My friend Katie paid a visit and brought her beautiful golden retriever Molly — who, confided Katie upon arriving, “leaves mountains of poop. Let me know if you see any in your yard, and I’ll clean it up.”
Molly did, and I did, and Katie did. “I’ve got a few favorite tools for cleaning,” said Katie. “I’m a big fan of Flexrake; they make a Catch-All Swivel Scoop [$24.99 at Dixieline]. It has a large polyurethane scoop surface, which I totally need. You can use it with or without a waste bag, and it works really well on grass, soil, or gravel.” As the name implies, “the scoop swivels, which makes cleanup easy. And it flips up once it’s loaded, so you don’t have to worry about poo falling out as you walk. Finally, the handle of both scoop and rake telescope from one foot to three feet, which cuts down on bending. I also have the Flexrake Jumbo Jaws ($20.99 at Dixieline). It’s like a claw pick-up tool, but the base is a scoop. The design makes it easy to use one-handed, and the heavy-duty spring helps make sure nothing falls out as you walk. You can tell that’s important for me; I’m big on not having to do double doodie duty.”
If Molly left mountains, my own Shih Tzu–terrier mix Mickey leaves molehills. But they’re still a problem, and the kids complain mightily when they get sent out armed with nothing more than a garden spade and a bucket. So I looked around. Petco carried a variety of scoop sizes by Sophresh. In the one-hander claw department, they offered a 12˝ extra small ($14.99), a 24˝ small ($24.99), and a 36˝ large capacity ($29.99). No swivel-type buckets in sight, but they did have a rust-proof metal rake and scoop set that promised to be effective on grass (medium, $24.99; large, $29.99).
Across from the pooper-scoopers, Petco carried an array of pet-waste disposal bags, ranging in price from $7.99 to $24.99, depending on size, quantity, and brand. Naturally, the bags that promised less environmental impact cost more.
Katie had encouraged me to check out the Kong Handi Pod ($12.99 at Petco). “It combines a pickup bag dispenser and a hand sanitizer,” she offered. “The poop bags are biodegradable and have very high quality tie handles. No worries about ripping. There’s even a convenient carabiner for easy attaching to clothes. It’s a must-have for dog-walking. Kong also makes a Handi Pod flashlight dispenser [$13.99], which has a super-bright flashlight built into the base instead of the hand sanitizer. Both are refillable, and I find both to be very useful.”
No matter how nifty the gadget use, it’s still picking up an animal’s crap. I wondered if I could pay someone to do it. “We take care of the least-favorite part of owning a dog or cat,” said Mike Miller, owner of San Diego Poop 911 (1-877-POOP-911). “First step is to coordinate scheduling. Some areas of San Diego we’re in every day; others will be once a week. One dog once a week costs $10.95 per week; two dogs once a week is $14.95. Prices go down if you need multiple services. Two dogs twice a week would be $12.95 per visit. And of course, prices go up if you have more dogs. We can bag the waste and take it with us or put it in your general refuse can.”
San Diego Poop 911 also offers an initial service of “a big clean-up if your yard hasn’t been cleaned in a while. The price depends on how many dogs you have and how long it’s been. We get it all fresh and poop-free and maintain it from there.”
Poop 911 also changes cat-litter boxes: $12.95 for the first box and $4.95 per additional box. “We also have quite a few customers who have feral cats visiting their yards, or even just neighbors’ cats. We can service them as well.” Additional services (for additional fees) include deck and patio hosedown, deodorant spray, and water-bowl clean and refill.
Other pet-waste clean-up services around town: Ruff Doodie (619-289-7833), Paws to Pavement (619-870-0108), and Poobusters (619-741-2543). Check the links for prices.