Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

  • Sorry to double post but I wanted to clarify the floor they’re pooping on is in the “waiting” room at the vets. In front of everyone!

  • MeL

    Thank you for making the time our dog ate the telephone seem… well, really not so bad. I’m dreading the impending vet visit (same thing – shots to prepare for the kennel) for the simple reason that my dog has no manners at all. There is no calming down phase; there is asleep or there is batshit crazy. 60 pounds of batshit crazy boxer at all times. It’s awesome. Remind me why I got a dog to begin with? Or better yet, why you would purposely have two of these drooling monsters?! 🙂

  • What I can’t picture is how you were able to text Jon from the vet’s with Coco pulling one way and Chuck pulling the other.

    Purple tights rock, but I just can’t get with the First Blood thing.

  • I’m so afraid! I’m in day 2 of a new puppy and not real happy about it and it’s not going well. For some reason, every blog I’ve gone to today has a dog issue. It’s a sign, a very bad sign!

  • WHAT is a foxtail? How did it get in Coco’s ear and HOW DID YOU NOT TAKE a PICTURE OF IT??

    I’ve seen a photo of Jon’s crazy eyebrow hairs that you tweezed and no shots of a foxtail? Don’t let me down like that!

  • This is exactly why I love you so Heather! I’m doubled over laughing. We returned home from a week’s vacation to find that our pup had used the corner of the living room for her crapping station. Oh that I could describe these events with one half of the hilarity you posses.

    Oh, and sorry about the mess and crying and stuff. Bad for Dooce. Great for the internet.

  • Chelsea

    Oh dear lord, that must have been horrible for you! My dog did the same thing after we last took him to the vets.. only he did it all over the floor of the waiting room, not in the privacy of his own house.

  • thrice

    Don’t they give dogs Valium, in Utah? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/magazine/13pets-t.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=pets&st=cse&oref=slogin

    And what is wrong with me that I am laughing so hard about a story of dog shit? Oh, I know. I don’t have any animals at the present time. Thank God.

  • mel

    I just have to tell you, from another mini-aussie mama (he’s almost nine months old)…

    You are not alone and I sooooo feel your pain.

  • Kirsten

    I can’t wait to read how Coco, and Chuck, react to the can o’pennies trick. That should spawn some seriously awesome blogging.

    But, “beware the Ides of Foxtail, Aye, Coco, but not gone.”

    Bless you for putting up with Coco’s poopiciforiusness, and leaving him in the drop off box in Murray.

  • In all seriousness, my dog decided to take a master shit-trip around the house…including using her tail in a windshield wiper motion that made the neatest shit spray pattern all over the walls…that dog moved outdoors.

    And on a day like today, if I thought for a second that shitting on every surface of my house would relieve my stress, the next sound you’d hear would be my zipper.

  • Kirsten

    Make that: NOT leaving him in the drop off box in Murray!!

  • Cristie

    Welcome to the life with an Australian Shepherd. I have one. But, there is a silver lining: pretty soon, she will settle into being the best dog ever! It will make you wonder why you ever though she was bad. I promise!

  • Kimberly

    I wonder how much and where in the house a sea monkey would crap after an excursion like Coco’s…

  • NoL

    oh my! another post where I almost feel guilty for laughing soooooo hard. Thank you for posting!

  • Yikes! Coco definitely needs a drink. My new favorite is a sidecar, but I’d definitely try cheap tequila first.

  • I laughed out loud. And then I pitied you all because of the crying and the crap.

    And then I laughed some more because you are funny and I am evil, the end.

  • I laugh only because I have a dog that is a different variety of crazy, and while mine is nucking futs, at least she isn’t that kind of fucking nuts.
    Thank you for sharing how wild and crazy she is, it really is therapeutic for some of us.

  • What’s your secret? I loved my dog dearly, and, I thought, unconditionally right up until the day I had my first child. Suddenly, instead of focusing on the joy she brought into my life, I focused only on the dirt and hair and GUILT she brought into my life. Now, with two children, I have become just like all those other evil, neglectful pet owners I used to criticize. You know, the ones who banish their pets to the mudroom, and claim they don’t have time to take them on long walks, and, oh the shame, accuse their dogs of smelling like a pile of dirty laundry. Sea monkeys could be the ticket.

  • Cassie

    When I lived in a studio apartment I had two cats. Bad enough. And then they started pissing everywhere even though I had TWO litter boxes. In a 500 sq ft apartment. One time they pissed in my bathtub, easy enough. Another time they pissed in both of my running shoes. How Coco was able to get it in her food bowl and how they managed to aim for the running shoes is fucking ridiculous, but also quite amazing.

  • amy

    Thank you! I have been having puppy pangs lately and I keep thinking I want a puppy, that my four year old would love to grow up with a dog. And then I hear these stories and we’re sticking with hamsters. We’ll let the neighbors have the dog and we’ll just stop by visit and then leave when the crapping begins!

  • Ann

    I am so sorry. So, so sorry. How could anyone write hate mail to you? Answer me that. I mean, really.

  • Taryn

    I completely understand, I was going to adopt a dog and during its stay with me it ripped through its crate tearing one of its nails off, pooped in my kitchen and then ate it. Then when I got home from work I watched it puke up its poo onto my bed and carpet in my bedroom. Just lovely. Also it made me really happy you said dickwad.

  • OMG. I just laughed so hard I have tears streaming down my face, and have nearly just suffocated!!! I have two dogs, also…Harry and Sally. They are like my very own version of Chuck and Coco. Harry is the best, and Sally…well, she’s the Spawn of Satan, himself. Perhaps she and Coco are related.

  • Sarafina

    I mean, poor dog and all, but mostly poor you. Jesus.

    I get so paranoid with my dog in public, like every gross thing he sticks his nose into and every sound he makes is a direct reflection on my worth as a human. Like it’s actually me rubbing my face into a mound of deer scat.

  • Jen

    Oh, Good Lord, God in Heaven! I am sorry, but I am just crying and laughing here. And my stomach is clenching up a bit because I have a deposit down on a puppy due to be born in a month.

  • My dog is on Prozac and tranquilizers, not to mention some sort of flower essence concoction my mother-in-law cooked up to help her deal with fear and anxiety, and she still craps on my floor. We got her from a rescue group. We think they were pleased to see her go.

  • OMG. Have you thought about putting bourbon in an eye dropper and giving it to Coco?

  • sing it now…

    “this is the poop that never ends.
    yes it goes on and on my friends.
    some people started pooping it
    all on the cupboard doors
    and i’ll continue pooping it forever just because
    this is the poop that never ends..”

  • hilarious, thanks for the great story!

  • Every really, really wonderful dog I’ve had…ones that I had from puppyhood?

    I wanted to kill them when they were puppies. My last WonderDog, once she was about 2, I would turn to my husband and say “Aren’t you glad we didn’t drown her?”.

    She was a Very Good Dog but she was an extremely trying puppy. Also a herding breed.

  • Can. Barely. Make. Out. Keyboard. Through. Raucous. Laughter. And. Uncontrollable. Tears.

    Oh, GOD… I have been there. I’m so sorry. But thank you for sharing your pain so that the rest of us may find great mirth and joy in it.

  • We have a great pyrenees who had MAJOR stomach issues. You think Coco’s poo is bad? Try having a 130# dog with the runs.

    We finally put her on Iams low residue food. It’s ridiculously expensive, but you can only buy it from your vet and it’s extremely gentle on our big girl’s stomach.

    Also, we have to give her a generic antacid every, single day.

    For a while, we had her on a daily vitamin supplement, too, called FortiFlora. It took about 2-3 weeks; but once everything came together, she was like a new dog.

    http://www.amazon.com/FortiFlora-CANINE-Nutritional-Supplement-Purina/dp/B000O3BUFM/ref=pd_bxgy_k_text_b

    I don’t know if any of this will help with Coco, but I wish you all the best.

  • Kiley

    Chuck is the weirdest dog I’ve ever come across. What dog ENJOYS going to the vet?! I had to go get a nurse at the vet’s office help me EXTRACT my growling, frothing-at-the-mouth 86-pound dog out of my backseat last time I took her to the vet. She’s usually the sweetest dog ever. And when you get within a 100-foot radius of the vet? She’s a demon. Congratulations on such a sweet, tender, sensitive dog as Chuck and his polar opposite, Coco.

    p.s. If you haven’t heard it already, check out MGMT’s song Electric Feel. It’s a lot of fun, which is how I feel about your suggestion of Ice Cream by Muscles awhile back.

  • Oh dear…I am laughing so hard I’m crying!! You poor thing – never again am I going to complain because my dog Tigger left some hard doodle in his crate!!

  • June

    Coco is extremely annoying to read about. Why don’t you two give her away already? We would understand if you do.

    Chuck, I like.

  • I love dogs, but after reading your Coco stories I don’t think I ever want to have one. The worst my cat does at the vet is drool on the techs.

  • HMFT

    Laughinglaughinglaughing!

    Not laughing. Oh God the shit.

    This makes me love my snake all the more.

  • OK, I have bronchitis right now. Really bad, coughing-up-a-lung-sounds-like-I-smoke-2-packs-of-unfiltered-Camels-a-day-kind-of-bronchitis.

    So, the hysterical laughter that this post caused has in turn caused me to go into one of those brain-rattling, gut wrenching coughing attacks. I felt like I might die…or at least stop breathing for a few seconds…

    But Heather, it was so worth it.

    Thank you again for making me laugh like a crazy person.

    On a side note: I’ve got a beagle/lab mix with seasonal allergies who eats his own fur off and is currently on steroids….want to adopt him? (kidding! sort of).

  • Debbie

    You are a MASTER of funny writing. A MASTER. “Pacific Ocean of crap” oh, that is just too, too funny.

    How does one learn to write like you? Do you think the degree in English Literature helped?

  • Heather – You ARE doing it right no matter what the other 89 people may or may not say. Just wanted to share the best trick I learned from my holistic groomer. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do live in SoCal – San Diego to be exact! 🙂

    Canned pumpkin is the best cure for doggies with the runs. And…if it could be any better – they love it!

  • My dog is a bigot, too! I don’t know what his problem is. It’s embarrassing.

  • This might be the funniest blog post you’ve ever written. All I can say is it makes me glad I have a cat.

  • Oh.Lord. I shouldn’t have laughed at your struggles to get the dogs into the vet but I did. Out loud. It was the picture of Coco trying to get away from the vet’s while Chuck jumped with joy that did me in.

    One of my cats would be very impressed with Coco’s artistic expression of her angst. Poo is his favourite medium too.

  • Michelle

    When we had multiple difficult pets, we found a vet that did house calls. It was a $10 charge on top of whatever else she did. But so worth it not to pack up four cats and a dog and go to the vet.

    And our dog tried tried tried to tell us she needed to go out in the middle of the night last night. And we kept telling her to shut the fuck up and go to sleep. So we woke up to a guest room covered in dog shit. Our own damn fault. But she couldn’t have gone in the kitchen or the bathroom where there’s tile floor? No, had to be the white carpet.

  • Be glad the foxtail was in her ear and not elsewhere. I had a basset hound that got a foxtail stuck in her hoo hoo and it had to be removed.

    And I agree, ignore the haters. I think you are very talented and deserve all the success you have achieved. Rock on.

  • Sounds like someone needs some Prozac. The only dog I ever had that ate poop would constantly puke all over the house or explode like Coco. It’s all nerves. I hope she outgrows it, because the stress it produces for you is felt ten-fold by her and so on and so on. I feel your disgusting, smelly pain!

  • Oh.My.Hell.

    I can tell I’m too much of a dog lover when I keep thinking, “Poor Coco.” Instead of “Poor Heather.” I feel your pain, and am so grateful right now that my pup is a little 10 pounder that uses a litter box. I never have that shit-on-the-floor problem. I do have friends with a 90 pound lab, however, that do. Any time their dog has any sort of sedative (which is required just to clip his nails… not kidding) he has the shits. Just saying… be ready for it next time because it will happen again.

    Oh… and I just looked up what a foxtail is. Have you figured out how that dog managed to do that? I swear she just knows you need something to blog about…

  • melissa

    If it makes you feel any better I own a TERRIBLE dog too. And there is only one of her and I can’t control her when we go the vet and she acts the same way. And I want to die of shame and embarassment in the waiting room and crawl under a chair most of the time. Oh and she likes to shat all over my house to when she gets nervous.