Scooping Up Respect From Dog Lovers

‘He has a heart as big as the outdoors'

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There's nothing noble about poop.

Beyond the necessity of poop for proper internal body maintenance and its usefulness in gardens, it's generally thought of in negative terms. It stinks, it's messy and cleaning it up is often a hassle, especially when it belongs to someone else's pet.

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Bud Matson visits the dog park twice a day with his dogs, Sassy and Bear, to clean it up and to maintain the public dog watering system he put in place.

There isn't much nobility in that.

But Bud Matson brings some nobility to poop.

The home rental manager, who will celebrate his 77th birthday in February, has been a volunteer pooper-scooper at the Payson Off-Leash Park for more than two years.

He visits the dog park twice a day with his dogs, Sassy and Bear, to clean it up and to maintain the public dog watering system he put in place.

"I've seen so many seniors that love their dogs and they can't bend over to get the poop," Matson said. "Cleaning up the poop for them makes me feel good."

Matson said that he owns the poop cleanup record for picking up 44 piles in one effort -- the most in the history of the park.

"I'm the ‘Poop Champ,'" he said.

Friends gather with their dogs every day around 4 p.m. and Matson is always at the park, cleaning up, said friend and park visitor Joyce MacKey.

"He has a heart as big as the outdoors," MacKey said.

His park cleaning efforts aren't the only thing that sets him apart. Matson was a NASCAR driver for 22 years.

"I was a full-time driver for seven years on the one-mile track," Matson said.

"Then I switched to part-time and drove about two times a week."

Matson got his pilot's license in the time that he was driving race cars with NASCAR so he could fly himself to races. The loud noises from piloting airplanes and driving race cars caused Matson to become partially deaf.

"I can barely hear anymore," Matson said. "Must be from the planes and race cars all those years."

While the excitement of race car driving and piloting is a bit different than the thrills of picking up piles at the dog park, Matson's unwavering, upbeat attitude and never-ending grin are evidence that he is capable of finding happiness in many things.

"Bud is very kind to everyone," friend Dick Norton said. "He's always happy."

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