There are two types of people in this world; dog owners and people who have never had to willingly pick up another creature’s fecal matter in a thin plastic baggie. You think you’re so smart, human? Well, here are four things your dog has probably trained you to do.
Wake Up Early on Saturday Morning
Ah, weekend mornings, the one time of the week you can sleep in a little and catch up on must-needed rest. This, of course, is the exact time a large, wet, cold nose will inform your bare skin that, “As a dog, I have an extremely limited ability to read a clock,” and they either want their water, their food, or, more likely, to remove the previously digested version of both from their system before it becomes a permanent part of your new carpet. If you try to ignore them, they usually resort to noises. Our big dog tells us sleepytime is over by thumping the floor as he scratches his chin with his hind leg, which becomes so loud it sounds like a military helicopter is hovering over the house with commandos ready to crash through the windows.
Become an Amateur Vet
[su_pullquote align=”right”]If you are a dog owner, especially if you are a puppy owner, you will eventually be forced to become an expert in Dog Biology, usually in the area of gastrointestinal distress, usually in the area of your carpet.[/pullquote]If you are a dog owner, especially if you are a puppy owner, you will eventually be forced to become an expert in Dog Biology, usually in the area of gastrointestinal distress, usually in the area of your carpet. You would think that dogs, who normally can eat anything from a dead toad to a dead toad they just threw up, should be able to allow anything to pass through their digestive system without too much distress. This is true, except that sometimes, their digestive system is set for warp speed, and the distress is then found all over your kitchen tile. Cleaning up is the obvious part; now you must decide, as a responsible pet owner, whether to call The Vet and ask if you should bring Buster in for a full workup, or whether he just got hold of an exceptionally bad toad, and the worst has passed (literally). Your dog obviously can’t tell you, unless he is this dog, so it is up to you. But not to worry, as most Vet Receptionists are well-skilled at handling calls from frantic, inexperienced pet owners. Your Vet Receptionist will guide you through a series of helpful questions, most ending with the words “stool sample.” As much as you would like to offer to pay a thousand dollars for them to come to your house to collect this, you know it is up to you, 5 pairs of rubber gloves and 14 nested plastic bags to make it happen. Sometimes, they may encourage you to clarify any unusual sounds your pet has been making. This has no practical application, but since a Vet Receptionist’s job involves occasionally looking at dog poop under microscopes, it provides them with much-needed humor to hear you imitating your dog’s whooping-cough.
Become a Poop Disposal Expert
If there is any area that is more humbling and comically disturbing than having to collect a poop sample for your vet, it is having to collect those poop samples every day, sometimes in public. Your dog has a seventh sense (their sixth sense is knowing what visitor’s crotch to nose-poke for your maximum embarrassment) of knowing when the most awkward time to void their bowels will be. You can squeeze them like a tube of toothpaste before taking a walk to make sure everything is out, but the moment they hit Old Man Wabersheen’s finely manicured front lawn they decide it is Time, and you are left trying to look nonchalant, hoping Old Man Wabersheen is reading old copies of Popular Mechanics, or whatever it is Old Men do, but of course he isn’t, and there he is, frowning through his window curtains, and you have to smile weakly and wave, and do a sort of shoulder shrug as if to say, “Nature is varied and wonderful, isn’t it, but don’t worry, I’ll clean up after it.” You will wonder why there isn’t such a thing as dog diapers for these situations, but what a ridiculous thing that would be. You are now left, literally, holding the bag, and unless there is a Legally-Defined Green-Friendly Ground-Water-Safe Atomic Pet Fecal Waste Receptacle Bunker available, you must carry around Nature with you until such time as it can be disposed of, all the while thinking “What has happened to my life? I was going to have such an impact on the world.” Your dog, however, is probably smiling.
Talk Like A Gibbering Idiot
What is supposed to separate us from the lower forms of life, such as cats, are such things as having opposable thumbs and the ability to communicate with speech, yet hand a 60-year-old English Professor with double majors in Snootiness and Tweed a 4-ounce bug-eyed Pekingese in a clown suit and they are reduced to rhyming like a toddler who just made his first doody in the toy-toy. Pretty much every dog owner is eventually trained to say words such as “woggy”, “snoogums”, and other unintelligible gurgles, by a creature who is more interested in the 6-month-old Cheerio it can’t get to in the crack by the stove. What makes this even more ludicrous is that there is no way, no matter what sc-fi-movie-style speech-converter devices we hope are invented someday, that this hairy bugger will ever return the favor, and, even if he did, his only response would be about how glorious that toad tasted.
But we will continue to cater to these goofy dudes because we love them, their wet noses, and their licks. But I am definitely going to check out this diaper thing.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h6″ looks_like=”h6″ icon=”book”]This column is featured in the book Dubious Knowledge (Book One)[/feature_headline]