Much Ado About ‘The Poop Fairy’

Covered Bridge Book Club

If you live in the Vail Valley and spend much time outdoors like me, you’re undoubtedly aware of the local poop explosion! If you’re a dog owner like me, hopefully your pockets are stuffed with spare poop bags, easily accessible, ever-at-the-ready to pick up after your pet on walks, hikes and runs. Maybe you even do more than your share and occasionally return from an outing with a “six-bagger haul.” My personal record is a lucky-seven! But have you ever spotted The Poop Fairy (T.P.F.)? If not, it’s because T.P.F. is overwhelmed, much too busy to make any public appearances.

I’m an author/illustrator, dog lover, longtime local and a true believer in T.P.F. I realize that the fairy needs help here, more now than ever.

My newest book is all about it. Dog poop looms everywhere … in our open spaces, along our lakes and rivers, on our trails, sidewalks, streets, curbs … far too voluminous for the Poop Fairy to pick up, even working 24-hour shifts. That’s why I created a winsome golden retriever puppy to narrate a children’s picture book about the fairy and to encourage responsible pet ownership and practices among all ages.

The Poop Fairy is a delightful, fun and rhyming story with my colorful illustrations featuring the puppy, the fairy and variety of personable pooches. But in addition to showcasing a motley parade of neighborhood dogs, their eccentric owners (only below the knees!) and the poop fairy’s antics, I hope to deliver an urgent message, too.
To quote my narrator: “Is there a Poop Fairy? I hope that is true. Who will come to the rescue? Get rid of this poo? … If every dog poops at least twice a day, that makes trillions of tons to move out of the way.”

As our dog population here expands, so does the poop. It’s only going to get worse. Off-leash dog parks are in jeopardy. County officials all agree that there has been a general increase in the use of trails and outdoor space since the onset of the pandemic. Many second home owners and new residents have moved here permanently. There are more visitors than ever in our surrounding towns.

“We believe that we need to institute cultural change and make it taboo to leave the poo. We plan to revive our “Poo Patrol” on Earth Day this year. Last year less than a dozen of us picked up 200 pounds of dog poop at town parks in two hours,” comments Peter Wadden, who coordinates watershed education for the Town of Vail Environmental Sustainability Department.

A rising awareness of our “poop problem” has morphed into an organized effort to educate and encourage the public to pick up. I’m working with town and county leaders to coordinate an organized clean-up and mitigation from East Vail to Gypsum. We hope to host one or two community events during the summer/fall and The Poop Fairy book sales might provide some extra funds. Stay tuned.

Interested parties include:
Town of Vail Environmental Sustainability,
Eagle County Animal Shelter,
Eagle County Environmental Sustainability,
Eagle Valley Land Trust,
Eagle County Open Space,
Vail Public Library
and
The Bookworm of Edwards.

Poop isn’t just a local issue. Our neighbors in Jefferson County and the City of Boulder now sponsor a program using joint branding with other local land managers in the Front Range Metro Area. Their “Let’s Doo It” campaign emphasizes the negative impacts of pet waste and helps remove barriers to proper pet waste management. They provide bags at all trailheads and give visitors tools to help make packing the poop out easier. Indeed, the fairy needs help.

Many people don’t realize that dog poop is different than wildlife waste. Because of its contents, it doesn’t biodegrade quickly. It may contain bacteria and parasites which are harmful to pets or humans and spread disease, such E coli, giardia, salmonella, roundworms, hookworms and cryptosporidium. Bacteria can also harm water quality in lakes, creeks and rivers and alter the ecosystems of these stream corridors. It creates an absolute environmental hazard if not promptly removed.

So, I hope you enjoy my book and please help out The Poop Fairy.
Do your part and pick up, even if you don’t own a pet.
Stay up to date on planned local programs.
And finally, a shout-out from T.P.F.,
“Believe in me but watch your step!”

Through spring 2023, this book is being featured in the StoryWalk at Bighorn Park in East Vail! 

The Poop Fairy is written and illustrated by Sandy Ferguson Fuller and published by Alp Arts Press, 2022. To order directly from the Publisher, email sffuller@alparts.com or visit alparts.com. (ISBN: 979-8-9854198-0-1; Hardcover $19.99). Also available to order from The Bookworm of Edwards (bookwormofedwards.com).

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