The Elegant Way to “Curb” Pets

“Curbing” Pets

There is no getting around it; “curbing” pets is a dirty job, but “someone’s gotta do it….” So why not do it the gentlemanly way: elegantly?

There was a time, until the early 1990s, when most cities did not have or did not enforce laws and ordinances requiring pet owners to “curb” their animals, meaning to collect the fecal deposits of their pets from public spaces such as sidewalks, grassy areas, and flower beds. Today, however, many urban areas have such mandates. And it is not uncommon for compliant pet owners to put to good reuse those little plastic bags, used for packing items purchased at grocery stores and supermarkets, for curbing. Generally, the owner uses his “bagged hand” (preferably his left hand since the right hand is the “polite hand,” and he might need to extend it to shake that of a friend or a business acquaintance a few paces later!) to collect the droppings, then turns the bag inside out without ever touching the collection, thereafter tying the bag close. The problem is that nature does not always conveniently call on pets next to public trash receptacles. So a gentleman, after collecting his pet’s droppings, is oftentimes seen walking down the street holding his pet by leash in one hand, with the “little plastic bag” in the other hand—not a sight that generally invites handshakes!

The more polite and discreet thing to do is to collect the droppings with the little plastic bag, then place the plastic bag into a brown-paper sandwich bag, which can generally be purchased relatively inexpensively in packs of 40 or 80, then, upon locating a trash receptacle, dispose of the collection. (Little brown-paper bags somehow look less “suspect.” After all, a paper bag could contain a muffin or peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich! The one drawback to the brown-paper bag approach is that it could serve as a source of much disappointment for a homeless person rummaging through a trash receptacle in the hopes of finding much-needed food, who, upon finding a neatly fold-sealed brown-paper bag, mistakenly thinks that he has discovered a discarded lunch. But that, as they say, is fodder for “another talk-show” to be titled: “Why Are People Homeless And Hungry In A World With Such Abundance?” ). It is also a good idea to purchase individually wrapped, moist towelettes (like the ones distributed on airplanes), which should be used to wipe the hands clean once the bag has been placed into the trash receptacle.

The fastidious gentleman—and many gentlemen are fastidious—also carries along a little plastic bag containing approximately a cupful of sand or kitty litter to cover up his pet’s excrement on those occasions when the droppings are not of a solid consistency such as can be collected with the bagged hand. On such occasions, the gentleman should sprinkle-spread the sand or kitty litter over the “dropping” (well, in this case, “dripping”!), thereafter proceeding about his way. The covered-up fecal matter is infinitely less offensive to subsequent passersby than the untreated alternative.

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