The Night the Dog Exploded

A small dog, fireworks, and pig ear chews don’t mix. I’ll explain.

Team Janning spent the better part of last night enjoying 4th of July fireworks in the town square. Just a few thousand folks celebrating all things America by wolfing down snow cones, hot dogs, hamburgers, and ridiculous amounts of pop before blowing stuff up after dark. Festive!

We have a small dog named Lilly. You met her a couple months ago. We decided not to bring her to SugarBeefSmallTownBoomBoom-Fest 2013 for fear that the crowd, new smells, and the gunpowder-laced frivolity would stress her out. We opted instead for putting her in her comfy crate, giving her a Merrick Miss Piggy Dog Pig Ear Chew (MADE FROM REAL SOWS! YUM!), and letting her chew to her heart’s content until we returned home. We were sure this would equal doggie bliss.

This turned out to be a horrifically bad idea for three reasons:

  1. The dog has never had pig ear chews before.
  2. The dog has never been alone on 4th of July before.
  3. The dog has never had diarrhea before.  UNTIL NOW.

Dog poop has a very distinct odor. When you can smell it before you even open your front door, and it overpowers the reek of the eleventy-billion bottle rockets and firecrackers detonated by every neighbor within a one-mile radius, you know something life changing awaits inside.

Forensic analysis would later reveal that Lilly had the largest bowel movement in the history of her mini-schnauzer breed in her formerly-comfy-but-now-a-Superfund-site of a crate. While approximately 30% of it was spread along the floor and sides of the enclosure, the remaining 9,647% of the explosive yield (MADE FROM REAL SOWS! YUM!) was caked into every square inch of her lower body.

This distribution was changing by the second, however, because she was now rubbing her body excitedly along the sides of the cage because YAY YAY THANK YOU SWEET JESUS MY HUMANS ARE HOME LOOKY LOOKY WHAT I MADE FOR YOU!

Minor detail: her crate is in our master bedroom, 7 whole feet from our bed. Moving on…

Our children took one look into the horror that was Lilly’s cage and promptly sprinted the other way. They’d be in Ecuador right now had I not been blocking the front door.

My wife stood in silent shock in our bedroom doorway, unable to move or think or speak. This is significant because she’s a) given birth twice, b) used to work with infants in a day care for 8 years, and c) is a former EMT.  For her to be paralyzed beyond the capacity for movement or rational thought at this particular sight filled me with an Edward-Snowden-wants-to-crash-at-our-place level of dread.

We spent the next 90 minutes hosing down the cage, scrubbing the dog, disinfecting the cage, scrubbing the carpet, scrubbing the carpet more because you missed the spots 6 feet downrange of the cage where the poop went aerosol, hosing down the cage again because you missed several spots in the 11:38pm darkness, slamming doors in frustration, arguing about the level of bowel control a 13-pound dog should have no matter what she’s ingested GOSH DANGIT, realizing your two daughters fell asleep on their own after midnight without so much as a good night kiss from their pooped (get it?!) parents or squeaky-clean dog. You know, the typical stuff every red-blooded American family does on a holiday evening.

Is there a point to this story? I don’t know. I’m writing this at 5:14am on July 5th, having slept a sum total of 38 minutes because I was sure Lilly would go all poop-nuke again and we’d repeat the last few paragraphs I just wrote. The fact that there are complete sentences at all in this piece is a miracle.

For me, what I learned was that the best choice when the crap hits the cage is to laugh a bit more and realize that it all washes off in the end. Or it could be to keep those you love close when the night closes in and things get loud and crazy. I’ll leave it up to you.

But please, no matter what, remember to never leave your dog alone with any pig-based chew toy for any length of time. The bedroom you save could be your own.

Andy Janning

Andy Janning

Andy Janning is the author of the books Heroes, Villains, and Drunk Old Men and The Breast Cancer Portrait Project, an 8-time state and national award winner for overall excellence ... Web: Details