Taking on litter with the canine solution

Hurricane Katrina demonstrated Mother Nature's omnipotence. Hopefully, we are all sending money, supplies or volunteering to help the victims of this unparalleled national catastrophe. This tragedy sh ould also spur us take stock of our good fortune and impel us to improve our communities. For Seattle's 26,000 licensed dog owners, a meaningful and convenient endeavor would be cleaning up our neighborhoods.

Unbeknownst to our four legged pals who provide unconditional love and companionship they may be the catalysts to beautify our Emerald City. Since most dog owners regularly walk their pets and pick up their droppings, why not collect litter too?

From my experience, most dog owners obey license, leash and poop scoop laws, and oblige their canine's desire for physical activity. They therefore seem more than qualified to take on the worthwhile venture of collecting garbage encountered on their dog walks.

The reasons abound why people should participate in this community service. This low cost, stress, and oversight-free undertaking would satisfy many people's desire to perform volunteer work. Not only does this altruism enhance our neighborhoods, but it also allows government agencies to allocate litter pick up resources for such labor intensive projects as trail restoration, graffiti and invasive plant removal.

Additionally, the hand and forearm strengthening from trash scooping in conjunction with walking provides a healthy workout. The collective action will also, most assuredly, allow pet owners to lobby for dog parks and off leash sites with less public opposition.

Ideally, to encourage participation, hardware businesses could embrace this canine centered mission by providing trash scoopers while simultaneously accruing corporate image benefits. In conjunction, the city could promote litter abatement via public service announcements and yearly pet license notices. Let's not forget the veterinarians; pet stores and animal shelters that could advertise trash collecting in their establishments and newsletters.

Similar to addressing human obesity where the simple remedy lies in the commitment to exercise and eating a balanced diet; litter abatement does not entail a complicated solution. In fact, if a fraction of the tens of thousands of dog owners placed a scooper with their dog leash and routinely collected trash, many neighborhoods would be litter free.

Some dissenters say; "why should I pick up other people's trash" which is equivalent to a common exchange whereby the parent says; "Johnny, pick up the mess" and Johnny responds; "I didn't do it". The parent retorts with," I don't care who did it, clean it up". Likewise, since we are already out walking our dogs, why not pick up trash too?

Personal responsibility, education, and fines have not eradicated litter; maybe this man-made problem could use a canine solution. My dog Wishbone and his fellow barkers are eager to do their "dooty".

What about you?

Dogs, and letters, are Joe Kadshin's friends: write him at editor@sdistrictjournal.com.[[In-content Ad]]