It has been said that humans are the only creatures on Earth that will take another species into their homes simply for the pleasure of its company. If true, it may be our only redeeming virtue.
Raising a pet carries with it many of the same responsibilities as raising a child–a human child, that is.
As we all know a pet quickly becomes a member of the family, a four-legged child who must be fed nutritious meals, provided with health care, must be taught to obey the rules whether home-schooled or obedience school trained, and must be potty trained. I recently saw a YouTube video of a German Shepherd standing on its hind legs and using the porcelain facility. Good luck trying to train Schnoodle Dog to do that. For one thing, his legs aren’t long enough. So outdoors he goes, rain or shine.
I’m not heartless. I won’t let him out to get drenched when it rains or in winter to freeze while he answers the call of nature. Schnoodle Dog has wardrobe: a storm coat, a winter coat, snow booties, two sweaters, and two Halloween costumes. He also has luggage, a large tote bag of his very own, for when he travels with us.
Schnoodle Dog is older now, 16 1/2 to be exact, so his potty trained years are only a fond memory. These days he has to wear a padded incontinence wrap. [FYI, to spare his feelings, we refer to the wrap as “his pants.”] It reminds me of the icky diaper changing days when both our boys were babies. Schnoodle Dog still has occasional accidents of the fluid kind even while wearing the wrap–er–his pants. Those little leaks are nothing like the accident he had this past weekend.
We were away for a few days with friends, and we left Schnoodle Dog in a nearby kennel we used on several occasions but hadn’t used much since our four-legged child began to show his age. When we collected him, the kennel owners told us that he was fine the first two days but started whining and barking on the third. We took him home on the fourth day. He seemed fine by bedtime that night.
I’m a night owl. I get my best ideas at night, so I’m usually still awake and writing long after Macho Guy and Schnoodle Dog hit the sack. About an hour after MG and Schnoodle Dog went to bed, I finished my nightly toilette and exited the master bath in the dark to avoid disturbing their slumber. Silently, I felt my way to the bed by sliding my hand against the wall. As I approached my side of the bed, my slippers encountered a substantial obstacle on the carpet that slowed them to a halt, ending my forward progress. I thought it might be one of my tennis shoes so I tried kicking it out of the way. When that didn’t work, I bent and grabbed hold of the mystery object with my left hand. It was not a tennis shoe.
It was cold and it wasn’t solid. It was kind of wet and mushy. I gasped and said, “Oh, crap!” I reached up and turned on the light in the closet beside the bed to illuminate the floor area and discovered to my chagrin that I had correctly identified the mystery object and its several companions.
Eww. I’m standing in dog poop!
Eww. My hand was in dog poop!
Eww. My fingers are full of dog poop!
I shrieked, “Oh, my God!” at the top of my lungs.
My exclamation put a stop to MG’s snoring. He awoke with a jolt and turned on his lamp.
MG: What’s all the racket about?
ME: The dog pooped on the carpet over here and I walked on it in the dark.
MG: You gotta be kidding.
ME: [stepping back and then holding up my crappy slippers] Look for yourself. [Those crappy slippers went right into the trash!]
MG got out of bed and looked for himself. There was a sizable amount of dog poop to view. I thought he was going to cry. I was close to joining in. You see, we both knew we weren’t going to get much sleep. Our activities for the night as pet parents were preordained.
Scoop the poop. Clean out Mr. Crate. Launder the crate bedding. Shampoo the bedroom carpet. Take turns sleeping and watching over our fur baby. Put the little guy outside whenever necessary. Shampoo the bedroom carpet again. Give our fur baby Imodium. Shampoo the bedroom carpet one last time as the dawn broke. Cook chicken and rice to feed our fur baby until he’s well again–which he is now.
It was a very long night for Mommy and Daddy. ::yawn::