If you own dogs, and you go for walks, we certainly hope you’re a member of the Poop Pickup Club. It’s your duty as a responsible dog owner to clean up after your dog, whether on public or private property.

People long ago gave up on building a better mousetrap. But they haven’t given up the search for the perfect pooper scooper. Every year, we get five or ten new products for this unglamorous task.

This year’s “better poop-trap” is called Poops Away!™ It’s a simple plastic scoop, reminiscent of a pair of tongs. It comes with a supply of special blue plastic bags. And together, you never have to touch dog poop again.

I’m a big fan of using the cheap plastic bags my groceries come in for poop pickup. They’re simple, you can stuff a bunch in your pocket, they tie up easily … and they let the odor seep out. That’s a big problem if you have a two-legged walking companion downwind from you.

The Poops Away! clips on your belt or pocket, and you can pre-load it with one of the generously-sized blue bags. The bag stays on the scoop while the scoop stays on your belt.

I rousted Chops and Katie out of a deep nap to take a walk to the park and try out Poops Away! It was one of those special dusky times after a rainstorm, when the sunset was illuminating the sky with an eerie yellow light.

We walked to the local pocket park, where my two girl dogs knew they were free to poop.

I pulled the Poops Away! scoop off my belt, and tried it out on a dainty Katie poop lodged deep in the three-inch grass. The scooper worked fairly well in the tall grass, but it took me three tries to get all the poop up. I would have done better with my hand in a grocery bag. The scoop didn’t work well in the three-inch grass.

But the blue Poops Away! Grab-N-Toss™ bag was simple to peel off the scoop, close and tie. Unlike some bags we’ve tried, there was plenty of extra space in the bag for the biggest of piles, and room to tie off the bag neatly. And the scoop remains clean, so it’s fine to put back on your belt for the walk home.

The blue bag is opaque, so no one needs to look at poop while you’re walking to the trash can, which in this case, means all the way home. (Our brilliant Parks Department removed the can from this park, because so many dog walkers were using it for poop pickup.)

Better yet, the Grab-N-Toss bag locks in the smell. Nothing seeps out through the plastic, as with the bags from the supermarket. That’s a major benefit.

The Poops Away! scooper comes in gray, navy or black plastic, and sells for $10.99, including five bags to get you started.

The Poops Away scoop is cleverly designed, with two angled, deep shovel-like scoops meeting to form a clamshell. The handles, separated by a curve at the end (with the pocket clip), work like tongs, only in reverse: when you squeeze the two handles together, the clamshell opens up to surround the poop. Release and it closes with a spring-like snap. Again, the plastic bag surrounds and protects the scoop, so neither you nor the scoop touches the offending refuse. We recommend the scoop if you walk your dog on city streets or packed dirt.

The 8-1/2″ x 15″ Grab-N-Toss bags come in a box of 50 for about $4.99. They’re easy to stuff in your pocket, and if you’re a real dog person, you’ll stick your hand in the bag, pick up the poops, turn the bag inside out and tie it off. You really don’t need the scoop at all. And as poop bags go, these are worth every penny!

For more information on Poops Away! (including the new pouch that contains a bag, a paper towel and a moist towelette), contact LeisureMore at 1-877-300-MORE or www.leisuremore.com.

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