When I last took care of our charming puppy-guest, she was still very much a puppy. She needed to go out approximately every seven minutes, and even then, she had a number of accidents in the house. If you left any item unattended either on the floor or anywhere within reach, she would chew it up. But that was this past winter.
But she’s much older and wiser and calmer, this time, and when I picked her up I said, “She doesn’t have accidents any more, right?”
“Right,” said my friend’s husband. “She’s very good, now. She’ll tell you if she wants to go out.”
This morning when we let her out of the crate, she let us know she wanted to go out. By peeing on the floor while I was getting her leash. Message received!
Oh, she was sorry. She was terribly sorry and ran outside with me and tried to lick me to tell me how very sorry she was; she had not MEANT to pee on the floor, she just really had to go and it was so exciting and she couldn’t help it. Fortunately she peed on the vinyl, and it was easy enough to clean it up.
After being told that she doesn’t have accidents anymore, I had continued on with, “And does she destroy things? Or is she pretty much past that?”
“Well, if she’s feeling neglected, she’ll maybe chew something up,” he admitted. “But on the whole, she’s pretty good. She’s nearly an adult, you know.”
(This was later corroborated by Monkey, who spent some quality time rubbing the dog’s belly and then cheerfully announced, “She has ten nipples! That’s a WHOLE LOT, even for a growned-up dog!” Circumstances didn’t allow me to investigate further at that time, but it occurs to me now that he may have been equating her nipples with, say, rings on a tree stump. He probably thinks really old dogs are studded with countless nipples.)
Anyway, the Nippled Wonder will indeed chew up anything she can clamp her dainty jaws around. This has proven amusing for me, as I love nothing better than an immediate (and slobbery!) consequence when my children fail to take care of their belongings. However, I suspect she ate some Legos today. Or maybe something of even more sinister origin.
The morning piddling accident was long-forgotten, when I sat at my desk working and the dog lay on a pillow at my feet. (Yes, really. She likes to guard me, so I set her up right next to my desk.) Tappity tap tap, went I, at the keyboard, and the children were finishing up their lunches with a slurpity slurp slurp of milk, and the dog suddenly lurched off of the pillow—inches from my feet—and made her own contribution to our symphony.
You may or may not recall; I am emetaphobic. I am legally and genetically bound to deal with my children’s vomit, but I found myself confronting a PILE of BORROWED DOG BARF and I briefly considered just, I don’t know, moving away.
After the initial panic I did manage to spring into action. I got the dog outside (poor thing; you could tell she was mortified, as if she’d just gotten over the morning’s embarrassment and now THIS) and handed her off to Chickadee while Monkey fetched supplies at my direction, then I fell to cleaning the carpet.
I don’t know what made her sick or what horrors lurked in that orange spew. I was too busy gagging and trying to think of something—anything—else to investigate. And as I finished up, I realized that I did have something else to think about.
When I was putting away groceries last weekend, I discovered a turkey in my deep freezer. I think I bought it around Christmas (gotta love the surplus turkey sales; I paid $4). Of course, the turkey had been subsequently buried in frozen vegetables and whatnot, so upon my discovery I decided that it needed to be cooked this week, because Christmas was… a long time ago.
So now I remembered, I had a turkey to cook today. Because nothing works up a powerful appetite like bodily fluids.
Well. If I’m going to go to the trouble to make a turkey, I may as well just go for it, right? When the children questioned why I was preparing a turkey right after lunch, I told them that the day before my birthday is ALWAYS Thanksgiving.
“Really, Mama?” asked Chickadee.
“No,” I said. “But wouldn’t that be funny?”
“Not really,” she said.
So then I had to chase her around the kitchen with the turkey neck to make her go away. (Stop looking at me like that. As if you wouldn’t have done the same thing.)
I got the turkey seasoned and put into the oven. I started making stuffing. I chopped vegetables and put a pan on to start a glaze for the turkey. The dog remained calm and leakage-free, and the children were playing nicely… inside.
“Everybody out!” I declared. “It’s a beautiful day, go play outside. Take the dog with you.” It was a beautiful day, but the truth was that their inside play seemed to be getting louder and louder and my head was throbbing. Then I realized, of course, that they weren’t getting louder, I was just feeling crummy. Oh. Right. That. I shooed them out the door and took my temperature. I was running a low fever (again).
I also had a turkey in the oven, glaze bubbling on the stove, and dishes in various states of preparation on every available counter surface, because I was in the middle of making a complete turkey dinner. Because I am insane.
Luckily, I didn’t have much time to panic about that, because the sounds of the children screaming and brakes screeching outside distracted me. The dog had gotten off the leash, and made a break for a passing car. (We live on a very quiet street. But she ran after one of our neighbors.)
I had the presence of mind to turn off the stove burners before running outside to retrieve the dog, calm the kids, and thank the neighbor for not running any of them over. We all came back inside, and Monkey declared that the kitchen smelled funny.
I wondered if the dog would get sick again if I shared the turkey dinner extravaganza with her, while the kids were safely enclosed in her crate.
Things were calm for about an hour, and then Chickadee remembered something she’d left outside. She ran out for it… leaving the door wide open. Because she was raised by wolves.
The dog made a break for it, and as I ran out the back door after her, the screen door fell off the track. I dropped it on my foot and then propped it there on the deck and ran into the woods to get the dog (who finally succumbed to “Hey, wanna go for a RIDE?”). Chickadee and I had a discussion about closing doors, the dog had a time-out in her crate, and I glazed the turkey right about the time I remembered that my doctor’s office was supposed to call with my test results today.
A friend called, offering to stop by tonight with ice cream to celebrate my birthday. There was a pause, and she slowly added, “… except, today isn’t your birthday. I thought it was tomorrow. I mean, that today was tomorrow. Your birthday is tomorrow. Nevermind.” I suggested they come by tomorrow. No, tomorrow they would be busy. I put pan number four into the sink and said, “Well, then come tonight. In fact, please come tonight, and eat this stupid turkey I am cooking. I am sick and cranky and horrible company, but, um, come over anyway.” To my surprise, she agreed to join us.
I called the doctor’s office and found out that everyone had gone home early. So I found out exactly nothing about my test results.
And I am sick and I was cranky and the stuffing was too dry but it was the best damn gravy I have ever made and we had a lovely dinner during which all of our children ate (and Monkey used such impeccable manners, I made a mental note to figure out what Chickadee had done… for this was the halo-polishing routine of a sibling who knows he is looking good by comparison). Afterwards there was ice cream. And the dog lay in the corner of the kitchen and watched us with sleepy good cheer.
All in all, it wasn’t a terrible way to spend my last day as a 34-year-old. Though I’m thinking it would’ve been plenty memorable without the puppy puke. And the mystery disease. But it turns out that good company (and good gravy) cancels out quite a bit.
Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating by putting away laundry, making soup from the turkey carcass, and NOT CLEANING UP ANYONE’S VOMIT. I hope.