What does a 'responsible dog owner' do?

You're in the park with your dog and the little darling drops a pile of yuck, which you now have an obligation to do something about. Do you:

a) pick it up with a plastic bag and then toss the bag somewhere that you think you'll remember to revisit later (so you don't have to carry it about now)? 

b) pick it up, and have that bag swinging unpleasantly at your side for the rest of the walk? (It's worse when people are looking at you. You smile as if to say, 'Hi, just taking this bag of whoopsie for a walk -- cheers'.) 

c) leave it for someone to catch sight of or tread on?

d) leave it but cover it with whatever natural debris is to hand?


My own answer to this survey is D. I almost always choose D, unless dogling has whoopsied on someone's lawn or property, and then I'm obliged to do B. (Very rarely have I ever done A, and then I've gone back for it later.) Poo bags, let's face it, are not What The Well Dressed Woman Is Wearing.

The reasons for choosing D are manifold. For one thing, I hate having to handle turds, even with a sheet of plastic in between. Also, I hate carrying a bag of poo. It diminishes the pleasure and freedom of the walk. And finally -- this is the kicker -- I actually think it is ecologically sounder to let excrement be broken up by nature. 

This may sound self-serving, but I've already confessed my selfish reasons for not wanting to pick up dog-waste. The fact is that my girl is healthy so there's no chance that I am leaving contagion all over the place. She also has exquisite pooping manners: she never does her business on the pavement, trail, or thoroughfare, but only and always on verges, well off to the side, among the nasties and naturals you find in a park. And that's what got me on this 'cover it and leave it' kick in the first place. If a handful of dried pine needles or a splodge of Spanish moss can make her contribution invisible ('what dog poop, officer?'), then surely it makes more sense to let it dry up and decay naturally, like all the other turds deposited by all the other mammals in the park (who is picking up the whoopsies of the bobcats, rabbits, and squirrels?). I use far less plastic this way -- plastic that would have to go to the landfill where it would sit for an unimaginable period of disgustingness. I love plastic, but it is too much with us, to borrow a phrase. We ought to cut down on our reckless consumption of one-time-use plastic bags. When I cover a natural product with natural materials that will all decay naturally out of anyone's way, I consider that the best option from every point of view.