I hate to break this news. I know that certain dog owners will be disappointed, or even horrified by what I am about to tell them. I had a difficult time believing it myself, way back when, but the evidence is inarguable. Oh sure, as with Cinderella and Snow White, we cherish the old stories, refusing to give them up for the sake of our children. But this time we have to face the truth: There is no Poop Fairy.
I know, I know! I haven’t seen any scientific studies to support this, but a short walk down a sidewalk or local beach or neighborhood hiking trail is all it takes to convince me that some - perhaps many - dog owners enjoy complete and utter faith in the Poop Fairy! It’s time we take a closer look at this popular legend.
Do you believe in the Abominable Snowman or Loch Ness monster? Most of us would scoff at the reality of these mythical creatures, but the Poop Fairy enjoys a huge following of faithful believers. Though few claim to have actually seen the busy nymph, her faithful followers are certain that the Poop Fairy hovers nearby, ever ready to quickly and silently dart in and claim whatever steaming mess their dogs might leave behind. Believers insist that the Poop Fairy is prepared to procure every possible particle of pungently perfumed poo their puppy passes. And she’s discrete! Believers need only walk away from the dog’s mess and, PRESTO! As soon as these faithful folk are out of sight, the Poop Fairy does her job!
Some Fairy fans claim she has the magical power to cause dog poop to instantly biodegrade and disappear into thin air, or to wash into the soil and turn into valuable fertilizer. Others believe it doesn’t matter because everybody else does it or no one saw it happen. Either way, the Poop Fairy makes dog poop disappear, even if only from their minds.
How may we scientifically test these beliefs? Through careful observation, of course. I went for a walk on the beach today, searching for evidence of the Poop Fairy in action, only to be disappointed. Wherever I looked, prolific piles of puppy poo provide plentiful disproof of the Poop Fairy’s pined-for presence. After hours of careful observation I have no option but to conclude: There is no Poop Fairy!
Nor does dog poop biodegrade and disappear quickly. I found piles of stuff so old that they’d need to be carbon-dated just to establish which century the dog visited the beach! Maybe it’s the food we feed them, which is nothing like the food wild animals consume, but dog mess seems especially resistant to degradation. I certainly did not find week or month-old piles of bird droppings lying around, but mummified dog mess was commonplace. The stuff doesn’t wash away, either! Even if it did, is that what you want in your ground water? Dog poop may contain parasites - like giardia and roundworms - some of which are capable of causing disease in people, especially children - like those I saw playing in the sand. There are plenty of pathogenic bacteria in dog mess too. Anyone care to build a sand castle?
Yes, there are plenty of reasons to clean up after your dog, and most dog owners are pretty faithful about picking up their own yards. Why are public places, such as beaches and sidewalks, left for the Poop Fairy to clean?
This is something every dog owner must accept: Cleaning up after your pet is not “optional,” it’s required by law. There is no one who will follow along after you and pick up the smelly poop piles your pup posits in public places. Your neighbors, who see, smell, step into, and have their health placed at risk by the messes your dog makes deserve better treatment from every dog owner. All dog owners – and this means you and me and everyone - have a responsibility to pick up after our pets. It’s not difficult. Poopy bags are cheap and readily available. Many parks provide them, free, at the entrance of beaches and trails. Trashcans are also readily accessible, so it’s not like you have to carry the stuff around all day. There’s no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog! There is no Poop Fairy!
I did not invent the Poop Fairy. She is the work of some amazingly clever people in the Sheriff’s Office of Jefferson County, Colorado. I urge all or you to visit their web page, or to like the Poop Fairy on Facebook. Her poster is hysterical! And spread the word: There is no Poop Fairy!
Come to think of it, there’s no Garbage Fairy or Cigarette Butt Fairy either.