Dear Joan: I am writing to ask for your help to bring an issue to the attention of the general public. The issue is the dog poopy bags left on hiking trails. I have not seen this issue being addressed anywhere. I posted on my neighbourhood bulletin board asking people not to leave the bags on the trail.
I’m happy that they cleaned up after their dog, but then they leave the bag on the side of the trail.
I know they have the intention of retrieving it on the return trip, but alas, they must get distracted by the birds, the flowers or, horror of all horrors, the phone, or they cannot find the spot where they have left it, or they’ve have taken an unplanned detour as the spirit might have moved them.
So to the dog walkers, I have a favour to ask. I would like you to carry the bag with you while you walk. If you think “Eew! I don’t want to carry it with me”, think how other walkers feel when they come upon a bag that has been torn apart by other animals.If you don’t like to carry the poopy bag in your hand, may I suggest that you bring a small carrying bag – a fanny pack works as well – with you and put that offending bag in it. You can also tie it to the leash. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are designer bags for this purpose.
Fashionable celebrities need to clean up after their dogs, too.Your conscience will be clear because you know you have packed it out.
Olive Lee-Deacon, California
Dear Olive: I do wonder what people are thinking when they just drop the bag and walk away, especially when they drop it in my yard. So yes, thanks for cleaning up, but even if you’re using biodegradable bags, they need to be disposed of in the trash.
Dear Joan: Do you have information or relief for a dog that licks blankets and other furniture?The dog is a three-year-old Shiba Inu. She eats a freeze-died raw food diet with equal parts water, or raw meat with dried vegetables and water. She has a large backyard but prefers we join her.
Does she need vitamins or other aids?
Joan C., Dallas
Dear Joan: Obsessive licking can be a sign that your dog is missing something in her diet, but the best way to know for sure is take her to the vet for a checkup. She might need to have blood work done and you should talk to your vet about the diet.
Licking also can be a sign of anxiety or just an unfortunate habit. If she’s always had a licking issue, then she’s probably just developed a compulsive habit. If the licking is more recent, consider whether there is reason for the dog to be anxious. Have there been big changes in the household – people leaving or coming? Has a bigger dog moved in next door that is barking a lot, or have you brought another pet into the home?The dog might also be bored. You say she prefers company when she’s out in the backyard. Look for ways to interest and engage her both outdoors and in.
It seems that Shibas are naturally pretty lick-obsessed, so it might be she’s just being true to her breed. When she starts to lick, try distracting her with a toy, a treat and lots of praise. – Tribune News Service/The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)/Joan Morris
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