Young entrepreneurs cleaning up

A.J. Moreno, left, and Thomas Fite, are partners in Poop Butler, a service that clean yards for dog owners.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

• Business owners find niche market in picking up dog poop.

There is at least one unpleasant aspect to owning dogs — cleaning up the poop. And depending on the size of the dog, the chore can be a big issue.

Enter the Poop Butler of Clovis.
Owner Thomas Fite is a 22-year-old, self-described entrepreneur.

The Marine Corps reservist said he noticed similar services in other communities and began to wonder if Clovis had a market for it. In just over two months, he said he and a partner have enlisted 20 clients and are optimistic about future growth.

“It struck me as something very innovative,” he said. “Not everyone likes to pick up their dog’s mess. I’m just all into business. I’m just not afraid to try different things and see what works.”

He is undaunted by the unpleasantness of the chore.

“It doesn’t bother me. I’m a Marine and I spent seven months in Iraq. Some of that was picking up dead bodies, so dog poop isn’t that bad,” he said.

In an effort to prevent the spread of germs and biological hazards, Fite explained shoes and tools are disinfected before each yard is entered and feces are removed in baggies and disposed of properly.

A client since August, Riene Wyatt, a graduate student and owner of three large dogs, said her son had always done it, but he is no longer at home.
“I went ahead and gave it a try and I got hooked — I’ve gotten spoiled,” she said.

Knowing once a week the smelly piles in the yard will be whisked away is a comfort to Wyatt.

“The best part about them doing it is they’re very dependable and I know when Thursday comes (the yard’s) going to be clean. It doesn’t ever pile up like I let it if I have to do it,” the former teacher said.

A relationship with the pets is one of the bonuses of the business, Fite said.

“We meet with the client and establish not just a business relationship, but a relationship — we’re not just in it for the business, we’re there for the family friend as well,” he said.

Wyatt said Fite has shown her he cares when it comes to his business.

“My dogs love him. When he comes over, I’ve watched and he plays with them. I think he cares about animals and so he wants to make sure they’re taken care of,” she said.

Dee Durland of Clovis has been training dogs for more than 25 years and said having a clean environment is crucial to a happy, healthy dog.

“It’s really good to have your dog in a clean environment. I don’t know if Clovis is ready for such a service, but big cities have it as a service — they’ll come to your house,” she said. “For busy people that’s often one of the biggest hassles of having a dog — cleaning up after them.”