Friday, February 10, 2006

Potty language

A quick note on coprophagia --which sounds like a lovely Northern Italian dish to be served piping hot with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio.

Well. It’s not.

It’s what my six month old puppy started doing. It is something that can make me think she’s not so adorable after all. It's worse than the cute nose-picking kid.

My furry little AWWW Benji look-a-like puppy likes to eat shit--huge loads of crap made by our ninety pound lab, small steaming green mounds made by herself, old white flecked half frozen and stomped clods from the garden and tiny perfectly ball shaped rabbit turds from the bunny who lives in the compost pile.

Apparently, this is a common problem with dogs- starting back from the mother dog eating the fecal matter of her newborns in the den in order to maintain a sanitary place for the wriggling blind bodies—but this dog is 6 months old, the only thing she’s humping is her stuffed bunny and we don’t even have a den.

So why would she suddenly do this?

I may have missed a few hints. There was one day a few weeks ago that I said, as I wandered around the yard with a bag on my hand, “Where’s all the poop? I haven’t picked up dog doo in days, yet there’s hardly any to be found.” Hint number two. My daughter said, “Mommy, why’s the puppy’s belly so fat?”

So, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised…

Most Tuesdays are pet store run days, as the pet store is next to the dance studio and it’s a two for one plan. So once a month it’s dog nail trim time, as that is one task I despise¾ too many nipped quicks and dog nails bleed a long, long time.

So, we have the puppy in her carrier, as she is prone to motion sickness (something we all hope she grows out of ). And soon enough, bombs away!

My daughter, who chose to sit with the puppy’s carrier, says, “Ewww, she barfed!”

The rest of us say at the same time—“Eww. Something smells like dogcrap.”

My daughter looks in the crate and announces, “The puppy barfed poop. And not just a little-ack--a lot of poop!”

This brings a whole new meaning to the term diarrhea of the mouth.

The kids are gagging, and the puppy is puking and stepping in the shit-barf and I race down the road, pull into the parking lot and try to clean up the whole mess with some rags and plastic bags and bottled water.

The Groomer said it’s normal, but she winced when she told me, then held the puppy arms length away and pointed out the medicine row. I bought a package of Deter pills, guaranteed to end this “common but disturbing habit.”

I felt like a failure as a puppy mom. Whatever could I be doing that my adorable, fuzzy, six month old wants to shit and eat it too? How repulsive I must be to her if she would choose crap over me? And ewwww. She licked my mouth with that tongue!

But now, I see how she was trying to communicate. She taught me to clean up the yard more frequently, and feed her more fiber, like the veggie diet she used to be on. She now gets independent walks every day and has a new leash and muzzle (for the times we can’t watch her in the yard and she may be tempted), plus she can’t chew on pine cones or drag twigs inside anymore.

My big old lab looks at her like she is some kind of freak--a shit addict--but I think my puppy is just smarter than us. She is like her own science experiment, like her own little San Francisco .

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