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The 2020s have been a bit stressful, to say the least. But in our eternal quest for optimism, we’ve noticed a few silver linings. First off, lots of folks discovered the outdoors. And second, many people invited more love into their lives by adopting dogs.
We get paws-itively giddy watching people rejuvenate and frolic with new pups in our parks.
That said, our rangers have noticed an increase in dog doo and bags of scooped poop sitting by the side of the trail.
Some dog dads and moms pick up their baggies on the return hike. But some baggies sit overnight, their hopes for a reunion (and our rangers’ hopes for responsible dog ownership) dashed.
If a spaceship full of aliens landed in our state and saw people picking up after their dogs, those aliens might think dogs rule the world. Oh, wait… They don’t?
But seriously, we’re going to give folks the benefit of the doubt. People may not know they’re supposed to pick up, or they really intended to grab the bag on the way back...
So, our first plea (because your dog isn’t the only one who can beg) is: pick up after your pup and carry it, even if your good boy or girl does their business 10 minutes into the hike.
You might be thinking it’ll biodegrade, and wild animals go in the woods, so why can’t your fur baby?
The Environmental Protection Agency says dog doo spreads different bacteria than that of wildlife. These gross and harmful pollutants end up in lakes and rivers, making the water unswimmable, unfishable and undrinkable.
Oh sorry. We didn’t mean to ruin your lunch…
According to the Centers for Disease Control, dog waste can also spread illness to humans and wild critters. Diseases like e-coli, parvovirus and salmonella — and parasites like roundworms, which can live in soil for years!
No one wants to deal with an in-pack explosion or a three-hour hike smelling like you-know-what because of a flimsy bag.
But we’re still not giving a free pass. Instead, we have tips to enjoy your time with your dog in nature, avoid messy situations and leave our parks as you found them.
One of our coworkers, a pack alpha with three doggos, takes her big boys and girl for a short walk before their Parks outing, “to see if we can get the movement going.”
Once they get to the park, they take another short walk, hoping for seconds. If successful, they put that bag on the trunk of their car, so they won’t forget it.
Moving forward… Thanks for indulging us. With these tips, we hope you create a failsafe kit and routine that helps you leave parks prettier, safer and more pleasantly fragrant than you found them.
Plus, your dog can become a Bark Ranger, which comes with special doggie swag, and you’ll get brownie points (oh, the puns just keep coming…) for being a responsible dog parent.
Originally published January 02, 2024