I’m assuming that like me, you’ve only checked off about 30% of the items on your pandemic To Do list or else we can’t be friends. What are your justifications for this underachievement? I have a myriad of excuses — sketchy internet service, a light sprinkling of depression resulting in unprovoked crying jags and a suspicion that I have concrete coursing slowly through my veins. But my numero uno excuse is that this adorable little speckled demon puppy is trying to kill me.
If you follow my Instagram, and you totally should, you may recall that I recently brought home a baby Tasmanian Devil/crocodile hybrid in a Great Dane puppy’s body. And now, I haven’t slept for more than three consecutive hours in two and a half weeks. I have gone through two gallons of Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator — and yet my house still smells like a hot August kennel. The scratches, bruises and puncture wounds on my arms and legs look like I lost a wrestling match with a pissed off honey badger who was wrapped in a barbed wire fence.
But at least I am getting compassion from The Hubby. No, wait, that’s not right. When Emmie wakes him up at 3:30 a.m. by sinking her razor-sharp Ginsu-knife teeth into his earlobe and whines to go outside, he just glares at me and says menacingly, “YOU did this to me.”
He’s right. I did. In my defense, I forgot what The Puppy Life was like, it’s been such a long time. Duncan came to us at four months old and was very nearly house trained. In fact, our last five Danes were all roughly three months old when we got them. We haven’t had a teeny puppy since 1996, back when I was 30 and much better equipped to handle to all this shit (both literal and figurative shit).
Here are some of the things I forgot about raising a puppy (and I am now using as excuses for my slothfulness):
They force your whole fucking life to revolve around bodily waste:
We’ve never had a puppy and an adult Dane at the same time. Everyone told us that the puppy would follow Duncan’s lead so house training would be a breeze. Not a breeze. More of a gale force wind accompanied by a torrential downpour of pee, poo and puke – an incessant excreta trifecta. Emmie poops upwards of NINE times per day. Sometimes she will poop three times in row within a single two-minute outdoor session; it’s like she’s trying to maximize her coverage of the back yard. She seems to believe that three small poops cover more ground than one giant one and considering that even the small poops are approximately one third of her entire body weight, she might be right about that math.
This profuse output is why I spend most of my days and nights wandering around the back yard scooping up canine land mines in my pajamas. Pajamas which, thanks to ruthless night sweats (once again, a big ‘fuck you shout-out’ to menopause), now consist of the flimsiest wisp of moisture-wicking fabric that I can possibly wear and still consider myself clothed. But hey, it’s my back yard, who’s gonna see or care? Regrettably, my back yard borders a golf course and the only boundary is a three-foot split rail fence, so visually speaking, there is in point of fact, nothing between me and the constant stream of golfers parading down the greens. The Coronapocalypse hasn’t had much of an impact on the playtime of Boulder’s rich old white men; they are out there all day every day, relentlessly forcing me to expose my uncovered self because what else am I gonna do, wear a robe? Robes are hot AF.
Actually, there’s no need for a robe since I am a 53-year-old obese woman and therefore, virtually invisible to the male golfers. The only way I could be less visible to them would be if I stripped completely naked and sent their visual circuits into emergency shut down mode. Some of the rich old white golfing ladies see me though, and they wave sympathetically. I think it’s sympathy. Wait, — are they just embarrassed for me and trying to wave me back inside my house? Goddammit.
They’re way fucking smarter than us:
Gemma, Dane #5, used to carry a toy around with her specifically so that she could drop it on top of the non-toy thing she wanted to chew. We’d hear a questionable chomping sound and go investigate, only to find her innocently looking up at us with her squeaky toy between her paws. “Oh, good girl, that’s a good toy, carry on.” Later, we’d walk over to the abandoned squeaky toy and discover that she had used it to camouflage the real victim of her gnawing: my favorite pair of reading glasses. We fell for this ruse two more times. Obvs, we shouldn’t have smart dogs but we seem to have another one on our hands with Emmie.
Today, I noticed Emmie trying to get to the other side of a small fence. It’s about four feet high and made of vertical slats with a few inches of space between slats. Most of the slats are too close together for her get through but they’re not spaced precisely evenly. I watched as she tried squeezing through the first space, too small. She pulled back and tried the next one. And the next one. Like a goddamn Velociraptor, she systematically checked every single space until she found one she could fit through and then she wiggled her sassy little butt right on through.
They don’t let you get any fucking sleep:
One of the tidbits my “23 and Me” test revealed was that when I sleep, I have stronger delta waves than most people. It means I tend to be a deep sleeper and when I am deprived of that glorious deep sleep, I tend to feel the effects more. The current puppy-induced sleep deprivation has caused me to have excruciating headaches that last for days, plus the aforementioned unprovoked crying jags and mild depression. The good news is, I don’t have the energy to follow through with any of the homicidal urges that flash through my mind when The Hubby calls me while I’m at the grocery store to inform me that the puppy just peed in the dining room. You know, the dining room in our house – – from where he was calling.
They destroy every-fucking-thing they can wrap their bitey little mouths around:
Electrical cords, phone chargers, phones, shoes, socks, house plants, fancy handmade throw pillows, storage bins, an Alexa unit, my fingers/toes, eyeglasses, antique furniture, the list never ends. Dane #1, Sid, ate a giant wooden spool that we were using as a coffee table even though we tried slathering it in Apple Bitter, then Tabasco, then Vaseline mixed with cayenne pepper – all the home remedies we could find back in the pre-Google days. He particularly enjoyed the cayenne pepper. He took a little nibble then closed his eyes in contemplation while he licked his lips over and over, savoring the piquant concoction. Fine. Keep the fucking spool. We relocated it to the back yard and got a real coffee table once he was finished teething.
They will siphon off every last drop of money in your bank accounts:
Do you know how much it costs to repair/replace all of the above-mentioned items? Approximately forty-two million, seven-hundred thousand and sixty-eight dollars. That’s just an estimate but I think I’m close. I didn’t even mention the new car tire (we needed one with fewer tooth punctures that could actually hold air) or the wooden column that had been holding up the front porch but ended up being dragged down the street at the end of a Dane’s leash (see Mother of Danes post), or the plate glass window …
One particularly trying evening we put Sid in the back yard (with his precious coffee table/spool) for a short time out. I believe, “Go outside and chill before I strangle you!” were the exact words used. Minutes later, he came crashing through the closed bedroom window, landed right in the middle of our bed, did a couple doggy circles and laid down in a pile of glass shards where he smugly fell asleep. It was his version of “No one puts baby in the corner.”
They’ll make you do it again:
Currently, Dane #7 is nowhere near being finished with teething and we don’t know yet what the full extent of our bodily and monetary sacrifices will be. But The Daughter tells me I’m never getting grandkids so Miss Emilia Rose Gwendolyn Blue Saint Rubey probably won’t be the last Tasmanian Crocodevil we bring home. Bless our gullible hearts, we’ll fall for pudgy puppy cuteness again because we’re just not that bright. Besides, pandemic or not, I am in perpetual need of excuses to not get shit done.