Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Six Shits

The other day, I went for a long walk with Hogan McSmalls.  It should've been a pleasant stroll.  The sun was shining, it was a beautiful 80-degree January day in L.A.  But, Hogie pooped a whopping six times in an hour.  Think about that.  Six times.  I know I signed up for poop scooping when I adopted a dog but SIX TIMES IN AN HOUR?  He's not nice enough to me to warrant that much picking up of poop.

Maybe I should back up.

I really thought (hoped) that Hogie wasn't going to have any behavioral problems in this new place like he did in our old condo.  Other than the disappearing dog debacle of 2013, it seemed like he was pretty calm and even chill in our new casa.  He hadn't opened doors or scaled shelves or destroyed anything since we moved in in mid-October.  And while Tim and I absolutely identified with this video of Lucy the Beagle getting herself some chicken nuggets, we thought our little dude's shenanigans were a thing of the past.

Ha.  Hahahahahaha.

I think he was just resting or waiting for us to get all comfy.  Perhaps he's bored or mad at us or just, I dunno, really hungry.  In any case, lately, Hogan McSmalls has treated us to a new delight every time we come home.  He started small.  He took a chunk out of one of my Christmas gifts.  (It was a pair of headphones.  Maybe he was hoping to wear them when I sing in the shower?) He destroyed a jar of Burt's Bees lotion I got in my stocking.  (Maybe his paws were dry?) Once I came home and discovered that he'd opened cabinets and used them as steps to get up on the counter and eat an entire container of treats.  I think the serving size is two a day for a dog his size.  He ate about 100 to 200.  There was the day I came home and found my cherished Vitamix on the kitchen floor and a pair of scissors in the living room.  My sweet little dog was running with scissors, you guys.  I could picture him speeding through the rooms like he does, with crazy eyes and ears flapping, scissors in his jaws.  It made me want to cry.

But the worst was the day before the poop day.  The terrible terrible terror of a dog opened a cabinet, pulled out a giant container that is supposedly IMPOSSIBLE TO OPEN BY ANY CRITTER LARGE OR SMALL and eaten his fill.  We don't know how much he ate but this is a street dog.  He thinks he's always on the verge of starving to death even though we feed him more than we're supposed to and he regularly gets apples and carrots and popcorn from us, his owners, who are suckers for a cute fuzzy face.  My guess is the dog ate enough for a week or two.

Anyway, there's been some puking (always on a carpet, of course, a foot away from the hardwood that would be so easy to clean).  And the awful pooping.  The worst part about that walk was that I left the house with two poop bags.  On his third poop, I had to walk back half a mile to where some good Samaritan had tied a roll of poop bags to a telephone pole, perhaps anticipating my need.  I luckily grabbed a bunch so I was prepared for the next three giant piles of ugh but if he'd done a seventh, I might possibly have dropped him off at the nearest dog park and walked away.  Picking up poop once a day is one thing.  Picking up poop six times in an hour because your dog is a crazed maniac is a whole other thing.

He's an aloof funny weird creature.  He's charming when you have food.  He's damaged in that really specific way that only rescue dogs are but when he's around us, he behaves very well.  He knows many tricks and he'll stay for an hour if I tell him to.  It's when we're gone that he acts out.  I think he's happy for the most part but I also think he'll always be a little bit sad, which I relate to.  No matter how much I drown him in attention, no matter how sweet I am to him, he'll always think he's got to fend for himself, that we might forget to feed him his next meal, even though we never have forgotten in eight years, even though we've been nothing but patient and kind to him.  It's a level of broken that makes me love him even more, even harder, even with the memory of those six poop bags still stuck in my brain.  I should also say that there are times when he'll come to me,  out of nowhere, and he'll get in my lap or snuggle up next to me and lick my hand or my nose or my face.  And no matter how stinky his breath is, I always try to freeze and hold on to that moment for as long as possible.  As fleeting and as far between as those times are, they make me feel like we're giving him a good home and that on some level, he is grateful.

Hogan McSmalls is a little shit.  He's six little shits.  But, I love him.

*photo by Tim.