The moment I opened the door, I knew. The air was different. I just knew.
Throwing my purse and lunch bag to the couch, I made a beeline for her kennel, calling her name as I went. “Foxy? Foxy, are you okay?” I was sure of what I would find when I got to her, but had no idea the extent of the damage – until I crouched down and saw it with my own eyes.
I was immediately on the phone with the emergency vet.
“Hello, I have an emergency. Actually, it’s not an emergency-emergency, but just this thing that’s happened and my dog is in her kennel and I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s okay,” she said. “Slow down.”
“I mean, everything’s okay, it’s just that my dog – ”
“Do you have an emergency?”
“No. I mean yes! I mean, I don’t know. My dog is sick.”
“Your dog is sick?”
“Is she breathing?”
“Yes – ”
“Is she vomiting?”
“No – ”
“Is she conscious?”
“Is she – ”
“Ma’am, my dog has had an explosion of diarrhea.”
I waited. Silence hung on the line. Finally,
“Is that why you called the emergency vet?”
I explained to her that my dog had been spayed on Friday, and that the clinic had told me to keep her incision dry at all costs, and that since I’m a rule follower to the fullest extent – I spent years using a full 1” of toothpaste on my toothbrush every time I brushed because that’s what the package told me to do – I wasn’t sure how to clean her without water hitting her belly, and also do you know how much toothpaste I was going through?
“Well, you’ll just need to be careful – keep her incision covered while you wash her off.”
“Ma’am, I don’t think you understand. My dog is covered – covered – in poop. There’s no way I can get her clean without washing every moment of her body.” I thought about some of those… moments… namely the ones beneath the tail… and what it was going to take to get her clean (that is, my own personal fortitude).
“You’ll probably want to get someone to help you. Just keep the incision covered and you’ll be fine. Good luck!”
And that was that.
I scrolled through the contacts in my phone wondering who to call. Because who is That Person? WHO IS THE ONE you count on in moments like these? I’ll be honest, I don’t think I have That Person* – because the yearbook didn’t call them out in the superlatives, “Friend Most Likely to Help Scrub Caked Shit Off Your Dog Whilst Protecting Her Lady Parts.” I knew that this was going to be a solo endeavor.
Like a surgeon in an OR, I prepared the bathroom. Towels – check. Dog shampoo – check. Hair in a ponytail – check. Okay. Let’s bring her in.
I opened the kennel door, and my crap-crusted dog bolted out like her life depended on it. “FOXY!” I screamed, as she tore under the dining room table, hiding between all of the chairs, rubbing poop into the rug. “No! Come here! COME HERE.” I pulled her out from under the table, and we retraced the brown paw prints back to the bathroom.
Friends, someday I will find the words – but tonight’s moments in that bathtub are beyond my current storytelling abilities. I am now familiar with areas of Foxy’s body that, frankly, I never want to think about ever again.
And I’m sure she feels the same way.
*If you are That Person, please let me know. This is an arrangement best decided upon in advance, like the meeting place for your family if your house burns down or where you’ve stashed the fake passport when you need to make a run for it.