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The problems with Poo

I always endeavour to reply to all my email etc as soon as they arrive but for one letter I have been slow to respond to for many weeks now wondering what I should say.

The letter is about one of those subjects that we all complain about yet when we see a letter of this type regularly appearing in our papers we think it is just one of those again and wish the subject would go away.

It is not a topic I like writing about either but as it is important and aware that readers have a hatred of swear words I am calling the problem poo rather that the normal word we are accustomed to using so much.

For those of you who wish to read on you can translate the word Poo with one of your own choosing but for those of a nervous disposition read no further.

My first introduction to Poo was after acquiring my first pet rabbit. Being a bit of an inventive type of person, I tried all sorts of methods that would help me to reduce the tedious and dirty job of cleaning out the hutch. In the end, my rabbit simply had the run of the whole of the back garden or should I say the back garden became one big rabbit hutch. Eventually every where there were little brown ball bearings littering our garden just waiting to stick to our feet and end up inside on our fitted carpet.

For any of you in the same position I only found out about ten years ago whilst visiting a friendís house where they actually kept their rabbit in the house that you can teach them to use a litter tray.

My next experience was when my mum purchased a Mahyna bird. Those of you who have had experience of such a bird know that being a fruit eater and being a very clean bird brings an unexpected problem with poo. These birds like to sleep on the ground and even under the paper in the floor tray. If you do not clean, out the bird before it goes to sleep you will find dirty paper and poo all over the floor as it rips up this paper throwing it out through the bars. I tried making a new cage for it with a paper tray that was 3 inches thick because cleaning was such a regular chore that I could do well without. I did eventually find that placing a brown paper bag inside the cage just before it went to sleep was a solution. It loved to sleep inside it and for it to be able close the opening so no one could see inside.

One other hate for me was because we lived in the country my mum grew roses. Every time a horse went by, I had to go out and search or even follow the horse waiting for it to deposit a pile of horse poo in the road that I could scoop up into a bucket. I felt very much like some scavenger ready to pounce as soon as poo appeared.

I watched one of those scientific films all about cells and how all life forms evolve from one cell onwards to form the multitude of life we see on this planet. Early in the stage of cell multiplication at a certain point the cells turn inside out producing a tube like structure and you guessed it this is the gut. This is what sustains life and is the producer of the waste products.

Most animal life forms take in nutrition this way to then process this removing the goodness but ejecting the waste producing so many types of poo. We cannot get away from it. It is horrible stuff and in the wrong place, it stains like beetroot and has the sticking power of super glue.

Humans are the biggest producers of it but now we seem to have sanitised it to such an extent we can almost forget about it as it disappears from our properties. We have reached the point if we do not talk about it then it does not exist.

I do remember going to Switzerland with my school and on a day trip to Lake Lucerne went into a public loo. I thought someone had stolen the toilet. What shock and embarrassment as the teacher enlightened me to the delights of foreign toilets? We now have waste disposal down to such a fine art where they can cleverly recycle most waste until it becomes pure water.

This is not the case for our pets. They are all great producers of poo and often when children finally persuade their parents to purchase them a pet; the children fail to ever think about Poo disposal. They do seem however to quickly learn that if you ignore poo it will disappear. This achievement is only because such failings by the children only force the parents into carrying out this duty or the pet will obviously suffer.

One of the problems in our modern system is that many children then seem to grown up still thinking that Poo will again somehow disappear if they ignore it. I think it is this that angers so many people when they see dog owners letting their dog deposit poo in an area frequented by other people without any care. It is as if they believe someone else is supposed to come along and clean it up. They do not.

It is not just in public places that have problems. When we had a builder doing some work on our house he brought along a load of building sand. This then appeared to become a magnet for all the cats in the neighbourhood to treat it like some giant litter tray. He did complain and quite rightly so. Why should he have to shovel sand into the mixer that includes large amounts of smelling poo?

How many people do you see exercising their dogs on building sites as if it is some pet poo toilet? Try to put yourself into that situation of having enough problems and dangers on a site and added to it dog poo all over the place.

How many of us have walked into a restaurant and after a short while begin to notice that there is a smell floating about. It is at this point that everyone begins to start to check his or her shoes to find who has picked up that brown and sticky substance.

Sometimes when you look back towards the entrance you do not need a tracking dog to work out whos shoes are the culprit as there is a visible series of brown stains tracing the direction from the entrance towards your table. Embarrassment and anger are the normal responses but who ever was the real culprit has now long gone.

We all suffer accidents and I am no exception. We trained all our dogs to go to the toilet in a certain area near our house or in long grass if we were away from home. They normally went twice a day so when one day I was socialising Tip in Coney Street in York he had a tummy problem and went to the toilet in the street. Even plastic bags were of little use. Luckily, the local Chinese restaurant gave me a bucket of soapy water and a mop and after a while, cleared up the problem.

As I handed back the mop and bucket I recived a round of applause. This only added to my embarrassment and wishing the ground would open up beneath us. I will not say I was ashamed because I had trained my dogs to try to avoid such a problem. This was just an unfortunate tummy problem that I had not expected that day but I did clean it up.

Only a few months ago I was socialising Winston on the Boardwalk on the front of Altea and teaching him to use the stairs down to the beach that had no raisers. He was fine going down to the beach but coming back up this did cause him some concern for a short while.

I then went onto Benidorm to see how he would cope with all the people walking along the front. I had stopped for a meal but on the way back right outside a restaurant Winston had to go to the toilet and again bags would have been useless. Fortunately, the restaurant gave me a big roll of paper towels and I managed to clean up the mess. I really needed an industrial steam cleaner.

I do recognise it cannot have been nice for the patrons of the restaurant nor the people walking by but sometimes these things do happen. When they do, we should just clean it up not simply walk away.

I believe that it is this walking away that does upset people more than anything else does. How many people have seen an owner of a dog that when it stops to go to the toilet the owners pretend they have not noticed. When their dog is finished they then just walk off as if nothing had happened. Even when people complain, they often only receive anger from the owner.

No one likes dog poo left in areas frequented by people and children. I will not say dog poo carries dangerous levels of disease. They do sometimes contain worms that can enter the human body but in fact, most enter from the homes and in particularly the carpets where owners who have dogs in doors. It is important to worm all our pets regularly not wait until you see them in order to control them.

We have to accept that our pets do not have access to our sophisticated waste cleaning systems so when we think of owning a pet then waste control comes with each of them. It is important we accept this and that it is our responsibility to clear it up. Why should we use other peopleís areas as a toilet for our dogs?

I have to admit that the solution of having areas of pet toilets is not working as if you have ever been near one on a warm day you know what the smell is like. Even placing poo inside plastic bags into waste bins will allow, when it is hot, the smell to permeate into the surrounding area.

To solve this problem we do need proper airtight waste bins in public areas for us to clean up after our pets. Sadly, money is often lacking and the trend seems to continue being one of increasing laws restricting dogs from public areas and streets. Such continuation of such a policy will eventually restrict pet ownership rather than teach owners their responsibility to others members of our society.

When we take our dogs out for a walk in a public place, in most cases it is a legal responsibility let alone a moral one for us to clean up after them. Let us remember to carry enough of those plastic bags and letís be careful out there.

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