the smell of my desperation has become a stench

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.

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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