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It’s not polite to show ingratitude over a thoughtful gift.

It doesn’t matter if your Mom just gave you a ratty, pilled, plaid polyester, elastic-waisted pair of pants she got for 25 cents at the thrift shop.

Take the gift and graciously thank her. You can always take the pants to a different thrift shop.

Not so with Mother Nature’s gifts to us. You can't sneak away to a second-hand store and drop off her trees, grasslands, prairies, mountains and foothills.

Here in Boise, Idaho, Mother Nature gifted all of us with miles and miles of scenic foothills just a few minutes away from where we live. And hundreds of trails were developed through these foothills so that inhabitants could enjoy her gift up close.

And how do some of us thank her?

By letting our dogs poop all along the trails.

And walking away from it. Leaving it there.

Soon after I moved here in 2005, my sister and I started hiking in the foothills. It didn’t take long for us to notice the vast numbers of smelly poop piles left by inconsiderate dog owners. We were astonished that pet owners would take advantage of Mother Nature and respond to her lovely gift in this way.

One afternoon, my sister and I composed a series of signs, mounted them on stakes and stuck them in the ground throughout the foothills trails. We made sure to post a few by the trash cans because you’d be surprised at how many people leave dog poop right next to the trash can and the poop bag dispenser.

The signs contained verses in the style of Haiku. Here are a few of them:

I came upon this

Your gift. So smelly and large.

Did you lose your bag? 

Your dog, could he choose

Would not leave such a foul mess

Behind. Pick it up. 

One misstep. One slip.

I tread in its fragruntness.

Can’t you pick up poo? 

Ooh, smelly brown poo.

Owner likes fresh air and view?

Avoid looking down!

Haiku poetry:

Ancient, simple art form.

Your dog’s poo is not.

Don’t forget to bag!

Foothills should not be POOPhills.

Be a good neighbor.

Please don’t walk away.

This POO—it belongs to you.

Does not belong here.

I nearly stepped in

This hideous pile of poo.

Come back and bag it. 

Scenery is not

Piles of poop on foothills trails.

Love Nature? Bag IT.

These signs seemed to work for about a week. And then, people removed them and the poop returned. Back to full Pooperama.

I still can’t fully comprehend that people would walk away from a pile of poop their dog just dropped. It hurts my brain to ponder it. But I’ve come up with a few reasons:

1. They’re inconsiderate boobs. The same ones who park so close to your car that no one in the car can get out. The same ones who drop cigarette butts on the ground.

2. They don’t have a poop bag with them. See #1.

3. They think that because they’re outdoors away from the town or neighborhood, the poop pile they left there won’t bother anyone. After all, the rain will wash it away or it’ll dry up. In 6 months or so. See #1.

4. It’s too icky to pick up! See #1.

5. They belong in that category of human who believe the planet is their personal trash bin. See #1.

6. They’re ignorant. They don’t realize that poop harbors germs… Oh, forget it. They’re inconsiderate boobs. See #1.

Notice a trend? Clearly I’m surrounded by inconsiderate boobs.

What’s the solution? Fines might work, but at $25, they’re way too minimal to have much of a difference. I was fined $85 for letting my pup off leash in a no dog off leash area. You can be sure that fine changed my behavior. When it comes to patrolling the foothills, unfortunately, the city only has four animal control officers to enforce the rules.

In some cities, officials are using DNA to enforce canine-waste rules. Pets' cheeks are swabbed, and the DNA is registered and dog owners get a ticket in the mail.

I like that. I also like public shaming. And more signs. My sister and I will be glad to write them.

Jemma in the foothills (Notice the blue-green poop bags tied to her leash. Convenient, eh?)

image of Jemma

How the Foothills should look - poopless.

image of Boise foothills

 As always, respectful comments are so appreciated. Do you have a poop problem in your community?