My doggone day was the ending of a week-long climax. It started when the kids and I went out of town. We had various errands and events to attend. While we were gone, my sister-in-law visited with her boyfriend and his friend. Roger stayed behind to host and visit with them. My sister-in-law is a compassionate person who seems to have a strange relationship with animals. There were a few years in her past when she thought that she was going to study to be a veterinarian. As she studied, she worked for a while at a veterinary clinic as a technician and then went on to work at the animal hospital in Salem.
I call her the animal whisperer. For some reason, animals come from far and high to her. Sick and unwanted, they seek her out and she is always looking for ways to help the poor creatures. One of my very favorite stories was when she had her two daughters and our oldest sitting in the backseat of her car as they were driving back from some event in the dark evening. They witnessed a car ahead of them hit a deer and continue on. Shocked, and being the person that she is, she stopped to check the deer out. It was not moving, but still breathing. That crazy woman, with three little girls in the backseat of her car bawling for the poor deer, picked it up and all by herself loaded the thing into the trunk of her little car. She sped to where she worked at the animal hospital with grand hopes of saving the creature. After looking at the deer, I am sure that the veterinarian who was working that shift must have thought that really, the real patient there wasn’t the one with four legs. After a little bit of examination, it was determined that the deer should be euthanized. Roger and I agreed that probably, that doctor was thinking that his freezer space was needing a bit of free deer meat to fill it up with. Later, after all this excitement happened, we got a call from my dear sister-in-law all upset that she may have ruined our daughter with this crazy event. We calmly told her not to worry, that everything was okay, but what I really wanted to do was thank her for giving me the biggest laugh I have had in a long time.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise when out of the blue, a stray puppy showed up at our back doorstep during her visit. She convinced her brother (Roger) to let it in the house. He grudgingly agreed. She bought some puppy food for it to eat, and promised that she would find it’s home, or if it didn’t have one, find one for him. After asking around town they found out that the dog was abandoned. That’s when her boyfriend put his foot down… by no means was it going home with her, so that puppy stayed behind at our house. When the kids and I got home, of course we had three kiddos who instantly fell in love with the thing.
We had a week to decide what we were going to do with the puppy. It really was a very good puppy aside from the normal annoying puppy behavior. I found myself hiding furniture behind closed doors for fear the legs would become chew toys. We all fell in love with it, but it became apparent that with our little one’s crazy over-active immune system– his asthma, it couldn’t stay with us and we had to find a new home for it. Our kiddo said, between asthmatic coughing fits, “Momma, make me feel better, I need medicine… doggie not make me sick, we can keep the doggie…ack wheeze cough”.
Both the police department and the local Vet suggested that we take the puppy to the nearest pet shelter. The thing is, the town, heck the whole county doesn’t even have a single shelter. We had to travel to the nearest city which was roughly 70 miles away. That wasn’t a problem, (we thought) because we were going that way anyway for two birthday parties, and a craft sale for me, which was a tradition, so we could make the drop-off on our way. All spiffied up, we piled into the van ready to tackle our long, busy, hard day. The dog found its way all the way in the back of the van on the empty seat next to our middle kid. Not long after we started moving and we were on the road, did the dog want up front. After a bit of struggle, the puppy finally made its way up front. I was sitting in the front seat and was the lucky one who got to hold it. Have I mentioned it was at least 30 lbs and quite possibly bigger than my 3-year-old? I wasn’t crazy about holding the thing for 1 1/2 hours up and down the winding roads through the canyons and hills, but I told myself that it was the last chance I could enjoy this new thing that I fell in love with, and should enjoy the moment as much as I could. Ha.
We started out with it shaking. It calmed down and about the time we hit the canyons, he started to drool. Great. This would be the time I came unprepared, without napkins in the car. Why the heck didn’t I remember to bring some rag towels as well? The drool increased by the second, and soon it was hanging from both sides of the dog’s face. I have an iron stomach when it comes to baby spit-up, poop, snot and even baby vomit. When it comes to dog spit, however, I loose it. I started to gag as I found just one napkin… a wimpy one from Subway or something, but at least it helped a little. Gingerly I wiped and gagged, wiped and gagged, wiped and gagged. Roger found it pretty funny about my predicament, and between giggles concluded that the dog would be fine as soon as we got off of the winding canyon roads and onto the straight highway.
Did I mention that Roger was having a bad judgement day that day? His first offense was the comment about being better on the highway, the second, for some dumb reason, he decided it was a good time to eat the banana that he brought along with him. I wondered how on earth he could stomach food with a dog sitting not more than a foot or so away from him with two six-inch strings of drool hanging out of its mouth. We had just gotten onto the highway, and I had come to terms with having a dog slobber drenched lap, when all of a sudden the puppy started to heave.
It’s funny what fear and sheer panic does to a person. I found that all of a sudden my vocabulary was reduced to just one single word. All I could muster was a nervous and loud, “Roger! Roger!” Not knowing what was going on he went into defense mode…you know, the normal husband, what-am-I-doing-wrong-now? kind of mode. With his tone of voice knocking a few more words into my vocabulary, I squeezed out, “he’s throwing up!”.
With all the panic and chaos, I realized that I was subconsciously pushing that poor puppy partially off my lap and into the corner of the small leg space next to the dash and the door. I resolved to the fact that there was no safe way Roger could slow from 65 mph, let alone find a safe pullover before the dog emptied his stomach. Again, great. I had dog-drool drenched pants, and now vomit at my feet… and still two birthday parties to go to.
Although Roger had compassion for his poor, stinky wife, he still found it completely hilarious and started to laugh hysterically. With all the years I have been with him, I have never, ever seen him laugh so hard. I started to gag again, which made him laugh even more. His uncontrollable laughing caused him to aspirate his banana that he was still chewing away on. Now, we were all speeding down the highway in our minivan missile with Roger laughing and choking, and me gagging. I was amazed with how he was able to keep the van in a straight line the whole entire time!
We finally made it to the shelter, all in one piece, and me totally beyond my ick factor. Finally, I could get out and get some fresh air. Ha.
The whole family walked into the shelter, the kids with tears rolling down their faces, as the dog tagged along on the leash. We didn’t get helped right away since the receptionist was on the phone. I casually looked around the room as I waited for her to get off the phone when I suddenly noticed that the puppy we brought in was pooping right on the floor! Again, with my panic, all I could muster was a nervous and very loud “Oh my gosh he’s POOPING!!!”. Everything stopped. I am sure I came through loud and clear over the phone conversation the receptionist was having. I was surprised that, I swear, every single employee in that building came out of the woodwork to watch the event. I had to hold back the strong urge to say, “I have no idea who that dog is… or that man holding his leash.”
That was not the end of it. As soon as the bomb was dropped (and it was HUGE) the mushroom cloud spread across the room in a split second. Our entire family yelled in unison, “OOOOooohhhhh”. I am convinced that all living creatures in the room suffered nerve damage from the potent gas that rose from the poo. Once I came too, I noticed that the receptionist was magically off the phone. We convinced (well, tried) the employees that the puppy really was good, and said our sad goodbyes.
That was it. That was the end of the icky part of the doggone day. I made sure of it. There was no way I was getting close to my sister-in-law’s pigs (the 1st party).