Pet Tales: Cleaning up South Side, one shard at a time


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A black and white Havanese puppy named Moggy knows more people than most dogs do because she goes to work every day with Kim Collins, owner and creative director at blue tomato design at 1911 Wharton St., South Side.

Moggy is now known to more people, because her face is popping up on posters placed in the windows of South Side homes and businesses. Moggy and dogs named Bowie, James, Cooper, Howard and Treza are part of a month-old campaign conceived and executed by Ms. Collins.

There are six posters, each featuring a full-color photographic portrait of an individual dog. Each poster has the same headline:

"Please clean up broken glass ... it hurts me."

Each of the poster dogs has a bandaged paw.

Ms. Collins has handed out 450 posters in the past month, and four to five new requests come in every day on her website -- http://southsidepups.com -- and her Facebook page -- South Side - keep our pups safe -- which had 103 "likes" on Wednesday. The posters, which are free, are displayed on those two sites. So far the poster of James, a pit bull terrier-mix, is the most popular.

Moggy, who is 9 months old, has not had any cut paws yet, but she could have because broken glass is everywhere on South Side streets and sidewalks, Ms. Collins said. It's an unfortunate byproduct of the parties and bar-hopping in the bustling, popular neighborhood. Broken glass and all kinds of litter abound in the East Carson Street business district and in the residential neighborhoods known as "The Flats" and "The Slopes," she said.

Ms. Collins got the idea for the campaign when friends complained that their dog cut its paw on broken glass. Since then at least two people posting on her Facebook page have reported cut dog paws.

If you don't believe Ms. Collins, check out the "South Side - keep out pups safe" Facebook page where she and other residents have posted many pictures of broken glass, which seems to be just about everywhere. People also post pictures of their dogs, including a sad-eyed red and white spaniel named Nikko, who has a pink bandage on the foot she cut on a piece of glass on the River Walk Trail.

The page also has well-shot photographs, taken by Ms. Collins, of the poster dogs. In addition to Moggy and James they are longhaired miniature dachshund Bowie, rat terrier Cooper, cocker spaniel Howard and Australian cattle dog Treva.

Inspired by the response, Ms. Collins is taking the next step, calling for volunteers to come to The South Side Glass SweeP-UP on Sept. 22. Registration will be 9:30-10 a.m. at the South Side Pups White Tent in the parking lot at the corner of 18th and East Carson streets. The SweeP-UP will be 10 a.m. to noon.

Go to the Facebook page to sign up, to give Ms. Collins an idea of how many people to expect, but volunteers will not be turned away if they just show up.

Bring a broom, dust pan and sturdy work gloves. "We'll provide the buckets to put the glass in," Ms. Collins said. A friend with a pickup truck will be collecting glass-filled buckets and handing out empty buckets.

"We'll do a weigh-in of everyone's glass filled buckets and announce who picked up the most glass." She's hoping businesses will donate gift cards for prizes. Big Dog Coffee is providing free coffee, and Ms. Collins is hoping to snare some free pizza.

After the work, Ms. Collins is encouraging South Side volunteers to go home, get their dogs and bring them to a 12:30 walk down 18th Street to the new South Side Dog Park in Riverfront Park.

I met Moogy and Ms. Collins on Aug. 2, when Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh Council members Darlene Harris and Bruce Kraus, and city employees dedicated the park. More than 50 dogs came with their people, and a good time was had by all. There's even two separate fenced sections to keep the little dogs from the big dogs.

Moggy is a regular at the park, which Ms. Collins says is an "awesome" addition to a close-knit neighborhood where many people know your name -- and the name of your dog.

A native of Jamestown, N.Y., Ms. Collins, 33, graduated from the Art Institute in 2000 and has been living and working in the South Side since then, designing websites, logos and business cards at blue tomato.

In the meantime, Moggy and Ms. Collins have been getting a head start on the Glass SweeP-UP. On their regular daily walks, Ms. Collins has picked up more than 10 pounds of broken glass in the past month.

For further information, email Ms. Collins at fetch@southsidepups.com or call 412-445-2720.

pets

Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3064.


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