My husband and I are not dog people. Never have been, never will be. We had a dog once, for about a minute. Didn’t work out. I, more than my husband though have a bit of tolerance for dogs. My family had always had German Sheppard’s growing up, and I firmly believe it is important for kids to experience the friendship of a family dog.
Lucky for us, mine and Jamie’s parents both own a dog, which means more than enough canine companionship for Lars and Sophie in their adolescent years. Today, I will tell you a story about Jamie’s mothers dog Chevy. Chevy is a 7-year-old Bichon Shih Tzu, whom most of the time adores the kids…Sometimes a little too much.
Sheila, Jamie’s mom, had went home to England for several weeks and we (rather, I) had volunteered to doggy sit Chevy at our house. It was the last day of his stay, and I am positive he was looking brazen to be returning to his hushed, safe haven home. The stay had been hard on the old guy and it was beginning to show. In the last few days he had spent most of his time laying in his designated spot by the bay window facing the street. Just gazing out in hopes of seeing his ‘mom’ returning from her journey. Maybe all he needed was the excitement, but what was about to happen next got Chevy exhilarated and ready to take on the world. He was as happy as, some may say, a pig in shit.
Like it happens most of the time, I am busy cleaning the kitchen. Sophie is playing in the living room, watching cartoons, and more than likely terrorizing the hell out of the dog. The homes living quarters in regards to my kitchen are only a few feet and a glance away, so it doesn’t bother me to leave the kids playing while I accomplish my tasks in the kitchen…You would think after the first few times I would learn…I have not.
The quiet sense of calm was the first red flag, no sound always means trouble. Then Chevy comes bounding towards me. “Hey boy, what are ya…Oh dear…Wha-…What is that on your fur?” I go in for a closer look and what I find should not surprise me, but yet again it does. “You stupid dog, did you shit on the carpet and then roll in it!? I rue the day I said I would look after you!” I storm down to the living room to clean up the mess the dog had made, or what I thought the dog had made. There sitting in the middle of the carpet is my beautiful darling daughter, the TV covered in fecal matter, the carpet has its own fair share, and Sophie is in the midst of lathering herself in a thin yet strong layer of her own waste.
I do what many parents would do when faced with this kind of upheaval. I screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE!” I am not swollen with pride over the tongue used, but when you walk into this kind of veracity, being tactful is not a friend. It was at that exact second when Sophie stopped, looked up at me, and began to slowly bring the clump of shit resting ever so diplomatically in her left hand, towards her mouth. “OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! … DON’T EAT THE SHIT!!!!”
Suddenly, it came down to a consequential matter of time. I have to get to that child before the poop reaches her mouth. Diving towards her was probably not necessary, but at the time it just felt right. “Nooooo!” I lunge into my daughters vicinity. I do save her from a mouth full of poop, but in the process get crap slapped in the face, leaving a contour of poop declining from my brow deep down to the point of my chin with an insufferable flavour of failure to linger. I lay motionless on the floor. My girl is laughing her hearty baby laugh at the dive move I attempted moments before.
Now, there is shit covering the entirety of my living room and the dog, who I don’t think twice about, is sniffing at the stuff keenly. The gagging initiates and it is all I can do to get that child off the poop floor and into the bath before my face begins to crust. I pray that no one pops by for a visit at this time. I take a fleeting look at my feces ridden dwelling before flinging Sophie into the tub.
Sophie is now gleefully playing in tepid water as I scrub any remnants of my thoughtless charge off my face. The doorbell rings. Oh Jesus, the doorbell rings! And then I hear it, the last voice on this earth I wanted to hear at that moment, I know it is her, the English accent is a dead giveaway.
“Lindsay, I’m here to pick up Chevy, is everything all right?” Why now?! I quickly feel a meltdown set in motion, my mother-in-law of only a few delicate years has just walked into the disarray of a lifetime. Tears are now tenaciously being held back by the creeping concept that if I walk out of this bathroom with baby in hand, and blubbering insistently, her thoughts of me as a proficient mother and dog sitter for that matter, may be jaded forever.
“Uh, ya Sheila, just bathing Sophie. Be right there.” My voice quivers and I am sure she is about to mention the massive amounts of shit strewn carelessly throughout my living room, when instead she says,
“Your house smells a little funny, remind me to bring you some room spay next time I am over.”
Is this some sick joke? Is she toying with me? Surly she has seen the cataclysm I call my life at this point. I take Sophie in a towel, and make my way out, to meet my fortune. The steadfast tears of indignity are still being held at bay, who knows how long this will last though. I perch myself at the top of the stairs, look down upon my mother in law, who smiles at me, then look to the right of her where my living room only moments ago was covered in shit, then look back to Sheila. It is clean. The television streaky but clean, the previously shitty carpet, still stained…but clean. Yes the smell was evident, but no poop in sight.
Those few moments of skepticism felt as though they lasted without end. One more double take- Sheila, the living room, Sheila, and then I see Chevy. Sweet little pure white Chevy, looking cool and happy with himself, licking his lips zealously. He too was clean, and was still sniffing at any last trace of his impromptu lunch. And in that quick flash, I had never been so appreciative of the canine allotment.