The thrill of cuteness, the agony. . .

… of the puke.

That’s pretty much dog ownership (or parenthood) in a nutshell, right?

When Monkey was a baby, we made up a song about him to the tune of Daisy Bell. I’m deeply aggrieved this morning that I can’t remember the whole thing, but I know it included, “You’re so sweet / When you chew on your feet,” and that THAT was the important part. The kid munched on his own toes for hours, and he was round like a little Buddha, so it was endlessly entertaining to watch him do so. Toddler Chickadee used to run over, grab one of his legs, and cram his foot into his mouth FOR him, if she was bored. (Not a whole lot has changed, come to think of it. But Monkey is a little less bendy these days.)

So we’ve been doing a lot of the canine equivalent, watching Licorice do adorable doggy things, cooing over how cute she is, and generally worshiping at her furry little paws, as one does.

That’s why I didn’t get upset when the initial vet visit revealed a double ear infection.

And that’s why I didn’t balk at taking her back for a follow-up, only to discover I had another week of extreme ear-poking yet to go.

And that’s why I took her to the vet for yet a THIRD time when she appeared to be chewing one of her paws raw. (Diagnosis: “Doggie equivalent of a bad hangnail.”)

So when Licorice threw up all over our bed while I was in the shower on Sunday morning, I figured it was a fluke. A disgusting, smelly fluke… but nothing to be worried about. The fact that she did it right after Otto had laundered all the sheets and put them back on the bed… well, I always knew she was extremely smart and intuitive. And a brat.

And when I put her in her crate and shortly thereafter there was a MIGHTY HORKING noise and she’d puked a second time, I reasoned that yet another visit to the vet was going to get her file labeled MOTHER HAS MUNCHAUSEN’S BY PROXY, and really, dogs puke sometimes, and I could handle it.

Later when she puked a THIRD time I started getting nervous, but other than clearly feeling kinda punky, she didn’t appear to be dying or about to give birth to an alien or anything, so I figured she’d be okay.

I even boiled her a nice bland dinner to try that evening, and she managed to keep it down.

Sunday night, however, she barked and cried in the middle of the night, and after taking her out she continued to make a fuss if I tried to leave the room. So I ended up being up half the night with my dog, whose stomach was going UUUUUURP RRROOWRRRRRR EEEEEEEEEE at an alarming volume. I was transported back to the days when Chickadee was a baby and I had no idea what to do when she was fussy. “Cry it out” seems a little inhumane for a dog who’s clearly got an upset stomach.

Yesterday she seemed better, if somewhat floppy. By evening she was her old self again, and other than sleeping a bit more than usual, today you’d never know anything had ever been wrong with her.

So a little while ago I broke out her new squirrel dude and filled it up with peanut butter and kibble and offered it to her, and the result was the reason that we allow animals who smell and puke and drag their butts on the floor to live in our houses—she was initially so mystified by the fact there there was food INSIDE of the thing, she kept poking it and backing away, as if she expected it to get up and dance, too. We think Licorice didn’t have much (any?) experience with toys before coming to us, and she often seems disinterested in them, but the smell of peanut butter eventually proved hard to resist. After pushing it all over the house, she’d licked the thing clean, and that was ten minutes of entertainment I couldn’t have gotten any other way.

[Wait. They make a bigger one. I could probably get Monkey to replicate the experience if I filled one with chocolate-covered Bakugan. Or Chickadee would, if I filled it with Sour Patch Kids and a cell phone.]

Also, I could’ve bought her the plain ol’ regular KONG but then I wouldn’t have had the unparalleled joy of watching her LICK A SQUIRREL’S ASS WITH FERVOR to extract her rewards. So, there’s that. I mean, if you’re looking for an endless source of crass jokes, a dog and a squirrel dude really makes it too easy. She really had to WORK at it, and now she’s taking a nap, because all of that maniacal sucking on a squirrel’s butt wears a girl out.

I guess the point is that—much like parenting a human child—there are thing (like puke and sleeplessness) that suck, but they are outweighed by the joys of tormenting your chosen small creature for sport.


  1. Mindy

    To make the excitement last even longer try freezing the squirrel dude after stuffing it with peanut butter. Good times.

  2. Sharon

    We used to have a lab that was quite good at eating the backyard and then pucking all night long on the rug. Whenever we see a commercial with a cute puppy selling toilet paper or dog food, we say yeah they look cute, but they should show him puking up dirt and weeds!

  3. Ginny

    Yep…..”parenting” the Right fur kid or kids is wonderful – despite the sometimes “Yuk” factor; the unconditional love we get from our 2 little poop factories brings so much joy! Sooooooo glad Licorice came into your lives…it’ll be a never-ending adventure!

  4. Dawn

    A coincidence that they use cats and dogs to market toilet paper? I THINK NOT, quoth she who has become quite adept at removing pet stomach contents from various surfaces around the home. :(

  5. Peggy

    We mix a little peanut butter with fat free plain yogurt and then freeze it in the kong – ya’ know the more work for our beloved pups the better!

  6. StephLove

    Hey, I took the name of my blog from that song, and I sung it to both of my kids, with altered lyrics, too.

  7. Nicki

    I’m so sick of puppy messes that I’m afraid of filling Bishop’s kong. At the same time, I could use some happy. I’m gonna need a bigger SD card.

  8. Heather

    Well, we got video of the pear…

    Hope she’s feeling better!

  9. Katie in MA

    I have been up for two nights straight with a feverish 3-year-old…and there weren’t even any squirrel dudes to make up for it. Wait – maybe that’s a good thing.

  10. Clarity

    I woke up this morning, fumbled my way to the bathroom, and promptly stepped in a steaming pile of nastiness that had been kindly deposited RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TOILET. Because, just like toddlers, dogs know what that room is for but have no intention of making it easy for you.

    The day’s been all downhill from there, and my torment of choice for my small creature involved hours of shame spent chained in the back yard until the bathroom rug comes out of the laundry and I’ve forgiven if not forgotten.

  11. Lori N

    What?! No video? :)

  12. Scottsdale Girl

    *nodnodnod* in agreement with Lori N…

  13. Alicia

    I have a puker and I love her except…

    she feels the need to start the acking in the tile kitchen and will run through the tile hallway and tile foyer to the family room carpet to do it. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    But like I said, I love my muddog.

  14. Tracy

    Maybe her tummy is upset because of all the pears and peanut butter? I’m just sayin….

  15. Megan

    I did not know they made these things. I’m shattered that someone else already invented it as I would have loved to go down in history as the person who gave dog-licking-squirrel-bums to the world. I feel a little like the Monty Python guys in Holy Grail as I sort of want to say, ‘okay, so we make this hollow plastic BADGER…’

  16. Mom

    Megan: *wink* *wink* *nod* nod* Know whacha mean. ;-)

  17. Emily

    Peanut Butter mixed with Yogurt, Honey and a banana or two then pureed in the blender and frozen makes a really cheap version of Frosty Paws.

    As for the puking (also applicable for diarrhea – don’t worry, you’ll get to THAT fun parenting stage soon enough) is to fast for 24 hrs and then start the bland diet of boiled chicken or lean ground beef and rice. Don’t use ground turkey – that can actually produce more of the same. Also, don’t worry when the dog stares at you and swears that you’re STARVING it – it’s just a trick. :D

  18. aem2

    Delurking… I have cats, not a dog, but they have occasional hairballs. Ohhhhh that horking sound. Out of the huge expanse of tile/hardwood, they seem to try to throw up on the one object on the floor that will be hard to clean.

    @Clarity: The only thing worse than stepping in a steaming pile of nastiness is when it’s cold. Blech!
    @Megan & Mom: Say no more!

    BTW, I love that you’ve filled this under “Offspring!”

  19. Jane

    This was a great story. But I have to tell you that the word HORKING is the absolute funniest word. I can’t even read it with out laughing. Right now, my 3 year old is saying “what’s so funny, Mom?” So now, later, when I’m vacuuming the bedroom, I’m going to think of the word HORKING and start laughing again. Thanks for that!

  20. Crotchety Mom

    Changing the subject slightly: There I was, happily reading your latest post and getting ready to bounce out again, when up popped a message that “We’ve hired Nielsen//NetRatings to conduct a survey to better get to know our user base,” along with an invitation to take part in the survey.

    Did the students put you up to this? :-)

    What I especially loved were the numerous “have you done ‘X’?” questions where the possible answers were “no,” “yesterday,” or “in the last 30 days.” What about *today,* hmm?

  21. Randi

    We have three dogs and fortunately they’re usually very healthy (I honestly wonder if larger dogs have better constitutions or something).

    As for Kongs, you can use peanut butter, but if you really want to keep her busy for awhile, put some peanut butter on the bottom of the Kong to seal it, then put in some dry food, then some water, and freeze it. It even kept our Malamutes busy for over an hour!

  22. Aimee

    I’m with Heather, Lori N and Scottsdale Girl! I want video of the… how did you put it?… maniacal sucking on a squirrel’s butt.

  23. Michele Bardsley

    Pepto-Bismol, baby. When I first brought home my Chihuahua, he had tummy problems a lot (both ends, thank you). Pepto worked wonders. There’s Bismukote Suspension, too, formulated for dogs.

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