor Chronicles, Part 3, April 2000; “Cleaning Up the Park,” Part 34, May 2003; “Harvest Time,” Part 52, April 2005; “Playoff Season,” Part 71, April 2007; “No Country for Old Dogs,” Part 83, May 2008.

[3] The debate about what to do with dog waste in Windsor Park has escalated in recent months, with the City putting signs on garbage receptacles prohibiting their use for animal poop.  The Windsor Pups Community Action Group, representing about 250 dog owners in the neighbourhood, has submitted a proposal recommending dedicated covered containers for animal waste. They have asked for a meeting with City officials to discuss possible solutions.