Our Frenchies fooled by trompe l’oeil

Before you say, “Another post about poop?” or “Will she ever get her mind out of the gutter?” allow me to apologize. Ever since posting ‘Merde alors!’ and various tributes to all things Swiss, it seems I can’t stop talking about poop. But I swear – juré, craché – this will be the last one from the toilet bowl.

Owning two dogs, (shown opposite during a walk over the border), means that I am frequently faced with the dog poop dilemma. To scoop or not to scoop? In France, outside of cities like Paris and Lyon, there is no law or rule requiring you to do so. But rules of common courtesy apply, so stoop and scoop I do, at least when it lands on anyone’s lawn or sidewalk or anywhere that could possibly be problematic.

French bulldogs are a considerate breed who often, for dignity’s sake, drop their drawers under a hedge, deep in the bush or over the sewer grate. In which case I blithely leave the scene of the grime. But it also happens that the urge comes upon them by a manicured lawn or on a crowded street. Then I do my best to clear up the mess. Sometimes one does get caught sans sac, though, especially in France. When I make my frequent forays across the border to civilization (ie, Switzerland), I discreetly stuff a few extra poop bags in my pocket.

Recently out and about in the touristy town of Yvoire, I discovered a rarity in France: a stack of poop bags provided for the convenience of pet owners. Of which there are un certain nombre in this country, as I posted in Avoir du Chien.

Here, my friends, is everything that is wrong with this country.

French Poop bagThe bag is an example of French innovation. Cleverly designed, costly, and utterly impractical. Both to use, and to provide. It’s made of recycled and biodegradable paper, with a heavy cardboard flap and 4-color instructions printed on one side. A stack of 10 took up all the room that was available in the distributor. I took two (for my two pups), leaving eight. How far will that go?

Furthermore, it’s not easy to scoop the poops with the cardboard – warning: we are entering the TMI zone – the compact turds my pets produce tend to roll away; the occasional semi-liquid messes would soak right through!

The good old plastic bag, placed over one’s hand like a glove to pick up les crottes, then flipped over and knotted, is far easier to use. Cheap to produce and compact to store. And it ties so neatly around the leash!

Surprisingly, it’s not easy to find the things online. I’ve tried, and inevitably get bags that are too small, prone to tearing (yuck!) and clearly not biodegradable.

So that’s my scoop on the poop. What’s yours?


  1. Suzanne et Pierre · August 28, 2014

    Interesting this poop bag…doesn’t really look very practical. The intention is good but the practical research is lacking…though they do say that it is the easiest bag to use. Shows the person who designed it didn’t get to truly test it. Funny post! (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · August 28, 2014

      Cheers, Suzanne! Yes, I think it’s a case of design trumping practicality.

  2. alifesgayventure · August 28, 2014

    hi, interesting. i am just an observer to all this dog poo thingy, but i have always been puzzled at why dog owners dont put a paper under the dogs’ bums and catch it before it falls to the ground. that way u dont even need to touch the thing , even if it is through plastic. (that is something i find disgusting, and maybe alot of owners do too, that is why some dont do it, so my advocating they preempt it sounds like a good idea; but no one does it. have i missed something? is there something that stops owners from doing it? i have a pet dog when i was a kid, and even i can see when the dog is ready to poop. and it is very easy to slip a paper underneath his bum.

    • MELewis · August 28, 2014

      Interesting concept…it truly never occurred to me to do that. However, dogs are difficult to control to that point and my fear is that once they are ‘in extremis’ it would be hard to get the bag correctly positioned without interrupting the process. Hmm…maybe I’ll give it a try. Cheers!

      • alifesgayventure · August 28, 2014

        would be most interested to see how it turns out. i suggest move in behind him only when he is crouching, slip a half page of newspaper (dont use a bag, it is an unneccesary expense not to mention too much plastic to rid of)underneath him, and then move away and just observe him out of the corner of your eye. it is an easy thing to bring all the corners of the paper together and twist them shut. u said u wont make any more posts about it, but i hope u will make an exception for a report on how u get on.you might start a trend. haha

  3. cheergerm · August 28, 2014

    This post made me laugh, as the mother of two small boys the topic of poop (and butts) regularly pops up. I am a fan of the biodegradable plastic dog poop bag for our dogger and am flummoxed as to how one would use that brown bag without making a mess. Great in theory I guess?

    • MELewis · August 28, 2014

      Yes, as Suzanne said it looks like the designer did not put it to the test. It could make a good barf bag, perhaps…. BTW, I’m often told I have a toilet bowl sense of humor and my kids are grown so I guess I’ll have to take full ownership!

  4. Osyth · September 4, 2014

    You do make me laugh! The bag just made me scared 🙂 Personally I used nappy sacks in order to at least attempt to contain the pong until I can locate a bin. I’m sure there are better solutions and its probably a needless expense but it makes me feel virtuous and sometimes downright self-righteous (I am the only person in the village who bothers at all) which is always a good place to be

    • MELewis · September 5, 2014

      Glad you giggled. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check out the nappy sacks, never thought of that!

  5. longviewhill · September 5, 2014

    As a dog owner myself this made me smile. Here in the States I can order biodegradable poop bags. The one I get are long enough and heavy enough to do the job, so it’s fairly easy. I always have 3-4 on me when I am walking my dog. Usually 1 or 2 is all I need, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. 🙂 And yes, paper bags – good thought, but a bad idea.

    • MELewis · September 9, 2014

      Pooch owners, unite! Leave it to our American cousins to market well-designed biodegradable poop bags. Hopefully someone will export them eventually on this side of the pond — I’ll be their first customer!

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