Friday, September 20, 2013

Dog Sitting Stinks And Grandkids Don't

 Six months seems like a long time but now that I am back writing about Red Dog so let me tell you about this latest little adventure.  "Warning" if you have a vivid imagination be prepared to hit the delete button in your brain because this one might be a little gross but sometimes life gets a little smelly.   

The story starts with my wife and I becoming brand new first time grand parents to the prettiest baby girl in all of Texas.  She is an absolute blessing and we are proud to be this little girl's Gigi and PAC.  In case you are wondering what PAC means it's the acronym for Physician Assistant Certified.  A title I worked my tail off to obtain several years ago.  Besides there are plenty of Pa's, Papa's, Poppies, Grandpa's, etc.  I know one guy who's grandkids call him Doc since he is a veterinarian.  I even have an old marine corps aviator friend who's last name is Bandy and his grandkids use "Moe" as his grandpa name because that was his call sign as a fighter pilot.  How cool is that!  I know that PAC doesn't sound very cool and it may even border on dumb but it's unique and I kind of like unique.  Besides PAC is a much better choice than the first grandpa name my wife and kids wanted to use.  When we first found out we were to be grand parents my wife decided she wanted to be a Gigi and she suggested I needed to be Pee Pee!!!  Yes a Pee Pee!!!  So when she told the kids of that brilliant idea they thought it would be great (especially after laughing about it for five minutes) and that's when I knew I better come up with something else or I would forever be known as Pee Pee to all of my grand kids.  "Heck No". So PAC it is. lol. 

The weekend after Zerah Grace was born our oldest kids came to see their new niece and brought their Ridgeback Mattie with them.  You remember Mattie, she was the first Howard family Ridgeback and we were so impressed with her manners that we got a couple ourselves.  Mattie comes to visit every time the kids come to town so when we get three large Rhodesian Ridgeback roaming around the house it gets a little crowded.  It's a Ridgeback here, a Ridgeback there, every where a Ridgeback.  Walking across the room with the three of them lounging around the house is like trying to roller skate through a buffalo herd to coin a phrase from back in the day.   They just love to be rubbed and scratched on but there is apparently a fear running through the pack that one dog
might get a tad more attention than the other two so they all dart your direction trying to grab all the petting they can get their paws on.  I can see a hip fracture in my future as they all bolt my direction and knock me to the floor.  It is highly probable that these mutts are spoiled and get their way to often.  

These three, who's ancesters were rugged tough lion hunters living on the arid African plains now live a life of "swimming pools and movie stars" as far as dogs are concerned.  It's a dog version of "Life Styles Of The Rich And Famous". They all have a special bed to sleep in, get their own personal eating bowl, and have their own private concierge medical practitioner who many times is me ( I'm apparently a very diverse practitioner caring for people and now Ridgebacks).  Mattie is the real city girl with a special prescription diet, lives in an high rise apartment and is well acquainted with the lights of the big city.  Red Dog and Rosie live in a small rural town in Texas but have a well groomed yard in which to poop in, a 17 foot long back yard water feature in which to swim in, an enclosed high fenced 3 acre compound in which to roam in (it also makes for great protection from the larger intruders in the area like cougars, coyotes, feral hogs, bobcats, and the occasional crazed gray squirrel) and last but not least is central air conditioning and heating for that year round pleasurable climate controlled living experience but they still have to endure the occasional inconvenience of outdoor living (like real dogs)  I know, I know.  The humanity of it all.

After a wonderful weekend of drooling over our new grand baby our oldest kids realized they had no one to dog sit Mattie before their trip to the comfort of the high mountains of New Mexico over their upcoming holiday so Debbie and I agreed to let Mattie stay the week with us while the kids were traveling.  Now we have the blessing of three pony sized Ridgebacks leaving the dream in this climate controlled Doggie Oasis for the next 10 days.  How did we get so lucky?  What's next, Bob Barker jumping out of the closet saying "IT'S A BRAND NEW CAR"!!!!!  I sure hope so.  Well anyway here we are me, the wife and 3 red Clydesdale's trying to occupy the same living space.  "IT'S GREAT". 

I think I mentioned earlier that one of these spoiled mutts has a special doctor prescribed diet? Well today we found out why Ms. Mattie has this "special diet" and will get to that in a few minutes. 

When I was a kid I had the blessing of having an old Heinz 57 mutt wander into my life. He was named Lion Dog.  He got this name because my sister and I thought he looked like a lion.  Well old Lion Dog just showed up on our front porch one day and never left.  He took to us like ticks on a hound dog and would play with my sister and I for hours on end.  He was the best but he never got to live indoors like the Ridgebacks.  Lion Dog slept outside come rain or shine heat wave or blizzard.  I do remember once dad relented to let him stay in the garage during a blizzard because the snow had drifted over the top of our house and he didn't want Lion Dog to suffocate or freeze to death.  Don't get me wrong my dad loved dogs and growing up he had a loyal companion named Laddie for many years but dad was raised on the farm and that meant all critters lived outside.  It also meant that the dogs ate left overs from grandma's cooking or they went out to catch their own supper.  Lion Dog didn't have it quite that tough.  His meals consisted of our left overs and co-op dog food because it was the cheapest priced dog food in town .  No special diets for those guys so I guess that's why it seems weird that Mattie needs one.  She's a dog and should eat regular dog food not prescription dog food in my way of thinking.  Brother, was I wrong about that one. 

A few mornings ago Debbie and I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of Mattie's specialty prescription diet.  Have you every heard the one about the older gentleman that woke up in bed early one morning and thought his water bed had sprung a leak overnight and as he laid there wiping the sleep from his eyes he suddenly realized he did not own a water bed!  Well this particular morning I woke up and as I laid there in my comfortable California king sized pillow topped perfect sleeping man sized bed I noticed a not so alluring fragrance filling the room and as I wiped the sleep away from my eyes I thought to myself "Wow supper really gassed me up during the night".  The longer I laid there I tried to think which foods created this extraordinary aroma?  As I was mentally going down my culinary check list it dawned on me that I only saw Red Dog and Rosie go out the back door when I let them out around 5:00 am.  As I continued lying there in the warmth of my toasty sleeping spot with my beautiful bride snoring (LOUDLY) beside me I started thinking about how much trouble I was going to be in when she woke up to a stinky bedroom.  So I began to formulate a plan to keep out of trouble.  I first thought that playing possum would be a good idea and when she woke up I would plead my innocence or ignorance which ever worked.  That's when it hit me.  "Bam" as Uncle Si would say.  Mattie was still in the house and she normally goes out to potty around 6:00 when my son in law  comes home from fighting crime for the police department and it was now 7:05.  I yelled out a very loud "OH NOOOOOO" and jumped to my feet.  Well that "OH NOOOOOO" was very effective in waking up my sleeping bride and her ultra sensitive nose which immediately knew what had happened.  She jumped out of bed and starting yelling at me as she ran across the room to turn on the lights as the room was still dark.  At this point I'm a little confused because I'm not exactly sure who is she is upset with, me or the dog so I began to yell out Mattie's name just to be sure I wasn't going to get the blame.  When the lights came on there it was or should I say there "THEY" were.  Ms. Mattie not only left a smelly gift that was the size of a small log home but added a couple dozen stinky mud pies on the carpet as big as the dots in the Milton Bradley kids' game "Twister" minus the bright colors of course.  Oh My Lord.  How could one dog produce this much poop in one hour.  It had to be some kind of a record!  I just stood there in shock.  I couldn't believe my eyes (which were burning by the way).  The carpet at the foot of the bed looked like the Keebler Elves broke into the house and used it as a baking sheet to make some Jolly Green Giant sized cookies.  What a "Ginormous" mess.  I just stood there staring at the mess then I looked over at Debbie and then looked back at the mess then looked over at Debbie again. After doing this about 5 times Debbie looked over at me I and said "WHAT"!  I replied, how in the world did you run all the way across this room and maneuver through that stinky mess and not once step on one of those lovely little gifts?  And in the dark none the less!  I don't know if I was amazed or in shock that she made a clean pass (no pun intended) through the disaster zone as I watched her carefully inspect her feet. No melt down meant no mud pies between her toes.  Luckily for me I was running late for work by this time so I did what any hard working man would do.  I cautiously tip toed through the tulips and made a mad dash for the shower then out the door like an Olympic sprinter.  Well to spare you too many more gross details, a six pack of Charmin, three pack of Brawny and barrel of hand sanitizer later the poo was gone but the stains remained.  On my drive home from work that evening I decided to prepare a small sermon to speak over Mattie's grave as I knew my kids would have wanted her to have a Christian funeral.  I arrived home expecting to see a HazMat team in my front yard with yellow tape wrapped around our house and the neighborhood under full quarantine but to my surprise there wasn't even a sign of a cleaning company in sight.  I was shocked when I walked into the house and saw that the carpet was spotless.  My loving wife put her mad computer skills to work and Googled up a recipe of Dawn dish washing soap and white vinegar that cleaned the spots right up.  DEBBIE'S THE BOMB!!!  I think she deserves a special smooch from me, that is if she's speaking to me after abandoning ship earlier in the day. 

As I sit here trying to think of what the life lessons are about this story, here is what I came up with.

1.  Dogs who are the size of Clydesdale's should live outside for the obvious reasons no matter how much you loved them.

2.  Marry a wife who has crazy foot working skills.  But maybe put her through some type of NFL workout with tires and ropes before you propose so you know her skill set.

3.  Always pay close attention to the words "Special Prescribed Diet" whether its your dog or a family member because you don't want to clean up after either of them.

4.  Always have an exit strategy in case your pet blows up the house over night.  You are not Mike Rowe and don't want to get stuck with the "Dirty Job". 

5.  Have a good internet provider because you need Google in case there's an emergency. 

6. It's last but far from being least and I've not mentioned it since the opening of this story.  Go out and get yourself some grand kids, "THEIR GREAT".  But what ever you do never agree to dog sit when your on a "grandpa high" because bad things can happen and that "bad thing" probably isn't coming from the new grandbaby if you own a herd of Ridgebacks! 

Until the next adventure, God bless you.