Image: my dog, Vida, demanding my attention as I write this blog. I told her I'll take her for a walk when I'm done She bought it..
While we all have been re-learning how to live our lives, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, I have had a mini-crisis of my own right in my home, one that required cleaning. I’m writing this rather silly blog because it’s light, we can all use a laugh, and the initiated are welcome to chuckle at life with a dog while those without dogs are free to cringe in horror.
So, I adopted my dog Vida (pictured above) in late September. As you can see from the photo, she’s a hound dog, part coonhound and (probably) beagle. She was picked up as a stray in Tennessee and sent to a shelter. That shelter then sent her to another shelter, one which is partners with SAVE Animal Shelter in Montgomery, NJ. SAVE is where I met her.
I feel fortunate to have Vida. She’s is the world’s friendliest dog. She seems to love everyone and has no aggression issues with other dogs when on the leash. She does not appear to have been traumatized by human beings and, we suspect, must have had a family once because she loves children.
Her biggest issue is that, having been a stray, she had experienced hunger and thirst. During her first few months with me, she would drink tons of water and then have little accidents because her bladder couldn’t handle it. Vida also most likely rooted through trash cans and bags for food. I know this because she rooted through trash cans at home and the church office.
For those of you who don’t know, I am an assistant pastor at a United Methodist church. Our office has a lovely position called “Church Dog.” Vida is the third pooch to hold that title.
Having experienced Vida’s predilection for rooting, all my open trash cans are now off the floor, except for the one in the kitchen. That one has a cover over it. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Sadly, I overlooked one little thing. Every year for Easter, our church makes chocolate-covered candy Easter eggs. The team had a bunch made before production stopped due to the coronavirus. Naturally, I bought some, brought them home, and put them on the dining table, which I thought was a safe place.
You can see where this is going.
I left the house on Wednesday to do some essential things. When I returned, I discovered that Vida had gotten into the bag of Easter eggs and eaten them all. I semi-panicked. Dogs and chocolate don’t mix. However, my terrier, Gremlin, had eaten some chocolate candies back in the day and we got through it. I knew that Vida had probably eaten far worse as a stray and would handle this situation in a predictable manner.
What followed that evening is what I like to call “The Great Dog Puke of 2020.”
Now, every dog has a different style of vomiting. My aforementioned terrier mix, Gremlin, did a series of silent yaks before she let go. Tippy, my miniature Australian shepherd, who passed away in May 2019, would produce an exaggerated smile and then “knock” (make noisier yaks) before spewing. Vida, on the other hand, is not prone to giving much warning, if any at all.
Some people may cry a river, but Vida barfs a river, especially when she has consumed a great deal of water. That river landed on the carpet in the TV room. As you can imagine, it was the color of milk chocolate with bits in it. Erghhh…
I hope you’re not eating while you read this.
So, after cleaning the mess up, I pulled out the sofa bed, anticipating that it would be a long night. I figured it would be more efficient to spend the night downstairs rather than make a useless race from the second floor to the back door. Turns out the sofa thing was a bad idea. Vida, the no-warning dog, barfed on the hide-a-bed's mattress.
The third time we made it out to the deck behind my parsonage. (In case you don't know, "parsonage" is a term for "place where the pastor lives.") The situation made for a much easier clean up. I threw pans of water on the mess until it washed off the edge of the deck.
The fourth and fifth times I actually managed to get her completely outside.
Another complication lay in the fact that, because she is a dog, Vida wanted to eat what she had just barfed up. This fact has been noted by folks living as early as biblical times: “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who reverts to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11, New Revised Standard Version of the Bible) There. You’ve had a Bible lesson for the day. Go forth and use it on fools when they return to their folly.
Did I mention that I got next to no sleep that night and also did a lot of cleaning? The next time I go out, which will be for supplies on Monday, I’ll be sure to grab more pet spot and odor cleaner at the pet store. I think I’m running out. I just hope the pet store still will be open.
I believe Vida has purged her system. She’s acting like her old self. In fact, we’re going to take a walk once I’m done with this blog.
So that’s how my social-distancing-shelter-in-place life has been going. Hope yours is less eventful and way-less yucky.
Stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands. And hang in there.
Janet R. Stafford
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder