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O Christmas poo

Dear Santa,

You know how, two weeks before Christmas, you keep getting these requests for world peace and stuff like that? This isn’t one of those requests.

I do want a gift for other people, though, a gift that will make our whole neighborhood cleaner, friendlier and more appealing to everyone. I want a gift that will delight young and old, and that will make the owners of homes in Northwood leap for joy.

I want poo bags.

I want lots of poo bags. I want a poo-bag holder on every corner. But more importantly, Santa, I want my friends and neighbors to understand how important the poo bags really are.

See, someone in our neighborhood walks their mastodon up and down our street, and the mastodon produces copious amounts of poo, which were probably used as fuel by ancient tribes and contributed to their survival. We, on the other hand, have a gas furnace and the only function the mastodon poo serves in our little corner of the world is to engender disgust and an entire row of shoes on our front porch that cannot be worn in the house.

Don’t you have a category for people who let their dogs leave poo all over the neighborhood? I mean, isn’t there something – possibly something a bit squishier than lumps of coal – that you could leave in their stockings as a sort of warning?

I realize that it’s odious, not to mention odoriferious, to scoop after one’s pooch. I do it almost all the time. I say “almost” because there are a very few places (the median of Washington Street comes to mind) where no one in their right mind walks, and no children frolic. But guess what, that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street? We all walk there, going to and from our cars. Front yards? Kids play in those. Ditto side and back yards. Honestly, it’s best to scoop, no matter where.

Technically, our town has rules about poo-leaving. It’s not supposed to happen in people’s yards, for instance, unless it’s their own pooch. There’s a pretty stiff fine for illegal dumping, but of course one has to catch the pooch in the act, and it can lead to a lot of hard feelings. We don’t want that, Santa. We just want to walk from our car to our porch without having to abandon our footwear.

As you know, we have a perfectly functional dog, who gets walked twice a day and produces the normal amount of poo for a dog of his size and weight. Beside our front door, right there with his leash, are a bunch of poo bags in a neat little tube. Every time we walk the dog, we take a poo bag (or two, because you never know). For the fastidious, there are telescoping plastic shovels that attach to a leash and cost less than a box of milk bones. The only time we fail in poo-scooping is when he outsmarts us and poops more times than we have bags, and even then, we have been known to come back later and clean up.

Every dog owner knows, Santa, that poo scooping isn’t pleasant, but it’s one cost of dog ownership. There’s something so wrong about leaving poo on the sidewalk for people to track home. Indiscriminate poo-leaving can spread a host of unhappy-making doggy diseases, and can even affect humans who walk where the poo has been. Yes, it is possible to get sick from contact with poo-germs.

To combat all this, we have even seen wonderful pole-mounted poo bag dispensers at local parks – these sometimes even combine dispensers with trash cans, a perfect match. Dog owners would be welcome to stuff a bag or two in their pockets, and then deposit the poo in the receptacle on the way home. Suddenly, the streets would be safe to stroll again.

So, this is what we want for Christmas. We would be happy to supply poo bags for them (available for not much at PetSmart and Walmart). We just want everyone in town to have a happy holiday with no poo on their shoes or, for that matter, in their stockings.

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