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Ray Ford

OP Your Trail Treat

Learning How to Pick Your Your Doggie Do


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Have you ever noticed those tiny trail treats that seem to be popping up along the trails? I’m not actually sure who leaves them since I’ve never seen one put in place, but somehow they seem to end up there.

You know the ones I’m talking about, the cute little plastic bags tied securely in a knot set so daintily along the trail’s edge, just waiting to be picked up on the return trip. But surprise! While there’s an abundance of people who have no trouble setting them in place, the same doesn’t appear to be true for those willing to pick them up when heading back home.

Perhaps I’m not clear on the concept; I thought the hard part was getting what needs gotten into the bag in the first place.

Holding the bag inside out, fingers at the grasp, wrapping them around what turns out to be a sometimes messy goo, then making sure not to get any on hands or clothes, deftly turning the bag back right side out and swiftly tying the knot is not something you want to screw up half way through.

So you’ve gotten the routine down, scooped up the mess, kept yourself clean in the process and now you’ve got a nice neat little package. So what to do with it? Put it in the day pack? Not hardly. Nothing like dog goop being packed alongside the tasty PB&J sandwich that you’ll be enjoying somewhere up the trail.

Perhaps in a side pocket, triple wrapped so none of the odorous aromas seep through to contaminate the PB&J? That would be gross wouldn’t it? So what’s a trail guy (or gal) to do?

I hadn’t quite developed the empathy needed to appreciate the dilemma until we recently began to enjoy the company of a puppy named Myrtle. She’s an English bulldog and though still technically a baby, she weighs in at something north of 50 pounds. In other words she’s not only a bundle of joy she knows how to manufacture poop by the pound (or so it seems).

It turns out that cleaning up after your dog really isn’t too much fun. Perhaps if you have a Pekinese but certainly not when you’ve got a big dog on your hands. It is a perversely wicked sensation when it comes to getting your fingers around the fresh stuff. What’s the word? Gooshy? I think that captures the feeling of picking up warm do–do with a half millimeter of plastic between you and it.

Then there’s the smell. I’m working to perfect the technique of scooping with my fingers as far from my nose as I possibly can but I can tell you it isn’t as easy as you’d think, and even the briefest scent tends to turn my stomach upside down. I know, I’m a woos.

I’m also thinking, what if I had a German shepherd? Or, God forbid, two of them?

So I now know how tough it is to take your dog out and about. But then, I’m thinking when I see those pretty little bags along the trail, you’ve already done the hard part, why not go all the way and figure out how to take it with you? After all, it’s not like it’s going to add a ton of weight.

Now that I’ve got the bag part down pat, I’m working on the other piece of the puzzle, which is finding smell-proof outer baggies for my not-so-smell proof Albertson’s veggie bags. I Google “odor proof bags” and the first hit is not even close to what I’m desperately looking for, which is the right bag to keep my doggie-do from smelling and my PB&J odor-pure.

“So I was wondering if there is anything that is 100% odor proof so I could transport weed, etc. and not have to worry about a k-9 sniffing it,” is the lead for a link to the Grasscity.com forum. Oops! That’s a topic for a whole other column.

Finally a few hits down on the list I discover the perfect solution. The “opsak.” Seems like the perfect name — the “oops sak” for all those trail treasures you need to carry but don’t want to actually admit you have with you. Turns out the “OP” stands for “odor proof” but hey, who cares? All I want to know is how well will they work when my Myrtle leaves a big one that gags me when I try to pick it up.

Amazingly, they work. I also discovered “Go Fresh Scented Waste Bags” and “Clean Go Pet Scented Doggy Waste Bags” and even ones advertised as “smelly proof” when I Googled the phrase “odor proof doggy bags.” What a concept!

So it ends up there really isn’t any excuse for not moving the doggie-do up off the trail and into your pack once you’ve gotten a few “OPs” to take along.

By Ray Ford

Will I miss those cute little trailside treats? Not a chance. As the trail haiku goes:

You brought a bag

You picked it up

O! Why did you leave

It on the trail?

Especially when you can OP it now.

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