The other day while taking a check to our dentist, I crossed paths with a pooper scooter. Dressed in the universal florescent yellow vest of a street worker, the rider vroomed up to a big pile of dog shit that had been left just behind a parked car. Coming to a stop, he quickly unhooked his vacuum hose, sucked up the poop, rehooked the hose and then vroomed up onto the sidewalk, where he stopped to suck up another pile of shit left right in front of an office door. Then he carefully backed up to an opening between cars, bounced off the sidewalk, zipped across the street and entered a parking lot.
Pooper scooters are an ingenious weapon in the endless fight against negligent dog owners (and they are legion in Portugal), as well as stray dogs (which are also legion). The first time I saw one I was so admiring of the simplicity and sensibility of it that I stood there grinning like an idiot as I watched.
The modification looks pretty easy — it’s just a scooter with a holding tank on the back, which houses a built-in vacuum with a long, flexible hose and a rigid extension about one meter long attached to the nozzle. The nozzle fits into a metal holster, which you can see just behind the worker’s left foot in the photo above. The ergonomics make it very easy for the worker to reach a pile of poop within two meters of either side of the bike. And scooters can go almost anywhere.
My wife thinks this would be an awful job. I think it might actually be kind of fun. You never have to touch the stuff; you just get to zip all over town and clean up the disgusting messes that drive you nuts while walking. It’s got to be fairly satisfying to hear the “shlump” sound as the poop vanishes up the hose.
No, the awful job belongs to whatever poor slob has to empty that tank out and clean it at the end of the day.
I didn’t have my camera with me at the time; the above photo was taken by geoffpr5 in Narbonne, France. Which makes me curious — how common are pooper scooters? I’d never seen one before coming to Portugal.