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Waste not, want not
Side venture takes local firefighter wherever dogs go
on doodie pet owner 2 jd
Javon Toppin, right, watches as Mikki Williams gets a surprise kiss from Diablo, Toppin's dog, at a south Forsyth apartment complex where We're on Doodie patrols for dog poop. - photo by Jim Dean
Mike McCarthy has taken a lot of business in his career, but not as much as he’s getting from his newest side venture, We’re on Doodie.

The former Marine and current Forsyth County firefighter collects dog poop for more than 30 clients.

Much like a trash collection service, McCarthy goes from client to client anywhere from one to three times a week to pick up dog waste from people’s homes.

“You’re either too busy, too lazy, or just plain disgusted to do it,” he said. “That’s where we come in.”

McCarthy’s service, which launched in September, caters to homeowners, subdivisions or apartment complexes.

For homeowner associations and apartment complexes, he posts “doodie stations” to encourage residents to clean up after their own mess and offers a color map showing station locations.

“Nine out of 10 people don’t even know it’s a service,” he said. “After a while, they say it’s a great idea.”

Despite the cost of gas, McCarthy covers areas as far south as downtown Atlanta, and as far north as Dawsonville.

“Wherever the dog goes, we go,” he said.

As a full-time firefighter, McCarthy’s schedule gives him 48 hours off for every 24 he works.

The flexible schedule allows him to commit time to We’re on Doodie.

The idea to start the business came while researching how he could reduce his family’s carbon footprint.

With wife Lynn, 5-year-old twin daughters Lane and Grace, 2-year-old son Jack and dog Shiloh, there’s a lot of waste, McCarthy said.

“A family of five produces a lot of waste, a lot of trash and we use a lot of energy,” he said. “It really was my wife’s idea to start researching it.”

McCarthy and his wife learned about the environmental damage manure causes over time. They also learned while cleaning up doodie is good for the environment, it can be even better for a business.

“It’s one of the top 10 fastest growing home-based businesses,” he said. “The pet industry is a $20 billion industry.”

McCarthy has only one true employee other than himself, though his wife is supportive and their children like to tag along as “poop technicians,” spotting areas that need cleaning.

Matt Jones, a fellow firefighter at Station 2, works as a sales manager, lining up business.

“I thought it was a top notch idea to begin with,” he said. “I hopped on with him and I’m hopefully going to make him $1 million. That’s my goal.

“I would have never thought of it in a million years, but Mike’s a witty little man ... He created this monster and hopefully it’s going to keep growing. We’re going to get to the point when we can’t do this [firefighting] job anymore. We’ll have something to fall back on.”

McCarthy said the guys at the station thought he was crazy for starting the business, but as they saw the demand, they stopped laughing.

“If you’re going to get into this type of business, you have to have a good sense of humor,” he said. “I write down all the little wisecracks.”

And with his business growing, McCarthy may be laughing all the way to the bank.