March 2007


Germany 0, United States 1

Pick up the dog...It’s very rare that I am willing to make a flat out declaration that Germany is better than the United States, and it’s even rarer that I am willing to proclaim that the United States is better than Germany.

So, hold on to your hats because here comes one of the rarer proclamations.

The United States really is better than Germany when it comes to Dog Shit.

I say this quite confidently after having dodged half a dozen piles of dog shit in Weimar in the past week.

Mind you, it’s not like I was taking a stroll across the doggies-run-free lawn at a park, I was walking down the street paying the sidewalk only the scantest attention when I suddenly realized that that brown thing lying on the sidewalk in front of me is not a wayward leaf but a big, stinking, nasty, gross, pile of dog shit.

Evidently, I’m usually lucky enough to notice these turd-rific discoveries before stepping in them, but others are not. I spotted a pile today that had a definite pile aspect to it, as well as obvious dragged out extensions as some unwitting person attempted to remove the matter from the bottom of their shoes. I’ve even witnessed people take sudden detours into grass or mud and doing the “get the god-damned dog shit off my shoe” dance.

And yes, I haven’t always been so lucky—although the last time I stepped in it, it was a dark stretch of street at night and I had no chance to avoid it, and, to be honest didn’t actually notice it until I had climbed the stairs to my flat and suddenly realized that my shoes were the source of the unpleasant olfactory experience wafting after me up the stairs.

Doggie Bags in PragueApparently German culture and etiquette doesn’t demand that the usually orderly and polite citizens pick up after their dogs—or at least insist that the dogs use designated shitting zones. I mean, this is something that even is encouraged in places as divergent as Prague and Denver. As far as I know, it’s even the law in many parts of the United States that dog owners must pick up their mutt’s poop and properly throw it away—something David Sedaris once discussed in one of his delightful essays (which book, I forget, but I think it was Me Talk Pretty One Day ).

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about investing in booties for my next trip to the park, because if the paved sidewalks are this bad, I hesitate to imagine what the grass at the park might be like.

7 comments to Germany 0, United States 1

  • It’s very interesting to hear something positive about the States for a change. I would assume that many aspects of life are better in Europe, but there ARE some things in which the USA has the “edge”.

    I guess the quirky, sterile Puritan roots of the States helps keep our sidewalks more free of dog poop!

  • Bud

    Not at all true in Hamburg! VERY SELDOM does one see any dog “litter” here. But in Dresden … OMG! Perhaps one reason is that there are so many “doggy parks” in Hamburg. Dogs are seldom allowed to “stop on sidewalks.”

  • disenchanted

    It’s really a tale of two cities for me. Grad School City had the poop bag/trash stands in the park and even at my apartment complex. Here in Sorta’ Cosmopolitan, I’ve been waltzing down the levee and realized that there was a big steaming pile of poop right in front of me. On the sidewalk. Ick.

    As the owner of a big dog, I take bags with me and pick up the turds – esp. since I live close to a ton of people I work with. The one exception? I walk past a house that seems abandoned and no one cuts the lawn. Sorry, but if the grass comes up to my dog’s chest, there ain’t no way I’m going rooting around for turds. LOL.

  • Our little town is just FULL of dog poop and it’s all RIGHT in the middle of the sidewalks. Quite disgusting and very inconsiderate. My kids and I warn each other if we’ve seen a new pile that needs avoiding. I believe they have in fact tried to put up plastic bag dispensers in various German cities but they are of course immediately vandalized. Oh well.

  • I think the most disturbing part is how the poop is right smack in the middle of the sidewalk. Rarely is there an effort to at least get it to the edge…. UGH!

  • I hate dog poop on the sidewalks. It was really bad in Duesseldorf. It is almost as bad here in Amsterdam. I do not understand why Europe will NOT get in the habit of picking up after their dog’s poop! We recently adopted a puppy and we ALWAYS pick up his poop!

  • […] Weimar is not perfect. It’s most egregious sin is something I’ve whined about several times […]