Our new puppy, Bentley, has been sick – on and off – more or less since we rescued him. In the past six weeks, we’ve been through three rounds of medication for Giardia, which is a parasite common to puppies, especially ones from rescue facilities. Giardia is NOT pleasant — for me or Bentley. For him, it means yucky and frequent poops, some vomiting, and not a whole lot of energy. For me, it means cleaning up said yucky poops and puke, and being glad that in addition to that I’m not chasing after him as he, with puppy-like intensity, proceeds to destroy my apartment.
Yesterday, I went to the vet and dropped off what I hope to be the final, non-Giardia infected “sample.” (You haven’t lived until you’ve walked down West End Avenue with a cup of coffee in one hand, and a bag of dog poop in the other.) But the whole experience has left me wondering: WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING???????
I remember (and if you don’t have children, skip this part, it’ll gross you out) – I remember, when my kids were babies, picking their noses. Which ought to be disgusting, but at the time, just felt like part of what you did to keep your baby clean and fresh looking. I mean, let’s face it, no one likes a baby with snot coming out of his nose. Of course there was diaper changing, and messy poops to clean up, and puke to deal with. And never once do I remember feeling utterly grossed out by any of it.
Wiping my dog’s poop encrusted butt utterly grosses me out. Because, let’s face it, he’s a dog, not my child.
Now before you sick the PETA police on me, let me set things straight: In the six weeks we have had Bentley, I have wiped his butt, cleaned his puke, cured him of an ear infection, force fed him antibiotics, brushed him, walked him at four a.m., cleaned up more poop, knit him a sweater, spent untold money on grain-free organic, human-grade dog-food, stayed in the room with him until he falls asleep in his crate, and not had a hissy fit when a certain canine single paw-ed-ly destroyed a perfectly good pair of evening shoes. If that’s not love, what is?
It’s just that while I’m doing all that…it’s grossing me out. I love him. I do. Who could resist that face? And he’s making my kids soooo happy. But quite honestly, if he doesn’t get well soon, I’m the one who’s going to be sick as a dog!
Someone please tell me that, like the sleep deprivation of the first three months of parenthood, that this, too, shall pass. Someone tell me that I have not turned into one of those people who talks to their dog like a person, as in “Do you think that was a good decision? To eat my Walter Steiger pumps? I want you to go to your crate and think about that young man.” Someone reassure me that I have not, in effect, added another child to my life.
Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right? This stage will pass — and I do talk to Bentley as if he has the foggiest idea of what I”m saying, and it is like having a baby. Just a baby that grosses me out more than my biological ones did.