Too Much Dog Poop Might Cause the Shutdown of a Park in Maine

Do you want a good reason to bag your dog’s poop when you take them on a walk? Here’s one: too much poop lying around could spread disease and the community could wind up losing a very nice space for humans and dogs alike.

This isn’t just some abstract possibility: In Rockland, Maine, the city is seriously considering shutting down Snow Marine Park, according to the Bangor Daily News, because of elevated levels of E. coli bacteria, which can cause urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and in certain strains, kidney failure or anemia.

Terry Pinto, director of the local wastewater treatment plant, gave a report this week at the City Council meeting where he said that E. coli levels in the park's surface water are higher than any he's ever seen. The safe level for E. coli is 400; the most recent tests in the park's water show levels of 16,000. The reason for the bacteria seems to be the dog poop left sitting around the park by visitors.

So now the city is looking at its options. Most of those options don't look good for dogs and their owners to continue using the park. Pinto recommended that the park be closed temporarily while lime is spread to disinfect the area. Afterward, the park could be reopened, but with dogs banned.

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E coli bacterial colony by Shutterstock.

Other people aren't so eager to have dogs banned from Snow Marine Park, which officials say is a "de facto dog park," although it's not designated as such. Interim City Manager Tom Luttrell recommended that other options could include more signs reminding people to scoop up their dog's poop, paired with better enforcement.

Whatever happens to Snow Marine Park, the point remains: Dog poop isn't just something icky that you have to scrape off your shoe. When dog owners can't be bothered to pick up their dog's poop, it can become a real health hazard. E. coli isn't the only disease-causing agent that lives in fecal matter. Various parasites such as hookworms and roundworms live in dog waste, as well as infectious diseases including the Parvo virus.

Here's hoping that Rockland can find a way to keep the park dog-friendly, and also that dog lovers everywhere learn to love those plastic bags.

Via Bangor Daily News

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Good health is a revelation

When I took my son in for his first routine eye exam, I had no idea he needed glasses. Neither did he. He seemed fine, wasn’t running into things, was reading fine in school, but nonetheless the optometrist suggested glasses. OK, I said, let’s give it a shot.

One week later, his glasses arrived and we went into the office to pick them up. He picked them up dubiously, slid them over the bridge of his nose, and stood there for a moment, blinking as the refracted light hit his retina in new and improved ways.

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He spun, slowly, taking it all in. His lips twitched, burbling with something important. When he could no longer hold it in, he opened his mouth and shouted, “I CAN SEEEEEE!!!!”

Boy did I feel like a horrible mom as the assorted clients turned to see this blind boy get his sight back.

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Later that week I was sharing this story with a friend. As we were talking, her daughter picked up my kid’s glasses and put them on just for fun to see how weird things looked.

She came over and tugged on her mom’s sleeves. “Hey mom. Things look pretty good with these things on. I think I can’t see too well.” Then I felt less bad. It happens to us all.

We thought things were fine, my kid thought things were fine, and then someone with tools I didn’t have access to and the ability to evaluate things said, “Actually, life can be even better.” And it was.

I think of this all the time when people say, “Oh, Buster’s doing fine, he doesn’t need an exam or meds or anything.” To a client’s eye, he is fine. His gait is the same it’s always been. But I can pick up things they don’t, that slight crunchy feeling in the knee, a stiffness when I extend the leg. It took some doing, but we convinced that lab’s owner to try some Rimadyl.

Or the dachshund who came in for a routine dental. “He’s fine,” the owner reported. “He eats kind of slow but he’s been that way since we adopted him two years ago.” When we opened his mouth, the fetid odor of eight rotting teeth hit my nostrils, teeth held in by tartar more than by tissue at that point. It took some doing, but we convinced the owner to let us remove them.

In both cases, we got a call about a week later to marvel about this new dog in the house. “He’s like a puppy again! I can’t believe his energy! Who IS this dog?” Like my son spinning around in the optometrist office, they had a problem they didn’t even realize existed lifted from their shoulders, and got to experience something better for the first time.

In the year since their last eye exam, both kids seem to be perfectly fine, but I took them in dutifully anyway. Both of them need new prescriptions. This time, I don’t feel so bad. Big things we notice- small ones? Not always.

It isn’t my job to evaluate such things in my kids, or to be able to recognize the more subtle signs of something needing help. All I need to do is get them to someone who can, on a regular basis. Next stop: orthodontist. Lord help us all.

Just a little reminder to everyone that there is a reason we recommend yearly (twice yearly, for older pets) checkups at the vet. We’ll probably find things you weren’t aware of, and that’s OK. That’s what we’re here for! Every pet deserves the revelation of improved health. :)

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Can Dogs Fit Into a Workplace? Here’s How One Company Did It

Having a dog-friendly workplace is an idea where reality and theory can collide in a spectacularly messy fashion. It’s a beautiful, utopian idea, but there are logistical problems in executing it, and few people have the will or energy to pull it off. I once worked at a startup where the founder brought his dog in every day. The dog was a beloved member of the office, but the idea of extending that policy went straight to hell as soon as we brought another dog in. I won’t go into the details, but ultimately, dog privileges were declared to be strictly a perk of the founder.

So keeping that in mind, this blog post describing the evolution of SparkFun Electronics’ dog-friendly office is really impressive, and something that anyone who wants an office to be open to employee pooches should read.

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Rosie, one of the canine members of SparkFun’s team. Flickr

SparkFun did what my old startup job never could: It scaled up from having a few dogs to about 50 coming in every day. Not that it was easy. The author is quite frank about all the difficulties encountered along the way, including fights between dogs, dogs biting delivery people, and owners who didn't clean up poop, leading to a lot of grief for the groundskeepers.

For a while, SparkFun dealt with the dogs in a decentralized manner, where the manager of every department had a separate dog policy. That didn't work. Tension grew, and HR was frustrated by the various complications of 30 dogs running around the place. No one could really be blamed or disciplined, and so the problems continued to grow.

"No one dog owner could be reprimanded, so weaker blanket reprimands happened and the problem didn't go away," writes the company IT director, who on the blog calls himself Frencil.

At that point, no one could really blame the company if it just declared SparkFun to be a dog-free zone. Instead, it came up with the "Dog Tribunal," described as "the SparkFun equivalent of jury duty."

I have to admit, the term Dog Tribunal sends shivers down my back, and not the good kind. My nerd brain goes straight to an image of being hauled before a panel of sinister-looking men wearing monocles and black leather gloves who promise a quick execution if I only confess my crimes against the Imperial Leader of SparkFun.

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This apparently bears NO resemblance to the Dog Tribunal at SparkFun.

Apparently, the HR people at SparkFun have brains that are much less distorted by years of reading Marvel comics and watching trashy science fiction movies, because SparkFun's Dog Tribunal doesn't involve any of that.

"It saved our dog privileges," the author says. With members selected at random, the Dog Tribunal meets monthly, handles dog complaints and (if necessary) punishments, and amends the company's Dog Policy as needed.

And of course, there's the poop. The poop is always a problem, and Frencil writes that one of the most significant changes was when the company installed poop bag dispensers:

"This minor expense for the company eliminated any excuse a dog owner had to not curb their companion but did so by attacking the root of the problem: the fact that humans are forgetful and wouldn't carry little baggies around. We still organize a mass cleanup day every six months or so but this problem, once thought impossible to crack, has largely dissipated."

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On the left, your standard "scoop your poop" sign; on the right, the SparkFun version (Left image: sign board saying you must clean up after your dog by Shutterstock.

The dispenser sign is pretty awesome, blending humor with a strong message, instead of the "Scoop your poop or DIE!!!!" authoritarian tone that most signs adopt. It's available for download if you want to use it yourself.

I definitely don't think that dogs are for every workplace. Not every environment is suited to having 30 to 50 dogs running around the place, and certainly not all people are suited to working around dogs. But for SparkFun, dogs have become a part of the corporate culture, and it has found a good middle ground between the decentralized system of vague managerial policies that it started with, and just having HR make decisions by fiat whenever needed. When rules are clear, sensible, and participatory, they're a lot less likely to cause resentment.

Have you ever worked in a dog (or pet) friendly environment? Would you want to? What have you seen go wrong (or right) in such a situation?

Via Sparkfun Blog

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Cat Skin Allergies Symptoms and Treatment

In this video from the Cat Health Guide on cat skin allergies, Dr. Patrick McHale, DVM describes the steps a veterinarian will take when diagnosing and treat…
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Well I must say that here in Ontario Canada , we s…

Well I must say that here in Ontario Canada , we seldom have a problem with these dogs , yes we have BSL that is seldom enforced . I take knowledge from experienced people , so Time magazine has no pit bull experience for me to absorb .Tia and her girls I will listen to.
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Goldendoodle Joins Half Marathon Runners During Race | Video

This is awesome!!! When Goldendoodle Dozer saw thousands of marathon runners go by his home in Maryland, he decided to run along with them in the race to the finish line.

The post Goldendoodle Joins Half Marathon Runners During Race | Video appeared first on A Place to Love Dogs.

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Susan and Gus

My fabulous photographer friend, Susan Papazian from Sydney got a lot of love from Gus, the Newfie Landseer when she visited Gorbio village yesterday.

RIVIERA DOGS

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SO nicely done! Thank you!

SO nicely done! Thank you!
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Bosnia floods- when the world isn’t watching, donate a dollar

Massive floods in Bosnia and Serbia are the worst they have seen in 120 years. The world has been silent on this issue, in large part. In a place that is still struggling to recover from years of war, it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of this disaster.

Understandably, the people in the affected regions have had little time or money to address the many thousands of animals affected by this disaster. Tens of thousands have died in landslides and floods, and thousands more are still in need of help.

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World Vets is on the ground, led by my friend and all around exemplary human Dr. Teri Weronko.

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In addition to the initial needs of rescue and shelter, stress can often lead to secondary problems such as pneumonia.

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When confronted with such nearly insurmountable odds and tragedy, there are two choices. One, close the computer, turn off the TV, and let it go.

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Two, put aside the sadness, get in, and do what you can. World Vets is a small group, but they have never shied away from going to the places that aren’t media- friendly enough to warrant the attention of larger organizations. It’s personal to me since I know the vet in the trenches, and here’s what she said:

I spoke to one old farmer who told me that from as far back as HIS father’s grandfather, no one could remember a flood of this size and destruction here…So many have lost everything. Your donation will not be lost in some big aid bureaucracy. People like me are here, at the farms, talking to the farmers and the veterinarians serving them. We come in in the evenings and call up World Vets with specific requests for needed medicines and supplies, and those items are purchased and loaded onto a pallet for shipment here. International aid donation doesn’t get more direct than this. Any contribution you can make, no matter how small, will help! -Dr Teri

I ask everyone to consider helping if you can; donate, spread the word about this silent disaster. One dollar means everything. To donate, click the link below: This fund is specifically earmarked for disaster response.

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Much of what Dr. Weronko has seen is too awful to publish, and she is there still scooping up puppies and doing what she can with a local team of veterinarians and animal professionals. Although I can’t be there, I will be making a donation later today so they know concern knows no boundaries. If you contribute, post below and let me know. I’m going to see what I have in my goodie bag and will send something along to a randomly selected person.

ETA: How about this? How about, I will select someone randomly to send something from my pawcurious goody bag to, and if you donate over $ 50 I will put you in the acknowledgements in my book? You know me, I’ll do whatever it takes here. (Make sure you let me know directly if you do this- I don’t have insider access to World Vets coffers ;)  )

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Couch Potato

I’m not sure what is up with the frisbee… I have a feeling Coulee put it there.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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