Since 1978, I have had three border collies. Jumble, shown above and now aged nearly fourteen, is the latest one.
I am a firm adherent of the ‘Pick it up and bung it in a bin’ philosophy of Dog Turd Management – and, whenever Jumbs and I saunter out of a morning, I am armed with at least two plastic bags.
However, there is a problem – and a big gap in the fecal-collection market – when it comes to places of natural beauty such as Nature Reserves: A serious dearth of Poo Bins.
I resent the punitive notices, warning us walkers of the dire penalties (£1000 fine; dangled by testicles from nearest bridge; hanging, drawing and quartering for multiple offenders), when there is not a single receptacle to be found from one end of the walk to the other!
Always willing to work my way round obstacles, I did, initially, take the dog’s bagged doings home with me – but, there are times when this is, frankly, revolting and more trouble than its worth. If you are of a squeamish nature, you may well wish to give the next five paragraphs a miss.
What the hell do you do when your beloved canine, all unbeknownst to you, has ingested unwisely – and when the three bags you have in your pocket are nowhere near sufficient to deal with the smelly streams of liquid cack which would be more aptly collected by a Hoover?
How, then, do you get the bloody things back to the car, when you’ve also got Exhibit A pulling on the lead and threatening to go into the squat yet again? Wear them round your neck like some kind of odiferous necklace?
Even if you make it back to the vehicle without swooning from the stench, you then have the additional delight of a journey, possibly of an hour or more, closeted with a flatulent dog and the all-too-ripe reminders of his gastro-intestinal disorder!
During the summer months, such a journey can be tolerated with relative ease: You just wind down all the windows, put the radio on extra-loud to distract you from the putrefying pong – and hope that you don’t get caught behind a long line of silage-carrying tractors travelling at one mile a week.
During the cold weather, however, the whole ordeal segues seamlessly into the realms of nightmare. You cannot open the windows even a crack (for fear of freezing your bollocks off); the Air Conditioning (even if you have it) is inadequate to deal with the twenty-five bags lurking vilely in your boot – and, if you put the heating on, to cope with the below-zero degrees freeze, the warming-up of the aforesaid shit-sacks has to be smelled to be believed.
If, like me, you are of a conscientious persuasion, it is all too easy to drive the twenty (or more) miles home, looking desperately for any sign of a poo-bin as you go.
All too often, it is like buses, isn’t it? Bugger all for miles and miles – and then three in a row once you are within walking distance of your own front door!
Now, I know that we ramblers have the enticing option of Sticking and Flicking our animals’ ordure – but, if you had ever seen me with tennis racket or hockey stick at school, you would understand my reluctance to inflict my stick skills upon a hapless scene of outstanding beauty. The last time I tried, my aim was so appallingly off that the fruit of Jumble’s colon came within an inch of hitting him on the head!
So, please, please, if you are the warden/overseer/commandant of a local beauty spot, could you petition all and sundry for regularly-spaced defecation dustbins so that those of us with hounds – who walk to both enjoy the stroll and keep the countryside clean for other people – are not forced to either leave their animals’ dung on the verge, or undertake the sinus-burning Drive of Shame post-exercise!