Julie Dickens knows first-hand the pressure families are under when their newborn requires a longer stay in the hospital. For five years the Dallas-area entrepreneur worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, in Fort Worth.
When she became pregnant in 2006 she wanted more time to be a mom, and she and her husband purchased a DoodyCalls franchise for the Dallas Metro Area. DoodyCalls is the nation’s leading pet waste cleanup franchise, with specially trained crews and fleets of service trucks.
To help parents with NICU babies, her crews are offering to clean up their yards free for two weeks.
“I have a special place in my heart for these families. I know how exhausting their experience is and the last thing they need to worry about is picking up after their pet. I want to do something special and this is my way of giving back,” Dickens says.
Many people are not aware of how pet waste can impact not only children, but the environment and the time it takes, she adds.
The American Pet Products Association estimates that there are some 77.8 million dogs in the U.S., and each one contributes an average of three-quarters of a pound of waste each. That comes to 29,000 tons a year, says the According to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA warns that pet waste is a significant source of water pollution, while the CDC has identified a number of illnesses that can be caused by contact with pet waste.