Beth Dolinar

Column Beth Dolinar

Beth Dolinar has been writing her column about life, both hers and the rest of ours, for over 20 years. When not on the page, she produces Emmy-winning documentaries for public television, teaches writing to university students, and enjoys her two growing children.

Take your dog doo with you

April 3, 2014

One of the gifts of getting older is learning not to take things personally. Awhile ago, I wrote about neighborhood dog walkers who were tossing their dog doo bags in my trash. The culprits were at times walking into my yard to toss the bags into our cans, a rude and shameful offense which I took as a personal affront.

The column brought a lot of reader response, most of it sharing a sense of outrage about these knuckleheads who can’t be bothered to just carry the bags another few blocks home to their own trash.

“Install a video camera,” was the advice of more than one reader. One sent me a link to the exact product. Others said I could use the camera to grab a still photo of the culprit and then post it around town for a public shaming. I haven’t done that because it’s not really the dog’s fault.

I suggested a drone that would hide in the shrubs and then, when the bag was tossed, retrieve it from my trash can and then follow the dog walker and drop the bag on his head. Alas, that would be way more expensive than a video camera, which some readers tell me can be purchased for about a hundred bucks at some hunting/fishing stores.

Turns out I probably won’t have to spend the money. It’s been a pretty good couple of months here, dog-doo speaking. The cold weather limited the amount of dog walking around the neighborhood. Driving around, I’d see a lot of people standing in their front yards, shivering in the cold while waiting for the dog to do its thing.

What helped the most, though, was moving the trash cans far away from the sidewalk. It’s made things inconvenient for us – but having the cans near the road made things too convenient for the dog walkers.

A couple of weeks after I wrote that column, I saw an item in our community message board with the headline “Borough Trash Cans Removed: Overfilled with Dog Waste.”

Turns out the dog walkers were not targeting me specifically.

Dog walkers on the main street have been ditching their bags in the large garbage can stationed in front of town hall. The can would become so heavy with bags that town workers couldn’t move it. In the summer, they couldn’t move it without wanting to throw up.

And so the town did what I did. They removed the receptacle.

Residents weighed in with comments, some of them saying things like “Where else are we going to toss our dog bags?” and whining that it ruins the rest of their walk if they have to carry the poop around with them.

Maybe I should invent a special dog collar that holds a dog bag, so Max (and aren’t most dogs named Max these days?) can carry his own bag home. St. Bernards could carry it in those kegs. It is, after all, theirs.

Someone wrote me asking how I handle the problem of my own dog’s bags. We don’t walk Howard. We have a large yard with a fence, and he has the good manners to go off into the far, wooded corners to do his thing.

And on the off chance he loses his way and does it in the front yard, I don’t take it personally. I pick it up and put it in my own trash.

Beth Dolinar can be reached at



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