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.allconsuming.blogspot.com kim at allconsuming

    Oh – and those purple tights? And your hair?


    And I want a pair of those sneakers. In green.

  • http://pinkasparag.us Catherine

    My very ferocious COCKAPOO thought that fluffy puppies were for gnawing on at the vet. Oddly, they and their owners were not amused.

  • jazztater

    When I was an infant, my mom and dad had a purebred female collie who was named Leta (funny coincidence huh?). Leta was not only a bigot she was also gay or asexual (she refused to be bred). My dad told the story about working out in our front yard and before he knew it, Leta had our black mail man on the ground with her teeth on his throat and all of his letters up in the air swirling around him.

    My wonder dog, Scarlett, a Pembroke Welsh corgi, does not like going to the groomers. One time she actually made a break for it while she was there. She got out of her collar since her neck is bigger than her head and was almost out the front door before she was stopped. Now she can tell where she is and plants her feet into the ground outside and refuses to move. I end up carrying her into the store which is like carrying a short 32 lb. log.

    My own personal horror story experience with poop and animals is limited to my Willy cat who has had a subtotal colectomy due to an injury that I unknowingly inflicted upon him years ago (closed the garage door on him – all I could see was from his mid-torso to his tail).

    Please be patient with CoCo – it would break Chuck’s heart if you decided not to keep her.

  • KJ

    Ah, the waiting room hall of shame. I once had to take our (neutered) dog to the vet because his lipstick hadn’t gone back in the case (that is a euphemism) for a whole day. And I had to explain this problem to the assistant in front of a waiting room full of people while trying to prevent my 100-lb overly-friendly and over-exposed lab from lunging toward all of their well-behaved and properly sheathed pets. And then I got to watch the vet lube him up.

  • http://www.passthezoloft.blogspot.com andrea frazer

    I saw you speak at Blogher so I know you read all your comments, so I have 3:

    1. I’m so not a hater. Bad bad haters. Liked the purple tights.

    2. I’m sorry about the dog, but you told it so well.

    3. I would not advise a turtle over a dog any day of the week. Have you seen turtle crap? It’s not only long and stringy and worse than silly putty, but it carries salmonella (spelling… I’m lazy, sorry) and if your daughter ever touches it she’ll crap more than poor Coco. No joke.

    Hope all gets better soon.

  • http://lessthanlucid.blogspot.com lucidkim

    wow. you’ve just convinced to get a turtle instead of a dog. i can’t get the image of a pacific ocean of crap in your kitchen out of my head.


  • Jenn

    Ok, I had to google “foxtail” because I just knew that you did NOT say there was an actual fox tail in her ear. I was quite relieved to find out what it really is. I read the whole post wondering, “WTF???? Well what the hell happened to the rest of the damn fox?” I feel quite dumb now. But then I’m in Ohio, maybe we don’t have those here.

  • http://manicmomday.wordpress.com Kate

    Funniest Coco story EVER.

  • http://stopscreamingimdriving.com Carrie

    Is nobody going to mention the fact that you said “demonic goblin?” Nobody? That, right there, was not overlooked.

    Either way, I feel your pain w/the Aussie. I have one of those myself and he is a royal pain.

  • http://www.borskys.blogspot.com Rosie

    Aaaah, this is why my husband won’t let my kids get a dog. And I just thought he was being mean! I forgive him.

  • http://www.xanga.com/Bratfink Brat

    I am never getting another dog. I’m sticking with cats… LOL

    I’m sorry. It was hilarious, but I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    But happy, so we could laugh WITH you. Never at you. Nope.

  • Cheri

    This had me in stitches. It’s wonderful to be able to come to this site and have a good laugh after the night I’ve had. I truely appreciate that you are able to find humor in these frustrating situations. What else can ya do sometimes? Great read!!

  • emily

    Frequently I read, and frequently I think that is the most hilarious thing ever. But this truly is the MOST HILARIOUS THING EVER.

  • http://www.thenigburfamily.blogspot.com Mandy

    That is hilarious/disturbing! I tell ya, if I had a dog that crapped as much as Coco, she would be sold to the lowest bidder. You are more patient than I am! Good luck.

  • http://www.transcontinentaldrift.com Tania

    Not sure if there is any connection, but in Portuguese “coco” means poop – or coconut, depending on where you put the emphasis (yes, Brazilians do have a hard time not cracking up on the beach when the American tourists order a poop water). Does your pup have any Brazilian in her? Maybe she takes her name literally.

  • http://table4five.net Elizabeth

    Poor Coco! I had to Google Foxtail, poor pup having one in her EAR! But still, all that shit? Probably a reaction to the anesthesia, but STILL.

    Oh, and add me to the list of people who thought your purple tights at BlogHer were awesome!

  • Kat

    You should totally call The Dog Whisperer.

  • http://www.heidicoleblog.blogspot.com/ Mommy Madness

    My two-year old recently gave Coco a run for her money! It was day two of potty training and Camden insited on being naked so he could, “Pee-pee in the potty chair.” Well, he was “helping” me do laundry — his favorite place to stand is on top of the dryer while I switch the loads. I am putting clothes into the dryer and all of a sudden there’s diarrhea everywhere. On top of the dryer, down the sides of the dryer, down the sides of the washing machine, on the floor in between the two, and all over me. I still have no idea how a toddler hiney can cover that much area with a single spray… Needless to say I put the naked potty training on hold until the diarrhea went away.

  • momof8

    You know after going through 8 kids with diapers, I told my children they could have any pet they want–as long as it doesn’t poop. After reading your blog I think I am very wise. You must really love that dog.

  • Honey

    I love when you cuss. It makes me read faster!

  • Bergundy

    Why not give Coco up for a more appropriate home? Honestly, this animal is best suited to life on a farm or mountainside, sleeping outdoors except in deep winter.

    The sheer level of unhygienicness boggles the mind. I thought a smelly diaper was bad, having dog excrement is beyond gross. It might be dangerous health-wise for the humans in the house

  • jacq

    awww -

    i’m glad that someone else thinks that it’s a least a little reasonable that dogs sometimes communicate with shit.

    i mean they can’t talk. and the phrase “pissed off” came from somewhere….

    btw – my dog kept my wife from being late to our wedding. when she’s nervous she starts projects. i was sure that i’d be hanging out at the altar in my utterly hot dress while she was reorganizing the basement. but instead, Malik decided to decorate the kitchen with poop (he was a very sensitive boy). and, because i’d been feeding him super green algae (don’t ask) – the poop was green. by the time she finished cleaning the kitchen, it was time for her to head out to the ceremony….

  • http://wwww.shamelesslysassy.com Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy

    This is why my daughter and I have a pet snail. It has yet to shit up my kitchen. But my 60 year old, 400 lb. next door shit on my couch once, if that counts?

  • Anne

    So sorry, humans of Coco! It’s a herding dog thing, and reminds me of the time we got the Atlantic Ocean of shit out of my beloved rough collie when she was freaked out. Also storms and hurricanes freaked her out, and I moved from California to the Gulf Coast, notable for its lack of sheep and for its plethora of, you know, storms. Bummer. I played Orthodox chant for her, so the deep bass notes would disguise the noise outside.

    Collies should not have flagyl, but you should check about Aussies. Could really settle the stomach–use symptomatically. Aforesaid collie had her own dedicated bottle of plain flavored kaopectate, with a toddler syringe kept next to it. You can’t overdose them on the kaopectate, and even if they spray it out of their mouth, its better than poop. Also sedates them a bit.

  • Mary Jo

    This makes me even more excited about picking up my puppy this morning. We are getting a 2nd beagle… adorable! But man… not looking forward to potty training.

  • Mary

    My dog recycles—tries her best to eat all her poop ! Ugh. If she would have been there I know she would have really enjoyed helping clean up !

    Welcome back ! You wear the purple tights oh so well.

  • http://everedstone.blogspot.com/ eve

    I vote a bourbon next time you take her to the vets, each.

  • Val

    After reading your post I had a flashback to the very early morning about 7 months ago when I had gotten up to check on our baby. Near the changing table (which we kept in the living room to discourage visitors) I noticed something dark on the ground. Luckily rather than groping around on the floor in the dark, I turned on a light. Unluckily, I discovered that our dog had left a multitude of little islands of poop and poop particles floating on our carpet all around the baby changing station. I think it was the dog’s way of saying “thanks for that visit to the kennel, you jerks”. Or possibly, “I was here long before the small, squalling one”. I considered cleaning up the poop party myself, but decided that I shouldn’t deprive my husband of sharing in the experience.

    Thanks for sharing about Coco and Chuck… you made me laugh.

  • http://www.myspace.com/NatalieKayeArazi Anonymous

    LMAO! Here’s to Coco someday growing out of her pain-in-the-ass puppyhood!

  • Deanna

    Reminds me of the time our otherwise-lovely black lab/German shepherd mix growing up–she had a, er, delicate constitution. Both my parents were working late one time and I was the first one home and found…the shitstorm. Everywhere, all over the carpet (and not a DROP on the kitchen tile, natch), in huge long spurts. To this day we have no idea what triggered it. My sister was dropped off by a friend about twenty minutes later and I met her at the door to say, “I’m giving you the chance to walk away now and go next door. If you come through the door, you aren’t leaving until you help me clean everything. And I’m not telling you what ‘everything’ is.” God love her, she came in anyway.

    For August: “Dooce: Doin’ It and Doin’ It and Doin’ It Wrong”?

  • Elaine in the UK

    My first husband and I had a dog who was so overjoyed whenever we came home that she would run up the hall to greet us wagging her entire rear end and pissing herself with excitement as she ran!

    Now I have 4 cats. However, when I got my 4th kitten the ‘Boss Cat’ decided she didn’t like her. She used to corner her and stand over her growling and hissing menacingly until the baby pooped herself explosively and rolled in it! I can’t tell you the number of times that cat had to be bathed! And have you ever tried bathing a cat? A poop-covered cat? This went on for much of the first year we had her, and I seriously thought of re-homing the new girl. However I consulted a cat behaviour therapist and eventually we got through it. In fact, now – amazingly – they are actually good friends! I really think a behaviour therapist might help Coco!

    Oh, and here in the UK we don’t call them ‘fox tails’ – but I was able to guess what they were.


  • xixita

    been a Dooce follower for the past 2 months and not regreting at all. thank you!

    BTW, you know that “COCO” in at least Portuguese and French means “poop” don’t you? so it was kind of already decided when you named your dog…

    congrats for the beautifull family you have.

  • J. Bo

    There’s nothing left to say but “Oh, honey…”

    Oh, honey…

  • http://kathy-p.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    My cat hates the vet. Let me rephrase that: she the car ride to the vet. Once she’s in the building she’s all sweetness and head bumping. And it’s not just normal cat crying on the way there, it’s that high pitched wailing that says I’m a horrible pet owner for doing this to her.

  • lynn

    theres a product called “rescue remedy” that you can give to dogs (and people) thats supposed to be calming. my aunt uses it for her dogs (and herself sometimes;))

  • Julie

    Ok….and that is gawdawful…..but can you possible give Coco a little puppy xanax next time you have to go to the vet? Poor all of you. Sounds like a slasher movie, only with dogshit instead of blood.
    Welcome back.

  • http://www.billygean.co.uk billygean

    My father wanted to share his prozac with our cat when the cat went so mental he ramsacked the kitchen looking for catnip, ripped the bag open and, mixing the catnip with his drool, spread it all over the house. We had to follow the trail of drool and catnip paste to the back of the back garden where he law sprawled on his back like a stoner.

    It was not cool.


  • http://www.aplanetnamedjanet.blogspot.com Janet

    Somewhere, somehow, someone must make bourbon for dogs. Sounds like a reasonable solution.

  • http://pinkvanillacupcakes.blogspot.com Suzi from Pink Vanilla Cupcakes

    Possibly the funniest post ever. I’ve never heard of a foxtail before. Those are absolutely dreadful. WTF. Glad the dogs are okay now. Sorry about your kitchen crapfest. :(

  • http://www.staceymorigeau.com stacey

    oh my. That is what I felt like when some kitten’s I was watching crapped ALL over the bathroom floor. It was so disgusting. So I don’t want to give you ASSvice, but have you thought of having Coco medicated? No I am serious. My sister is a vet and one of her dogs is medicated. She has OCD. Yup a dog with OCD. Of course it could be that there is no medication for Coco….and it is all behavioral. Watching a dog now who isn’t happy with me and is peeing in places that she shouldn’t be (hot tub cover) Animals are fun.

  • Anonymous

    Just to keep solidarity with other husbands out there, I recollect that you wanted Coco and Jon didn’t, correct?
    So shouldn’t YOU, not he, be keeping track of her?

  • Autumn

    Thank you for making me laugh today. :)

  • http://www.luckymagpie.com magpie

    Crying I am, and laughing. My god, now I know why I don’t have dogs. Too funny though.B

  • Soph

    why is poo funny? and lots of poo lots funny?

  • A

    If it makes you feel any better, I stepped in my cat’s pile of shit she left at the front door this morning.
    Not the same magnitude, but you can’t deny – nothing says GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE like stepping in and/or coming into any sort of contact with animal crap.

  • http://hungrybruno.blogspot.com Adrienne

    MAN you’re funny. I’m sorry about the exploding dog shit morning, but you are one funny lady. Also, I’m glad you use reCaptcha. It’s my favorite.

  • http://almostriddells.blogspot.com Lauren

    I took our 80 pound weimaraner to have his talons cut the other day at Petsmart…. they have to grind them off with some kind of medieval stone while he is sedated. When I went to pick him up he was noticeably upset and reeaaally wanted to get outside. When I stopped at the register to pay he sauntered over to the MIDDLE of the ENTRANCE FLOOR and took a gigantic, runny, orange-and-tan, pestiforous dump. I turned around to the people waiting in line and took a bow.

  • http://www.doodlerooskie.blogspot.com Dodi

    1. GROSS. Exactly the reason we don’t have a dog. (The three kids provide enough shit, thank you very much.)

    2. Glad you opened your comments! I’ve just recently found your blog and have wanted to comment several times.

    3. I admire your courage against the haters. It can’t be fun to write knowing they are going to tear you apart each time. Keep it up!!! It’s like celebrities on SNL…you know you’ve made it when you’re big enough to be made fun of!

  • http://theneoskeptic.blogspot.com t(h)om

    this is your best post in weeks. terrible awful story, but told in such a tremendously wonderful way.

  • http://icouldcrybutidonthavetime.wordpress.com amyz5

    THAT could only be appreciated by a dog owner. your description of getting the dogs into the vet and not wanting to have eye contact with anyone killed me. i have been there.

    as for the kitchen crapfest, that is more than any dog owner should bear. makes you ponder the pet value, no?