For those in the dog poop cleanup business, the spring season smells a lot like money

As the snow melts from another Edmonton winter, spring cleaning is in full swing. For dog owners, spring cleaning can be especially smelly — with pet poop popping up all over the yard as the snow disappears.

Brad Giffen with Doody Hunters says his customers have to book three weeks in advance

When snow melts, dog poop emerges. Businesses are busy cleaning up yards around the city. (LeslieS/Flickr)

As the snow melts from another Edmonton winter, dog poop from the winter months re-emerges, leaving smelly little messes in the backyards of Edmontonians throughout the city.

Ten years ago, Brad Giffen was doing a spring clean-up after his dogs when he had a business idea.

I thought, 'I don't really like doing this,' so I thought this might be a good business venture," Giffen told CBC's Radio Active.

Giffen's business, Doody Hunters, cleans up yards in Edmonton that are full of dog waste. What started with "a rake and a dustpan" has turned into full-time work in the springtime, with customers having to book three weeks in advance.

There's been a gradual increase in the demand for the services of Doody Hunters, and Giffen said they've been called to homes as many as three times in one season.

"[The snow] melts in layers," he said, and as layers of snow melts, layers of dog poop emerge. "They don't want their dog going out there and bringing it back in the house."

'The smell is really bad'

In tackling a new job, Giffen said he'll assess where in the yard the most amount of poop is concentrated, and start there. Using a vacuum to suck up the waste, Giffen said the company makes quick work of a yard and does not leave anything behind.

That doesn't mean it's any less gross, though.

"The smell is really bad, as you can imagine," he said.

With most houses taking less than an hour to clean up, the jobs start and finish in short time.

But Giffen recalls a house in southeast Edmonton a few years ago that was much worse than the average venture.

"They purchased five five-gallon pails, which is quite a bit," he said. "Knowing that, I was going to this job thinking this was going be quite a big job."

He filled up those five-gallon pails before the yard was half-done. "It was the worst yard I'd ever seen."

But as the old adage goes, despite the smelly work, Giffen found a need and filled it.


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