the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Life with two dogs. Much different than life on a beach with a margarita.

The addition of Dame Micro Turdlet to our family has increased the chaos of our lives by about 400 percent, although in the last week I have only wanted to drown her in a pot of chicken broth two or three times. There was this one time, I think I was reading a website or a book, I can’t remember, but it said that Australian Shepherds are smart animals, or I guess as smart as one can be when one’s main goal in life is to research the smell of someone else’s butt so that one can file it away in the scent cabinet of one’s brain. Very Important Work.

And I trusted that this might be true because I have seen Australian Shepherds acting smartly, being very competent companions, fetching newspapers and brewing the morning coffee. So you can understand my frustration when five weeks into owning one of my very own I look up and she is squatting in the middle of my very clean kitchen and emptying her bowels on the floor. And then afterward she looks up and is all, what? Why are you screaming at me like that? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So I had a total breakdown, and while on vacation in San Diego after Coco had four accidents in the hotel room, I turned to Jon and said, hi, how are you? I am unhappy and since you like to fix things I’ve got a project for you: one, please housebreak the dog because whatever I am doing is not working. Two, you seem to be unreasonably grumpy lately, and if you didn’t know this already there are things out there that can help you overcome that emotion. I even have some of those things in my purse. Here. Take one.

Now, I am right this instant knocking my whole head on wood, but Coco hasn’t had an accident in 12 days. Because Jon has been physically tied to that dog for three straight weeks, has taught her how to touch the door with her paw, has gotten up in the middle of many snowy nights, put on his snow boots and stood outside in his pajamas so that she could take care of business. And we think she finally gets it, although there was that one day when I was looking through a stack of junk mail in the kitchen and I casually looked up to find a long path of poopy paw prints weaving its way around the dining table and off into the living room. You know how sometimes in movies the camera will focus in on one object at the same time that it is pulling away from everything else? To signal to the audience, hey, this is a TOTALLY DRAMATIC MOMENT, PAY ATTENTION. My vision did just that, I closed in on one poopy paw print and the rest of the room went blurry, and I thought, hmm, what is that funny, familiar feeling in my gut? Oh right. Nausea.

So I start following the path thinking for sure that I’m going to stumble upon a hidden pile of dog poop, except that the path keeps winding and going on forever, and my house is now just a huge canvas covered in poopy polka dots, and why can I not find the poop? In and out of the kitchen, around the entire perimeter of the living room, down the hallway into the office and back again, you’d think that the dog would be all, what is this yucky, wet substance on my foot, here, let me STAND STILL SO I DON’T GET IT ON ANYTHING. But instead the dog was all, maybe it will wear off if I WANDER AROUND AIMLESSLY.

And then the path trots merrily down the carpeted steps, through the carpeted hallway downstairs and out the basement door. And when you add two and two together you get oh, phew! Someone stepped in poop outside! But don’t celebrate just yet because SO WHAT? THE HOUSE IS STILL COVERED IN SHIT. And by this time Jon has both dogs quarantined, and because I am out of my mind I go looking for which dog did this, and how do I go about this inspection? Do you really want to know? Because my gag reflex is already starting to act up just thinking about it, and fine. Okay. I smelled their paws. I admit it. There is no excuse, I just had to know, you know? And when I smelled one of Chuck’s back paws, the one that had stepped in his own poop outside, I died. And fell over dead. My obituary read: KILLED BY MALODOROUS PAW. They sang Mormon hymns at my funeral.

Two hours later the path of poopy paw prints was finally clean, and man, we should have sold tickets to that spectacle. I wasn’t thinking clearly, because I was dead, and instead of tying up the dogs we just let them run around while we cleaned, and Coco was all, how crazy is this, there are treats EVERYWHERE! And she’s meandering around the house licking the floor. And Leta is jumping up and down on the couch screaming I DIDN’T POOP ON THE FLOOR! IT WASN’T ME! Because you clearly cannot get ahead in life if you are not actively taking advantage of every opportunity to make yourself look good. The dog tracked poop all over the floor, yes, but more importantly SHE DIDN’T. And she was expecting a trophy.

Anyway, whatever. Coco didn’t have an accident, it was all just a huge, messy misunderstanding. And this week is the first week since we’ve had her that I haven’t felt like a prisoner in my own home, waiting waiting waiting to walk around the corner and step into a fresh puddle of urine. Also, Jon is considerably less grumpy, I’ll let him give you the specifics, but in an effort to help alleviate his grumpiness further we spent 17 hours at the doctor’s office yesterday getting him a CT scan and trying to figure out why his sinuses are so mean to him. The scan looked good, although the ear, nose, and throat specialist was a total nerd and was cracking nerd jokes about bones that made no sense to me because I did not get a medical degree from Harvard. And as he’s pointing to the illuminated CT scan and laughing at why that little thing right there? That’s called the sphenoid bone. Get it? GET IT? Jon and I are pretending to understand, laughing nervously like, yeah. That sphenoid bone is a total riot.

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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