RAVE: My family is one of the crazy groups who did the Frozen Clam Plunge to welcome the New Year on January 1, 2013. We are actually Plunge hoppers, testing the waters at different local beaches for the past five years. We have Polar Bear Plunged at North Kingstown Beach and Penguin Plunged at Narragansett Beach.
There were definite advantages to using a home-front beach. The first being that we actually were close to home so it was a quick hop back to hot showers and cocoa (although the downside is that the car engine never really had a chance to warm up so it was also a cold ride). Also on the plus side are the logistics of Goddard Beach, which has a short span for both sprinting and for reaching deeper water, making head plunging (which is the only kind of plunge that counts in my family) much easier.
There is something exhilarating about beginning the New Year this way. And it makes those pesky guilt-inducing resolutions so much easier - no diets and exercise routine for me. All I do is resolve to start the year with a splash.
Actually, there is one more resolution I have to make - the event was so wonderfully low-key that I never even registered to support the sponsored charity. Apologies to RI Mentoring Partnership! As soon as I finish posting this article, I will make my first charitable donation for 2013.
RANT: So it finally snowed. Which I love. Because really, what is the purpose of suffering through the bitter cold of a New England winter unless there is a flurry or two? There is something about snow that instantly conjures memories of being a kid and sledding, having snowball fights, making snow angels, eating snow ice cream, yadda yadda.
But there is one thing that I most definitely not love about the snow: dog poop.
OK, I never love dog poop. Truth told – and I know I am putting myself out on a limb here – I am fairly ambivalent about dogs altogether. To me, they are like babies that never get out of diapers in that they require constant care. This belief, my friends, is why you can breathe a sigh of relief as one (among many) reasons why I will never run for public office – babies and dogs are not my thing and I don’t think you can get elected in America unless you have a cute dog and like to kiss babies or vice versa.
Anyway, back to dog poop.
Part of the constant care that I mentioned involves picking up your dog’s poop.
Now here’s the thing that I don’t get. It seems that the minute that snow comes, many dog owners - people who, in every other circumstance are law-abiding citizens who would never dream of leaving a library fine unpaid - simply stop scooping. Just the other day, I saw a woman walk away from the land mine her dog, which was the size of a small pony, left steaming by the bush that leads into East Greenwich Cemetary. When I asked her if she was going to clean it up (facetiously since she would need a shovel to pick up that load), she replied that it was “too cold to deal with and it wasn’t like this was someone’s lawn.” Sorry. I did not realize that there was a ca-ca quota for subzero temps.
Still, I thought I was imaging the sudden turd build up, but there have been two incidences of “dog fecal matter” mentioned in the police report recently.
I have several theories about this:
- Dog walkers think that the dog is not actually pooping on grass; it’s pooping on the snow which forms a protective barrier over the grass. Guess what - it doesn’t.
- The owner is leaving it to pick up later. Everyone knows that frozen dog poop is a lot easier to bag than warm, steaming, fresh dog poop —but let me tell you, it does keep your hands warm.
- People do not wish to soil their gloves. If you get dog crap on your hand you can just clean it off. Smear it on your glove and that glove will never seem the same, no matter how many times you wash it.
- They think they are in France. As everyone knows, the French are ooh-la-la crazy over their chenins and bring them everywhere - even to fancy restaurants. What the French do not do with their dogs is pick up after them, that seems like le foreign craziness, non?
- They think if they let it go in the brush or woods, it follows the dictum, if a dog sh*ts in the forest and no one sees it, does it really sh*t? Um, yes it does. And guess what? It turns out that a little poop goes a long way. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pet waste has been identified as a major cause of "nonpoint source pollution" (NPS).
In just one example cited by the EPA, "for watersheds of up to twenty
square miles draining to small coastal bays, two to three days of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs...contribute enough bacteria and nutrients to temporarily close a bay to swimming and shellfishing." Hmmm. Now that NEVER happens in Greenwich Bay, right?
Bottom line, poop stinks. So please be a good citizen and pick up. Otherwise, I may just have to find a baby to befriend so I can get a supply of dirty diapers to leave on your porch someday.