Deb Levy picks up the phone, listens for a few moments and promises to call back. She explains, "Friend of mine. Scoops poop in Arizona."
Welcome to the world of a professional poop scooper. As the owner and founder of Yucko’s Poop Scoop'n Service in St. Louis, Levy has been wrangling waste since 1990.
"I can't believe it's been 20 years," Levy said. "It went quick, and business has been picking up."
Everybody knows that if you step on a crack, you break your mother's back. Well, stepping on a pile of dog droppings has some unpleasant implications of its own. That's why April 25 is Don't Step in the Dog Poop Day, a day to take a break from scraping your shoes. This is the perfect time for you to evaluate all of your pick-up options, from eco-friendly poop bags to a professional service like Yucko's.
Aside from the aesthetic, functional and olfactory benefits to having a clean yard, Levy points out that there are serious health risks associated with pet pileups. She explains that it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites, including roundworm. Not to mention that it also attracts flies and rats, who use it as a source of food. She estimates that the average dog produces 182.5 pounds of waste a year.
But let's not get too serious on a holiday named Don't Step in the Dog Poop Day. Ever since that fateful day 20 years ago when the entrepreneurial Levy gazed across her dung-dotted yard and had a lightbulb moment, she has maintained a sense of humor about her profession — poop puns and all. Yucko's advertising drops such phrases as "Take the pain out of your grass," "Dooing the doo," "The #1 service in the #2 business," "It happens," and "Got poop?"
However, not everybody is laughing. Levy recalls a controversy from 2000 when a Yucko's billboard in an upscale St. Louis neighborhood generated complaints and had to be censored. That particular board depicted illustrated dog droppings and used the phrase "turd-herding."
"I remember we couldn't even use the word 'poop' in the Yellow Pages," Levy said.
Despite these minor setbacks, Levy has pushed on, going as far as organizing a convention called The Pow Wow of Poop Scoopers in which professionals from around the country swap stories, marketing tips and trade secrets.
"We talk crap for 48 hours," Levy said.
If you get grossed out by picking up after your pet or just don't have the time, check your local listings for a service like Yucko's in your area. Otherwise, be sure to check out our tips for eco-friendly waste pick-up and disposal. Just keep your head down, be alert and remember... don't step in the dog poop!