Poop Fairy gets down and dirty
By April Robertson
Susan Cooney is the city clerk for West Fork. After attending a state university for wildlife biology, she worked for 20 years in various veterinary clinics, animal shelters and kennels, and she also worked as a pet-sitter. Six years ago, Cooney began her own waste-removal business called the Poop Fairy.
What exactly does your service entail?
I come in and remove dog poop. Some people stop using their backyard and just let the dog take over, but after I do my job, they’re able to use their backyard.
How did you come up with the name Poop Fairy?
I was pregnant at the time and watching TV when there was a Fayetteville public service message about the public parks (encouraging) people to clean up after their dogs. Then this chunky guy with a moustache who was wearing a pink ballerina (outfit) came on the advertisement and said, “What? Did you think the poop fairy would clean it up?” and I thought, “Yes, the poop fairy will do it!”
How bad is the smell you deal with daily?
How long does a job normally take?
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to do a yard or 25 minutes for a bigger yard.
What do you wear when you’re doing the job?
I use Parvosol, a (canine) parvovirus-killing disinfectant to disinfect the soles of my feet, but I rarely step in anything. I use bags to touch things, and the first time I clean someone’s yard, I use latex gloves.
What do you do with the waste?
Right now I use a dumpster, so it goes to a landfill. I don’t have enough clients (for a compost). Someday, I’d also like to use a digester to make it into gas. If I was able to get enough clients, I’d love to do that.
Have you seen any crazy things when you’re working?
One time I was cleaning for a rental (house) and they had rabbits along with the two dogs and they never cleaned up. The rabbits had burrowed holes in the yard and the owners had blocked the holes with the rabbit poop and grass clippings.
What is a common mistake that people make in the care of their pet’s poop?
(A client) was using hay to cover the poop and it does not work. It absorbs the pee and compacts the poop, but it doesn’t go away. Never use grass clippings or hay and don’t think that mowing the lawn gets rid of it.
How does this work compare to your past work?
It’s a different situation because I’m a mom. I loved helping the animals recover when I worked at the veterinary clinics, but that career was a totally different atmosphere. It was competitive and I wouldn’t have had a future if I didn’t continue (pushing myself).
Have you thought of hiring more help?
If my client base grew to 150, that would require me to hire someone else to help. I don’t have a lot of clients, but they’re all really loyal. They are so happy and enthusiastic … and really relieved when I finish my job.