Derrick Jensen is one environmentalist I have encountered who is willing to take on the question of what should we really be doing with human waste. Permaculture enthusiasts probably deal with this and certainly the advocates of composting toilets such as the Clivus Multrum toilet. Changes in that area are very worthwhile but a bit difficult to get most people to deal with. However, many of us have dogs, and as a result have to make decisions about “doggy poop”.
One of the first approaches is to invent unthreatening language, like doggy poop, to avoid talking about dogshit. This reveals our tendency to avoid dealing with the problem of what happens to it.
This article is about dogshit that ends up in a yard, under the control of the dog owner. I think it is quite common to try to avoid the problem. Perhaps she has a collection of plastic bags which she uses to pick up the offending lumps and put them into a garbage can. Perhaps such actors think they have created an effective, clean way to deal with a waste product. I would say that this approach is just as environmentally destructive and wasteful as the responses to all of the other products I deal with here.
I am persuaded by noting that we collectively pay enormous sums of money for healthful pet food, full of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins and more. Much of that input ends up in the output. What a shame to waste it all by burying it in a dump to languish for thousands of years doing no good to anyone. This fits into the Zero Waste Principle of first use as is (not possible here) and next best, closing cycles. Dog food comes from the world of agriculture. It needs to return to the soil in a regenerative way after passing through a dog.
Here is what I recommend to get the benefits of the dogshit in your yard. Get a bucket with a handle and a shovel. Then go around your yard with the shovel, pick up the piles of dogshit and place them into the bucket. Keep the dogshit covered with water so that it rehydrates. Find a long handled device that will allow you to stir the mixture from a comfortable distance. I use a thin, trenching shovel. As you stir it, it will become a slurry without lumps. This may take hours or days.
At this point, there will still be some smell but, equally important, the flies will have no way to land and lay eggs while the bucket is full of water.
When the bucket becomes sufficiently full, give it a final stir, make sure all of the lumps are gone and then prepare to use the slurry as a fertilizer. Making sure to keep the bucket handle and your hands clean, pour small amounts at the base of trees and bushes until the bucket is empty. Wash down the bucket with water and add the remnants to one more tree.
At this point there will still be some smell but that will soon be gone. Take the garden hose and use the stream to work the slurries into the ground around each plant. With a little water, the slurry can be broken up and incorporated into the soil, to such an extent that the slurry essentially disappears.
By the next day, there will be no trace of the slurry left on the ground. It will not be possible to even see where the slurry was applied. Four points:
- There is no longer any smell,
- There are no longer any flies laying eggs,
- The plants have additional fertilizer,
- There is nothing extra sitting in a dump.