Beaver anal glands. That’s where this starts. You’re welcome.
I have not figured out how to work and salvage what is left of my children — they were half-eaten by wolves, all related to the wolf who resides now in our home, we’ll get to that, give me a moment — and I know that makes me totally pathetic. People juggle this shit all the time. Welp! Here’s me waving and smiling as if I have just discovered a dead rat in my friend’s backyard and am looking my mom straight in the eyes as if to say, “You’re about to learn just how smart I am. Buckle up, you idiot courgette ball burp.”
I am here to share three anecdotes. Maybe a fourth if I don’t fall over. My sleep deficit is pretty significant. Probably worrisome to those who love to diagnose me, but there’s not much I can do about it. A wolf lives in our home. She may eat my children or murder me in my sleep.
I am not joking about this in any way whatsoever.
ANECDOTE NUMBER ONE:
When crate training a dog it’s considered best practice to make the crate a loving and homey and wondrous Disneyland. Then The Animal (whatever it may be, perhaps a coyote, WE DO NOT KNOW IF WE ARE LIVING WITH AN ACTUAL COYOTE) associates the crate with good things! Makes sense! Logic! Reasoning! Acute Skills Not Normally Exhibited By Mommy Bloggers!
To facilitate this happiness we feed her meals in her crate. Except, this happened. Just watch this madness:
She learned how to open the damn door on her damn crate without being taught to do so. The first time it happened I was on the far side of the room typing a response to an email. But I saw the whole horror movie unfold in slow motion out of the corner of my eye. And Pete was like, “Um… Heather… did… oh no… did… oh no… Heather… oh no.”
“Did what I see happen just happen?” I asked hoping that the answer was a resounding negative. ‘Twas not.
So, we tested it out five more times. And then a sixth. And then ten more times. She opened the closed door of her crate every single time.
We will be murdered very soon. The culprit’s name is Birget. You know her full name and intent. Please remember us fondly.
One morning I woke up and we were no longer living with a puppy. She had become A WOLF. And, oh. She knows every trick any wolf has ever used. She schemes and maneuvers and lures us straight into the nubbly, hairy part of her paw that is so furry and soft and is the whole reason you love to pull a puppy close in sleepy moments, when they are making noises that sound like the sounds Jesus makes when he farts.
Only to slash us in the face with a jagged shard of glass and take a hammer to shatter our kneecaps.
Chuck and Coco cannot breathe wherever they are because their laughter has consumed their entire bodies. They are rolling. They are astounded and watching a master at work. They never imagined what this dog is capable of and are wondering, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that.”
CUZ Y’ALL WERE DUMB AS STICKS.
Pete’s workplace is a setting only he can really speak to, but I know he and his employees share technical updates and all that work work work stuff during the day with each other. They also share the things you learn about online that you can only learn about online and one night last week at dinner he said, having heard from one of his employees, “Did you know. There is a cheaper, ‘imitation’ vanilla flavoring many people use made from a gland inside a beaver’s butt very close to its anus.”
Dinner conversation. With children.
Mull that one over. Because we totally did, and there Leta and I were acting out the whole scene of a mullet-draped troglodyte who lives 200 miles from nowhere and traps beavers and CAME UPON THIS DISCOVERY SOMEHOW (we really didn’t want to figure that part out) and looked to his left and then his right and then his left again and thought, “I’m gonna buy me a set of new teeth with this right here thang.”
There is so much we could get into with this right now. For instance, you have to keep that beaver alive to keep that anal thing doing what it’s doing, so, how in the world is it cheaper than normal vanilla? That beaver probably bites and scowls disapprovingly and shits everywhere and smells like teenage boy socks and sends you PDFs of documents you will not ever open right after scolding you for not listening to a voicemail. And you are harvesting ITS GLANDS?
And then. AND THEN.
Marlo. My dimpled little Butternut Donette. She who lit up my life the moment she entered this world as if an 18-wheeler were crashing through the glass door at the front of a Dollar Store straight into a display of travel-sized mouthwash.
She goes, “Okay. STOP!” And she was so forceful with that command that all of us turned to her and immediately quit acting like we were secretively sniffing the muddy and blighted and most definitely diseased rear end of a beaver. I mean, Leta and I had choreographed a dance routine. It was interpretive and enchanting. You would most definitely have wanted to rewind the one part where Leta falls limp into my arms, my hands barely catching her at the last moment when the music reaches a pitch that mirrors how that man in the woods must have felt when he smelled the vanilla in the anus of a beaver for the first time.
I didn’t even google if this was a real thing because life sometimes demands that you leave that to Jesus.
And then my tiny but now very, very lanky Butternut who is almost as tall as Leta and has to take ibuprofen for the growing pains in her calf muscles said… she said, oh dear, I am writing about this so I will never forget it, for the archives of humanity:
“You know, when I was a kid I thought in the 2020’s we would have flying cars. Maybe talking panda bears. But I guess we have to have beaver anal glands instead.”
And you must understand that she said it dejectedly, as if resigned to life without the Internet, life with only black and white television, life without running water or a bathroom in the house. Life without Amazon Prime.
I have never before hit the floor that fast laughing as silently as I could.
“But I guess we have to have to…”
I guess we have to have family dinners wherein we talk of glands near the anus of an animal that is often used as a metaphor to describe pussy. There. I said it.
ANECDOTE NUMBER THREE:
I was socially distancing with my friends — go ahead and judge me, one of them is a lawyer for the people in Utah who are in charge of making the rules for all of this — so just shut up. I don’t want to hear your garbled, indecipherable sermon on a pulpit being broadcast from the rotted crotch of Mitch McConnell.
Piper has a fire pit and I was sitting next to it with my back facing her house. Stacia was sitting DISTANTLY across from me facing her house. Suddenly we heard Piper screaming from inside her house, “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” And I looked at Stacia and said in my eyes, “Is everything okay?” And as Stacia nodded with a, “Yeah, just something weird in her house,” kind of reassurance, Piper screamed, “SHE HAS A RAT IN HER MOUTH!!!!”
Four explanation points.
Hello! I’m Heather.
And my dog is a wolf.
I am now the proud other of A FUCKING WOLF.
I hope you are not eating anything at this time. Perhaps I should go back to the beginning of this post and put up a flashing, neon warning: SHOULD MOST LIKELY MOST DEFINITELY NOT BE EATING ANYTHING WHEN READING THIS POST IT INVOLVES A RAT CARCASS BUT THEN IT GETS EVEN WORSE.
Unexpectedly, Stacia sat straight up in her chair, her back stiff as copper pipe hooked to a boiler, her eyes as big as a hubcap on an 18-wheeler barreling through a Dollar Store. And she said through very terse lips as if not to disturb an extremely delicate situation, “Oh, dear holy god Jesus Christ son of Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost.”
Let’s see. How do I most accurately describe what happened next? Hmm. Have you ever had an untamed wolf look at you and say, “I dare you, bitch.”
Because I turned my head ever so slowly, heeding the subtle cues of Stacia’s proclamation, and saw my COYOTE standing there with a dead rat in her mouth, the head hanging limp out of the left side, the giant butt and tail of it suspended in an unreal shape, totally flaccid out of the right side. And when that wolf caught my gaze she said to me in no uncertain terms:
“I will fuck you up.”
I swear to god. She was going to take my money and steal my car and and frame me for multiple murders. She was going to cut my body into parts that she could sell, one by one, my kidneys and liver to the finest of clients who live in certain zip codes. She was then going to tell my mother that I had died because I had lied to my bishop in 1992 about a man who had touched my boob and I’d denied it. And the Lord, he thought it was time I go.
She looked at me like she knew how to open our locked door at night and would love nothing more than to have me wake up with her holding a knife to my throat.
I had a small Tupperware container of kibble/treats that I always carry with me, because hello. Hi. I am a mother. You like that little, swift change of subject? It’s relevant, stay with me. You are in this with me so help me god.
I Am Mom.
We are the ones who make them stop and tremble and think, “Oh, dear. Has she been pushed so far that I will wake up without an ear?”
We anticipate this bullshit. And it is total bullshit. Do not let your dog or man or woman or partner or anyone in your life treat you this way. But, especially your WOLF. Do not let your wolf treat you this way.
You are to be loved and cherished and adored and she should give you her Forgive Me Belly ALL THE TIME even when she is not to be forgiven because you feed and house and protect that wild animal. Every moment of the day. She is being a downright cumbubble shitpouch of a cockwomble who wants to see just how far she can push it before you have a heart attack. And she, at this age — she at WOLF BABY STAGE — she would not call 911. She’d muse silently as you fell over and died, run to see if you had anything tasty on your face, and then say, “Ain’t no peanut butter on this cheek. I bet there are some old dog turds in that yard next door. I shall proceed.”
The trainer I talked to in Austin told me I should teach her a “trick” called “TRADE”. I put trick in quotation marks because it’s not necessarily what you’d think of as a dog trick. It isn’t a handshake or a rollover or a HOLD THIS BEER ON YOUR HEAD WHILE I TAKE A PHOTO. Birgie drops whatever she should not have in her mouth and I give her a few pieces of kibble. We, well. We trade. She hasn’t yet learned not to scram to pick up whatever she just dropped, but she learned to drop that potentially dangerous thing out of her mouth immediately AND IT WORKS.
I very cautiously approached her so that she would not flee, and in the happiest and most annoyingly jubilant voice you’ve ever heard said, “Trade!” Did I instead want to run screaming wildly where no one could ever find me and listen to Fiona Apple’s newest album on repeat for at least two months? I did. I certainly did. But that, unfortunately, doesn’t work on wolves. Who have dead rats in their mouths.
And then I was screaming, “GOOD THING I TAUGHT HER ’TRADE’! GOOD THING I TAUGHT HER ’TRADE’! GOOD THING I TAUGHT HER ’TRADE’!” As Piper dry heaved next to me. Over and over again.
Because, you see. Birgie dropped the dead rat. Of course, she did. She possesses the knowledge of the thousands of years of the wolves who came before her. Tomes of wisdom and instinct and skill. And as her mom I know she will hurry to pick up and devour whatever she has just dropped for those two pieces of kibble. I am Southern and ain’t no fucken dummy. We grew up with wolves in our backyard and thought they were dogs who went to law school.
So I stomped on that dead rat. Stomped on it. Stomped.
And Piper heard the sound at the exact second that I felt it under my foot, the crushing of its skull with my shoe. Moms! We now how to get shit done! And we know how to do so without shitting our pants! I had a lovely dress on, to boot. My wolf tried to menace me and I not only stopped her, but I also removed what could have possibly poisoned her TO THE POINT OF HER DEATH and did so in a silk dress. And then I moved on with life.
Shit ain’t boring in quarantine.
Fourth anecdote will have to wait until I can tell you all the details because I just now realized, how insane is it that I, Heather B. Hamilton, want to write a cookbook?