So I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I have three dogs: Bandit, (the spotty one) my personal puppy, Ranger, his brother (both of eight months old), and Addie, the senior of ten years old. I think if I had to make a comparison, I would put the boys as Tasmanian Devils from Looney Tunes and Addie as Oscar the Grouch…or maybe a mixture of Eeyore and Mike Wazowski….
Bandit and Ranger are like Yin and Yang, the dynamic duo, but worst enemies. The “fight” constantly, but because they’re Catahoulas and are rough-and-tumble, it’s their version of playing. They literally run on the back of the sofa like a race car on the walls of the track…. But when it comes to taking on Addie, they team up and work her. Even though she’s a Rottweiler, she’s the biggest baby in the entire world. She is as loud as can be when they take her on, making a RA-RA-RAAAAAAWR noise, but she’d never actually put one of them in their place. Eventually she always gives in.
Being puppies, the boys have been a joy to deal with. Just like any other living creature, they must be housebroken and trained. Luckily we’ve gotten past that stage (mostly). They also must be fed and interacted with (ew, I know). You can’t forget the shedding and the constant dog drool all over the place. And of course there’s the one week of hell when they have to be (cough) fixed. But the worst thing of all is the bodily functions.
Recently the boys caught a bit of a stomach bug. Nothing bad, just a bit of loose stool. It didn’t really even catch our attention until recently. I should probably preface this story by saying that Ranger has always been really gassy in general.
So I had just finished my schoolwork for the day and was in the kitchen eating lunch. My dad, having taken a tiny break from his work, was out in the garage doing who knows what, and my mom was in the media room relaxing after just having finished all her laundry. I figured the boys
were with her, so I wasn’t really worried.
My dad came back inside when I was almost finished eating and began walking down the hallway to the other end of the house where his room and office reside. Just as he passed mom in the media room he paused and took a big whiff, scrunching up his nose.”Dear God, what is that smell?!” he exclaimed.
My first thought was, “It wasn’t me,” but then I realized that was a bit ridiculous. Of course it wasn’t me!
“I don’t know,” my mom said sort of nonchalantly, “Ranger’s been having really bad gas.”
My dad shrugged and continued walking before coming to a screeching halt in front of the entry to the great room. “That isn’t Ranger’s gas!” he hollered. “Grab the dogs! Quick!”
Having just finished eating, I threw my plate in the sink and approached with caution, grabbing Bandit’s collar along the way. “What happened?” I asked alarmed.
“He pooped everywhere!” my dad exclaimed, pointing a finger at my dog accusingly.
“How do you know it was him?” I demanded.
You see, there’s quite the bias around my house; my dad loooooooooves Ranger (his “little buddy”) and…dislikes Bandit. Therefore everything is always Bandit’s fault.
I drug Bandit to his kennel while mom stowed away Ranger and then we all met again to access the damage.
“Lord!” I gagged as I reentered the scene of the crime. The smell of poop was festering in my sinuses and poisoning my brain within a few seconds of walking into the room.
On the rug by the back door was the largest pile of dung I had ever seen made by a dog. Not to mention it was complete mush. Trailing along in front of it, was blob of poop about every three inches until it reached the hallway. And the more we looked the worse it got. By the piano was a spreading puddle of pee and near the front door was a second soiled spot.
Though now I understood why Dad thought it was Bandit (besides the bias). Bandit is kind of scared of pooping…. So when he starts going, he kind of walks around in circle/figure-eight trying to figure out what’s happening to his butt, leaving a trail of poop instead of a pile.
Dad shook his head and left to try to console the barking/ howling Bandit. Both boys have quite a bit of separation anxiety and hate to be left alone. Bandit is more vocal than Ranger about it, but Ranger, I think, is more affected by it.
Mom threw some paper towels on the pee puddles to stop them from spreading in the grout of our tile floors and I took the nauseating task of wiping up the poop drops on the floor.
“I think I’m going to throw up,” Mom complained.
I silently agreed. Having to bend over made the smell a hundred times worse, not to mention having to wipe it up and disturb the fumes.
“Is it too cold to open a window?” my mom asked. “It’s thirty-something degrees.”
“I don’t care,” I gagged, throwing open two windows.
Finally, having dried the floor of all it’s…stuff, we decided the kindest thing to do (for us and the rug) was to just throw away the entire rug. I ran outside and grabbed one of the industrial-sized, black trash bags and handed it to Mom who held it open as far away from her body as possible.
“I’m doing this burrito style,” I muttered to myself. Which in itself was nauseating because I had just finished eating a burrito for lunch.
I rolled the mat carefully and all at once shoved it into the trash bag, throwing the paper towels in there with it and sealing it as tight as possible before chucking it out of the now propped open front door. It smelled immensely better already and we hadn’t even sanitized yet.
Mom grabbed the steam cleaner and set to work. “Maybe we should use bleach instead of water,” I suggested jokingly.
“Yes, because I’m sure inhaling bleach steam is great for your health,” my mom agreed sarcastically.
She steam cleaned the whole room twice and I put the diffuser on with Thieves, a spicy essential oil that was originally used by thieves during the black plague times to keep them from catching the disease.
I shuddered slightly in the chilly air that was wafting through the house, but it was most definitely worth it. The smell was almost completely gone and I no longer felt the need to throw up.
So it turns out the stomach bug that we had barely noticed really wanted to be noticed. Lesson learned: never eat burritos ever again…. Wait, wrong lesson.
And that was just an hour long example of taking care of a living thing. Yup, have fun my friends.
Julia E. Flowers
(PS — Here’s a picture of Addie.)