They have to look at so much shit that it's possible to start finding small joys in the routine. There are the winter morning walks in subzero temperatures spent begging the creature at the end of the leash to just do it. When the exhilarating moment finally arrives, the result steams in the near-dawn frost in a way that is almost delightful, despite it being a pile of hot excrement.
Anyone who's been on the other end of the leash will surely enjoy 32-year-old graphic designer Robert Muller's dookie-inspired T-shirt creation. It's a parody of the Puma logo, but instead of the German sportswear company's trademark leaping cat, Muller has substituted a silhouette of his mutt, Zoe, squatting with tail held aloft. Muller changed the spelling from Puma to Pupa.
For Muller, the logo was an exercise in goofing around, but he's already out of shirts in three colors. (He won't say exactly how many he's sold.) Now Muller plans to make Pupa a serious nonprofit to promote awareness for animal health. The pooping part is central to Muller's goal.
"As an animal owner, I get to see my dog's poop. I know when she's not feeling well. I know when she's sick. It's kind of an awareness thing," Muller says. With his nonprofit, he will raise money to support other organizations, such as theanimalrescuesite.com.
So far, Muller has sent shirts to customers as far away as Denmark. They sell for $10 to $15 plus shipping on his Web site, pupa-wear.com.
Muller doesn't fear copyright violations. "A friend of mine once said, 'Pick the people you want to get sued by wisely.' So if Puma sues me for trying to raise awareness for dogs pooping, I think the attention Puma would gain for that would be as much a success for the company as a failure."
His next creation is a Pupa-fication of the NBA logo in red, white and blue. As Muller says, "You gotta have inspiration from something, right?"