Save the Watershed: Pick up after your Dog!

Dog waste. Sure, it stinks, but you’ve got to pick up after your dog. It’s either dealing with the smell or not getting clean
drinking water. Let me show you what I mean… I counted nearly twentyfive piles of dog waste on a small section of MacArthur Boulevard in Cabin John. That’s a lot of dog owners who don’t care about the watershed.

What is a watershed, you might ask? No, it’s not a shed that holds water. Try again. A watershed is an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins or seas. If you don’t pick up after your pet, the waste gets washed into the watershed.

To help you understand, I’m going to tell a story…. Once upon a time, you’re walking your dog. He uses the bathroom twice.
But instead of doing the responsible thing by picking it up, you just say “It stinks!” and walk away.

That night it rains and rains and rains. The next morning, you wake up and walk your dog. When you pass by the place you walked your dog yesterday, you expect to see the dog waste. Instead, you just see wet grass. So, where did all the waste go?

It’s simple. When you don’t pick up after your pet, it either:
A) decomposes into the dirt or
B) gets washed away.

It does both of these things. If the waste gets washed away, then it transports from where you left it to the Potomac River, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay.

And did you know that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million—that’s right, 23 MILLION—fecal coliform bacteria? Bacteria causes many diseases and viruses that can make both dogs and people sick. Dog poop is the number 3 cause of water pollution.

The big question is: why do some people not pick up after their pet? The answer is maybe that they don’t do it because it’s disgusting. But what’s even more disgusting is that we are drinking all that polluted water. So if you own a dog, please do your part to protect our watershed!

BY LUCY DONNAN
4th Grade

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