When he was a kid, Quinn Sklepowich didn’t dream of cleaning up poop.
Yet here he is on a spring afternoon, heading into the backyard of a home in St. Vital with a shovel and bucket.
“I’ve been doing this for two years and to be completely honest, I’ve never had any other job like it. It’s been a cut above any other kind of entry-level position,” Sklepowich said. “I’m about to be 20 in two weeks. I could not have a better thing to get started.”
Sklepowich is one of about 30 employees of Poo Crew, one of a handful of companies in Winnipeg that will send people to your yard to clean up after your dog. He admits he’s come a long way since the first time he picked up a shovel.
“I think the biggest learning curve is speed. It’s a lot like cooking. Focus on the technique first, speed comes second,” Sklepowich said, before being asked if he’s the best scooper at the company. “Oh boy…tooting my own horn, I guess I’d have to say so. I try to do the best I can. But I don’t want to discredit the work everybody else does.”
Sklepowich drives a black Smart Car decalled with the company’s logo to roughly 15 yards a day. One of the perks of the job is getting to deal with plenty of furry friends.
“If you like dogs, we see all different kinds of amazing dogs. Show dogs, big St. Bernards, Great Danes. If you’re a dog lover, it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “I love dogs, I have a big love for dogs. It’d be tough to do the job without it.”
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And when you’re cleaning up poop all day, you have to have some fun with it, and that includes novelty t-shirts.
“Poo-lice, do you get the pun in that one? It’s the bomb squad, because doggy bombs. We also have ‘holy s**t’, it’s a poo with wings,” chuckled founder Daniel Diment. “We don’t have coupons, we have ‘poo-pons.’ The CEO is the Chief Excrement Officer. Instead of entrepreneur, it’s entre-manure.”
Right now is the busiest time of the year for poop scoopers, with most of the snow melting away to reveal yards littered with doggy doo.
“We started off just doing spring cleanups, and now we’re doing full service,” Diment said. “Everywhere from weekly, scheduled service to disinfectants, bug spray treatments, and right now, the one-time service.”
With spring taking its time to arrive, business has been flooding in all at once.
“To be completely honest, I have never seen a spring where we have been dealing with conditions like this,” Sklepowich explained. “We take very good care to make sure that each potential danger in yards is always noted. Safety is a very big thing.”
Along those lines, Sklepowich will spray his boots and tools with a disinfectant before going into a yard to prevent any potential diseases from being tracked from yard to yard.
On this day, he’s visiting a weekly client with a French Bulldog, and while most of the snow is gone, there is some ice lingering along a fence that poses a challenge.
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“We want to do the best job possible, and sometimes in this early spring, it’s best that we wait so that we don’t have to chip at it. It’s a faster, more efficient process,” Sklepowich explained while pointing at a partially frozen turd. “We could potentially get it out with a glove, but you don’t want to break the structure of it. It turns into what we call poop soup and it’s not any cleaner than what we did before.”
There’s an obvious passion to the tone Sklepowich speaks with about what he does. He’s in and out of most yards within 15 minutes after doing a once-over to make sure he got everything.
And if you’re wondering if he has a dog, he does, but they have a complicated relationship.
“I have one that I can’t stand, he’s a little chihuahua,” Sklepowich said with a smile. “I love little dogs and big dogs, but oh yeah, he’s like a little alarm system, that guy. I just don’t like that be barks a lot.”