Last winter, the grand total reached 850 bags. This fall, with snow barely on the ground, Martin Emslander is already approaching 100.
The Poopmeister, as we know him, has returned. Emslander, a one-man owner-shaming operation, collects the dog deposits Yellowknifers and their pets leave behind at Fred Henne Territorial Park.
Emslander and dog Archie, patrolling the park in daily five-and-a-half-kilometre walks, first came to prominence in March when they reached the 200-bag mark after starting in January.
Back then, he said he was clearing up the mess left by strangers’ dogs to make sure responsible owners didn’t lose access to the park.
Cabin Radio’s initial report on his exploits gained him such fame that a US-based manufacturer of poop bags contacted the station, asking for the Yellowknife resident’s details so as to “send him a little reward.”
This fall, Emslander is getting a head start. He has already been out bagging and passed the 80-bag mark this week, a full three months before he had even started last time.
“Since I’m walking at Fred Henne again, I picked up the practice,” said Emslander by phone on Thursday, saying the attention last winter had been “pretty cool” but adding: “I’m just doing what I do.”
Emslander says the sheer amount of dog poop left at the park remains “a bit shocking.”
“My hope is that people take notice and, you know, pick up more,” he said.
Right now, Emslander is clocking between five and eight bags per walk. He says that represents a “fairly light” load by normal standards. Last year, some days were 20-baggers or more.
“There were days when it was crazy,” he admitted. “I don’t know if that’s going to pick up as the winter goes on.”
As for a grand total this winter? Emslander thinks it could be more than a thousand gleaming bags of delinquent dog-excrement.
“I suspect it’s going to be at least that, because I only really did the second half of the season last year,” he said.
“The cool part is catching stuff before it gets buried under the snow and doesn’t show up again until the spring.”