"HOLD IT! HOLD IT! HOLD IT!"
I frantically carried my tiny, white puppy with outstretched arms. I ran with her up the stairs, through the house, out the door, down the stairs, and to the grass. I promptly released her and backed away like she was a bomb about to go off. She lifted her tail straight up, and with a shockingly accurate recreation of the Bellagio Fountain, produced a jet of pure liquid poo. "Phew! Made it." I sagged against the railing.
This had become a routine over the last week. Zoey, the puppy in question, was not planned. I was an employed college graduate at 21 with a salary too large for someone with so little impulse control. In a moment of weakness, I went to a pet store hosting an adoption day. My brother had detailed these events as the highlight of his shift. Rescue animals of all kinds occupied the center aisle, each with their own tale of woe. I was going to hold and play, NOT adopted. It had been a rough week, and I needed a pick me up.
You can pretty much guess how that went.
The desire for canine companionship overpowered me, and I found myself internally trying to justify bringing one home. After all, an adult dog wouldn't need the care and training a puppy would.
My brother, Satan's little helper, was a loyal employee and slowly coaxed me over to the puppy kennels, presenting me with the smallest of the litter.
The rescue TOLD ME she was a Pug Beagel mix.
They TOLD ME she would grow to be no bigger than twenty-five pounds.
They TOLD ME she was healthy, docile, and sweet.
She was four weeks old. Four weeks is FAR too young to be separated from her mother and siblings. Something I was stupidly unaware of at the time. She looked nothing like a Beagle or a Pug and grew to be a forty-two-pound terror.
The day after I brought her home was a horror show. Liquid poo everywhere. My poor baby was listless and incontinent. I called the adoption agency listed on her paperwork and detailed my concerns. Instead of help, I got a bored voice that replied, "Well, you can always bring her back."
I hung up.
She's a puppy, not a pair of shoes. I took her to the vet with a sample of the poo soup. No infection or parasites. But she had been pulled off milk too soon and placed on poor quality kibble resulting in stomach upset. A diet of rice, chicken, and pumpkin puree was the cure. Suddenly, the sweet, docile, snuggle bug was gone. I was now left with was a small, canine terrorist.
I WAS NOT PREPARED.
It started small. I started to noticed small nose-sized holes in the yard when I mowed the grass. Fun fact. After it rains, worms come close to the surface. She was sniffing out, digging up, and then slurping (think spaghetti) worms out of the ground. I pulled a couple of mutilated corpses out of her mouth before giving up. My brother just shrugged. "It's protein."
The next hallmark moment occurred when my aunt came to visit my mother with her grandkids. I brought Zoey over to play with the toddlers. It was all fun and games until the first kid assumed the squatting position and started pooping. Zoey decided that this was a delicacy she had not yet had the pleasure of sampling. Screaming. Running. Diaper ripping. Poo flying.
This is why I can't take her anywhere.
Oddly enough, she has never chewed anything of mine up. However, she is exceptionally petty, and when she doesn't get her way, she will wait until I am at work to get even. Then, after I leave, she diligently searches the floor and hamper for my thongs and drags them into the yard. She then leaves them there, in the daylight, for my neighbors' viewing pleasure. I have no idea where she learned this, but it's diabolical.
When she's not airing my dirty laundry, Zoey is diligently applying herself to the art of toy shredding. Stuffed animals are not toys. They are sacrifices. She always rips the heads off first, the psycho. I started buying the rubber kongs. You know, the ones that you can smear peanut butter in to keep your doggo entertained? The ones that are quote "indestructible." The kong lasted only a few weeks, after which I came home to find the floor littered with tiny rubber confetti.
Now I buy large packs of extra-large men's tube socks instead of toys. They are cheap and surprisingly versatile. Knot one up and stick it in another, and tie the end. Now you have a ball. They are fabulous for tug of war and don't leave strings everywhere like rope toys, which she also shreds.
With all this and more in mind, despite her antics, she has my heart. I apologize to her for the trauma of running the vacuum, or rearranging the furniture. I hide with her when it storms. I look forward to seeing her when I get home. She loves me unconditionally and I thank my lucky stars every day for such a lovable little terrorist.