Dog trains man

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I am The Poop Fairy

are you finished scooping?
Don't you hate it when people don't clean up after their dog? I do. And so does Amy Burket from Last Friday Amy launched a great initiative, "I am The Poop Fairy", as her contribution to Blog The Change.

Amy is a firm believer that you shouldn’t complain about something unless you’re willing to take action to make it better.

In addition to picking up after her own dogs, every day this quarter Amy will pick up at least one doggy deposit that does not belong to her dogs.

I will join Amy in her "I am the Poop Fairy" initiative and hope you will too. Why? Because two years ago, poop that was not scooped almost became fatal for Kenzo.

He contracted the "French heartworm" - angiostrongylus vasorum. Little devils that use poop and slugs as intermediate hosts. Although a rare heartworm, they are present all over the globe, though mostly in Western Europe and Canada. They follow the poop. No kidding.

It is fatal for dogs. The worms reproduce inside the heart and travel from there through all the organs in your dogs body - see this animated video. They eat your dog from the inside out. As soon as you notice the hemorrhages around the eyes and gums, and blood in their poop, it is already too late. Internal organs have suffered fatal damage.

In Kenzo's case, it started when we got a letter from our vet informing us the French heartworm was on the loose in our local area. She had a case of a dog with the French heartworm in her pratice and adviced all of her clients to be tested for the heartworm. We had to leave for a trip to Holland - Kenzo included - at the end of that week, but I delivered the necessary poop samples of 3 consecutive days to our vet before we left.

If something was wrong she could call us. I was not the least worried and did not give it a lot more thought. One of the days I had problems with incoming calls from Denmark that were disconnected before I could answer them. The same day my wife called that Kenzo had started to cough up white slime. It looked and sounded a lot like the Kennel cough.

First thing I did was to call our vet in Denmark. As you probably already guessed, it was her that has been trying to reach us as Kenzo's test turned out positive. And she was really worried when she heard he was coughing up white slime. The white slime was filled with French heartworm larvae causing inflammation in his lungs.

The prevention and cure for the French heartworm is the same: Advocate / Advantage Multi. But I had to get it A.S.A.P. Like in yesterday. We could still have a chance to prevent damage to internal organs. Getting a Dutch vet deliver Advocate - a prescription drug in Holland - on such short notice was not easy, but my vet was a great help and send faxes to their office explaining what we needed it for.

Kenzo got his Advocate that same day. A necessary evil, as it kills the worms, but the body has it difficult to cope with all the dead foreign bodies at once. It doesn't always have a happy ending. The little guy now quickly felt very sick and it started to show. It took two days where he didn't do a whole lot more than laying down. But on the third day, he stood up again. Kenzo made it ! It was a close call.

So as you can understand I take scooping poop very serious. What I wanted to ask you is the following - in Amy's words:

In addition to picking up after your own dogs, will you pledge to pick up one pile of unclaimed poop? Could you do it every day for a week? Anyone brave enough to join Amy and me for a month? If you’ll commit to picking up with us every day for the quarter, you are Amy's hero. And Kenzo's as well. We may have to start a club – this could become a movement. Who’s with us?!?


  1. So glad that Kenzo was ok and that your vet was on top of things! That is great that she advised all her clients to have their pets tested!
    I have only seen lung worm in cats at the clinic where I work, I don't think I have ever seen a case in a dog.

    I would be happy to join the "poop fairy" movement:). It is a wonderful idea!

  2. I had no idea Kenzo had such a close call! I'm so glad he was okay. Thanks so much for spreading the word and joining the movement - I can't believe we've already gone international. :-)

  3. Dat iz wot human2 doz when herz goes to walk shelter dogs. Pick up all da poopies so da community wont blame da shelter pups.

  4. @Jen
    Thanks for joining Jen!

    And thank you for setting an example :)

    Good for you, we don't want people to blame the shelter dogs, they already have problems enough.

  5. Thankfully most of the walkers around where I live already scoop theit pooh, but there's at least one that is notorious for leaving their business behind. Since my dog already gets the bad rap for being a big, "scary and evil" pit-bull (he's actually a rottweiler mix, but most just jump to pit-bull), we try to pick up any doggy-doo and people trash we see to get a better rep around town (He'll even fetch the plastic cups/bottles and help me recycle them).

    Now that this is here, and there are fatal diseases that can be contracted from left-behind poop, Jayne and I will definitely be on the lookout for any forgotten droppings on our walks out.

  6. @Minneh
    Thank you! ... and happy to hear you already did so much.

  7. This is a pretty impressive commitment, but I definitely see the seriousness of the issue. I have no problems picking up my own dog's poop - and always do - but when it comes to dogs I don't know... It somehow seems more disgusting.

    But I promise to at least think about it! ;-)

  8. @Kristine
    True ... it is not so easy as it seems. After I promised to Amy and looked down at the first pile ... am I really going to do this?!

    The first one is always the most difficult, now on day 4 I already feel like a scooping pro :)

  9. It's such a fantastic idea. Sadly, I always encounter left-behind piles at the dog park, so I'll commit to picking up each time we go.

  10. LOL! I started picking up the poop a couple of weeks before I did the blog post so I could be sure I'd be able to continue it. It is more disgusting than picking up after your own flesh and fur ... but with time you get used to it. I love that you promised me first and then had second thoughts. :-)

  11. @Maggie
    Woohoo! Thanks for joining!

    Glad I did promise before, so there was no way back. These things you shouldn't think to long about :) Just do it :)

  12. If there's poop near where my dog pooped, I pick it up, too. In the end, it's just poop :)

  13. That is one scary post. I'm glad your dog is okay; I know lots of dogs at our dog park who eat poop, and I wouldn't want any of them to die from it!

    I promise to be more poop-vigilant from now on!

  14. @Life Student
    With the French heartworm a slug is needed as intermediate host. So slug eats poop. Dog eats slug. Although Kenzo doesn't eat slugs like most dogs, he probably picked it up by sniffing/licking a baby slug from some grass or leafs ...
    Scary, as you say!

  15. where i live noone apparenty scoop the poop so i do it for them sometimes and of course i allways politely share my poopbags with them ;)


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