Dogs, Parks, and Poop

There have been years of brouhaha over whether dogs should be allowed to run off-leash in Boston’s leafy suburbs, including Newton and Lexington. Those battles are interesting community discussions of rights, responsibilities, access, and the purpose of public parks which the Selectmen and Alderman of the towns can explain at length. Me, I’d like to share two ways that local parks are accommodating dogs while reducing the total amount of fecal material in their parks.

Boston’s Public Garden, the city of Brookline, and Dedham Parks & Recreation are all using “Goosebusters” — that is, three border collies named  Jessie, Jamie, and J. Wilbur — to herd geese out of their parks. According to the Roslindale Transcript, the dogs are gentle, and only chase geese, not ducks. The geese are catching on to the Goosebusters, according to their owner, who says, “Sometimes before I even open up the door to let the dogs out, the geese are gone.”

Cambridge, as usual, has its own way with doggie-doo. Conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta has proposed the Park Spark project to the Cambridge Arts Council. “Park Spark” would entail a giant buried methane digester with a tube sticking out of the ground. Dog walkers would throw bags of poop into the tubes, down into the digester, where it would be converted into methane for fuel. The Cambridge Chronicle reports that the fuel could be used for “a lamppost, a popcorn machine or a tea-maker with free samples for park-goers.”

Poop-powered popcorn! Every third-grader in Boston would flock to a park for that.

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