Singing the Doggy Doo Wah Wah blues

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
April 13th, 2011

Whether you like it, hate it, are grossed out by it or pitch in to help clean it up, there’s no denying that spring on Rossland’s trail system is dog poop season. A walk, cross country ski or bike out Centennial Trail and back this week has been an effort in land-mine dodging and breath holding as the warm weather, like an archaeological dig reveals layer upon layer of gifts left behind by our four legged friends over the winter.

Rather than crying about it, however, one group of dedicated locals will once again be out this weekend armed with gloves donated by the local medical community and garbage bags as they head out on the third annual Doggy Doo Wah-Wah clean up event.

While Kathy Moore has the honour of claiming the jazzy name for the event and plays the role of organizer, Diana Daghofer initially came up with the idea several years back. Since then each spring a patrol of poop-pickers has removed over 30 garbage bags of puppy paddies from the Centennial and rail grade trails.

The effort is just one part of Rossland’s contribution to the nationwide Pitch-In event that has spawned 19,000 projects Canada wide aimed at sprucing up our neighbourhoods, cities and towns.

“In Rossland we pride ourselves on our trails,” explained Moore. “We have one of the most active communities around. But when your first introduction to the trail is poop all over the place it’s not a very pleasant experience. I’m a dog lover but not a dog owner. So I’m doing it and don’t even own a dog. But I’m a trail lover and a Rossland lover so to me there is a lot to be said about taking care of our community and looking after it and being responsible.”

The steadily-growing event began in 2009 with 21 volunteers putting in 28 human hours to pick up and remove 12 big bags of doggy doo doo, two thirds of which came from Centennial, with the other third from the Railgrade.

Not picking up after your pet while out on the trail system is one thing, but a somewhat shocking development this spring has been a dramatically increased number of complaints about dog poop in the downtown core.

“I’ve heard more complaints this year than any other year about dog pooh downtown,” added Moore. “That’s appalling. We have laws, right? You’re not suppose to bring your dogs downtown and if you do you’re creating a problem. But not picking up after them when you bring them downtown, that is just deplorable.”

While winter trails afford an easy opportunity for the lazy to bury their dog’s treasures, the spring thaw sure enough brings it all back, months after the culpable canines have fled the scene. There is a bit of science to the clean up, however, that has been developed over the events’ three year history and this year’s quicker picker uppers are hoping Mother Nature cooperates to that effect.

“The trick is you have to do the pick up before it gets too warm but when it’s not too cold,” laughed Moore. “If it’s warm, it’s gross. If it’s too frozen then it’s hard to pick up, but if it’s frozen just right it’s really easy to pick up.”

Always keen for volunteers to join their cause, the group encourages anyone and everyone to come out and join the poop parade. The mission starts at 9:00am on Saturday the 16th at the Centennial Trail head and then moves on Sunday the 17th at 9:00am to the Railgrade trail.

“It’s fun. We all get out and chat as we walk. It’s just another Rossland social volunteering event. Typical Rossland.”

Not to be out done, Jill Spearn has also been organizing the Maclean Elementary kids each year to get out and clean up the neighbourhoods around the school. Last year alone Maclean had over 280 kids head out to pitch in and filled up 20 trash bags with garbage and 10 bags of recyclables.

Pitch In week officially runs from April 16th to the 24th. Businesses, community groups and individuals alike are also encouraged to get out and start their own pith in cleanup project. Whether it’s your front yard, the alley behind your business or just stooping to scoop some poop along your walk, it’s all about pride of place and each and every one of us pitching in to make our communities that much cleaner.

If you’d like to get involved in Pitch-In you can contact Kathy Moore at 362-3319 / kathymoore27@gmail.com or Jill Spearn at 362-5367/ jspearn@telus.net

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