Spring has finally sprung, and it has been nice to get out and walk my dog at one of more than 30 City parks in Gillette. (Download a map of the parks here.) In fact, I was in a meeting the other day when Northwest Park, off of Burma Avenue just north of town, was mentioned as a park many dog owners frequent because it's out of the way. I decided Cooper and I would give it a shot.
It's a beautiful park with a windy, paved trail that gradually climbs up and then back down, and comes equipped with a small playground, basketball courts, a shelter for hosting parties and a (fairly) clean port-a-potty. It also acts as an arboretum of trees and native grasses, all of which are labeled with plaques. The trail is about a half a mile and provides for some nice views of the City.
But, I do have one complaint: this beautiful park was absolutely littered with dog waste, an issue that has previously gotten under my skin.
Now, my circle of friends will often poke fun at me and call me the dog poo fairy. And, while everyone should know that there is no such thing (especially if you've read about Santa Cruz' scoop the poop campaign), I acted as one for this park this weekend. After Cooper and I walked a couple of laps and went home on Saturday, I decided that we would return on Sunday with some bags, gloves, Purell and a small trashcan to pick up some of the piles of poo we spotted. I managed to fill up a small wastebasket, concentrating on going no further than six feet from the pavement, by just cleaning one side of the path.
April 22 is Earth Day; and this year, I have a challenge for dog owners: pick up after your dog. See, dog poo is litter, too. Please don't leave it behind on one of your walks for someone else to step in, another dog to eat (yuck, I know) or for a child to end up playing in, which may be more disgusting than the dog eating it. It's also the neighborly thing to do.
Also worth noting is that Keep Gillette Beautiful just began a Scoop the Poop campaign targeted at educating dog lovers the importance of picking up after their four-legged friends. Those of you who attended GDOG's Lucky Puppy Play Date in March may have been given a free dog waste bag holder for your leash with the Scoop the Poop logo on it (to the right), something the group hopes to do for more dog events. In the future, you may also see additional dog waste bag holders in parks and they may be stocked more regularly. I'm sure you'll be seeing more information about this initiative in future blog posts.
In the meantime, if you walk your dog on public streets or let your dog roam your back yard, please remember to scoop the poop. You make the difference.
Created in November 2011, the Fur Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of animals in Campbell County.
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