Everyday Orinda – February 2023


“Poop-etrators” For Peace

    Dog Poop has become a steaming hot topic. And not just in Orinda.
    Dog poop was never even on my radar until a few years ago – and I’ve had dogs all my life. When did dogs start pooping so much? Or is it just mine? Likely from all the plums and apples that fall from our trees. My two English Shepherds gobble the endless supply of tangy laxatives relentlessly, a habit my family calls “tending their crops.” It must appear nothing short of miraculous: dessert falling from the sky. I presumed all canines were carnivores.
    I barely remember my dog ever pooping when I was a kid.
    We crumbled weird little patties of what looked like Play-Doh, commonly known as “Gaines Burgers” into her bowl and mixed it with dry kibble – invented during World War II, because metal for canning dog food was scarce. Who knows how long it took for that “food” to digest. Plus, I never took her for regular walks. But even if I had, I guarantee, little bone-shaped cannisters containing a roll of colorful plastic poop baggies attached to a leash were not in existence in the late 20th 
    I already know what you’re thinking.
    And the answer is, yes. I carry nagging guilt over the crummy way I treated my dog back then. California quickly taught me pets should never be an afterthought. And canines love fruit. Across the ol’ Rainbow Bridge, my previous pets are high fiving at every poo I’m lovingly forced to pick-up. Paybacks.
    Today’s dogs seem to actually enjoy pooping more than the canines of yesteryear. We have a rustic backyard with ideal space my dogs should love to deface, but instead, they seem to store it up for our daily rounds so they can deposit it far and wide with the fervor of Johnny Appleseed. Sometimes I handle this like Mary Poppins, especially if strangers are nearby, but other times, like on the third anchor-drop, I begin to lose my composure. I say to the dogs, “Sheesh! Even my children were never this much work!” Which is not really true, merely memory loss.
    But at least we didn’t have to tote the soiled diaper around with us for what feels like an eternity, searching for an acceptable place to dispose of it. One might have the world’s best running song blasting through their ear pods but carrying around a jangling sack of poop sure kills any Chariots of Fire endorphin rush.
    The poop disposal problem is real.
    The controversy is fierce. Even if you are not a dog owner, you typically do own a trash can. As communities began to enjoy the convenience of automated garbage pick-up, we didn’t yet have the Internet, our own personal sounding board for pet peeves (pardon the pun). After this marriage, the trouble began.
    Do we, or do we not, deposit our bagged dog poop in a neighbor’s trash can?
    Dog Poop etiquette has not been officially decreed. Three camps currently exist: the “Absolutely Not, That’s Disgusting” camp; the “Only If There Is Existing Trash in My Can, Awaiting a Timely Pick-up” camp and lastly, the “My Trash Can Punch Days Are Long Gone, So Whatever” camp.
    I fall into the last category, as do my compatriots – dog owners who sense the need to pay it forward, whose karma could generally always use a few bonus points.
    No judgement here, we are all entitled to an opinion.
    I’m just tired of the stress associated with all the guessing. Depositing poop in a random trash can produces the same nervous anxiety as a clandestine round of Ding Dong Ditch, but devoid of any childhood thrill.
    Perhaps I will propose an idea to Republic Services, Orinda’s waste management contractor: mail us our choice of three large, color-coded stickers. We select one to place on our can, a code that instantly tells “poop-etrators” if your receptacle is poop-friendly. Red for “absolutely not,” yellow for “only if a full can” and green for “bombs away.”

Mimi Bommarito can be reached at editor@theorindanews.com.

(Mimi Bommarito, Photographer)
Jasper and Calvin Bommarito, both English Shepherds, enjoy long hikes, especially at Wilder.

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