The dogs’ daily schedule begins with me waking up early, letting them out, going to the gym, coming back, walking them, feeding them, then walking to the hospital to selflessly battle various causes of pain and woe in the world, etc. When the weather is nice, as is luckily enough the case most of the time in the greater North Carolina metro area, I leave them outside to beat each other up and sprint hither and yon between the fenced boundary of the yard. I come home for lunch and there is much rejoicing. I come home later in the afternoon or early evening and there is again much rejoicing before they get yet another walk and more feeding. Everyone should have it so good.
The coming of the cold and wet season brings with it complications. When the rains come, the dogs spend the day inside. This is non-negotiable. They’re collies, which means that a) They don’t negotiate and b) It takes them about a fortnight to dry off, by which time not even the strongest aromatic candle can hope to rid the house of the stench of wet dog. When they stay inside, I at least have the common courtesy to turn NPR on while I’m gone because I want them to be informed, would like them to be able to carry on intelligent conversations over dinner or with other informed dogs. They seem to like it. At least they haven’t yet complained.
So, here’s the thing: When I let them out in the morning, I assume…ASSUME…that their digestive systems have wreaked havoc upon the unsuspecting Earth in whatever way necessary and that if Mother Nature demands that they be kept inside, no problem, there won’t be any ‘splosions. This generally hasn’t been a problem, but there have been times when I’ve been gone a little longer than usual while the dogs languished in a warm and safe house, with plenty of food and water, poor things, so neglected and abused with their pillows and blankets. In one of the rare instances when things went all pear shaped, the first night everything was OK, then the second night, I came back sort of expecting the worst and finding that nope, everything was OK again, no ‘accidents’. Then the third night I opened the door and the smell that hit me was epic. They had defiled one of the throw rugs in such a way that I took it out back and shot it, because there was no way I was going to be able to clean it. The only thing they didn’t do was dip their paws in the poo then write ANARCHY or REDRUM on the walls.
They were upset with my long absences. I guess. Which was flattering, I suppose, right up until I rolled up the carpet and shoved it in the trash. And lest anyone think that I beat them without mercy over their indiscretion, I assure you that I’m a much scarier calm person, so I very calmly dragged them over to ground zero and in a very HAL-from-2001: A Space Odyssey-voice said, ‘No’, then I dragged them outside and left them there for a couple days straight so they could think about what they’d done. Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘My what a witty fellow. And handsome!’ That’s true, but expecting dogs to think about what they’ve done works about as well as doing the same thing with children. You send a kid to his or her room to think and they end up reading a book or playing marbles or piercing body parts or whatever the hell today’s youth do instead of thinking. So, a couple days later, I let them back in, secure in the delusion that they’d learned whatever lesson they’d been taught by camping out for a couple nights.
Then last week the rains came in seemingly unending sheets for days. I still let them out and walked them when the weather let up a little, so there were plenty of opportunities for relief. The problem is that now when I leave them inside, there’s a significant portion of my brain that’s occupied with wondering if one of them has detonated. The nightmare scenario is that I’ll walk through the door and see one of them in the act, resulting in a lot of yelling and barking and running, sort of like this (from around minute 6:10 to 6:35), but lacking the destruction of a turkey. So, one day last week, I came back and found that Sophie had taken a dump on the hardwood floor where the rug used to be, apparently as an homage to their departed target. I knew it was hers because I know what their poop looks like (you envy me so hard right now). ‘Sophie’, I half whispered, which caused her to start pacing back and forth, crouching low and looking pathetic and guilty, before inexplicably CLIMBING UP ONTO THE COUCH WHERE SHE LAID DOWN EVEN THOUGH SHE KNOWS IT’S OFF LIMITS SWEET HOLY LORD. Hell, even Eli looked at her like, WTF.
The nutshell version of the rest of this story is that there was some screaming and some hand gestures and some more camping on the part of the dogs, but the real issue here is that it’s only November and there’s a lot of wet and cold days yet to manage. I know they can’t exactly control when their colon decides to pull the trigger and I empathize, I really do. I’ve tried to convince them to use the toilet, but they refuse, ingrates that they are. So, I dunno. Short of making them wear diapers, I doubt there’s an adequate answer.
Sir @ November 19, 2009