the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Outside the Box

Chuck has slept in a locked crate since the second night of his life in our family. Crate training was something we had read and heard about, and after a single night of having him sleep on a blanket next to the bed, a night of living hell wherein we’d wake repeatedly to the sound of him pooping and having a joyful wee in various corners of the bedroom, we knew that there was no other way to go about training our little beast, aside from perhaps incessant freakish screaming in a Southern accent which has worked gloriously on occasion.

We call his crate The Box, and for the last 300 nights or so he has slept in The Box, albeit frequently unwillingly. Sometimes when it’s time to go into The Box he’ll pout or hide behind behind my legs, his nose and ears peeking through the space between my knees. But Jon and I are both confident that The Box is the best thing that has ever happened to our dog, so much so that we’re always quick to tell parents of a screaming toddler or whiny baby, stick the damn thing in a box!

But recently I’ve been bugging Jon to let Chuck sleep outside of The Box if only because he seems mature enough to handle the responsibility. I mean, Chuck is almost a year old, and he already knows his multiplication tables. How hard could it be for him to sleep in the little fleece puppy bed in the corner of the room? Not hard, I know, but you underestimate the tenacity and overall bull-headedness of the one I call Husband. He’ll say, “No way,” and “Nuh-huh,” and “Blah blah, we need to be united on this, blah blah,” something a conscientious yet wholly stubborn parent would say, whatever. He totally doesn’t understand, and I’m totally rolling my eyes when I say that.

So a few nights ago in the middle of the night I heard a terrible sound coming from The Box. It’s a sound so distinct and bone-chilling that you know what it is before the end of the first bellowing syllable. And that sound was the centipede-like contortion of Chuck’s abdomen as he regurgitated half of his dinner, moving from his hind-quarters up through his belly, wriggling up his puppy esophagus and out of his snout in a gigantic burst of moaning, gritty bile.

So I quickly cleaned it up and somehow convinced a sleepy unsuspecting Husband to let Chuck sleep outside of The Box for the rest of the night. And let me tell you, I was almost so excited I couldn’t get back to sleep. It was like the first slumber party with my dog ever!

Except he didn’t sleep in the little fleece puppy bed in the corner of the room. And he didn’t sleep on a blanket beside the bed. No, my 45 pound SuperMut slept in the bed on top of my body. Sometimes he was on my legs, other times he was stretched out prostrate across my torso. For the majority of the night he stole the covers and occupied my entire half of the bed, twitching and snoring like a bloated Fred Flintstone in a wife beater. I’m certain he had a dream wherein he chased a rabbit through the woods, finally catching it and ripping off its bloody head with the swift jerk of his entire spasmodic body. I woke in the morning with his tail up my nose.

I think it’s safe to say that I will never again question Husband’s judgment. That SuperMut motherfucker is going back in The Box.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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