Friday, January 2, 2009

Hideous Garbage Disaster and Dogs

I saw a private garbage truck today - one of those big ones that lifts up the dumpster and mechanically dumps it into a truck. And I thought, "I wonder if there is anybody on that truck who will get out and pick up all the boxes and bags and debris from broken bags and nasty items that have been piled up for more than two weeks all around those dumpsters."

Well, as it turned out the garbage truck was just turning around in the laneway. They never even went in and dumped the dumpster. All the dumpsters are from different companies anyway, and most of them don't have their trucks out at all.

Neither does the city. We have not had garbage or recycling pickup on our street since before the first big snow fall. Our cans are full, and our houses and porches are now also filling up with bags and boxes of garbage and recycling both.

You might think we'd be glad that the snow and ice keep the garbage from smelling. But that isn't really the case. We humans may not be able to smell it, but other animals can. Tonight I saw raccoon tracks in a shallow patch of snow around one overflowing dumpster. I've also seen dogs stick their heads down under the snow to sniff, and then wrestle to the surface and wolf down frozen whole slices of white bread some kind-hearted people thought they were leaving for the birds.

Under ordinary conditions, we'd just walk the dogs on leashes past the temptations, or go a different direction where we don't get close to the mess they love. But on slippery snow and ice, a dog on a leash can easily pull a person down - it's not safe.

When the snow was new, there were no cars moving, and we turned the dogs loose and walked with them through beautifuly white yards, lanes, and parks. It was lovely, and all the dogs and their people were out being amiable. But now, cars are driving through the ruts in the side-street slush; the snow over walking places is terribly uneven, ranging from crunchy to hard to slurpy to slick. The all-but-invisible "black ice" is slicker than greased glass. I walk baby steps while the dogs have the stability of four legs. I call them to come, but KFC leavings are stronger than their master's voice. When I catch up, we have contests of wills among the garbage heaps and have to go home early, with me hoarse from yelling, them reluctant to leave their plunder, and all of us in a bad mood.

One man we met suggested hitching the dogs to a sled. If we ever get the car dug out, I'll shop for one. A sled ride from the house to the dumpster might be fun.


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