Why our next dog will be a sea monkey

About two weeks ago I took both dogs to the vet in preparation for their upcoming trip to the kennel. Chuck needed to get updates on a few vaccinations, and Coco just needed a general check-up, although I did hope that they would maybe listen to her heartbeat or take her temperature and ask, “Has she been rather awful lately? Because there is a medical reason for that.” And then give her a pill that would make her stop being such a frequent dickwad.

In the days leading up to that vet visit I had noticed Coco scratching her right ear violently and often walking around with her head tilted in that direction. I didn’t know if she had water in her ear or if she had damaged it in any way, so I knew I would bring that up with the vet. I just had to get Coco into the building first. Not so easy when in the parking lot she suddenly remembered that this was the building where she had had her ovaries removed. And I can totally understand her reaction, it would be weird to wake up from a sedative I had not willingly taken only to find out that someone had hacked into my reproductive organs. And here you are bringing me back to the building where that happened? Do not be surprised then when I start growling, barking, and then pissing my pants from the anxiety. In fact, be glad I don’t start talking shit about your mom.

To make matters worse, Chuck loves the vet. In fact, the vet is perhaps Chuck’s favorite place in the world if you don’t count the butthole of every dog he’s ever met. He knows when we’re blocks away from that building and will start howling with anticipation once he realizes where we’re going. So there I am in the parking lot, one dog yanking the leash away from the building, the other dog jumping three feet at a time into the air because he can’t wait to get in, me in the middle purposefully not making eye contact with anyone because then maybe they won’t notice that I exist or that there is a circus going on around me. Only thing missing that would have made it a more perfect moment was that small but vocal segment of the Internet standing two inches from my face with their arms folded across their chests chanting YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

I finally get them both into the lobby where a handful of other dogs are standing patiently beside their owners, at least until Coco’s uneasy energy sets off a round of hysterical barking. And then Chuck, Our Walking Teddy Bear, He Who Only Barks When Thoroughly Provoked And Even Then Only If He’s On His Period, sees a fur ball of a puppy across the room, one who is maybe four months old if even that advanced in age, and he goes berserk, starts growling from the bottom of his lungs so that it sounds like some sort of demonic goblin. And if at all possible Coco’s barking gets even more high-pitched as if to say SEE? SEE? THIS PLACE IS APPALLING. Yes, appalling. Because THERE ARE PUPPIES HERE. Is your situation not ghastly enough? Want to make it really horrific? THROW IN SOME ADORABLE PUPPIES.

This goes on for what seems like, wait, it’s STILL going on, and not two minutes after I get them settled down I start to relax a little bit only to have a little person walk through the door, a perfectly polite little person who says a friendly hello to everyone in the room. And just then Coco lunges and starts growling at her as if she had just walked into Coco’s pasture and stolen one of her sheep. Which I am supposing is the worst thing that could happen to a sheep dog: steal one of the things that they are trying to keep track of and watch their head explode. Want to see Coco go nuts? Invite three friends over and send one of them to the bathroom. That trick never gets old.

I immediately text message Jon: “Our dogs are awful. Also, Coco is a bigot.”

When we finally get back to an examination room I ask the doctor if they can take a look inside Coco’s right ear. She says no problem, and within mere minutes of taking the dogs back to address their respective concerns she returns to tell me that they have found a foxtail inside her ear. A large one. Larger than they have ever pulled out of a dog’s ear. And because she is so anxious they’re going to have to sedate her a bit in order to get it out. I imagine that if Coco were capable of a single coherent thought she’d be panicking that this time they were going in for the kidneys. So that they could sell them on Craigslist.

I wait for over 45 minutes and begin to wonder if maybe that foxtail is as big as a grain silo. The doctor finally returns with both dogs, Chuck high from all the attention, Coco a mad, pacing mess of nerves. She shows me the gigantic foxtail they removed and talks me through the procedure, and the whole time Coco circles the room crying. That crying goes on for another five hours, from the moment we leave the examination room, through the lobby of the building, out into the parking lot, along the entire ride home, and then as she tries to find a comfortable spot on the sofa? No. The bed? No. The floor? No. How about the sofa again? No. Oh FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, DOG. PICK A SPOT AND STICK WITH IT. You can cry all you want, I will even hold your head while you do it, I just cannot take the pacing, pacing, pacing. Suddenly I’m seeing why people adopt turtles.

She finally calms down when she falls asleep for the night, and the following morning she’s as chipper as ever, jumping straight from the floor and landing directly on Jon’s crotch to say good morning. We’re exhausted from the emotional crying jag and everything else we’ve had to get done before our week long trip away from home, and so we both absentmindedly fall asleep thinking that the other one is keeping track of Coco. THAT NEVER ENDS WELL. Pretty much if I ever begin a sentence with, “But I thought Jon was watching her,” you can assume that the story ends with all of us dying.

This time it was worse. She crapped all over the kitchen floor.

And not just a little crap. A WHOLE LOAD OF CRAP. BUCKETS AND BUCKETS OF CRAP. A PACIFIC OCEAN OF CRAP. From the point of origin (the middle of the kitchen dog bed), all the way along the floor, up onto two stainless steel planters and the dishwasher, all over five cabinet doors, and ending in her food bowl. IN HER FOOD BOWL. OF COURSE IN HER FOOD BOWL. That’s probably where she was headed all along and is now pissed that she wasted so much of it on the dirty kitchen floor. Can’t eat that shit now CAUSE IT’S BEEN ON THE FLOOR.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this story other than to say that Jon repeatedly asked me that morning what I thought Coco had eaten to make her sick like that, and I kept giving him this really evil look like ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? She didn’t get sick from eating something, she got sick because for several hours the day before she thought she was going to die. Do you know what that kind of stress does to your system? You and I can knock back a bourbon, but Coco? COCO DOESN’T HAVE BOURBON. SPRAYING SHIT SEEMS LIKE A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE.

  • http://www.becomingsomething.typepad.com Natasha

    COME. ONNNN. ! HOW do you DO this? I mean, I’m an animal lover and I believe, too, that when you adopt a pet that it’s a lifelong decision. You don’t just drop ‘em off at the Humane Society because they eat a few shoes. BUT.

    I THOUGHT I knew what a foxtail was. I mean, I knew it was a plant. So I googled “foxtail plant” and found this: http://www.aztecanimalclinic.com/foxtails.htm And it was a scary read! Coco got off lucky, it sounds like.

    I think Jon’s comment may have been about the QUANTITY of poop. Stress doesn’t create poop. Food does. So, what did she eat? Another dog?

    I’m really sorry. No one should have to go through that. I don’t now how you didn’t throw up everywhere and I wonder, how do you feel like the place is disinfected enough after that?

    Also, the tights were great! Not the first time anyone has worn coloured tights. I guess JULY is not a common time for them…. Ya. Why were you wearing tights in July?

  • Talon

    re: #348…are you fucking serious? You don’t tell a blogger what to put on her blog!! “No more dog poop stories please” my aunt Dot’s fat ASS!!

    *shakes head*

    Honestly…suck it up, buttercup.

  • http://synesthesiaphotography.com doug

    Um, yeah. You two really must enjoy the time away from home, no? Even sitting all day in an airport would be preferable to a kitchen full of shit to me.

    I was spoiled, though. The chow my ex-wife an I had actually got into the tub on his own (we weren’t home) when he had the runs, so all I had to clean up was his trimmed butt hair. Let me tell you, he got treats for THAT.

  • rb

    I don’t know why, but this story reminds me of when I took my 3 year old nephew to his first port-a-potty ever, and the potty was completely full, almost overflowing,

    and he came running out of the port-a-potty yelling “PEE PEE! POO POO! PEE PEE! POO POO!”

    I guess I’m thinking that’s what Coco would have been yelling.

  • http://www.heathersgarden.typepad.com Heather’s Garden

    I know you’re having a hard time and dogshit all over the place isn’t helping. You keep making reference to the internet criticizing you…remember that it is a very small minority, the rest of us love you! I miss the more personal stories, but I totally understand why you’re holding back. I’ll never have anything like the following that you have and I have to say I’m glad. It takes a special person to write, design, and photograph as well as you do, and an incredibly special person to share even a little bit of their personal life with so many potentially hostile strangers. Be proud!

  • http://jessinfocus.blogspot.com Jessica

    With my weak stomach I’d be cleaning up dog shit and vomit! This is why I have a cat. That is ONE cat. She shits in a box! :)

  • http://www.sensiblysassy.blogspot.com Sarah

    On the bright side you should be happy you don’t spray shit when you get anxious or else blogher would have been real awkward.

  • http://www.digitalcatharsis.com the mighty jimbo

    and i totally tried to warn you about the aussies. all the trouble i got into overseas involved australians. what made you think their dogs would be any different? does anyone listen to jimbo? noooooooooooooooooooo.

    still, they are cute little shitbirds.

    i say, skip the hippo as your next pet. just get three or four sheep (or a dozen toddlers) and toss them all into the backyard with coco. let those instincts take care of themselves.

    then again, maybe the bourbon isn’t a bad idea. if you drink enough of it, maybe she won’t seem so bad.

  • Lauri

    My friend suggested I read this entry to help my perspective about dealing with my wild puppy this evening. I must say this story helped so much!

  • http://www.blessourhearts.blogspot.com/ Ms. Moon

    I’m sorry but unless that dog is adding years of joy to your life, I have no idea why you haven’t given her to someone who has a field full of sheep.

  • http://blog.scalejunkie.com Scale Junkie

    My two go Cocoberserk at the vets too.

    When I told my husband that taking them was a nightmare he replied with “What do you expect? They stick things up their butts there” Hmmm, he has a point.

  • http://rainydaydiamonds.blogspot.com Kim

    Oh! My! Goodness! Freakin’ hilarious. As a proud owner of three crazy Boxer Babes, I feel your pain!

  • Terri

    I was upset because the maid came today and when I returned from the gym one of our four dogs had peed a HUGE puddle (seriously, it was the size of a million extra large foxtails) on the tile floor.

    Guess that seems like a picnic in the park right now!

  • mark

    I can no longer look at a picture of Coco and not think of poop.

  • TKS

    If it makes you feel at all better: I live just outside of Boston. My Boston Terrier abhors thunder and lightning. Tonight, the storm “system” over our area is so terrible that they issued a tornado warning earlier (thankfully, in the land where a 1500 square foot costs $500K, there aren’t many trailers ’round here).

    So here’s the funny part: tomorrow, I am going away for 3 days/2 nights. My MIL is watching our 2-year old and our dog AT HER HOUSE! This dog is going to go on a crapping-in-the-house tirade that may be as of yet unimagined in this universe.

    I would feel bad if she didn’t tell me consistently that I don’t have any pride in my home…try taking pride in your home once my pooch has shat all over it :)

    Whee. Here’s to maturity!

  • http://sydneys_shadow.blogspot.com SydneyDawn

    The small portion of the Internet that likes to tell you you’re doing it all wrong is just jealous. Don’t mind them. I find you hilarious. And the purple tights? A big risk, but you looked awesome. Happy belated birthday!

  • Amanda Brumfield

    You looked like a stone- cold Fox at Blogher, wish I could have been there to help support you.

    The purple tights are badass and the only thing that would have made them more badass is if they’d had hot pink flames up the side of each leg, outlined in little black letters that read, “fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you…”.

    Who’s rock n roll up in this bitch? Heather Armstrong, that’s who.

  • http://gigiredefined.typepad.com Gigi

    Your dog stories are amazing.

    It makes me sort of want a dog, until I remember that the stories are mostly about poop.

  • Beth

    I dig the purple tights.

  • http://diamondh.blogs.com diamond

    Wow. You won’t get any “You’re doing it wrong!” comments from this commenter. No. You get a gold medal. And dog owner of the year award. I thought my cute but oh-so-hyperactive-and-such-a-PISSANT of a chihuahua was a handful. No. Coco definitely wins. Maybe she’ll outgrow it when she reaches “Big Dog” age? Mellow with age like a nice wine? One can only hope!

  • http://preteenstoddlersandnewbornsohmy.blogspot.com/ jennielynn

    LMAO We were kicking the idea of another dog around, a puppy for the kids, you know? I think I’ll be pulling that off the table now.

  • http://refreshingrain.net Crys

    I’m book marking this entry. From now on when ever my dog leaves a big steaming pile of nastiness on my floor, I’m going to read this and remind myself that things could have been worse.

    I can’t imagine have to clean up all that shit. I wouldn’t know where to start. Maybe with a hose?

  • Courtney

    I needed a belly laugh tonight.

    My dog used to shit in her cage and roll in it within five minutes of me leaving her. EVERY time I left her. Believe me, we tested her. That takes pure, raw talent. I was not so much impressed though.

  • http://shellydonald.blogspot.com ShellyD

    I feel your pain! Damn dogs can be so annoying. Lucky for me that the hubby gets up first because he went into the kitchen where the three of them sleep and there was doggy diarrhea all over. This just happened two days ago. Of course, he has to come in and wake me up at 5:30 in the morning to let me know about it, but he said he doesn’t expect me to clean it up. Good, because I didn’t! Hope your morning went better after that!

  • Anonymous

    Not sure what a foxtail is. Not sure I want to know, but my heart goes out to you. You seem to have a wealth of patience. We’ve been toying around about the idea of getting a dog. Giving in to our daughter’s all too frequent requests/begging sessions. I’ve been on the fence about getting a dog. Thank you for helping me get off the fence and say no — for now. I love dogs, but not sure I love their crap all over my house.

  • Scotty

    On a shit day (pun intended) you can really make me laugh my ass off.

    Thank you so very much

  • http://bestofcourt.blogspot.com Court


  • http://yogagrrl.wordpress.com Sarah

    I laughed until I cried, but only because I feel your pain. The only upside to taking Piper for stitches in her paw was her head cone and the drunken stumble she took toward the car. There was also a shitstorm the next day.

  • http://mskarensplace.blogspot.com Ms. Karen

    Wait… I think I understand!

    You didn’t adopt a dog, silly people, you found yourself the tenth level of hell.


    (sorry about the shit in the kitchen, and especially the dishwasher. The dishwasher?!? That is some talented beast you have there. Damn. The dishwasher!)

  • Mercutia

    Dude, maybe you should GIVE Coco some bourbon. With a rum chaser.

    If anyone gives you hard time about it, I will personally punch them for you. Assuming by that time I’m not seeing double.

  • Catie

    At least its not a common occurrence. My parents have a cat (Spoofer-Angel) who is scared of her own shit and will get nervous during a poop and try to waddle off with dingleberries stuck to her butt. EVERY DAY.

  • http://www.Halushki.com Jozet at Halushki

    For god’s sake, don’t get sea monkeys.

    Ours ripped down the curtains and then we found them humping the cat. The cat was never the same. The suckers are mean.

  • http://phhhst.blogspot.com/ phhhst

    Our Border Collie made one year in March and when he went to the vet for his check up he was so anxious he expressed his anal glands. It smells like fish oil on hot shit.

    Thank-you for cheering me up; I go back to work tomorrow (high school teacher) and had been thinking of jumping off the roof so I could stay home in casts.

  • Wazoo

    This happens to me too every time I get stressed.

  • Anonymous

    My fiance just read your post to me. We have a similarly bigoted puppy. I think our Eli has been looking for little white pointy hats at every pets store we go too…..

  • Jan from Wyoming

    Hi Dooce,

    First of all, your fashion sense is always right on as far as I’m concerned. I loved the purple tights and I envy you for the beautiful f**k me red heels. I can’t wear heels anymore and I miss them.

    Second… I read your blog EVERY day and it is my all-time favorite blog. Through your blog, I have met many other incredible bloggers. Some are friends of yours, some are bloggers I’ve found through the friends’ blogs. So thank you for introducing me to a lot of wonderful folks on the web.

    Third, ignore those ignorant people who diss you. As far as I am concerned, you are doing everything just right! Having grown up in a very strict religion, I remember well the disproval and gossip that goes on. Luckily, nobody from the church tries to “save” me anymore.

    I keep a “quote of the day” file. Today’s quote is,”In fact, the vet is perhaps Chuck’s favorite place in the world if you don’t count the butthole of every dog he’s ever met.”

    I am sure that Chuck is the only dog I’ve “known” who loves to go to the vet. He must be one laid back and sweet dog!

    Foxtail… that evil stuff. I grew up on a farm, and it was horrible when a cow, horse, sheep, etc got a foxtail stuck in it’s mouth and it started burrowing in. Poor Coco. I’d be crying all day too.

    And, well, the crap thing… SO, SO sorry that you had to go through that.

    Finally, Leta is such a beauty. I love that she’s also a total character. Kind of like her mom, I would say.

    Thanks so much Dooce for sharing your life and your incredible sense of humor with your readers. You are a daily delight in my life.

  • http://www.baconismyenemy.com Giyen

    do i really want a dog?

    the aussie we used to have couldnt stand fecal matter and would crouch in horror every time she pooped. she never pooped in the house, but would make us walk for miles and miles and miles before she would even consider shitting. you know, just in case the neighbor dogs would see.

  • http://carolbrowne.com carol browe

    EW! Poor Coco. But on another topic entirely…today’s picture of Leta “playing stickers” is really beautiful. Her expression is peaceful and her hair is softly blown like there’s a wind machine nearby. There wasn’t one, was there? Hee!

  • http://www.transcendentalreality.com/blog/ Tracy

    Alternatively, she could be like our puppy, and eat the leather couch.


    As gross as poop is, it can be cleaned.

  • Liz

    They say pets take on the traits of the owners, and with all due respect, you often mention you have some nervous poopy problems of your own. Having said that, anesthesia can make dogs (and humans for that matter) have upset stomachs/bowels. Someday when Coco’s all grown up, this will all seem like a bad dream.

  • Gabe

    Can you please take photos of these famous Coco shit storms and post them on your Web site? Pllleeeaaassseeee!

  • http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com luna

    wow, she crapped in her bowl. nasty,

    our old dog used to get so stressed at the vet that she gave herself an ulcer. the vet techs said we couldn’t leave her there anymore unless they sedated her. nice.

    I can’t believe how many comments you get. can you?

  • http://www.frosty-licious.blogspot.com Frost

    I needed to laugh that much today. You make me feel better about my own shit-eating beasts. Thank you.


  • Clara

    After our old cat died, we got a new kitten and he’s driving us up the wall and harassing the other cat. Can’t wait to get him spade when he’s six months. Hopefully he’ll calm down a bit. But he’s still cute…

  • Beth

    Oh Heather, the joy of having dogs! I feel your pain. My westie gets diarrhea anytime she gets the least bit excited. We crate her at night, well not crate, but she has a nice large pen in the family room (not the most attractive thing) she sleeps in there after her and Bo the scottie pissed all over the couches, chairs, and carpets. So now, 2 couches and chairs and a nice berber rug later, we have pergo (love it) and a nice new sectional that the animals are not allowed up on. Can’t afford to keep replacing furniture.

    I think dogs are more work than kids. At least kids grow up and become somewhat self sufficient. At least they hopefully stop shitting al over the floor by the time they’re five.


  • palagimama

    Why don’t you just get rid of the damn dog?

  • Tracy

    I Love Chuck

  • Lilah

    Only just found this blog, thanks to Skinny Jeans, and your style of writing is brilliant! Really made me giggle. Well done on a fab blog. I look forward to reading more!

  • http://www.inevergrewup.net Vanessa

    Ugh our 100 lb rottie got heat stroke earlier this week and threw up buckets and buckets 8 times all over my house. When dogs get sick they get sick and it is explosive.
    Not fun at all.

  • Kevin

    Heather, trainer Victoria Stilwell is Anne Sullivan for dogs. Her show, It’s Me or the Dog (on Animal Planet), is absolutely amazing. The show comes on 4x a day, so definitely check it out. They’re currently accepting applications for new episodes in the US: http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/its-me-or-the-dog/casting.html