Friday, October 19, 2007

and then, there's the dog


She is our dog.

A black Labrador retriever.

A good dog. A kind dog. A dog that only barks when she sees her own shadow.

Once upon a time, not very long ago, Monty and Molly were our world. We took them everywhere with us - to work on the weekends, to the beach several times a month, on long hikes in the local mountains and on vacation - provided there was no air travel.

Over the past few years, our dogs have slowly migrated outside to live in the garage. When we would be gone during the day - the dogs were outside - and when we'd come home at night, they would be in with us - and then they'd go back outside to sleep. We never imagined that we make our beloved pets sleep in the garage on dog beds, but after they vomited, several times, all over our new carpet, we didn't want them inside any more.

Last year, after we put Monty to sleep, we made the commitment that Molly would be an inside dog. She would be a part of our everyday lives. She would sleep inside and be inside with us, whenever we were home.

That arrangement lasted for a couple weeks.

Immediately, Molly was hacking all over the place, begging at the table, and doing the butt-scootch across our floors. Whenever she was running free in the back yard with our kids, she was pooping on the lawn, eating grass and throwing it up again.

I tried, but ultimately, it was too much for us to take.

Molly moved back in to the garage and accompanies us for walks every day. Sometimes, we'll let her come in to the house, but she is moved outside again promptly at meal time. Provided she doesn't go out sooner, because of her constant pacing.

We let her in the back yard to play. But, usually, she is in the garage and has our side yard as her dog run. I don't want her to have free reign of the back yard because she absolutely destroys our landscaping with her digging. And then there's the poop that I try to scoop up, but wind up missing a nugget or two, which inevitably gets stepped in. And tracked through the house.

Molly will be 13 in December but she still gets around well. We've looked in to finding her a new home, but no one wants to take in a dog that is 13 years old. Especially when this breed rarely lives longer than 12 years. We've thought about taking her to a non-euthanizing animal shelter, but - we can't get ourselves to do it.

Charlie and I feel terrible about the life that she now has, even though she is showered with love and affection from the children. We would much prefer that she received more attention - but we honestly don't have it in us. I know we aren't giving her the best life, but we feel obligated to keep her. This whole "what to do with Molly" issue has weighed very heavy on our hearts.

Yesterday, I was walking around and nursing Henry when William tells me that he needs his "cahwocell." It only took me ten minutes, while my son completely lost his patience, to figure out what exactly he was saying, because it certainly didn't start out sounding like "cahwocell."

It sounded like ... who knows what.

As it turns out, his "cahwocell" or toy CAROUSEL as is more common to the English speaking population, had recently been moved by me, his mother, to the garage.

More specifically, to the TOP SHELF of the garage.

While I'm walking out to the garage, with Henry in the Bjorn and three small barefooted children directly behind me, I notice that Molly has hauled in one of her huge poops from the side yard and dropped it smack dab in the middle of the floor.

Right on top of the nice multi-colored special-order (aka: expensive) interlocking mats that we bought the children for Christmas.

As soon as I get past the narrow opening of the garage door, all three barefooted kids dart around me, so that they are standing directly beneath the shelves and pointing "Dare Mommy!! Up DARE!!"

I see the poop.

My children do not.

I shouldn't have said anything.

But I did.

My exact words to my three barefooted children were, "Guys, watch out. Don't step back or you might step in the ... NO!! NO!! DON'T STEP BACK!! STOP!!! RED LIGHT!!! DON'T MOVE!!!"

And just then, while the kids were looking wildly confused and stepping in every which direction, SPLAT.

I closed my eyes and felt myself start to gag.

Because as bad as it is stepping in canine feces while you are wearing shoes, it is far, far worse to step in it when you are barefooted. Or worse yet, your child steps in it while barefooted and you, the mother, have to clean it off their little feet, hopefully before your child tries to wipe it off with their hand. Which they will then - without a smidgen of doubt - draw up to their nose for a sniff.

All this time that I'm trying to move children out of the way, while doing my best to control a very sensitive gag reflex, I'm wearing a half comatose, milk-drunk Henry in the Bjorn.

Pleading with the kids to NOT MOVE, I run in to the house to deposit Henry in the crib, before I return to the garage. Henry does not like losing his feeding source and begins to wail. Offering my apologies to the baby while I run back to the garage, I estimate I was gone no more than 15 seconds.

When I return to the garage, Molly is standing over the squashed pile of poop and despite my cries, she proceeds to chomp it off the floor. The vet tells us that Molly is completely deaf. But I think that one or two of her auditory neurons must be firing because she jumped when my cries turned to screams of "OH GOD NO!!! BAD BAD DOG!!!"

What I don't understand is how a dog that only eats two cups of dry kibble food a day, and is taken on two walks each and every day, wherein she expels the equivalent of two cups of digested kibble, has the ability to expel the equivalent of four additional cups of digested kibble, in our side yard? To me, this defies logic.

What about mass in = mass out??

Meanwhile, the baby is crying, the children are completely dumbfounded wondering WHY in the world the dog would be eating poo-poo, I'm ready to throw up on the floor, and the dog is running around in circles with her head pumping back and forth trying to eat all the poop before I can stop her.

Lucky for you, I still don't have a camera. Unlucky for me, I had to clean up a HORRIBLE mess and am further stressed about what to do with Molly.

Who, last night, decided to eat the better part of her dog bed.

I am extremely overdue for a vacation.


  1. You know it sounds like to me Molly is one happy dog! And that story was gross:) Everytime I see multiples now I feel I know what it is like at their house:) Good luck getting that vacation soon:)

  2. Jen- our cat was banished to Never Never Land after she started peeing all over the house in retaliation for having our children and then she scratched Amanda. Our house still smells like cat pi$$ if it's humid. After living outside for the better part of a year, our neighbors took pity on her and took her in, where she then continued her peeing ways and now our neighbor's house smells like cat urine too. She did eventually die of old age, but she never stopped peeing all over stuff.

    I felt horrible and guilty and terrible for kicking her outside. But, unfortunately, the dynamics changed so drastically in our family and none of us were comfortable with the new arrangements.

    I understand how horrible you feel. I do. Greg and I decided we will not bring another pet into our family until we move to a cabin in Montana with a 100 acres where we don't have to deal with poop or pee. Or until they make a new breed of poopless animals.

    I am sooooo glad I cannot see a picture of any more poop or your puss infected toe. You have no idea!

  3. What a wonderful description of a traumatic day. I know what I would do if it were me. Just imagine if you were in this condition, would you want to continue on? This dog's life is really a dogs life.

  4. OH NO!! I can smell it from here!

    On another note, I'm so sorry that Molly isn't the best lab. We have a yellow lab that is 5 and she is best dog. She is an inside dog, but loves to be outside as well. Maybe Molly really is ready for a new home in heaven if she is getting sick so often and pooping in places she isn't suppose to. I'm sure the kids would be so upset though. Anyway, glad we missed out on pictures of this :)

  5. Don't put her to sleep because she's old and senile. If she still enjoys life please bear with her. I know it's not easy. Jay (works in a nursing home )

  6. Our yellow lab used to eat apart his bed when he was mad at us for something. He would also do it if we moved his bed from where it usually is to a new place while cleaning without returning it to the original place. I cannot say that he eats his poop though...he does on occasion eat his puke strange...and he's not a sick dog...just sometimes gross!!

  7. We had a lab, Kuk, and loved him dearly. However, once the babies came, Kuk had to go. He lives with my husbands parents now we see him some, but atleast I don't have to worry about spending time with him and walking him and feeding him and cleaning up messes such as you just makes me think my decision was THE smartest thing I. HAVE. EVER. DONE.

  8. What a wonderful description of a traumatic day. But short information of that garage is also appreciated. If we get that, the event would more clear to us.

  9. I hate to have to say this but I think you need to hear it. You adopted Molly before you had the kids and therefore made a commitment to her for her lifetime. If you can't find a home for her I beg you not to drop her off at a shelter to be left alone and confused for the rest of her days. Can you imagine how scary that would be for her? Have the courage to end her life peacefully - whether living out the rest of her days in your garage, or by putting her to sleep humanely. She deserves that from you.

    -a concerned reader (who owns four animals and can sympathize)

  10. We could and would never put Molly in a shelter. It has been suggested - but is not something that we have ever considered. At the moment, she is on a walk with three doting children and my husband. I'm pretty hard on myself because I know the life that she once had is a far cry from what she has now. But she is loved. And walked. And bathed. And fed. And always has clean water. And toys. And has a warm bed to sleep on. And a roof over her head. Still, it's not what it once was, and that's hard.

  11. Jen
    Just HAD to leave you a comment on your Pup Poop Post!

    We adopted a black cocker spaniel, "Logan," many years before our three kids came along. He came to us as a one-year-old, slightly psychotic, poop-eater who wasn't comfortable unless his black paw was somewhere ON me. We tried EVERYTHING to get him to try to stop, including putting meat tenderizer on his food (the "experts" told us the once the food was "processed" and came out the other end, he'd have no interest in munching on it. Wrong-O!) and letting him outside only with us and on a leash (he'd poop -- and clean up after himself -- in the house). Somehow, we learned to live with what we couldn't seem to change and laugh about it (we called his poop "lawn hors d'ouevres").

    For the next 16 years (yup, he was almost 17 when we had to put him down), I dealt with daily gags (mine), poops (his), and dog calamity (one especially infamous Chrsitmas Eve, he polished off a just made breakfast casserole. We all remember MY meltdown and string of explitives!!). Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was, that's what we all sign up for when we get a cute puppy. The unknown doggie gross-ness. And it's a commitment. They are a part of the family, even when our lives change to the point we question their happiness.

    The day I had to put Logan down was one of my saddest. It was from... (are you ready for this?) cancer of the mouth...

    Cousin Kathy