Heidi and I would like to thank Patch colleague for his recent who flee the scene of the crime without bagging the evidence. Don’t blame the pooch, blame the parents—this kind of behavior usually starts in your own back yard.
Helverson took on -- but the problem is seems even more prevalent in our residential neighborhoods, particularly those dense with apartment buildings.
Some neighborly tips: If you are a renter, not a homeowner— poop is still poop. If you are planning to relocate to the Westside after you sell your first pilot episode—poop is still poop.
If you are walking your girlfriend or boyfriend’s dog, not your own— poop is poop. If you are smoking, on the cell, drinking coffee or just very, very importanT—poop is poop. If your dog is tiny and adorable—poop is poop, just smaller and harder to avoid.
And, on those rare occasions when you are caught without a bag, one responsible dog owner suggested to me that you settle your score with the universe by picking up someone else’s leave-behind next time, along with your own. Give it a try.
Now that I have that off my chest (and hopefully the bottom of my shoe), on a recent walk Heidi and I discovered one local apartment building that is taking a pro-active approach: The Archstone This luxury building, reportedly inhabited by many groovy young Hollywood hopefuls and once home to Kanye West, has installed artificial turf along the length of its façade. Across the street and down the block is plenty of the real stuff in front of other less-fancy apartment buildings.
The first time I noticed the AstroTurf (or whatever it is), it just seemed weird -- landscaping’s equivalent to Splenda. Evenly and relentlessly green, the crewcut-short faux grass conjures images of Easter baskets populated by identical marshmallow Peeps. It took me awhile to figure out the choice might indicate not a preference for messing with Mother Nature, but an attempt for an apartment complex to live in harmony with dogs.
“It does have to do with pets,” confirmed Catherine Hutchings, customer service associate for the dog-and-cat-friendly Archstone. “It’s easier to clean – plus, with so many dogs in one small area, it kills the grass. We are trying to be aesthetically pleasing as well as practical.” And, wonder of wonders – the poop bag dispenser is always full; no getting your fingers sliced by a metal slot trying to fish out the last bag. “We make every effort to keep it stocked and clean,” Hutchings said proudly.
Listening to her, I began to feel more positive about the fake grass; it was starting to seem less an affront to reality and more an appropriate addition to a well-tended, happy place for dogs to take care of their business. An elimination theme park, if you will. Sure, the real Matterhorn beats Disneyland’s, and Paris Las Vegas ain't in France—but both are definitely more practical options.
But do dogs like synthetics as well as the real thing? Heidi gave the no-mow grass a hearty sniff before trying it out, but then did not hesitate to leave a little pee mail for her dog friends to read later. “They can’t tell the difference,” observed passer-by Michelle of her two small dogs, Elle and Brody.
And certainly the area was more user-friendly than the spotty green patches in front of next door’s Bluffside Terrace, sporting stern signs reading “No Dogs on the Grass.” In the photos, the vigilant Heidi is making sure that no dog even tries it.