dog day decorating
My dog Parvo, getting into the festive
spirit of Christmas, decided to
decorate our back yard for the holidays.
Not the way you'll
recall Snoopy decorated his
dog house in "A Charlie Brown
Christmas," (an award-winning
initiative as we learn at the end
of the timeless holiday tale),
but in his usual
doggy-sort of way.
He decorated it with crap.
And plenty of it.
But this crap is not your
garden-variety poochie poop.
Traipsing through the fecal snowy
marsh of my yard in faux-Thinsulate
rubber boots, wielding a plastic
bag and a pasta spoon for collection,
I discovered a number of
the insidious (and of course
odoriferous) land mines bespeckled
with a most curious yet highly festive
cranberry red color.
When you're a dadly dad, grown
callous to bodily fluids and funk
thanks to children, you know
the only thing one can do upon
finding a foreign species in
familiar feces is have a closer
Has our dear family pet ingested
a bit of broken glass, and is it
strafing his duodenal lining on
its way back to daylight, slicing
off mucousy membranous bits of
flesh on its circuitous route to
Naw, it ain't blood, I conclude for
myself with the requisite authority of
Besides, Parvo, our sort-of German
shepherd, was leaping about in his
usual feisty fido ways, turfing the
few remaining patches of grass I'd
cultivated in the wilds of our suburban
postage-stamp parcel, chasing the
tail you'd think he'd have figured out
by now was his own, and scaring our
septuagenarian neighbors into a series
of little debilitating strokes.
I hang the bag-o-crap on a crookedy,
rusted-out nail haphazardly driven by
one of our home's previous owners into
a garage wall stud. We hang it
there because we have concluded through
use of the scientific method that
a hanging bag of dog crap seems to draw
fewer flies in the summertime,
thereby (and Q.E.D) significantly reducing
the volume of maggots spawned on
the odious medium until the thankful
arrival of Garbage Day. Sort of a
maggot mojo. For a delicious vicarious
moment I fantasize slipping the
open end of the bag under my bosses'
closed office door and jumping on
its fetid contents, delivering a putrid
payload a-gooshin' all over her lovely
I leave the crap with the cranberry
hue strewn about, however, as of course
further examination might be necessary.
Besides, my kids have
complained for years that I never
decorate outside the house for
The solution to our mystery?
Elementary---er, alimentary, my dear
voyeuristic little friends. Upon
entering our festive abode, I quickly
note the shambles and ruin of the
bottom of our $50 Christmas tree, which,
despite its hefty price tag, was
quickly becoming almost as bald as my own
There, THERE was the culprit.
A string of half-eaten cranberry beads,
(in reality nothing more then styrofoam
balls dipped M&M-style in a cranberry-
colored coating, strung shoddily in Malay
sweat shops and sold as Victoriana due
only to Currier and Ives-evoking package
design), lay in various stages of chewed
destruction on the rug, amongst the
malevolent fallen conifer needles,
which themselves lay in insidious
wait, poised to pierce the unsuspecting
flesh of bare human feet.
At least fido had the courtesy to
offload the digested decorations in
the yard. I am sure there are dads
out there who, like me have dealt
with a doggy in gastrointestinal
distress that couldn't quite make
it to the great outdoors.
The picture: five A.M., I dash
down the steps tearing after the
fidgety, flatulent beast and squonch
onto a pungent and loogy mess at the
bottom of the steps. It slowly
squishes up, all warm and smooshy, between
the naked toes. Fresh, indeed.
I halt dead in my tracks and gag
a maggot that no magic garage mojo
bag could possibly fend off, and
holding my befouled foot in both hands
in the pre-dawn light, go off into a
Billy Ray Cyrus-sort-of Achey Breaky
one-legged stomp through the house, my
mind racing with the abhorrent thought
that I may never be wholly clean again.
Of course moms are not immune to these
excremental hijinks. After the
mysterious disappearance of bric-a-brac
from our coffee table, and its even
more mysterious reappearance here and
there in the backyard, my long-
suffering wife came to a swift and
serious conclusion when she misplaced
both her wedding ring and a cherished
ring of the finest head-shop jade.
Doggy done it.
I watched her, my beloved,
my soul mate, dissect our hound's
poopies with a kitchen knife
and fork for days on end, slicing
the loathsome intestinal
stogies, chop, chop, chop in a
desperate search for the very
symbol of our betrothal.
My dadly heart ached as my
skin crawled with revulsion for her
heinous mission. After examining
excreta for a week or so, the rings
turned up innocently enough on a
kitchen window sill with not so much as
a trace of awful offal.
Oh, there is much much more to
dadly life with the family dawg,
I will leave you to imagine for
yourselves, for example, the outcome
of our dog's clandestine ingestion
of an entire container of Crisco,
nudged with his hungry snout off
a pantry shelf.
These canine horrors plague
your favorite dad even when Spot is
someone else's. Staffing a press
table for Bill Clinton's White House
Conference on Eastern Europe in a
hotel lobby at 4 a.m., a drug-sniffing
secret service dog on a security sweep
past my table dropped a steaming
load on the regally-sculpted runner
just two feet to my left. After twenty
choking minutes and as many frantic
calls to the overnight hotel clean-up
crew, a brave soul picked up after his
government, but only after some
former Soviet Bloc conferees, despite
my warnings, slipped in the stinkies
and tracked it like Ebola throughout
the entire lobby level.
Repulsed, but hoping for a silver lining
(and having learned my lesson at
home), I searched the carpet in vain
for evidence of Hillary Rodham's
jewelry or bric-a-brac. No such luck.
Meantime, the Secret Service guy
with the now-relieved drug-sniffing
dog came whooshing back past we
I can tell you I felt mighty proud
to be an American at that moment.
But I won't get all wistful on you
today with these repugnant recollections.
It's the holiday, and you can conjure
up your own holiday story or tradition
to make you forget your dadly-ness and
go all ferklempty.
it's never too late to start an
endearing, enduring family tradition of
Take the kids to see the jolly old elf.
Then pile 'em into the Volvo and
cruise the 'hood checking out people's
And hey --- when you do,
make sure to stop by your favorite old dad's house.
I've got a backyard display to show you
this year that'll give you and the
kids cranberry-colored holiday memories
you'll surely invoke for
generations to come.
Special thanks for the bandwidth to the fine folks @ multiverse.com
You never talk to your old dad!