Sadpants Puppies and the People Who Take Them Out to Pee Every Ten Minutes

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Solitary Convalescence

We had a pretty decent snow storm on Saturday: snow, ice, everything freezing, nobody clearing the roads because Saturday. It was a good day to stay inside, and that’s exactly what we did at Chez Critter. In fact, it was such a good day to stay inside that my dear beagle-ish, who is way beyond his threshold of tolerance for cold white crap between his toes, decided to do his part to render the outdoors entirely unnecessary. He peed and pooped as soon as he hit the basement enroute to morning outside time and, once finished, looked at me (wearing one snow boot and a look of great consternation) like, “No worries. I took care of everything. Back upstairs?”

There was one post-breakfast puke incident, in which it appeared a dog–I surmised it was Karmann, as she looked a bit sad–apparently exploded in the hallway, right where the gaps between the floor boards are greatest. But, emesis aside, we were all able to slide into a nice, cozy, “so glad we don’t need to go out there!” Saturday routine pretty easily. Dogs and cats napped, people vegged, all was well.

You’d think, by now, that I’d know that warm, safe, comfortable feeling to be a harbinger of critter doom, but I am apparently the eternal optimist. So instead of quaking in fear of what unnamed horror lay before me, I just chilled, unsuspecting, until around 8pm, when Karmann became agitated.

I assumed it was her now-requisite post dinner pee, so I took her outside where she squatted quickly and for a very long time. I felt happy that this was clearly a need met, and we returned to the house. Karmann laid down. I settled in. Schmoop and I continued the movie we had paused.

And then, five minutes later, Karmann was back at it, grumbling and shouting in a manner that typically suggests she needs to poop. This would be the third poop of the day, which is weird for her,  but sure, whatever, pup. Let’s go for a walk.

We went for a walk.

And Karmann squatted.

And she squatted some more.

And I gently jogged her around the baseball field in half a foot of snow because, usually, all that squatting means her hips are bugging her and she can’t comfortably assume poop position.

And she pooped, and we carried on.

And she squatted.

And squatted.

And she waddle-squatted.

And I realized something was very wrong indeed.

So, if any of my neighbors are reading this, here is the explanation I’m sure you’ve been waiting for: I was sticking my head under my squatting dog to see what, if anything, was happening. As it turns out, nothing was happening. Which was good for my under-dog head location, but bad for my dog. So we hustled home, with Karmann tugging and sniffing and squatting and, now, whimpering, and me thinking about that post-breakfast puke and the fact that Karmann had actually been pretty subdued all day and, come to think of it, she did drink a lot of water.

By the time we got home, I was pretty sure she had a UTI. I took her inside, told Schmoop I thought something was up, then went out with a flashlight to inspect the site of the epic post-dinner pee. There was no pee. Note: I’d just like to give a little shout-out to snow for making my life easier and being quite helpful in this one, very limited, context.

I told Schmoop she needed to go to the vet, and we set out to shovel and de-ice the driveway. Because snowstorm. Note: I kinda sorta rescind that shout-out, snow, because you were a pain in my ass in this other, much larger, context.

I took her to the emergency vet that I don’t particularly like but had the advantage of proximity, because I figured a probable UTI was straightforward enough that it didn’t warrant risking life and limb to spend twenty minutes on frozen highways to get to my preference. By the time we got there, she was a hot little mess: shaking, panting, whining, tugging to go outside. She hid from anyone who came to pet her.

They got us into the exam room and she immediately peed on the floor. As the tech filled a syringe from the puddle, I could see that it was bright pink. The vet came in several minutes later and informed me that their urine wouldn’t be picked up until Monday, though they were pretty sure it was a UTI so let’s start her on Clavamox. I explained that she’d had UTI’s before, but never this acute, and he suggested x-rays to make sure there were no issues with stones, since the urinalysis would take forever. I agreed, eager for peace of mind because oh my god, I do not do critters peeing blood very well at all, as it turns out.

No stones, but $125 well-spent, given the behavior I was about to go home to.

Karmann spent the better part of the night needing to go out every five to ten minutes to leave little dribbles of what looked like pure blood. If you’re wondering, no. No, there is no real point in coming inside when you’re operating at those intervals. Because as soon as you remove your coat and soggy boots, you are putting them back on. I do not recall having ever seen Karmann so agitated and clearly uncomfortable.

Because I had to do a nine mile run on Sunday, and because we weren’t sure how long this was going to last and he would not be able to do it Sunday night before work, Schmoop volunteered to stay downstairs with Karm so that I could go to bed and get some sleep. All the brownie points are become his.

I may have laid in a bed, but quality sleep was not a thing that happened for either Cal or I. He would get up at intervals and tap his way over to the gate at the top of the stairs, disrupting whatever level of dozing I’d accomplished. And I could hear the door going all night. Eventually, when we traded shifts Sunday morning, so that Schmoop could go to bed, he said the intervals could be expanded to about thirty minutes, so long as she was being scritched.

The wildcard, as it turned out, was Cal. He had been crazy excited to get downstairs to her, only to be greeted with curmudgeonly indifference. He took the bed she wanted, so she would pace and beg to go out every ten minutes. And the staring. Oh, the staring. Eventually, stupid human got the gist and I sent Cal upstairs to sleep with Schmoop, so that Karmann could convalesce in peace and solitude. She sacked out pretty quickly after that, and napped for a couple hours before she needed to go out.

Antibiotics are on board and clearly working, though she’s still snoozy and in no mood to have second choice of beds. Cal seems to have caught on and is waiting for her to settle before selecting his own resting spot. I’m hanging out with them and staring at Karmann to make sure she’s still breathing and seems comfortable, because I’m a lunatic.

But I’m a lunatic who accomplished a nine mile run in laces-high slush after minimal sleep and a night of a blood-peeing dog, so I’ve got that going for me, at least. Running for Critters stops for no horrifying medical events, human or canine.

When Running for Critters Runs Into Critters Running. Also, Asshats.

I hope your coffee was super delicious, jagoff.

I hope your coffee was super delicious, jagoff.

Pop quiz!

Not quite one week ago you “rescued” a “traumatized” dog who is scared of people. Today, you want gas station coffee. Do you:

A) Pat pup on the head, give him a Kong, and take your 15 minute leave to walk to the local filling station

B) Pat pup on the head, give him a Kong, crate him, and take your 15 minute leave to walk to the local filling station

C) Put pup in the car and drive the stupidly short distance to the gas station because you don’t want to leave pup, but you really need the coffee and you realize only a serious douchecanoe would tie their dog to a trash can while they ducked into a convenience mart for coffee

D) Walk pup to gas station. Secure him to trash can because I mean, that’s basically their third purpose, behind “trash can” and bike rack, amirite?

If you picked D, I may have met you Thursday. And if you did, and I did, and you thought, “Heavens, that was a polite, if hurried young lady. What a wonderful world we live in! And with such delicious coffee!” I just want you to know that it took absolutely everything good within me to keep from kicking you in the nads.

If that all sounds familiar but you’re just not sure if it was you, allow me to refresh.

Me: smallish, possibly angry-looking female on last leg of run commute hauling ass up Federal street as your dog careened down the middle of it and through busy intersections before Tokyo-drifting around a corner and into morning commute traffic.

You: Douchecanoe who strolled leisurely in general direction of said dog, stopping to chat up passersby and enquire as to the whereabouts of your hound while sipping coffee and explaining, variously, that he “doesn’t run fast” and that he’s skittish around people.

I have a love/hate relationship with ambiguity and, in this instance, I’m feeling more hate. So, since I am kind and want what is best not only for you, but OF you, I have prepared a brief DOS and DON’Ts list for dog treatment in light of the above scenario. Let’s get started with the don’ts, shall we? Get all that pesky negativity out of the way.

  • DON’T secure your recently-rescued, “traumatized” and skittish dog to a trash can and then leave him unattended. How is this even a thing you need to be told? If my dad were alive he’d be asking you if you just fell off the turnip truck while I bashed you in the face with my fully loaded water bottle for being absolutely incompatible with a reasonable and compassionate citizenry. I would completely ignore irony in favor of sweet, vengeful righteousness.
  • You know what, asshole? DON’T secure any dog to any thing and then leave them unattended. This simplifies everything, because if you never do it, you won’t ever do it in such a profoundly imbecilic context as the one above. Even if your dog is the most awesomely well-socialized, friendly, happy, obedient canine on Earth, do you know what kind of PEOPLE are out there? For starters, there’s you. And then it goes down hill. There are people who see a dog and want a dog and steal a dog; people who need bait dogs; people who are seriously fucked in the head and just want to do awful things; jackass little kids who like to pet, poke, prod, or otherwise antagonize dogs because they’re little shits and their parents are cretins. ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE. Leaving your dog unattended is setting them up to be harassed, bite someone, or possibly get freaked out and pull over a trash can before running through the city streets.
  • DON’T adopt another damn dog. Not until you can wrap your mind around the most basic responsibilities of dog stewardship, chief among which is keeping them safe–an ideal fundamentally incompatible with tethering said dog to a trash can. I mean, if you’re ever in doubt, just say that out loud: “I am going to tether my dog to a trash can.” Would you tether your baby to a trash can? What about, like, your favorite leather car coat? You tying that to a trash can anytime soon? Do you even know who voluntarily touches trash cans? NOBODY THEY ARE GROSS AND COVERED IN TRASH JUICE.
  • DON’T, for the love of all that is good in this world, be that insufferably laid back person. You know, the one who’s all, “Dogs are cool, man, you just gotta chill out. They’ll find their way home if they get loose. They aren’t, like, stupid, man. Sometimes you just gotta let ’em run.” Dogs aren’t stupid, but this kind of flippant attitude is. I’m not asking you to be some kind of neurotic, I’m simply suggesting that you check in with common sense every so often and recognize that your dog is entirely dependent on you for all his basic needs, including safety. Just keep your goddamn dog safe and save your chill for the next Burning Man Festival.

And for the dos:

  • DO take a long, hard look at the picture at the top of the page. Because those are YOUR DOG’S BLOODY PAW PRINTS. I first saw them on Phineas Street, almost a mile from where I initially saw your dog. And on my way home, after work, I saw your dog’s bloody paw prints fucking everywhere. All over the North Side. That picture? That was taken on Sandusky, near the Warhol Museum. Nearly another mile from the prints on Phineas. There are miles of your poor dog’s bloody paw prints crisscrossing an entire section of the city. And while I realize that my mental anguish in seeing them is nothing compared to what your dog must have felt, running scared through traffic and bleeding all over the North Side, that shit chaps my ass so bad I’ma have to buy stock in Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I spent THE ENTIRE GODDAMNED DAY thinking about and worrying about YOUR DOG. So, not only did you fuck up your dog’s day, but you seriously side fucked mine AND I AM NOT OK WITH THAT. It is not ok that I spent the morning imagining your dog being smashed by a truck on 28 and frantically texting the administrator of the local lost dog page. It is not ok that I did all this worrying and texting while thinking of you peaceably strolling down the street, making excuses for why your dog was hurling himself through intersections.

There really are no excuses. Your dog was in the position he was in because you were an asshole. Now, I realize that you and I shared a brief interaction during which you came off as a flippant prick and that may not be the real you. Maybe you realized you put your dog in a world of hurt and you shut down out of embarrassment and sincere regret. I don’t know, and I don’t really care.

But I do care about your dog. Your dog deserves better. If you’re ever reunited, I hope you remember that, and I hope you can somehow dig deep and find the champion that he deserves.

Though, if we’re being honest, I hope even more that some other, really super great person gets your dog and stuffs him full of liver jerky and snuggles on the couch with him. And if that person ever finds, on a blustery Thursday morning, that they really want a coffee, I hope they have a goddamned coffee maker.

Running for Critters: Breaking All the Things

Oh. It's a leg.

Oh. It’s a leg.

PSA: your skin is not SUPPOSED to be all weird and speckly like that. Nor is it supposed to itch like the devil. Turns out, that happens when you run in extremely low temps and the topmost layer of your skin actually starts to freeze, and then thaws when you come inside. Not all deep and gangrenous, like frostbite, but just enough that, after a really unpleasant shower you google “cold run legs itchy speckled” and then recoil in horror at the results because really, eew. Thawing leg flesh.

I FREEZE MY LEG SKIN FOR CRITTERS.

Tis the Season!

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Swatting ornaments is tiring work

Time to get a tree from the outside, with outdoor (and possibly squirrel) smells still clinging to it, bring it into the house, make a loud production of getting it into a stand and moving the stand into place, festoon it with lights and dangling things–many of which are fragile, old, of extreme sentimental value, and/or glass–held in place by sharp, bite-sized pieces of pointy metal.

Time to drape the mantle in curiously-scented faux-pine garland of unknown substance, wrap it with lights and hang sparkly balls from it.

Time to suspend knit, human foot-shaped objects above the fireplace so that they can gently sway in the breeze created as you run past them to prevent a dog from eating one of the ornaments you naively handmade out of cinnamon and applesauce many years ago and which retain no discernible fragrance for human noses, but apparently still smell like snack time to canines.

Time for critterless friends and family to absently wonder why you’ve only hung ornaments on the top 2/3 of your tree before they are bowled over by Karmann on her way to employ her Tail of Doom as a tree clearing cudgel.

You know. Tis the season for the longest chapter in The House Critter’s Guide to Total Anarchy.

Tis the Holidays!

Since we celebrate secular Christmas, this season continues through the Ceremonial Attacking of Paper and All Things on December 25th, past the Symbolic Burial of the Kittens’ Numerous Indignities under mountains of wrapping paper, and right on through the Hoarding of All New Things by Karmann. Speaking of, she got an early start this year, having spent last evening lying on Calvin’s antler while she chewed happily on her own, much larger, antler. Calvin was too busy looking fearfully at the tree to much care.

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teetering precariously on the verge of another Anarchical Season, centering his strength through nap

These are hard times for critters. Sandwiched between the cheer and goodwill of festive, treat-dispensing humans, and the tiring work of putting up trees and lights and garlands are many, many naps. Why, the critters were so exhausted from watching Schmoopie and I wrestle with indoor nature, swear, thrash about on the floor in puddles of sap and needles, and dash from the house on an emergency trip to spend $80 on a new marriage-saving tree stand, that they have barely moved since Saturday. Poor dears.

The promise of new treats and toys to gobble, steal, and fight over looms large and oppressive over their innocent, slumbering heads.

***

Ed. Note: There have been no running for critters updates because there has been no running. Not for critters or otherwise. I tweaked (not to be confused with twerked) my knee while running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and have been banned from running until I have an MRI this week or next. Hopefully I will have an update that consists of, “I am back to running and it still sucks! Yay!” by the end of the month. As of now, Running for Critters is still on, and will remain A Thing, though I may have to ratchet my goals back down to the half, depending on the outcome of the MRI.

No, Seriously, I Really Mean it This Time.

Teetering precariously on the edge of the step. Just like me. Except replace "step" with "sanity."

Tiger teetering precariously on the edge of the step. Just like me. Except replace “step” with “sanity.”

It’s been almost two months. My goodness. I actually feel slightly awkward about this because if you did get any kind of kick out of my blog then you know that two months could not possibly have elapsed without incident.

Nay.

The past two months have included the following (just to catch you up):

  • A Calvin/Karmann near escape on Halloween, which resulted in me unleashing a torrent of questionable language while trying to shove bouncing puppies back into the house as legions of six year olds and their horrified parents gawped. I gave them extra candy.
  • A Karmann poopstrike.
  • Suggestions that Karmann may be developing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
  • Denial.
  • Barking. A lot of barking.
  • Running for Critters hustle.
  • Extreme Nighttime Naughtiness.
  • PLAGUE OH MY GOD.
  • Knee injury.
  • Mort parachuting from the kitchen counter onto Karmann’s back, in the middle of a dog snit that started because Calvin had the gumption to smell a smell that should have been her smell ENTIRELY.
  • Nigel being pretty benign.

Continue reading

Running for Critters

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So I am officially registered to run the whole freaking Pittsburgh Marathon–ON MY BIRTHDAY–to raise money for the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center (ARL). As you will perhaps note, because it will be staring at you, disconcertingly, from the right side tool bar, I’ve put up a link to my fundraising website. In case you stumble on this blog, love the crap out of it, and generously decide to donate by clicking Cal’s head only to discover that I have raised none or few monies so far, I can only stress: Ladies and Gentlemen, I have not yet begun to beg. Fundraising in earnest will kick off Jan 1.

I have, however, already contused my knee on a critter-seqestering baby gate because extreme and injurious clumsiness is my body’s natural response to being forced to run an unholy and unwholesome number of miles. But I digress.

Last year, thanks to the awesomeness of friends, family, and a few very lovely internet strangers who supported my half marathon efforts, we helped to raise $750 for the ARL. This year I’m raising the bar to $1000 for the full 26.2.

This year's Running for Critters Chief Donation Hypnotizer

This year’s Running for Critters Chief Donation Hypnotizer

I put up the donation link because, as I did last year, I plan to give brief and/or hilarious weekly updates on my efforts to whip myself into such condition that I can reasonably expect to cross the finish line under my own motive power. As long as I’m doing that, I might as well have Cal stare you all down, and wear you all down, for donations.

I’ve also put him up there for accountability and motivational purposes. Y’all. A half marathon was TOUGH. Seriously. I am not a runner. A full marathon may very well kill me and I KNOW, in the deepest cockles of my heart (whatever the hell those are) that there will be times–so many times–that I will want to quit. Or skip a long run. Or skip a short run. Or skip all the runs in favor of sitting on my couch eating a delicious, delicious pizza. But unlike last year, when I waited until the last minute to register and publicize my fundraising efforts to make sure I thought I was up to the task, THIS YEAR I am MAKING myself up to the task. I am setting out to do it, I am announcing from the get-go that I will do it, and dammit, IT WILL BE DONE.

I’m completely freaking horrified.

So, whether you click now, or click later, or don’t click at all and just send me some mental energy because, hey, this economy is total shit and I get that, you will have to look at my most freakily adorable boy dog until May 3, 2015. If you feel yourself becoming lightheaded, or inexplicably drawn to adopt small, unstable hound dogs, I recommend averting your eyes for a few seconds. It should pass. Or you’ll get a dog. Win-win.

And with that, in the spirit of this year’s Marathon theme, and also Bane (weird): LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

The Lunatic is On the Grass

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“FLOWERS ON MY HEAD!”

So it’s Autumn. Karmann is pleased.

Because this is how Karmann feels about the coming of cooler weather:

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She can dance if she wants to; she can leave her friends behind

She hates the hot heaty-ness of the summer, and is generally unimpressed with polar vortexcalypses. Cooler weather means frolicking, and walking FOR DAYS, and she’s heard a persistent rumor that her mum and dad are going to take her CAMPING. In the WOODS. Where OTHER CRITTERS live. ZOMG.

She’s feeling very all-caps, lately.

“ALL CAPS COLD WEATHER YAY!” -Karmann. All the time.

Because of her predisposition towards the cool air crazies, I didn’t initially think much of her, shall we call it, newfound zest for life. But then her zest turned into lunacy and I started to wonder if maybe she wasn’t taking things a bit far. But, you know, we had a pretty hot/humid summer.

By the time lunacy devolved into googling “can dogs actually have bipolar disorder?” I figured it was time for a call to the vet. Because doing a crazy circular dance while ass-herding Calvin into the corner is all fun and games, but frantically licking the floor and chugging water and peeing twelve times an hour in two hour bursts of insanity is, well, troubling. To say the very least.

I am under vet orders not to freak out (yet) and the first move is to take them some pee, to rule out–or, really, to hopefully confirm–UTI. A UTI would be FABULOUS. I feel very all-caps about a UTI.

“ALL CAPS UTI HOORAY WOOOOP WOOOOP!” -Me. Right now.

Because a UTI is treatable and relatively easy and does not involve the contemplation that Karmann’s Addison’s was perhaps only very briefly well-managed and we must now go back down the rabbit hole to find better dosages/medications/schedules/etc. We should know tomorrow. In the meantime, I will spend a little over 24 hours freaking out, staring at my puppy, and possibly bursting into tears if she does anything even remotely weird.

GO UTI!!!

When I am not ugly crying over my girl’s epic weirdness, I will be silently weeping in the bathroom, so as not to get caught, because . . .

IT’S TIME TO RUN FOR CRITTERS!

I feel very all-caps about that, too, apparently.

Ok, well, it’s not actually time to run for critters. It’s time to register to run for critters. Which means it’s time to go to a website, register to run the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon for the Animal Rescue League, and commit to run the full 26.2 miles ON MY 35th BIRTHDAY.

I lost two toenails running the half this year, and their replacements still aren’t quite normal. I fear for both my life, and any future pedicures.

The half was fun. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately came home and registered for two other races for which I utterly failed to prepare (Great Race, I’m looking at you.) Yay commitment! But I promised myself, and I wrote on the wrap-up blog that in 2015, since the race was on my birthday, I would do the full.

And so I shall.

Or, at least, I will do as much of the full as possible before I inevitably perish on the course and make my mother very sad.

So let this serve as a reminder warning that solicitations will be forthcoming! Change your email now if you do not wish to be heckled to hand over your hard earned cash in the interest of helping critters in need. I probably won’t send out the donation beg until sometime in the bleak midwinter (improves sympathy donations) so you have some time to switch over all your contacts and stuff.

Until then, may my tendons be strong and my puppy’s bladder be treat-ably infected.

I Done Ran for Critters

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IT’S OVAH.

Yesterday, I achieved my goal of running a half marathon without dying AND I surpassed my fundraising goal for the Animal Rescue League. Happy days!

We won’t discuss how I’m probably going to lose a toenail just in time for dedicated flip flop season, or how I was earnestly wishing for death around mile 12. We won’t even discuss the Achilles injury that arose 12 days before race day and threatened to sideline me, only to subside juuuuuuust enough that it made the last 9 miles of the run extra miserable. I will refrain from describing the uncharitable thoughts I had toward the shoes sales guy who convinced me that a pair of Nikes would actually be wide enough for my Flintstone feet.

No. We won’t discuss any of those things. But I will mention that, even in my present, bandaged-toe, please-don’t-make-me-move-mr.-firefighter-just-let-the-house-burn-down-around-me levels of soreness, the race itself was a blast, and I plan to do it again. So if you don’t want to be harassed for another donation this time next year, make a note in your calendar to change your email address by March.

And so for the relevant bit . . .

My campaign raised $750 (of an initial $500 goal) for the Animal Rescue League.

[pause for applause and general whooping]

My donors kick some serious ass, y’all, and to each of them I extend my heartiest thank you.

Donations will be accepted until June 15, but so far the ARL’s total haul is more than $102,000. Which is epic and awesome and killer and just SO FREAKING GREAT. That’s a lot of medical care, food, low cost spay/neuter, and adoption preparation for some very deserving domestic critters, not to mention care and rehabilitation for wounded wildlife. I am so glad to have been a part of their fundraising, and so appreciative of the friends, family, and anonymous internet strangers who contributed to my campaign.

I am a Runner of Steel: yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

I am a Runner of Steel without a margarita in her hand on Cinco de Mayo: WTF???

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Slow Day at the Crazy Critter Castle

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Karmann waiting patiently for activity on the Squirrel Superhighway

I am icing a recently afflicted Achilles’ tendon that’s threatening to derail my running for critters plans, while binge watching Dawson’s Creek. I’m on the second episode, where Jen goes to the dance with Noel from Felicity and unfortunately forgets to wear pants. So embarrassed for her.

The critters, meanwhile, are mostly lounging in interspecies, sun-seeking nap groups.

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Save Karmann, who seems to be practicing her telepathy as she stands willing squirrels to run across her field of vision so that she can lose her mind and alert the household to their frolicsome presence.

Just another really tough day to be a critter.

Yesterday I . . .

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Pooping everywhere is exhausting

– Had a tour, for which I was getting ready assuming that Schmoop would be taking the pups out while I did so.

– Did NOT adhere to my standard Calvin Anxiety Mitigating Routine because see above.

– Discovered Schmoop had NOT taken the pups out, but rather decided to go get bagels.

– Departed the bathroom to discover stoop poop.

– Proceeded downstairs for cleanup materials and discovered hallway pee.

– Suspended personal preparations in order to clean up two anxiety-related accidents, worked up a sweat, cursed Schmoopie and his damn bagels, became grumpy.

– Ate a bagel after initially refusing bagel out of spite because if it weren’t for the damn bagels I’d have had a lot more than 15 minutes in which to eat a bagel.

– Went to work while contemplating bagel-related Möbius strip of suck.

– Came back eight hours later and began critter feeding preparations.

– Opened kitchen door to take puppies their food and was whacked in the face with poop stench.

– Discovered dining room poop.

– Cleaned up dining room poop and fed puppies.

– Enroute to living room, noticed hallway had dreadful smell, still.

– Discovered stoop poop AND pee.

– Questioned, deeply and profoundly, what my life had become.

– Cleaned the third batch of inappropriate excrement OF THE DAY.

Today I . . .

– Went for a ten mile run having only eaten a spite bagel, 2 meatballs, Cheeze-Its, and a bacon burger the preceding day.

– Spent 7 miles wishing for death.

– Sat passively on the couch while Schmoopie cleaned up YET MORE STOOP POOP WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING HERE????????

* * *

An epilogue for anyone who may be thinking: House train your freaking dogs, lady!

They actually are.

They were? I don’t even know what to think anymore.

Both pups were fabulously house-trained. But we moved out of the south last summer, and apparently if my dogs had cars they would have those stupid “G.R.I.T.S.” and “American by birth, southern by the grace of god” bumperstickers. Since they are bumperless, they lodge their cultural dissatisfaction through wanton household elimination. This explanation is also known as THE SOUTH WILL HAUNT ME FOREVER, DAMMIT.

Thats one explanation.

The other is that the move caused some stress, which coincided with Karmann developing arthritis, which led to some mobility-related accidents on the stoop, which led to more stress, which caused some anxiety-related accidents on the established-as-potty-zone stoop. All of which coincided with the traditional layout of the new-old house (i.e. not the Househunters preferred “open floor plan perfect for entertaining” type of soul-sucking new construction that we lived in while in Georgia, where asking a perfectly able-bodied Augustan to walk upstairs to the master bedroom is–PERISH THE THOUGHT, but I digress.)

All that basically means that we can’t see the front door, where the pups were trained to sit for potty notification purposes, from any other room in the house. More importantly, I think, they cannot see us. I believe this has caused a notification crisis. If we happen to be present in the front hallway (unlikely) or kitchen when the mood strikes them, they will sit at a door. If we are not, I think they just think, “oh well hey, we have that section of carpet on the landing so . . . ”

We’ve been trying since the fall to teach them to ring a bell on the door, but for reasons I cannot fathom they don’t seem particularly interested in learning this new skill. Probably because the stoop is so much less work.

And that is why I bitch incessantly about the out-of-control indoor elimination. I am not used to it, it is not normal (though it is frequently hilarious, because if I didn’t laugh I’d cry) and my dogs are not just totally untrained ruffians.

At least, not in this specific situation.