I was warned. I should have known better.
Earlier this week, Elisa and I began to notice that Ty Ty was starting to look … bloated. For a couple of days, it looked like he had discovered a new and plentiful food source, and was gorging himself. He was eating so much, it seemed, that he wasn’t hungry by the time we brought him in for ACTUAL dinner (I thought that our Jack Russell was a bottomless pit. As it turned out, there WAS a bottom, and Ty Ty had found it). After the first night, sleep was about the only thing he had energy for, and he collapsed on his bed — stomach distended like a snake that had just consumed a gazelle — but other than that, he suffered no ill effects. The following day, it was clear that his magical food source (we never did find it) was still ‘open for business,’ and that Ty Ty had visited the buffet a second time. That night, however, it was clear that the food was not sitting comfortably.
You can only let your dog out so many times before its time to go to bed. If your dog’s stomach is upset, and it is obvious that it is a consequence of gluttony rather than illness, all you can do is go to bed and hope that your dog sorts himself out during the night.
…and sorting himself out is exactly what Ty Ty did.
It should be noted that the dogs are very well potty trained. They typically don’t have to go in the night, but if they must, then they will try everything they can to get our attention before resorting to using the floor. That night, Ty Ty didn’t make a peep.
As Elisa and I awoke and exited the bedroom, we discovered a large urine puddle in the bathroom, and two pan-sized ‘mounds’ of molten poo. Ty Ty felt better. I asked Elisa about the best way to handle the situation, and she gave me the complete run down. She had been in this situation before. She had a plan. She would handle it. Elisa and I made coffee and began our morning rituals as we summoned the courage to take care of business.
Elisa and I don’t have kids. We have three dogs. The dogs aren’t ‘mine’ in a real sense. They are obviously Elisa’s, and I am clearly the adopted dad. I didn’t grow up with dogs, and I am still rather inexperienced as a result of the fact that my wife is an animal trainer, and so in most cases dog stuff get’s handled by the resident expert. If Elisa and I were ever to have kids, I’d like to think that I would be the kind of father who would wake up in the middle of the night to tend to a crying child, and that I would enter into disaster-pants-clean-up situations as an equal partner with my wife. I don’t want to be the kind of adopted k9 papa who cringes at the sight of ‘nature happening.’ I don’t want to be the kind of guy who talks about the dogs as his own when they are cure and perfect, only to tell his wife that ‘her dogs’ are misbehaving. Out of a sense of duty, and a desire to enter into life as a partner, I feel like I should be able to clean up a little bit of dog sh*t from time to time.
But I have no idea what I’m doing. Good intentions count for a lot, but they can end up making you wish you were wearing a hazmat suit.
After finishing my coffee, I looked over the piles of loose stool and thought through various ways of cleaning up the mess. Surely I could come up with a better way than what Elisa had suggested. And I did. I came up with a brilliant plan. It was going to work. My wife was not only going to be grateful, but also incredibly proud of my ingenuity.
I quietly left the room and retrieved a white towel. With single-minded intent, I walked past Elisa and went straight for the first pile. Out of the corner of her eye, Elisa saw what I was doing but before she could utter any words of consternation, I had thrown the towel over the feces and was scooping (more like wiping…or smearing) it up. “What are you doing?!” Elisa cried. “Don’t do it that way!” I refused to listen to her cries of disbelief. I absolutely knew what I was doing. I had a plan. She would see.
As I applied the towel to the second mess and started walking toward the bathroom, It was clear that Elisa was in shock. Everything I was doing was wrong. It was wrong on is so many ways. It was wrong on so many many levels. And it was about to get worse.
I pulled the shower curtains back, and turned on the water. Hot. I could see the steam from the water gushing out of the faucet when I turned on the shower nozzle. I unbundled my package and began to spray.
I instantly started to gag uncontrollably. I expected the liquid crap to simply fall off the towel and flow effortlessly down the drain. What I was actually doing was vaporizing the stuff. It was air born at the same time as it stuck tenaciously to the not-so-white towel. If I kept at it long enough, I told myself, my plan would still work.
But the plan wasn’t working. It wasn’t going to work. I had ruined a perfectly good (formerly white) towel and made the house smell like dog turd. And not like just any dog turd. Sick dog turd. The only thing left to do was to cut my losses, put the soggy turd towel in a garbage bag (and then put THAT in a garbage bag), open the windows, and literally bleach the sh*t out of the bath tub.
This incident led to a long conversation about what I SHOULD have done. From many years of experience with many dogs, Elisa has developed a doggie diarrhea cleanup protocol involving a roll of paper towel, plastic bags, and disinfectant. She had described it to me earlier, and did so again so that my mistake would never be repeated. The moral of this story was this: when it comes to animals, listen to your wife, do what she says, and if she offers to clean up dog sh*t, let her.