Toilets for the Canine Set

November 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

powerlooI always hear my parents telling prospective pet owners how wonderful we faithful creatures are.

Clearly there’s a bit of an up-sell there, and something I’m quite appreciative of, when they look to match a homeless animal to a needy human. But is it really necessary?

All studies I’ve read have shown absolutely, positively no downside to the relationship…from a human’s standpoint. For the pet, there’s quite a few negatives but we’re willing to let it slide for some free kibble. Hey, it’s what makes us more adorable than we already are.

So I read today’s paper and I see one human didn’t get the memo. It seems he’s got an issue with none other than his dogs. Yeah, his best friends!

Come to find out he has an invention he wants to sell to the world. Sure it’s clever, even thoughtful, but did he have to throw his love machines under the sanitation bus?  I’ll let you be the judge.

The Detroit Free Press has the scoop (pun intended).

For the last two years, Curt Fournier of Linden plopped himself into all things dog poop.

Fournier, founder of GreenDog LLC, a start-up company in the pet-waste disposal industry, consulted doctors and veterinarians; he perused blogs and online forums, looked at countless studies and even did a few of his own.

“I could probably teach a class on dog poop at this point,” joked the 34-year-old Flint native.

He ain’t the only one.

Fournier’s research was the basis for the development of the Powerloo, an outdoor, hands-free, flushable toilet for dog waste.

The Powerloo works much like a indoor toilet. It sits just below ground level and taps into sewer lines that lead to waste treatment centers. Priced at a bit less than $1,000 a unit, the device comes with an optional heating unit to prevent freezing.

“Both the Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency say pet waste should be flushed down a toilet, but up until this point, there was really no safe or convenient way to do so. Carrying dog poop into your house can be unsafe, and not to mention gross,” Januszewski said.

According to the EPA, dog waste is a leading contributor of water contamination and also carries harmful parasites and pathogens that have the potential to infect humans and other animals.

“Vicki and I were getting tired of cleaning up the mess left by our two dogs and thought that being able to flush it down a toilet in the backyard would make things easier,” Fournier said.

GreenDog expects to produce 500 Powerloos in 2009. Fournier projects that by 2011, GreenDog could produce as many as 12,000 units, with revenue potentially reaching $12 million.

While pet owners will be a target market for the company, GreenDog also plans to market the Powerloo to municipalities and businesses such as dog breeders, doggy day care centers and pet-friendly apartment complexes.

If my old man ever installed the Powerloo in our back yard, I’d make sure to use it the way he uses our inside toilets. Yup, I’d make it a point to pee all over the Powerloo’s seat and then dribble the rest on the ground.

That way, he’ll know how my mother feels.

Photo courtesy of RASHAUN RUCKER/Detroit Free Press

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