I came home and there was shit everywhere. It was much like a good flick of the wrist from an artist’s brush, and our floor was the canvas. Specifically, the carpets. We have wood floors throughout the house, and a big rug in both the living room and dining room. And Zao did basically the opposite of what we would have wanted, say…had she called and asked. “Hey Ryan, I’m about to shit all over this house…should I try to keep in on the carpets, or maybe just keep it to the much easier to clean hardwood?”

I was enraged. I yelled. I grabbed her by the collar and when I did, she showed her teeth. That made me angrier. I pulled and she spilled to the ground. I got her up again and she ran out the door. I cleaned up the shit, using damn near every cleaning supply in the house. I brought Zao in, gave her a bath. By this time I felt incredibly guilty of treating her like I did. I know she couldn’t help it. As I sat there washing her down and she stood staring like she does more and more often at her age, shaking slightly by the unusual what-the-fuck happened here today? feeling hopefully washing away down the drain as well, I felt like a supreme asshole.

Zao is a wonderful dog. She has never chewed, or disobeyed. Really the only thing she’s ever been guilty of is getting overly excited when company comes by. She can literally hold her toiletries duties for amazing lengths of time. But of course she’s 12 and we’ve watched as she’s slowly declined. She doesn’t act that old necessarily but she definitely looks that old. Especially in the last year or so. And the talk has begun…of “when” and you know…she won’t live forever. This is something I’ve never really had to face. We only had one dog growing up, and we gave her up as she was completely out of control. I’ve had cats, rabbits, hamsters that have moved on. But I really believe it’s something about dogs. They really are man’s best friend, and I’ve played it over in mind more than a few times what an awful, heartwrenching moment that will be.

It’s been almost a week, she’s finally eating again. The shit lasted a few days, then there was a day or two of…um leaking? And now is day 2 of the most rancid gas you can imagine. In fact, we are leaving the house not because we have anything to do or even because it’s a nice day, because it isn’t. But to get away from her damn farting.

I think she’s forgiven me. I hope she has. It’s hard to tell sometimes, as she has this way of standing there staring at you with those big, dark eyes of hers, with that gloomy look on her face. Almost a boxer/rott mix of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. She wags her tail again to me. I just hope she means it.


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