Keep Tyler Beautiful and the City of Tyler’s Parks and Recreation Department have some new friends. The four-legged members of the Dog Scouts of America and their two-legged human owners are helping to bag up the piles of poop left along Rose Rudman and South Tyler trails.
The dogs, who are the scouts, help their owners locate the poop left behind by owners who don’t pick up after their pets.
The scouts and their “proud parents” are doing much more than just cleaning up someone else’s mess. They are also working to raise awareness in dog owners and encouraging them to take responsibility for what their pets leave behind.
“We’re helping to clean the park of stray poop,” said Troop Leader Natalie Fletcher. “We’re also encouraging others to clean up after their pups by handing out prizes to the pedestrians we encounter who have their poop bags with them!”
Prizes include dog toys, dog biscuits and poop bags, according to Ms. Fletcher.
Ms. Fletcher says finding the poop is easy. Members bring their scouts and the dogs sniff out the offending piles.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to have someone come forward and ask if they could do this,” said Phyllis Carlyle, Keep Tyler Beautiful Board chair. “We were delighted that someone wanted to take on this distasteful duty.”
About eight months ago, troop member Diann Castle contacted Keep Tyler Beautiful and City’s Parks and Recreation Department asking if anyone would mind if they volunteered to pick up the unsavory piles. Since that first meeting, the “Poop Patrol” volunteers have picked up an average of 50 bags each week.
Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings said she greatly appreciates this service-minded group and their willingness to help make the trails a much more enjoyable place to be.
“What a wonderful way to serve others,” said Rollings. “We are very grateful to have a group like the Dog Scouts to do a job that few others would be willing to do.”
The City of Tyler Parks and Recreation Department has installed six bag dispensers at the entrances of Rose Rudman and South Tyler Trail (south of Rieck Road). These stations have signs asking dog owners to pick up after their pets so other trail users will not have to dodge the mess left behind.
Dog Scouts of America (DSA), founded in 1999 by Lonnie Olsen, is a non-profit organization whose mission according to the website, is, “To improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane education, positive training, and community involvement.”
DSA uses a merit badge system to honor the learning and training achievements of the members. After learning and performing a particular skill, the owner will receive a patch to attest to the accomplishment. DSA will formally bestow the title of Dog Scout to any dog whose owner has proved his responsibility by passing the Dog Scout test and possessing the minimum standard of qualities necessary to proudly wear the title of DSA.
The next planned cleanup of Rose Rudman Trail will be Wednesday, July 2, at 7 p.m. The troop will meet at the Cancer Survivor Bell on the north end of the trail.
“We usually end up around 8 p.m. at Andy’s Frozen Custard for a complimentary ‘pup cone’,” Fletcher added.
In August, the troop will be hosting a fundraising event, “Paint Your Pet’s Portrait.” For information on how to join the Tyler Troop, visit their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/TylerTroop225. Troop 225 Headquarters is located at 721 S. Vine Avenue. Natalie Fletcher can be contacted by phone at (903)592-0055.