Hi, I just move here from down South. I love going for walks with my humans on all the trails. Where I came from, dogs were banned from all public areas because of damage to the environment and public water supplies because of poop. I am concerned the same thing is going to happen here. What can we do?
First of all, welcome. Juneau is beautiful, and walking on our trails is a treat to be sure. Your concerns are warranted, and I too have been concerned for some time. And we are not alone, my buddies at Grateful Dogs are so worried they have put ads out on the radio.
As you know, we dogs really don't care where we go, as long as we can go. After my last foray onto one of our beautiful local trails, I can tell you it looks like we go everywhere! And where were all the humans when all of this "depositing" was going on? They are supposed to pick up after us. After all, isn't that why we take a human along!
So, you just have to ask yourself, "What is the problem?" Most parks and trails supply free bags and trash cans. And even if they didn't, how hard is it to figure out where to get a plastic bag from and to remember to take one with you? And what is with humans reactions to our bodily functions?
Humans are so weird. There is the "If I look the other way while my dog is pooping then I won't know it is there and then I won't have to pick it up" human. Who are they kidding? Do they think if no one is around while their dog is pooping it doesn't count? Or worse, they don't pick up because they say it's "natural" or "biodegradable" or some other nonsense.
Or my favorite: They think if "it" is deposited below the high tide line everything is fine. (Have they never heard the term water quality?)
Yes, my friend, we do have a problem. If humans continue to ignore that which we leave behind, we may all lose the privilege of being out and about on Juneau's beautiful trail system.
My advice to dogs is to try to go right by your door so your humans can't miss it. And for humans, my advice is: Pick up after your dog. This is more than just a messy problem. Dog waste can take up to a year to decompose. Germs flourish in it and rain washes it into the water supply. And just because you don't step in it (and then track it into your car or your home) doesn't mean someone else won't.
Besides, not cleaning up after your dog is against the law. But more than that, it is just plain bad manners to leave it where it lays. Instead of waiting until we are all banned from Juneau's parks and trails and public areas, lets be proactive and clean up. It's the right thing to do.
My humans read your last column about spaying and neutering, and I got "the surgery." Personally, before it happened I was concerned (especially about my social life), and truth be told, I was a bit worried as well.
But the snip wasn't bad at all, and I am doing well. In fact, I must say, I am doing great. I actually feel better and some of those, let's just call them "annoying habits" and leave it at that, have gone away. I can even visit the little French poodle down the block now.
Believe me when I tell you, that alone was worth it! My problem is my human. I will call him "Biff." Biff claims to be a man's man (whatever that is) and he is literally crying (which according to Biff it is OK to cry about this topic) about my new "altered" status. Like you said, the whole sex thing is a human emotion. But who knew he would take it this badly? What do you suggest?
Loco no more
Dear Loco No,
Sigh. These humans! OK, I suggest your human call the local vet clinics and see about getting you fitted for neuticals. Yes, you read correctly, neuticals. They are scrotum implants for dogs such as yourself. They feel natural (or so I have heard), and they look like they have always been there. This could be a win-win. You will have all of the health and behavior benefits and Biff will have, hmmm, well the benefits to him will be better served by a letter to Dear Abby or maybe Jerry Springer.
Ask Rex is a column coordinated by the Gastineau Humane Society. Dog-related questions can be sent to "Ask Rex," Gastineau Humane Society, 7705 Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK 99801.