An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • Erin

    Oh, I know it was awful for you, but it is so very, very hilarious, this story.

    And, the haters are dumb. 🙂 You are awesome.

  • Meg

    how does a foxtail get into a dog’s ear? is foxtail a euphemism for something?

  • Anonymous

    I just laughed so hard I cried reading that….poor Coco, poor Heather!

  • OH. My. God. Poor you. Poor Coco. Funny story, yes, but imagining the mess is making me gag.

  • All I can really muster is…bummer.

  • candybeans

    if any living thing in my house pooped on my stuff that much, i’d be forced to blind fold it and deposit it in a lonely field. you’re a better woman than i, dooce.

  • Victoria

    Wowza. Sorry about all that shit. What a welcome home, eh?

    I was hoping to see you somewhere in SF this last weekend, but alas, I didn’t spot the purple tights anywhere. If I had, I would’ve told you that they’re AWESOME!

  • Oh. My. God. I would have had a coronary and then made my husband clean it all up because that is way too much poop to clean without throwing up. Ick.

    I have no idea what people would be angry about with you taking them to the vet. I frequently have to physically drag my dogs places. While being cute and sweet, they can be so uncooperative.

    Oh, I also laughed so hard I cried reading this post. You are great!

  • M

    Oh my, all I can say is oh my. And, I am glad that you are back. Hooray! I have been having serious Dooce withdrawal symptoms.

  • Pringle

    Just LOL, that’s all I can say.

    Although I feel your pain. We can’t use a certain brand of air freshner in our house anymore as it reminds us all so strongly of the unique smell of puppy shit.

  • MK

    I’m just disappointed that you didn’t include a picture of the foxtail… whatever that is…

  • The obvious solution is to share the bourbon with the dog. This is why I have a toddler. Singular. One toddler. Because she is more than enough.

  • How do you guys decide who is on clean-up duty? Because I would do some serious bargaining to get out of that chore, for real.

  • An Anti-Dickwad pill would be genius. Not just for pets, but for husbands too.

  • Oh. Holy. Crap. And here I was bemoaning my fate because my dog took a crap on my hair dryer.

    BTW — Purple tights rock.

  • Talora

    Lordy, this brings back memories of my own awful dog. I miss that little turd.

  • bobbie

    please please tell us what a foxtail is!!?

  • Tiffany

    MK: Agreed! I just did a quick google image search and still don’t know.

    I’ve just come up with the idea that vets should form some sort of co-op. Each month, they’ll switch to a different building in a different location. Then the owners will still get to see the same familiar vet, but the animals will be decieved into not acting hysterical.

  • Londoner

    Hi Heather (forgive the familiarity!),

    This tale is an absolute classic and had me chuckling all the way through. Superb!

  • Stop with the shit spray stories already! I’m adopting a dog soon … but now I’m terrified. That sounds like a lot of poo. Have you tried giving her just a teense of burbon?

  • Oh my gosh. Funniest post ever.

    I had to Google Foxtail the first time you mentioned it … looks painful! Poor Coco and poor you!

  • dooce
  • Melanie

    Dolly, our 10 month old supermutt, has brought us two dead birds in the past 32 hours. Gag. She’s is SO incredibly proud, though. Puppies, in general, are nuts.

  • Suddenly Greta’s poop on my carpet seems much less obnoxious. Thanks for making me laugh away the frustration of cleaning up yet another dog mess.

  • Time to get some doggie earmuffs and a booty plug for CoCo.

  • A foxtail? Psh. Try MANY foxtails AND skunk stank. Which is why I no longer have dogs… although I imagine an ocean of shit in the kitchen smells ten times worse than skunk stank.

  • Anonymous

    A story only true dog people can understand, appreciate, sympathize with, and find absolute humor in. Thanks for sharing!

    How can all these people not know what a Foxtail is? Ever heard of grass? Come on people!

  • Jag

    Yikes. Most stressful high-energy post ever? Check.

  • Been there before, but except for just waking up we’d just gotten home after being away on a short day trip and we were sweaty and exhausted and now our entire house smelled like crap because it had been sitting there for hours. so much so that it absorbed into the wood floors and left stains. ya….

    Well the bright side is that at least it wasn’t on the carpet!

  • K

    I feel for you Heather!!
    I would much rather change poopy diapers, than clean up all that dog crap. yuck. Seriously, I feel for you.
    I love your stories, they make my day!
    By the way, what is a foxtail? Is it some kind of leaf or flower?

  • I can’t really help with the pooping and burbon situation but I do have this to offer: pennies.
    Put 10 or so pennies in a plastic water/soda bottle and close the cap. When Coco is doing something inappropriate like excessive barking, jumping, chewing or other unacceptable behaviors; shake the penny bottle. Depending on your dog’s tolerence to the noise, you may have to shake it lightly once or several times harder.
    I spent $1000 on a dog “trainer” (who smoked more pot than my entire high school cheerleading squad) for him to teach me that. And it works friggin’ miracles.
    At least she’s cute, though.
    Good luck!

  • If she doesn’t like bourbon try vodka and she doesn’t like that try something else, and then something else – But that dog needs a drink!

  • anne cunningham

    if they had words they’d tell us, so you are right, they use their bodily functions instead.

    brought our teddy bear pup home from a day being boarded, and a day of grooming and he’s finally home, happy to see me, runs outside to play, then runs back inside, pauses and pisses all over the doormat by the patio door, then runs back outside to play.

    kind of like, “oh, it’s so good to be home, oh it’s so good to be home …. oops, wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have to show them how pissed i am over the boarding and the grooming shit … wait, should i piss or shit?!?! okay, i’ll piss!”

    then it’s back to playing and playing, and “oh it’s good to be home, good to be home!”

  • Debra

    God, that story sounds like my past week has felt.

    Reminds me of my friend’s Cat “BOB” who was so pissed off at his owner not being around. Paul came home, left a brand new bag of litter in the kitchen and left to spend yet another night with his new girlfriend (now wife). Bob tore the litter bag apart, strew the litter ALL over the kitchen floor and took a huge dump in the middle of it.

    Hope your future holds much less poop spray.

  • Vee

    Call me whatever you want, but poop is the reason why I don’t have pets. I have a fish and cleaning that bowl is a task for me, so no dogs. No thank you. I’m sorry all that poop was all over the place. I cannot imagine the smell. Ew!

    Hope the family is well.

    p.s. Let the haters hate, they don’t rock like you do.

  • I’ve never heard of a foxtail. I learned something new today.

    I honestly thought for a second that maybe Coco had eaten a fox and somehow shoved its tail in her ear.

  • Celtickat

    Those foxtail things look vicious! Poor Coco, poor you! After reading these comments, I have to ask: Do ALL dogs do this poop thing on the floor? I was thinking that perhaps when I retired, I would get a small dog (I’ve always had cats. They vomit. Repeatedly. Never on linoleum. Always on carpeting.) Anyway, I’m starting to wonder if this would be such a good idea.

  • Paying Attention
  • Kim

    And this is why I’m okay that my apartment complex only allows cats. I can’t even imagine having to clean all that up.

  • how can people not know what a foxtail is? it is so true that only a dog lover can fully understand the absolute greatness of this post.

    heather – you are doing it wrong. bwahahaha! don’t you know you should check for foxtails after every walk? you bad dog mom you. ok seriously now – between the paws is really important. those things will burrow in to the skin and travel through the body and cause infections so horrendous poop in the dog bowl will not even be blip on the radar.

    you are doing it wrong!!!! that made me laugh so hard i pee’d my panties a little. just a lil.

    disappointed there was no meet up in SF like in NY and other places…boohoo for SF. must be because our transit sucks so bad? tell jon he was a huge whiner this weekend! 🙂

  • Alexa

    Dogs with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are a rough time. Ouch.

  • LRN

    Our cats act equally assholish at the vet, however, they at least confine their shit to a box.
    I’m bowing my head to you that Coco still lives! I’d probably be tempted to Craigslist her after that, though I’m sure I’d cave at the sad puppy eyes.

  • TC

    Just for the record, in case no one else has mentioned it…Anesthesia and/or sedation can really mess up your digestive system. And when I say ‘your,’ I also mean Coco’s. How do I know this? I not only have a dog who’s been through more than one such ‘procedure,’ but I also have a child who had an…ahem…similar reaction after being sedated prior to being put under for about 30 seconds to have ear tubes put in. I KNOW whereof I speak.

  • cj

    Heather! I just need to say that every time you write one of your unfortunate/funny dog stories, I thank my lucky stars that I am a cat person!!! Cats are low maintenance, don’t act like f*cktards in public, and their shit factor is almost non-existant. Maybe consider one? Your stories would be alot less entertaining, however.

  • You are too hilarious! I keep waking my baby up laughing at this post. Oh, I feel for you. You poor woman!

    I think the pooch has a “safe toilet” thing. In her case, “safe floor, et al” would be more like it.

    I have an English Mastiff / St Bernard mix pup. She’s 80+ pounds and only half grown. I will be certain she never goes NEAR a foxtail. A critter as big as she holds more poo than I care to clean.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  • I’m adding to Sophia’s above comment about pennies. Rather than a plastic bottle, try a tin for a much more jarring and unpleasant sound. Our mutt, who’s now over a year old, fears little in this world except for that tin. We started shaking it whenever she and the other dog would throw down, and now all you have to do is reach for it and they both cower. Best use of $5 in change and an old ugly tin box EVER.

  • This post is right up my alley! Your dogs sound about as good as my dogs at the vet. Have either of your dogs taken a crap on the floor because they were so nervous? No?! And as I was going to clean it up the nurse ran out saying, “no, no don’t clean that up we’ll use it as her stool sample” A vet visit is such a humbling experience…

  • I think I might have something that would top the foxtail (and you can always tell the city folk, those who don’t know what a foxtail is. Heh.), not in doggie angina-producing stress but in sheer horror for the humans, and that is:


    Oh, the infestation of fleas is a special kind of hell. A special kind of hell that Will. Not. Go. Away. until you have flea-bombed your DNA back to the stone age, along with the house and everything in it. I truly pray you never have to go through it.

    And the crap everywhere? Oh, the ONLY thing better would have been if Leta had witnessed it (she didn’t, did she?) so that she could tell everyone within earshot for the next 500 years about how there’s crap. On the coffee table. Kind of like our son did after the (fucking!) cat left us a crapapalooza one morning. I love animals, but really, that morning i was just thinking, would anyone miss her? really?

  • OMG, and to think I have 4 dogs!!!!!

    Doesn’t Coco eat her own poop???? I would have told her to clean up after herself.

    Is she feeling any better now??? Or are you just screwed???

  • I have one thing to say about that story…..What is a foxtail?

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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