Melanie Morris: Shameful dog owners messing up our cities
SHAME on you, four out of 10 Dubliners. That, apparently, is the number of dog owners who won't scoop their pooches' poop from the pavement.
While nine out of 10 people surveyed by Dublin City Council think pet owners should clean up after them, the truth of the matter is that 40pc often don't, and 10pc have never done so.
As the owner of Flumpy, our gorgeous miniature schnauzer, we've been religious about "doing pick-ups" since day one.
My husband, Trevor, believes in "poo karma" -- if you let your dog foul and don't take care of the matter, it won't be long before you step in some other dog's freshly deposited business.
Getting a dog means you become obsessed with poo. Your day starts with an early-morning emptying, and ends roughly the same way. You become very aware that what you feed your dog is important. As Trevor says, "happiness is a solid one".
It can also lead to a certain amount of amusement, as we discovered on meeting a woman whose dog had devoured two bags of mini cream eggs and spent the week pooing coloured foil.
But whatever comes out, it's up to us city-dwelling dog owners to leave no trace of Fido behind.
What goes on in the country can stay in the country, but as this survey found out, 66pc of those asked thought that dog-fouling was a problem in Dublin, and more than half believed the situation was getting worse.
It's not only a hygiene thing (who wants to go back to Victorian times, and those filthy streets?); it's a question of pride. We have a stunning city, so why muck it up with dog dirt? It not only ruins our neighbourhoods, but leaving doggie doo-doo behind makes us appear lazy and mean-spirited.
My life changed the day Flumpy arrived. Once, my coats, jackets and jeans would have uncluttered, clean lines. Now I seem to have colourful poo bags peeping out of every pocket. Even now, if I put my hand in the Gap hoodie I'm wearing, I can feel the plastic rustle of an emergency spare.
Flumpy is lucky enough to spend his days in Muttugly, a doggy daycare place in Ranelagh. The streets around there are particularly prone to rogue poos. This morning, I found myself scooping up a filled bag that had somehow dropped (and burst) back on to the pavement.
Yep, too much information. And it wasn't nice. But I'm sure that the associated poo karma will come back to me in a positive way.
Picking up dog turds may not be the most pleasant way to spend time, but it comes with the territory. And remember, the love comes back in so many ways.
I still get emotional thinking about Peggy Mangan -- the lady with Alzheimer's who died recently, but whose dog loyally stayed with her until she was found.
Who cares about picking up a bit of poo when the payback is so devoted and unconditional?
Do your dog (and community) a favour, and give them the same love and care.