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Giddens: Doggie do's and don'ts
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Sunday marked the start of spring officially, but as always in our fickle clime, warm weather had already teased us in fits and starts for weeks.

We get out more, especially with the arrival of Daylight Savings Time, and the longer hours of sun to enjoy after work.

I walk the granddog, Sophie, a bit later in the morning than we've been used to, but I just need a windbreaker and patience as Sophie goes about her business.

Those leisurely strolls are a rite of spring, but that leads us to a right, too: The right to have a yard that's free of doggie calling cards.

I had a call earlier in the week from a reader on Belmont Circle who wanted us to put the word out to dog owners to clean up after their pets.

So, consider it done.

I can see her point: Her space is being infringed upon.

But I have a confession: Sophie has been guilty of leaving her calling cards where they are unwanted, so by extension I am guilty, too.

Nine times out of 10, I can get Sophie to the trail and the woods where she can do her business, but sometimes she can't wait.
There have been great philosophical battles over this. Depending on your view, someone who fails to pick up after their pet is lazy and inconsiderate or is ecologically aware and letting nature take its course.

After all, the dog's business tends to disappear as the day progresses, but the little plastic grocery bags for picking up after your pet are going to hang around in the landfill a long time. I don't think you want to recycle a bag used in that way.
Some keepers of immaculate yards get downright militant in their war on dog droppings.

I've had neighbors who would take the leavings of the walkers and dump it back in the dog-owner's yard, or, in a take-no-prisoners move, place the calling cards onto the sidewalk.

Such fury leads to furtive actions by non-baggers.

Some who shall go unnamed here take their pets out in the predawn hours when they have the streets to themselves and business can be conducted in seclusion.

And then there's my daughter, Elizabeth, who has a guilty conscience when it comes to bagging. She'll take a bag with her when she runs Sophie, but the bag comes back unused, ready for the next day's excursion.

Is there some way to bring these warring factions together, to bring peace to the neighborhood? I await your answers.

Picking up
Speaking of rites of spring, click here for info on how you you can help out Saturday at the Great American Clean-up. More volunteers are needed and they'll feed you breakfast and give you supplies if you show up at 9 a.m. at the Kroger shopping center on U.S. Highway 278.

The Covington News will be there to do our part. We've also adopted a stretch of highway in the Adopt-A-Mile program that we'll keep clean through the year.

We all need to take some pride in our county and do a bit more than merely pick up after ourselves. Pick up in front of your home, but take a minute more and pick up a bit beyond your property line or the front of your subdivision or business.
And get your church or schoolyard looking great, but also clean up across the street.

Here's a special challenge to Brown Bridge Road residents and businesses: Some of you have your corner of the world looking great, but much of the road is as littered as any highway in Newton County. How about taking time to help your neighbors?
Porterdale Elementary School looks fantastic, but maybe the teachers and parents could pick up the approaches to the school. Fire Station Seven is clean, but maybe the fine folks there could clean down from the station.

Tell us when you're doing a cleanup and send us a photo and we'll try to run it.

Tharon Giddens is editor of The Covington News. Reach him at (678) 750-5011 or at