I think that I shall never see
a tree unscathed by doggie pee
– Not Joyce Kilmer
Maybe there are some out there — a tree or two that, in their lifetimes, have somehow avoided ever being annointed by dog.
But, sharing the country with 75 million dogs, as both trees and we do, that is unlikely — and even more so in paved-over urban areas, where dogs sometimes outnumber trees, the living things they seem to most like to pee on.
For centuries, there seems to have been an unwritten agreement — a pee-ful coexistence — between dogs and trees. But, at least for half a century or so, there have been worries expressed about the cumulative effect of the continual sprinkling that some trees undergo, especially those in densely populated urban areas.
Some were recently voiced by a Philadelphia woman with an interesting perspective. Carrie Maria owns Monster Minders, a Philadelphia dog-walking service, and she’s a graduate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tenders program.
“Urine is highly acidic,” Maria wrote on the The Monster Minders blog. “Simply put, dogs’ urine ‘burns’ the tree’s trunk to the point that the tree becomes susceptible to diseases, pests, dehydration and nutrient loss.”
Maria’s report drew the attention of The Atlantic, which ran a lengthy piece on its blog, Atlantic Cities, complete with photos she had taken of disfigured trees in her neighborhood she says are likely victims of pee-blight.
We can’t confirm that the damaged trees she photographed (pictured here) are solely victims of dog pee — and neither could experts. But we give her credit for speaking up for the underdog, which in this particular case is trees.
“Your dog ‘marks’ the tree, then another dog walks by 10 minutes later, smells your dog’s scent and hits it again, 15 minutes later and another dog walks by, hits it again. This goes on day in and day out … One dog’s scent ends up on a tree and others just keep marking it, over and over until the tree is compromised.”
Where I live — not in a real big city, not downtown — the yard in front of my apartment has huge oak trees, planted probably a good half century ago, or more. Ace pees on his favorite one regularly, but it’s so well-established it doesn’t seem to mind, and show no signs of damage.
About this time of year, the oak trees start raining acorns, and every once in a while one drops and hits Ace in the head. He jumps up and looks around, unaware he has been the victim of poetic justice.
Impervious as the big oaks in my yard may be, saplings in cities — the ones growing in a few square feet of dirt, the ones that have become potty stops for dozens of dogs daily — are another story.
“Repeated hits with urine basically causes an ‘open wound’ right on the base on the tree. Since the bombardment from pee is semi-constant in an urban environment, the trees never have a chance to heal from past damage. These wounds open the trees up to a slew of diseases that they just can’t fight off.” Maria wrote.
Her solution: Curb your dog.
It’s an old phrase, and one that – outside of places like New York — lots of people don’t even understand. It means to pee where the street meets the curb. And while that may lead to gutters running yellow, and car tires taking on a pee-scent, thereby attracting more to dogs to take aim on them, Maria finds that preferable to the tree assault.
“It’s simple. Redirect your dog when he/she is headed for a tree,” Maria says. ”Teach your dog to ‘curb it.’”
How big a factor is dog pee, compared to all the other hazards urban trees face — like road salt, car doors, poor soil, limited room to grow and youths with pen knives? As the Atlantic Cities blog points out, experts aren’t sure:
“Whether pee hurts trees is a question that’s attracted virtually no research attention since its earliest mention in the academic literature …”
The post mentions one presentation, way back in 1959, in which a plant pathologist named Pascal Pirone warned of the dangers. In ‘Why shade trees die along city streets,’ a presentation given at the International Shade Tree Conference, he said ‘dog canker’ could kill trees up to 6 inches in diameter.”
But the Atlantic post also quoted a staff member at the Smithsonian Institution’s horticulture department as saying the trunk damage shown in Maria’s photos could have come from a number of causes, “including mechanical damage [i.e. mowers, car doors, pedestrians], southwest injury, disease [cankers], and insects [borers].”
While the extent of the harm caused by dog urine remains untallied, most experts agree it can’t be helping trees.
“We deal with it in the sense that I imagine trees get added stress or maybe anxiety” from dogs, says John Thomas, associate director at Washington, D.C.’s Urban Forestry Administration. “I don’t know how much dog urine you need to kill a tree. But there’s definitely something there…. Somebody could definitely get a masters or Ph.D. out of studying it.”
(Photos: Top photo by John Woestendiek; tree photos by Carrie Maria / Monster Minders)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acid, animals, atlantic cities, blogs, carrie maria, curb, curb your dog, damage, dog, dogs, downtown, health, horticulture, marking, monster minders, pee, pets, philadelphia, saplings, scent, trees, urban, urination, urine
Andrew David Thompson, the Michigan State University student accused of slaying 13 Italian greyhounds, told investigators he killed them “out of anger,” according to court transcripts obtained by the Lansing State Journal.
The 24-year-old osteopathic medicine student, since suspended by the university, said he killed the dogs by throwing them to the ground or against a wall and by grabbing them by the neck and beating them.
“He (said) that he has killed every single one of these dogs except for two,” Ingham County Animal Control Deputy Jodi LeBombard testified at a June 24 hearing in 55th District Court that led to charges.
Thompson is charged with killing 13 dogs since September 2010.
Typically, he’d put a deceased dog in a garbage bag, along with its clothes, collars and other items, LeBombard testified. “He would cry all the way to the Dumpster, and throw it in the Dumpster,” she said.
Thompson faces 10 felony counts of animal killing in 55th District Court in Mason and three additional counts of animal killing in East Lansing’s 54B District Court. The charges are punishable by up to four years in prison.
He is being held at the Ingham County Jail on a $500,000 bond in the East Lansing case and a $100,000 bond in the Mason case.
Thompson faces an additional count of animal neglect because at least one of the dogs survived.
Officials didn’t say where Thompson bought the Italian greyhounds, a small and delicate breed that typically weighs 7 to 14 pounds.
According to the transcripts, Thompson was seeing a psychiatrist, who expressed concern that Thompson might be a suicide risk.
On his Facebook page, Thompson, who has 790 “friends,” says he attended Phoenix Christian High School in Arizona, then the University of Southern California, where his major was biochemistry. He lists his favorite book as The Bible and his interests as snowboarding and reading The Economist.
The investigation began on June 14, when animal control officials received an anonymous complaint that Thompson had been seen with numerous dogs that kept disappearing.
Several days later, investigators searched Thompson’s Okemos apartment and found a severely injured puppy in the closet.
Authorities also found evidence Thompson bought the dogs from outside Michigan and had them transported via airplane in carriers. Thompson previously lived in Goodyear, Ariz.
In a June 22 interview, Thompson told LeBombard he killed the dogs out of frustration or anger, often sparked when they defecated on his floor, urinated in his bed or wouldn’t come to him when he called them.
“And he got frustrated they didn’t want to stay with him,” LeBombard said, according to transcripts. “And that made him upset.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $13, 13 dogs, abuse, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, anger, animal cruelty, animal killing, animals, arizona, beating, court, cruelty to animals, defecation, details, disappearing, disobedient, dogs, dumpster, east lansing, explanation, floor, goodyear, ingham county, italian greyhouds, jodi lebombard, killed, lansing, lansing state journal, mason, medical student, michigan state university, murder, neglect, okemos, out of anger, pets, psychiatrist, revelations, smashing, student, thompson, throwing, torture, transcripts, urination, wall
As was the case with our kudzu dogs, this one requires just a squirt of imagination.
Ace and I were walking the streets of downtown Missoula when we saw a chocolate Labrador stopping to pee — well, not really stopping at all, which was the interesting part.
For almost half a block, he zig-zagged along the sidewalk, leaving a squiggly trail behind him.
Perhaps he, or his owner, had no time to stop — maybe the human had an urgent appointment, or maybe the dog had a weak bladder; or maybe, just maybe, the dog was expressing himself in the other meaning of the phrase.
Maybe he’d discovered a way around not being able to speak human — and it’s just a case of no one having discovered his amazing ability yet.
Sure, it doesn’t look like much now, but let’s see what happens when we turn it sideways.
Don’t bother moving your computer; allow me:
If I’m not mistaken, it spells Missoula, Montana.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, bladder, chocolate labrador, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, downtown, missoula, montana, pee, pets, road trip, sidewalk, trail, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, urination, urine
Previously available only on the Internet, the Potty Patch — basically a porous slab of artifical grass situated atop a drainage tray — will now be available at PetCo, one of the nation’s largest pet retailers, and will be sold under the American Kennel Club name.
Eagle Eye Marketing, makers of the indoor doggie restroom, announced the marketing breakthrough yesterday.
The three-tiered doggie restroom is perfect for patios and indoor use, says Eagle Eye Marketing, and serves as a valuable training aid, getting dogs used to relieving themselves on grass, or what appears to be grass. It is the only product of its type endorsed by the American Kennel Club, Eagle Eye says.
In fact, the AKC has done more than endorse the product. The non-profit organization has agreed to it being sold under their brand.
As for the product itself, the top portion is made out of a soft artificial grass specifically designed to let liquid flow through. The collection tray holds up to a gallon of liquid. It comes in two different sizes, regular (17″ x 27″) and large (27″ x 34″).
“We are very excited to finally have Potty Patch available at PetCo,” said Simon Wright at Eagle Eye Marketing. “This is a big milestone for us and we look forward to even better serve our customers. For extra convenience, Potty Patch is no longer available exclusively online but you can actually go to the store and see it first.”
Potty Patch is available through the product’s website, www.pottypatch.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aid, akc, american kennel club, artificial, bathroom, brand, dogs, eagle eye marketing, endorsed, grass, indoor, pee, pet, petco, potty patch, products, system, training, urination, urine, video
A pair of puppies livened things up on NBC’s Today Show this morning, bloodying the chin of co-host Lester Holt and shredding the stockings of another.
Holt was promoting what was coming up on the show, when the Rottweiler pup he was holding got squirmy, nipped him in the chin and pawed him in the face.
As Holt continued with the script, blood began flowing from his chin.
“Oh he cut you! Oh my gosh!” Al Roker says. As cohosts wipe his chin, Holt tries saying something about Obama, then gives up. “Nobody’s listening to what I’m saying,” he says.
It was the second canine mishap on the Today Show in two weeks. Last week, on the show’s fourth hour, a dog urinated on stage, leading Kathie Lee, who was already scolding the dog for scratching, to berate the dog even more.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bite, blood, dog, kathie lee, lester holt, mishap, nbc, pee, peed, pets, puppies, puppy, second, television, today show, tv, urinate, urination