Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clean City: The Dog Days of Summer in Vermont. Litter

Our dogs are great alarm clocks; not that they wake me up at the same time every day, but they are persistent when it is time to go! 

From doggy whining to jumping up on the bed and licking my face to jumping up and down in place, they let me know there is a job to do and it needs doing now. Shutting the door so I cannot see them does no good, they just scratch at the door to remind me that closing my eyes to the impending mess is a self-defeating alternative.

So if you see some tall skinny bearded person wearing a baseball hat carrying a plastic shopping bag (to put litter in) being pulled by two small Beagle/Pekingese/Border Collie/ Bernese Mountain dogs-do not become alarmed. Rest assured, if I step on your lawn I do so only to pick up some litter, and the dogs will only lick you with affection.

One might envision this combination of picking up litter while walking the dogs (multi-tasking) is easy enough to handle. Yes, the dogs enjoy walking, though sometimes they enjoy running more. We like to see who is going to tire out whom first. The dogs are somewhat trained to stop and wait while I pick up a piece of litter when I call out their “stay” command. What is not so easy is keeping the dogs on task. They have keen senses, which easily pick up the trail of squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other dogs. They are less adept at litter patrol. Alas, litter is easy for me, and anyone, to spot along the sidewalks, city greenbelt and roadways.

Sometimes someone will call out “Thanks for cleaning up”. 

The thanks should really go to the dogs who remind me so persistently that closing my eyes to the litter is a self-defeating alternative and cleaning up just once a year leaves a lot of crap for people to walk over and around during the remaining days of the year.

Until I find a snooze command for the dogs, I will be getting up early every morning and going for a walk with them. Moreover, unless the dogs grow opposable thumbs, I will continue picking up litter while we walk. Even in the dog days of summer, every day can be Green Up Day.

Litter Picking is an All Season Sport.
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