Okay - so, right off the top, I have to warn you: if you have delicate sensibilities or a weak stomach, stop reading right now.
This post is dedicated to Sarah St. Pierre, who laughed hysterically through the whole story and insisted I post it to to the blog. So it's her fault.
But at least I can laugh about it now, too.
When I first adopted the 3-year old Shepherd / Lab mix, Dixie had some separation anxiety (flinging herself at the door and yowling, mainly). But we've been working on this over the last few weeks, and we've got ourselves into a good routine. I tell her, "No, you're staying here this time," and she's cool with it - so long as it's only once per day. She'll usually spend the day on the futon or on my bed; no one hears anything from her all day.
Which means over the last few weeks, Dixie has lulled me into a false sense of security.
The Saturday prior to the "event", I had guests over - about 14 women over for breakfast, followed by a few singers and musicians practicing for the Easter concert. During the breakfast, Dix stayed in my room, peaceable for the most part. During the practice, she came out and introduced herself lovingly and attentively to all and sundry. She'd been good as gold all day long.
On Sunday, I figured our problems had all been resolved, and I thought I could trust her indefinitely.
That Sunday morning, I stumbled down the stairs after the dog, muttering grumpy things until she took care of all her basic functions, and I took her back upstairs. I pointed at my bed and said, "Up!" and she jumped up, spun around once and flopped on the bed like a marionette with the strings suddenly cut. "You're staying here this time." She rolled over onto her back and squirmed as if the duvet was made of worms and rotten apples, and she made all sorts of yummy, happy noises as she lolled her tongue out the side of her mouth.
So, I left, I had a wonderful time at church, I came home at a leisurely pace, and I opened the door to see the bundle of over-joy pogo-sticking in the front room.
That's when I noticed prank #1.
There was a pile of dirty laundry in the middle of the living room floor. More specifically: they were my unmentionables. I didn't even have a guest with me, and I still blushed. I closed the door behind me and said, "Haw haw, very funny."
That's when I noticed that there was something amiss with my best underpinnings. And I do mean best. Fresh out of the package, only one use - fantastic underpants, too - the kind you only find once in a lifetime: the ones that fit perfectly, stay put, and don't tend to creep inconveniently or unevenly into awkward places.
They were in tatters.
Thus began the process I like to call "de-churching." I'd come home feeling all calm, happy and full of brotherly love, but, upon seeing my perfect-panties sheared apart by some grinning canine, my sense of charity chased all good humour out the nearest window.
And it went downhill from there.
So, I picked up my bitten bloomers and was about to deposit them in the garbage (I'm not big on sewing), when I realized...there was something missing from the material.
My dog had reinvented crotchless panties.
At this point, I'm mumbling things that are best not uttered in polite society. I squinted at the dog in a most un-Christian manner. Dixie sat beside the apartment door, ears flattened like Yoda's, head sunken between her shoulders, and if her bottom lip could tremble, it would have. Oh BOY did she know she was in trouble. And I hadn't even raised my voice yet.
I figured that she must have taken the humblest parts of my underthings and buried them in her own bed for safe keeping, so I growled and snapped my way into the bedroom.
There, I found six more pairs of scattered skivvies. The crotch had been torn out of every one of them.
I metamorphosed into a roaring bear.
Dixie crept into my bedroom in a graceful, slow-motion kind of corkscrew action, crawling in on her elbows and knees and ending up on her back with her tail between her legs curled over her belly. I roared, shot flames from my mouth and stomped out of the room with a bouquet of ravaged bloomers clutched in my hand.
I went back into the kitchen to deposit the cadavers in the garbage.
There, I discovered she had eaten half a pound of butter, which I'd accidentally left on the counter.
Dixie went back into the bedroom and lay down on her own bed with her head between her paws. It was safer there.
At this point, I was beyond all capacity for human speech, so, I decided it would be best to plug my yelling-place with a food-laden fork. I made lunch (adding a whole new meaning to "steamed" rice), and I sat on the futon, while wondering where the missing material had ended up.
Dixie crept out of the bedroom like she was playing a life-or-death game of Red Light, Green Light. I said nothing to her. I could pin her to the spot with the lightning bolts from my eyes, but she was genuinely repentant and wanted to apologize. I know, because once she was close enough, she sat at my feet, bowed her head and raised her paw as if taking a solemn oath.
I shook her paw, and she smiled. I kid you not: this dog can smile.
So I begrudgingly let her up on the futon beside me, and she didn't even bother to beg for drippings from the plate.
I got reading something on Facebook, while planning out the rest of my day, and I thought, "Yeah...I guess I should have at least put the butter in the fridge, so she's not entirely to blame for that. And yeah, maybe I should have picked up my - "
Dixie lifted her head, and without the usual preceding hurka-gurka noises, she issued forth a prodigious mass of yellow foam and undigested bvds.
It went all over the floor.
And all over the futon.
All over my pants.
All over herself.
I metamorphosed into a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Sore and surprised by the power of the projectile vomit and buttered underpants, Dixie scattered across the apartment to the nearest exit, and I stormed around the apartment in a mad dash for cleaning products. In my infinite wisdom, I started with the floor and left the futon to its own devices. Armed with wads of paper towels, I set about picking up gobs of regurgitated, floral patterned pantaloons.
Then the smell hit me.
I spent as much time cleaning up the technicoloured surprise as I did retching on the run toward the toilet. Had I a stronger stomach, I could have gotten the mess cleaned up in a quarter of the time, but apparently, a natural-born mother I am not. Give me blood and guts - no problem! Picking up rancid poop - no problem! Barf, however, will make me barf.
Once the floor was a little less slippery, I set about cleaning the futon.
Apparently I'm as good with upholstery cleaning as I am with parenting.
Yelling all manner of minced swear words - between moments of pre-barf hiccups of my own - I thought: "Must. Get Rid. Of the Smell." So, while it was still soaking through to the other side, I decided to dump half a box of baking soda on the lake of emesis.
Did you know, if you mix baking soda, dog barf and upholstery, you end up with unholy pods of curdled vomit-dough?
I stopped mincing my swear words.
Then, I thought again - "I can't do this! I can't clean and retch at the same time! I must. Get Rid. Of the Smell." Out came the Febreeze.
Yeah, you know those commercials where blindfolded victims walk into an abandoned restaurant and declare the place fresh and breezy as a bright spring day? It's all BS. If anyone else had walked into the cloud of baking soda, butter, predigested panties and Spring Breeze!, their faces would have inverted and they would have added to the mess, too.
So, unless I wanted to spend the rest of my Sunday horking and yakking on the floor along with the dog, I had to get the futon mattress outside. And it was a beautiful day! I'd planned on spending it out on the balcony, where the air was fresh and the sun was warm. But no! I had to move the futon mattress outside or risk singing the porcelain opera all day long.
I don't always think about asking for help. It's not in my genetic make-up. I've been on my own for better than fifteen years, I've moved I don't know how many times since I was a kid - I've gotten accustomed to making things happen on my own without any expectation of help, no matter the size or awkwardness of the burden.
What I forgot was that futon mattresses have no sense of form or shape. They're designed to unfold. They have no handles. The only way you can move them single-handedly is by folding them in half, stretching your body across the open end of the fold, and squeezing, then somehow waddling toward your chosen destination while supporting the weight of the wobbly mattress between your chin and your bent knees.
All of which put my face right in line with the rainbow-coloured ick.
All the windows were open, which means my neighbours now know I'm a dirty-mouthed anglophone when I'm mad. Not the impression I wanted to make.
So as soon as I got to the balcony door, I had release my hold on the mattress - which thereupon sprang open and exhaled all its yummy goodness. I tugged on the corners of the mattress, but I could get no grip on it. I kicked and pushed and pulled and shoved and dragged that thing as far as I could, until it was thoroughly wedged between the storage unit, my chest, the open balcony door, and the dining table chairs - one of which had then toppled over with an earth-shattering bang.
The dog, of course, thought this was all very entertaining, and though she didn't know how, she was sure she could find some way of helping me. She stepped on the mattress when I was pulling it toward the door, she sniffed my butt when I bent to pick it up again, she found countless creative ways of putting her paws under my feet when I least expected them, and generally found the whole ordeal extremely diverting.
With a roar and a redoubled effort best described as "Hulking out", I managed to clap hands on the offending mattress and fling it, frisbee-like, outside onto the balcony furniture. If it had gone over the railing, I'm not quite sure what I would have done, though I expect it would have involved a lot of noise and several languages.
Did I mention this was the day before my birthday?
So, eventually I came back inside, spent and smelly, and sitting on a rattan chair, I called up my mother in Ontario and bemoaned my fate. She managed to talk me off the ledge - as natural-born mothers do - while still laughing at my horror - as natural-born mothers do - and eventually I succumbed to good sense and left the mattress outside to air out for a few days. We hung up after a while, and I sat glumly in a silent, stinking apartment with my head hung low and a pout on my face.
Dixie came out of wherever she'd been hiding.
At this point I was now too sweaty, too tired and too wrung out to be angry anymore.
She sat at my feet, head between her shoulders, and she lifted her paw. I shook it and bent down to pat her on the neck. Really, it wasn't entirely her fault. I told her she was a good girl, and that I wasn't angry at her anymore.
Whereupon she licked my face, smearing my mouth with the smell of dog barf.
A week later, and she and I have fully recovered from the mess. If not, I wouldn't be writing about it. She's suffered no ill-effects from whatever it was she ate. I think, in a twist of irony, the butter made her so sick it was impossible for the cotton-spandex blend to pass further than her stomach. But if you're wondering, her input-output functions were back to normal the next day - she's got a good
(and appropriate) appetite, and her digestive system is just fine. I know, because I still have to pick up her rancid poop twice a day.
I'm tempted to toss the futon mattress out now, because the mess did leak right through, and all my mad scrubbing has done it no good at all.
Anybody know where I can find a good, new futon mattress?
And no, I wouldn't give her up for the world. She's my dog, she's my companion and she's my commitment. I promised her a forever home, and darn it, even if she barfs in it, this is still her forever home.