When it comes to taking care of the planet, reducing waste and managing trash is one of the best-known things that can happen. Individuals and organizations have developed recycling programs and educated the public to make this as easy as possible, but not everyone gets on board. Chipper, an 8-year-old rescue dog, is putting them to shame. He enthusiastically goes after trash where ever he can find it and, with his owner, puts it in the recycling trash bag where it belongs.
A Pup’s Passion For Plastic And Trash
Chipper lives in Mesa, Arizona with his owner Katie Pollak. She adopted him in 2011 and, as she began to take him outdoors for hikes and exploring, quickly realized he was different. While some dogs will pick up sticks, chase frisbees, or retrieve tennis balls, Chipper’s thing was plastic bottles. He picked them, and other trash, up everywhere. Pollak encouraged the habit as a way to help keep the environment clean. His focus also encouraged her to take part. Now, together, the two of them will clean up trash that people have irresponsibly left behind. The parks and open spaces where they go are much improved after the pair’s work.
Amazed By Large Amounts Of Trash
As they went out together, Pollak began to be amazed by the amounts of trash that she would find. She calls it heartbreaking when she talks about the sheer amounts of trash that she comes across. The two will find garbage ranging from tin and plastic bottles to discarded items of clothing and all sorts of plastic. At this point, she thinks ahead on each of her walks and brings garbage bags to haul away the junk. But the amount of trash she comes away with can be a bit of a shock as well as a challenge to carry.
Though it seems like the problem is overwhelming, Pollak tries to remember that every bit makes a difference. Chipper helps her to remember this, as he shows his joy with every single water bottle he picks up. Pollack told Today about how she keeps positive because she loves the area and knows that she and her dogs want “to do our best to keep it wild.”
The Pair Join Others And Inspires Them
The good news is that while there is a lot of trash to collect, others are around to help and many have been inspired by Chipper’s enthusiasm for managing waste. Pollak and Chipper will meet with friends to take part in group cleanups and are even part of a formal group, called Wild Keepers. The group was founded in 2016 and aims to collect a million pounds of litter by 2023. By 2019, they are about 20 percent of the way there.
When Chipper is taking part in a group recycling adventure he becomes an inspiration to those who have seen him in the media but are now meeting him in person. The pup is regularly greeted with enthusiasm and cries of “Chipper’s Here!”
Tracking Their Adventures On Instagram
To show off their adventures, Pollack has developed an Instagram account that features the pair and includes the descriptor “wandering our way”. It shows them hiking, kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding. The account is popular, with more than 31,000 followers and 1,700 posts. Here’s one example of a post featuring him and some other canine trash collecting friends:
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3 gals, 6 dogs, 10 minutes. That’s all it took for us to collect this much trash. This is our favorite place to walk the dogs. It’s unrealistic to think that we can always sneak out for hikes after work, so we need a good place to walk. It’s near impossible to find a quiet, open space in town – but we have, and we do our best to protect it and keep it wild! Happy #impactday and please vote today 💙💛#wildkeeper #keepnaturewild @keepnaturewild @thewildkeepers
It isn’t just their Instagram followers that have become enamored with Chipper. Online website The Dodo has also featured the pair, and they’ve been the subject of reporting by NBC’s Today Show. They’ve also got a website www.trustyourtrail.com where they document their hikes and adventures along with Pollak’s other dog Quin. Here’s to hoping their hikes, and good environmental work, continue.
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