Let’s Talk About đŸ’©

Let’s Talk About đŸ’©
Let’s talk about it. Why? Well, because have to. We’ve all nonchalantly ignored it, or covered it with leaves, or pushed it into the woods, further off trail with a stick. Guilty as charged. We laugh about it with our friends and accept the fact that they’re doing it, too. But, Dispose of Waste Properly is the 3rd Leave No Trace principle. The question used to brush it all off of our “outdoorsy” conscience? If wild animals poop in the woods, what difference does it make if my dog does, too?

There are some huge differences, and the proof is in… well, the poo. Let’s learn!

dog reading book

ew… It’s full of bacteria

“Wild animals are consuming nutrients from the resources around them in their natural habitat, then promptly returning those same nutrients back into the Earth.” (lnt.org)

See the photo from Rocky Mountain National Park’s team below depicting sprouts from bear scat. The food that gets ingested, ends up deposited and regrows. This is important!

“When we start adding in dogs, that balance is thrown way off. Most domesticated pets aren’t eating native plants or wild game – they’re eating processed kibble or Greenies or rawhides or leftover spaghetti your grandpa throws in their food bowl. This results in excess nutrients along the trail, and in turn creates unstable conditions that allow algae blooms and create an easy habitat for invasive plant species to grow.” (lnt.org)

ew… There’s too much of it

Are you still not picking up what I’m putting down? Take a deep breath on this one: all the dogs in the US produce 21 billion pounds of waste each year. And with that, “Just three days worth of poop from 100 dogs has enough bacteria to temporarily shut down 20 miles of a bay or watershed for swimming and shellfishing.” (huffingtonpost.com) So much for jumping in the lake this summer!

Dog in Lake
Say what?

Wes Siler from Outdoor Magazine lays down the heavy load.  “A study conducted on a heavily polluted stream in northern Virginia used DNA analysis to determine that 42% of the controllable bacteria in the water came from dog poop.”

So, let’s help the environment and our fellow hiker’s boots and clean up after our furbabies. It’s doing more harm than good.

Oh… How CAN I Help?

Carry out! Whatever comes out with you must come back with you. I have been using biodegradable Frisco Pet Waste Bags* that you can find on Chewy.com that are super easy, rather large for swift pickup and leakproof for a cleaner clean-up. The packaging is made out of recycled materials and the bag is built from product that will break down faster, so that there’s less guilt about using so much plastic. I tried to do some research on the biodegradability of the bags’ EPI technology, and it’s still plastic materials. For now, these work well and I’ll stick with, but let me know if you’ve found safer options that wont leak – if I am doing this, I might as well go all. the. way!

As for cleaning up while hiking, Frisco sends a great little capsule that attaches to my leash, so I always have some on hand. Plus, I’ve been using an old water bottle with a wide, screw-on lid to pack the bags out in – no stank! I’ll carry it out with the cap sealed tight in my backpack. (I actually got this carry-out idea from a great hiker girl on Instagram but I forget her handle – DM me and I’ll credit you for this genius-ness!)

All in all, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics says it best, “Responsible pet ownership means doing our “doody” to pick up our pet’s waste.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Leave No Trace principles, visit their website at lnt.org.


References:

Blog Excerpt from Leave No Trace Center: https://lnt.org/blog/wildlife-poop-versus-dog-poop-explained

Article from Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/21/dog-poop-tons-feces_n_1440383.html

Outside Magazine Article: https://www.outsideonline.com/2292736/its-time-talk-about-dog-poop 

Not used, but interesting study from Leave No Trace Center: https://www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/2_2_18_OSMP_Pet_Waste_Final_Report-1-201802051053.pdf

*Chewy.com sent me this product in exchange for my open and honest review.

For the Love of Dog

I do not have a child and the only thing I can compare to that kind of love… is the love I have for my Australian Shepherd, Daisy. Mothers and fathers of the world, I am sure you are scoffing at my comment. Yesterday I blew $175 at the Vet for a series of tests to see what was creating discharge in her eyes. I haven’t bought proper clothes for myself in months (turns out she has allergies). You know where I’m coming from, see? Probably not. How about the fact that I saved this as a draft and took her for a short walk. I cleaned up after her with a doggy bag and, of course, some got on my hand. I continued to walk with my right hand on high-alert and off to the side, because, well, Aussies need their exercise. Been there? I can just see your eyebrows furrowing in disgust at the comparison of my fur-baby to your precious human-baby.

You’re thinking I am obsessed, and you are right. I even started an Instagram for her back when she was a puppy. My phone ran out of space so I just started saving her pictures on her own account – @daisytheaussiedog. It was kind of embarrassing, having that many pictures of a puppy, until her followers exploded and I realized… almost everyone else has an account, a blog, a twitter, or some other outlet for images of their dog, too.

She’s more than just pictures, though. She’s provided the learning experience of taking care of something real, a life and a companion. I’ve learned to clean up the messes I don’t want to, what sick looks like and how she tries to communicate without words – with a ball in her mouth. She is my hiking partner, my road trip co-pilot and the mastermind behind just getting outside and taking a walk after a long day. I am protected with her out in the woods, as she runs 20 feet ahead of me and waits for me to catch up. The noise of us together, comprised of my bantering and her running off-trail to try for a chipmunk is something laughable. But when we’re quiet, it’s something out of this world. I have discovered things that I would have never without her. Explored new trails I would have never seen. Been |this| close to a buck.

With her, I’m happy. And for the love of Dog, I’ll remain loyal to the animal that’s kept me sane.

dog quote