Talk about a stinky situation — we’ll get to that in a bit, but some explanation is required first.
For more than 10 years now my wife and I have been in possession of a dog that is really not ours (it’s her fault, because she rarely listens to me, and even more rarely can say no to our children).
Duke has been a fairly good dog — except he can not be trusted outside without a leash — and has caused relatively few problems since he graduated from the puppy stage.
In the puppy stage, he liked to eat things. Oh yes, he chewed things to pieces like his doggy bed and many blankets, but he ate rags and small towels, literally. At least parts of them, because I’d find the evidence in his droppings when I mowed. Sometimes I wondered how his digestive system managed his eating habits, and there was one time he just about didn’t survive. That time he managed to get in the kitchen trash while he we were gone and ate a whole bag of those of those little sausage things, including most of the plastic bag, that people make appetizers with.
He’s not a very big dog — likely a mix between a beagle and basset hound, according to the Highland County Humane Society Animal Shelter, where my sons got him. So you can imagine what eating a whole bag of those little sausage things might do to him. He didn’t move much, or leave any droppings, for a few days. But after a trip to the vet, he finally came around.
When my youngest son was about to graduate from high school, my wife and I were hinting around, trying to determine what he’d like as a graduation gift. The only thing we could get out of him was that he wanted a dog, something he’d never had.
In a moment of weakness the night before his graduation party, I almost agreed to the dog. Then I thought about it some more, knew he was leaving for college in two months, and said, “absolutely not.”
The next day, as I was rushing around trying to get things set up for the party, my wife told me to look behind myself. There were two of my boys — and Duke. They all seemed to think that was really funny.
Duke has been a resident of our home for 10-plus years now.
A couple months ago the youngest son decided to temporarily move back home. Then he decided he wanted another puppy. So, he and my wife drove almost to Cleveland to get the silver Labrador retriever he wanted. The dog is now known as Boone.
Boone is a friendly little fella, and he minds really well, too. But he’s a puppy, and a lab, and if you know much about lab puppies, they are notorious for chewing things. So far, Boone has picked mostly on his owner. At last count I believe the son had lost four pair of shoes, including a brand new pair and a favorite pair of moccasins. Boone has chewed lots of other things, too, but has mostly left me alone, although he did chew in half the cord to a little space heater I like to warm toes in front of.
I believe that was his first very crime. Since then he hadn’t bothered me or my stuff much — until last weekend.
It was Saturday night and Boone’s “owner” was not at home. It had been a relaxing day, visiting with my sister and other family members, capping the evening with a little fire that relaxed me even more. I was so relaxed, in fact, that Duke and I lingered at the fire for a bit after everyone else had gone to bed.
When I entered our home the inside lights were out and it was too dark to see much. I walked through the kitchen and living room, then moseyed toward the front door to make sure it was locked.
I was almost to the front door when it happened. All of a sudden one foot slid completely out from under me, and down I went. On my way down, for a split second, I thought someone must have spilled something or Boone had peed on the floor, because I went down when I stepped on something really slippery and something on the floor felt wet.
Then the smell hit me.
Boone had been having some stomach issues, he’d left a mess on our wooden entryway, and I was seated in the middle of it. I wasn’t sure how bad it was until I reached for the light switch.
I’m not sure what words came out of my mouth, but my wife said she heard the boom when I landed, then heard the words, and figured she should come and check on me.
By that time I was outside, and when she opened the front door there I was, removing my pooh-covered shorts, shoes and socks.
Thank goodness, my wife said she’d clean up the mess while I took care of my clothes and hit the shower. She said it was a pretty stinky situation. But she also said that even as she was cleaning mess, she couldn’t help but laugh when she thought about opening the door and saw me standing there, half-clothed with what she claims was a priceless look on my face.
Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at [email protected] or 937-402-2522.