The sad truth is I am not often thankful for our dog. In fact, I am more often frustrated with her than anything else. We got her two weeks before I found out I was pregnant for the very first time, and she has tested my hormones, my sanity, and the cleanliness of our home ever since.
Abby is an 85 lb two year old, more or less. Like we need another one around here. Well, to be completely accurate, she’s three. Which I guess makes her a twenty-one year old in dog years. Whatever the age, she can be a handful at times.
She gets into the trash on a fairly consistent basis these days, runs around like crazy if not exercised daily, and she is difficult to take to the park because she sometimes barks at small children. (I think she is afraid of them). Twice a year she sheds like a mad woman and in one week tracks in more mud and dirt on the paws of her feet than I’d care to see in a lifetime.
At our house in Virginia she often escaped the jerry-rigged fence in our back yard if left outside unattended for more than two minutes. And if there was a dead animal within a five mile radius of our home, she would find it. And roll in it. And come back smelling like the nastiest thing you ever smelled: dead animal.
One time it was the middle of winter eight o’clock at night and she escaped. I lured her back home with a bone, but as she came within ten feet of me my nose sniffed something it had never quite sniffed before. I practically gagged.
In addition to the revolting smell that clung to her fur, she had some weird wet white stuff all over her. It was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever experienced. I wasn’t sure what to do. Here she was within ten feet of me, and I didn’t want to touch her. I don’t know how I did it, but I was somehow able to trap her with the bone on the back porch without throwing up. (Mind you, I was pregnant with baby #2 at the time.) I left her there till Darrell got home.
Being that it was winter, we couldn’t hose her down outside like we usually did. So, I was tempted to leave her outside for the night and see if it would be warm enough to hose her down the next day. But after looking up the temps for the night, it was going to be too cold.
Our only option?
Wash her in the only bathtub in the house. Ours. The one we shower in every day and the one in which I bathe my son. Yeah, that one. So we did.
I should say, Darrell did.
I cleared the hallway of everything she could possibly touch, held my nose and opened the door as he brought in the beast on a leash. When it was all said and done I’ve never used so much bleach or lysol in my life–oh yeah, and air freshener!
But, all that to say…
Today, I am thankful for Abby. Not because she hasn’t rolled in a dead animal lately, but because she is the best rice picker-upper there ever was.
Rice is one of those foods that is still difficult for my kids to eat, and oh so difficult to clean up. It’s tiny, it’s sticky, it gets everywhere. I’m sure you know, a broom doesn’t fare very well, it just smears the sticky stuff on your floor before eventually being caught in the dust pan after five to ten swipes. A vacuum works a little better, but mine is really only meant for carpet and does not do an excellent job.
But Abby? She’s the best. With one slop of her tongue she gets up a handful of rice. And she doesn’t miss a piece. Although it kinda grosses me out to see her slobber all over the chair and the floor, I am grateful to not have to clean it up.
So, I just watch and sigh. And then bring out the lysol.