Helen Martin: Picking up poo is part of the fun

Bagging poo is something dog owners must get used to. Picture: Kate Chandler
Bagging poo is something dog owners must get used to. Picture: Kate Chandler
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I COULDN’T swear that Samuel Pepys referred to dog poo in his 17th century diary of London life, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s more than 40 years since I started in journalism and it’s always been a major concern among readers of every paper I’ve ever worked for.

The new campaign by the Evening News and City of Edinburgh Council to blow the whistle on dirty owners, via the ever so appropriately named Dish the Dirt hotline, deserves to succeed. It’s what everyone has been asking for over the past couple of decades.

And believe me as a dog lover and owner, no-one is more mystified than other dog owners by the bizarre behaviour of some of those who won’t pick up.

Why, for example, go to all the trouble of taking your dog out “to go”, arming yourself with poly bags, picking up the steaming little bundle, tying the top of the bag and... dropping it on the ground? How, in the name of Lassie, is that going to help keep the city clean?

It’s even madder, if that is possible, than those owners who, at the moment of their dog’s “offloading”, gaze pointedly in the opposite direction as if by doing so they can pretend they don’t have a lead in their hand with a dumping Labrador on the end of it, and when the dog’s finished, still gazing skywards they stroll off whistling, pretending they haven’t noticed.

Deeply worrying are those who think that as it’s a “natural” product it will harmlessly biodegrade in time. It’s an interesting proposition. On that basis you wonder why the human race spends so much money on lavatories and sewers. Why don’t we all just poo on the street?

But nothing, absolutely nothing, can explain the mental process of someone who thinks the appropriate way to dispose of a poo bag is to swing it round your head like a lasso before letting it go to wrap round overhead telephone lines or cables.

I’ve had some amusing moments with dog poo, moments which owners who don’t pick up miss out on.

There was the time, when the house was about 40 yards away and I was just out of bags, that I used two man-size tissues to pick up my large dog’s deposit, only to be stopped by a smart lady in a car asking directions... which I gave with an automatic flourish of the hand not holding the lead – the one bearing the decorously placed and steaming turd.

Then there was the day the dog had a surprise tummy upset. Let’s be polite and say he was “loose”. As the growing pond expanded over the pavement and I planned a return home for rubber gloves and a loo roll, thinking things couldn’t get any worse, a blind man with a cane turned the corner and came our way. “Stop!” I yelled at the top of my voice. Dear knows what he thought was happening... a mugging perhaps or a runaway car?

By the time I explained, he was so relieved he wasn’t being held up at gunpoint, he laughed his head off and patted the dog on the head – although on reflection he was probably just making sure he knew which end was most benign. Love your dog? Learn to love picking up its poo.

Why was escort agency closed?

HOW come Madam Moneybags’ operation in the west end has been shut down for “living off immoral earnings”, even though the police knew of the agency, the business paid taxes and it wasn’t involved in human trafficking, while the city saunas and other escort agencies are still in operation?

Madam Margaret, a regular in Harvey Nicks, the Barnton client who just wanted someone to watch movies with, and the former yacht club commodore and bank manager who ferried the girls to bookings? That’s not a crime, it’s a farce.

Just ignore the Naked Rambler

MSP Murdo Fraser is stoking the fire when he complains that 54-year-old Naked Rambler Stephen Gough is threatening a return to Scotland and will cost taxpayers even more to prosecute. . . . again.

I’d bet my pants if we ignored him rather than behaving like Victorian ladies in need of smelling salts, he’d get bored.

The man is an attention seeker. It’s like dealing with a four-year-old who thinks it’s funny to stick his tongue out, belch, or for that matter, wave his willy about or show his bottom, and whose mother never told him: “That’s not clever Stephen, no-one’s paying you any attention.”

Return to work is step forward

AMID a storm of political correctness, rota gaps in hospitals are being blamed on the number of women doctors who work part-time after they have children. True, but get it in perspective.

We’re moving in the right direction because at least they work. In the Sixties and Seventies when people were actually paid grants to attend medical school, some women gave up after a few years to become housewives and mothers and never went back at all!