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Dear Mitch, 

If you're such a problem-solver, can you tell me how to find my dog's poops at night when I take him out for a walk and it's too dark to look all over the place to pick them up and throw them out?  Or else, I could get fined money like everyone in this city gets if a police is driving by and catches you leaving your dog's poops on the ground! 

(We do our walk in this field next to a sidewalk, because there's another law in this city that says you have to keep your dog on a leash, so I use a long leash so he can get some exercise.  Oh, and right now the batteries in my flashlight are really weak!)

I hope you can think of something, because theres a lot of police around here and they're always looking and slowing down to watch ... and I just know I'm going to be the one to get caught! 

Hope you can think of something, I really do, so please try!

Thanks a lot, 

Mike Z.

(Living in a new city that my parents made us move to)


Dear Mike Z, 

I'll tell you what I do with my beloved dog, Kipper. 

(We also go for some of our walks at night, and my dog is a mostly black dog called a "Portuguese Water Dog", so at night it's really hard to see him if I've forgotten both my flashlight and his; the reason I say 'his' is that he wears a special collar at night, which I definitely recommend, called the "Puplight".  It is the best light-up collar I've ever seen because you turn it on and your dog instantly has a bright headlight that helps him see where he's going, helps his owner keep an eye on him, and – most importantly – helps drivers see him on the sidewalk next to me!)

If your dog is like most dogs, you know when it is his big moment to use the 'outdoor bathroom'.  He or she slows down, sniffs the grass to make sure the location is ideal for such a decoration, changes his/her posture in some way, and begins.  AT THAT POINT, what I do is shorten the leash, which is already short (a short leash is a good idea at night, anyway), and then I shorten it more, all by gathering my end up in my hand as I move closer to the action, so he is not forced to move from his perfect spot.  Then I stop the shortening process and get out my special bag (the same kind of bag that most dog owners in cities carry for this occasion). 


When he is finished, no matter how much he decides to run around to celebrate, he is running AROUND, in a CIRCLE, and I am at the circle's center-point (vertex) because the radius of the circle is the length of the leash.  So, no matter how much he runs around, the circle cannot expand (I hold on tight and stand in my fixed spot) but can only get smaller if he decides to somehow wrap himself around me in a spiral.  Usually, he will not wrap to get closer, so no matter what, the results of his creative expression on the grass will be somewhere on the circumference of the small circle around me.  All you have to do is look around the three or four foot circle and you will find your treasure along the circumference, or at least within one unit's expansion of that circumference, which is the length of the dog -- from the animal's neck (where the collar is) to his hind area.  Try this, and even with the weakest flashlight, I think you should be able to come up with something.  The main point is not to move or let your dog use the outdoor bathroom while you are walking along, even if you are walking in a straight line, because it can be difficult to judge distance in the dark and you may not find anything so easily.  I think for this situation, a circle and its radius is the answer.  Try it and let me know how it goes!

Hope this helps,