I was visiting with a friend the other day, and we were talking about my upcoming trip to York, Pa., for a dog show. It will be my first trip in the “new to me” used RV I just got. We were also discussing any ideas or suggestions for my pet articles.

Well, one of them touched on cleaning up after your dog, and a few other people that had been standing around spoke up and said, yes, they agreed. And we all began trading stories of bad pet parents. It is surprising how many people do not pick up after their dogs.

Having a pet is a privilege, and if you choose to have a pet, you need to take responsibility for that pet. That includes not only feeding it and taking it to the veterinarian, but also in cleaning up after your pet.

If you do not want to pick up after your dog, then do not allow your dog out of your own yard. Not cleaning up their waste is just plain old rude! It is not “beneath” anyone to clean up their dog's waste. It is the proper thing to do. Not doing it is not only possibly messy for someone else that may step in it, but it can also be hazardous to others' health. It can spread diseases.

The reason this tied in with my talk of going to a dog show is there are many rude, inconsiderate people in the dog-show world, also. Most dog-show people are pretty good about picking up after their dogs, but not all of them.

I have stayed at hotels that allow dogs, some even without a pet deposit, but there are becoming fewer and fewer pet-friendly hotels, because a few “bad apples” do not clean up after their pets. Many times, if the hotel is the host hotel, they will even supply doggie waste stations with bags and extra waste receptacles, and I have actually seen a pile left right under the bag holder.

If you take your dog for a walk, you need to pick up after it. If you don't have a bag with you, ask someone for one. Go back and get a bag, and then come back and clean up. I understand that occasionally accidents happen, like a dog goes twice and you only had one bag, but most of the time, if you leave with your dog, take bags with you!

It is not fair to the good pet parents that do clean up after their pets.

Also, for those of you who walk your dogs in neighborhoods, it is also not polite to allow your dog to pee or poop in someone else's yard. Other people's yards are private property. There are many people who choose not to own a pet, and they do not appreciate someone else allowing their pet into their yard. Many people pay for lawn services to maintain their yards, and they do not appreciate your dog relieving itself in their finely manicured lawn.

Remember, their yard is their private property, not the public dog park. Also, just because it is a vacant lot does not give you the right to not clean up after your pet. It is not your property, so stop and clean it up!

There are becoming fewer and fewer pet-friendly hotels, parks, businesses, etc., and it is because of those few bad apples that do not clean up after their pets. If you cannot be bothered to clean up after your pet, then either keep them in your own yard or hire a dog walker that will clean up after your pet, or find a new home for the pet where they will be loved and properly cared for. Properly caring for your pet includes cleaning up after your pet.

Cheryl Loveland is a semi-retired dog groomer. Her pet menagerie has shrunk to Bo, her bloodhound; Noel, her bichon frisée and Bootsie, her cat. She currently resides between Keymar, Md., and Millsboro and Selbyville. She is currently not doing rescue work but hopes to resume that when she returns to a more permanent residence. She is a member of Colonial Bloodhound Club and membership chairperson for Misspillion Kennel Club in Milford. She also still helps out at a local boarding kennel in the Bethany Beach area. She has been working with all varieties of pets since she was a child growing up in Montgomery County, Md. She may be reached at countryservice@comcast.net.