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I've never been what you might call 'a doggie person', so it was with some trepidation that I accepted the challenge to look after a friend's dog for the past week while my friend was overseas. It was an eye-opener in more than one way!
As someone who gave birth to twins I thought I'd manage to cope with the routine but with the absence of nappies I had the continuous worry that I'd not get the jacket (and Sou'wester if raining), harness and lead on sufficiently quickly after meals to suit the dog's bladder, or leave home without the doggie treats or 'poo bags'. But it was the need to collect whatever the dog deposited on grass verges or in the park that got to me, as well as having to pick through whatever else was down there as I did so.
The experience really focused my attention on the disgusting state of our outside spaces. I live in what was once considered a fairly affluent area of England but the rubbish, beer bottles and cans and broken glass that was strewn around - not to mention dog mess left by irresponsible owners that was often on the pavement for people to tread on - made me ashamed of my town. How did it get like this?
Sadly, we have failed to persuade everyone that littering is unacceptable and those who choose to litter rarely get caught and punished. There were plenty of bins around where I walked the dog and if I was able to carry around my biodegradable bag of warm dog excrement until I found a bin, why can't everyone else do the same with their wrappers, cartons, cans or bottles?
Something I have noticed over the years though is that there's always more rubbish floating around on bin collection days. Is this because householders are careless when they empty their household bins into the dustbin, or is it because refuse collectors are now on such tight schedules that if they drop something which blows or rolls away, they simply don't have time to chase after it? Or do many of them no longer take pride in their work?
When I was a child the need to take care of our outside environment was ingrained in us. I do hope we can get back to that way of thinking soon...
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16th January 2020