The transition from house to house and into the new schedule of this semester has not just been hard on Geoff and me, it has also taken its toll on Scooter and Bailey. However, they choose to express their stress in very different ways. At our old house Scooter and Bailey could come and go as they pleased through the technological miracle that was our electric dog door. Activated by a magnet that the pups wear in their collar, the door allowed them frequent and easy access to our almost 1/2 acre backyard. I realize that type of freedom is more than most dogs have or need, but it made our lives easier and allowed Scooter and Bailey to be pretty self-sufficient. All they needed was their door and the potential for a squirrel sighting and they were happy campers. Scooter used the door to release his inner Al Roker. He’d walk up to the door, wait for it to open, stick only his head out, calculate the prevailing winds, the temperature, the barometric pressure, etc., and then wait for door to close on his head.
At our new place, we do not have an electric door, we do not have a half-acre back yard, we do not have live oak trees filled with squirrels. We do, however, have enough mud to start a small business (and believe me I would if a small business based on mud could be even remotely lucrative). The difference between the humans and the animals in this house is that the humans notice when they have mud on them, and the animals don’t. I am engaged in a daily battle of mud abatement, and I am not winning. In fact, Scooter is the hands down winner of the mud wars. He’s like a living mud sponge. He steps outside and mud gravitates toward him. He goes out yellow and comes in black as tar. And then he jumps on the couch. If my Nana were alive she would have a heart attack. I might as well strap magic markers to Scootie’s legs and let him roam free. I don’t think it could cause any more damage than he already has. Bailey, the grand dame of the house, possesses a mud ninja gene I guess because she goes out into the same back yard and returns with barely a speck of dirt on her, and before she’ll come inside she holds out her paws to be wiped off.
To help put this all into perspective, let me just remind everyone that before eleven months ago I was hardly a dog person. Until Scooter used his diabolical cuteness to worm his way into my heart, I was dog tolerant, but not yet dog loving. Now, I let my dog loving flag fly, but I guess I missed the part of the contract that said to love dogs is to eliminate cleanliness and order from my life. Two distinct cases in point:
Example 1: The Case of the Blueberry Bandits. Because the rental house we are living in was built before World War II, and because foundations in San Antonio tend to shift, there are several doors in this house that fly open if you do not latch them properly (the bathroom door being the most worrisome example). The pantry door is one of these doors. Two days ago I was innocently preparing my lunch before school when I obtained an ingredient from the pantry. Evidently, I closed the door, but did not latch it because when I came home the house looked like a group of secret agents who deal solely in baking mixes had ransacked the place. As a team, Scooter and Bailey invaded the pantry and removed only the messiest items–one package of gourmet blueberry muffin mix, four packages of instant grits, and one package of whole wheat flour. I knew immediately that it was a joint effort from the nature of the evidence that remained. Bailey is a hunter. She stalks her pray, pounces, and eats it in one gulp leaving only minor wrapper remnants as evidence (I think we all remember the time she ate 36 corn tortillas and the plastic bag, and I’m not going to mention the cat incident). Scooter on the other hand adopts a Jackson Pollack approach. If you’ve ever seen him play catch with himself in the yard, then you know what I am talking about. He takes the object in his mouth, throws it high in the air, chases after it, and then shakes it to death. In this instance it was the death of the beloved blueberry muffin mix. And, as if powder and paw prints were not enough damage, when I came in and saw the horrible state of affairs and used my best disciplinary voice to isolate the offender (sometimes there is only one) Scootie shamefully wandered through the mess pee-ing his pants. The problem is he doesn’t wear pants, so he was making pee-pee pies out of muffin mix and my living room rug. Bleh.
And when I thought it could not get worse, I went into my bedroom, where, apparently, Scooter and Bailey each took their most prized baking mix and spent the afternoon devouring it on our bed. Our bed where we sleep. Our bed with the newly washed sheets after a weekend spent at the Olmos Park wash-n-fold. Very, very bad.
It took a while, but I got it all cleaned up. In situations like this I find that singing cuss words can really help lower my stress level. Fortunately I was alone and Scooter and Bailey obviously do not speak English. If they did, I think they would have demonstrated a greater sense of guilt and fear in response to my comments.
Case #2: Poop-agedon. Maybe it was all of the doughs, powders, and grits they consumed, or maybe it was the fact that we switched their food to a more natural, nutritious, fiber-laden brand; I don’t know what it was for sure. What I do know is that the scene I came home to on Wednesday was far, far worse than the one I came home to on Tuesday.
Naively, I walked in the door assuming everything would be okay. It did not take long for my assumption to be eradicated. There is something unmistakable about the silhouette of a giant pile of dog poo. And if one pile is unmistakeable, then three piles is like a sign from God. I actually contend that it was Satan trying to speak to me that day. In fact, instead of yelling at the dogs (because honestly there are too many variables involved to definitively prove it was a malicious act of poop terrorism) I immediately texted Geoff. (The following text conversation is real and unedited)
Lindsey to Geoff: We might have to sell the dogs
Geoff to Lindsey: Why?
Lindsey to Geoff: Because they are Satan
Geoff to Lindsey: What did they do?
Lindsey to Geoff: Three huge terds a pee and a half eaten swiffer
Geoff to Lindsey: What?
Lindsey to Geoff: They pooped and peed all over the house today
Geoff to Lindsey: Why? (I like that my husband believes in my communication ability enough to think that I can understand the underlying motivations that would make two doggies have a poop-athon. A nanny cam is in order)
Lindsey to Geoff: I don’t know
Because I do actually believe that every cloud has a silver lining, I am happy to report that the dogs did not step in the poopies, they did not spread the poopies around, they only pooped on the easy to clean floor, and they stayed away from our bed. Nonetheless, after cleaning up three poop piles and a pee lake, I had phantom doodie smell in my nose all night. I kept getting up to make sure no one was pooping inside. I was traumatized.
In fairness to the precious puppies, I will say that the poop-tastrophe did appear to be completely accidental and born of necessity. I don’t think it was a form of subversive political protest against our new digs. Most likely their little colons just weren’t used to the high fiber food we gave them, although the peeing might have been political.
Welcome to the monkey house.
P.S Pictures to follow (but not of the poop).