(SMELLY! – What were you thinking?!)
Have you ever stepped in dog poop? It’s a horrible, squishy sensation, typically accompanied by malodors and great difficulty to clean one’s shoe. And frustration, maybe even anger. Why did the owner of that dog not pick up after their pet? Pet waste stations are located all over campus, along with waste bags. Beatitudes tries to make it as easy and convenient as possible. Yet, more and more complaints are coming in over too much pet waste not being cleaned up.
Upon move-in, every new resident is informed of our Pet Policy, regardless of whether they bring a pet or not. A copy of this policy can be found in the Resident Handbook. It clearly outlines the expectations and requirements associated with pet ownership, including waste disposal, and it also states potential consequences of not adhering to the policy. So why is it, you ask, that there are still so many incidents of pet waste being left anywhere it drops?
I have no real answer for you. As we age, our body seems to not want to cooperate like it used to; bending over may prove more than difficult, even dangerous, because it may cause us to become dizzy or fall. Our mind may not be as sharp as it once was and, while we might remember that walking the dog is important for some reason, we might not remember that cleaning up the poop is an equally important part of that walk.
When things like this happen, we encourage pet owners to engage a service, such as Beatitudes at Home, to help with dog walking, which includes picking up after the pet. However, 95% of the time we don’t get to see who the pet owner in question is, making it next to impossible to address the problem with the responsible party. Also, some people do not have the financial ability to hire an assistant. At some point, we could insist the pet owner get rid of their animal – but is that request really in the spirit of what Beatitudes stands for?
Pets come with great responsibility, yes; but they also bring a tremendous amount of joy, love, companionship, laughter, entertainment and a sense of family to their owners. They fill a void that otherwise is all-too-often filled with loneliness and sadness.
So, now what? Can we come together on this as a community? I believe so! My plea to all pet owners is to please be more mindful about picking up after your pets. My plea to everyone is to please be as engaged, aware and communicative with us as you can be. If you see who leaves dog poop behind, let us know. If you would like to consider becoming a volunteer and assist with clean-up, please contact Didi Cruz in Life Enrichment; she can help you with that. If you’d like hire BaH to help with clean-up, you can have them assigned to assist someone specific or to a general area that needs extra attention. If you’d like to meet with me to brainstorm more ideas, let me know and I will make myself available!
—Gabi Holberg, x18490