Tuesday, April 18, 2006


In Which I Am Called on the Carpet...

Can anyone tell me: Why does it seem like a good idea at the time?

For example, let's say you've lost your neighbors' pet rabbit. You're reasonably certain he's somewhere in the house, but with the great store by which your neighbors set these pets, you don't want to leave it up to chance. You want to catch the big fat hairy bastard if you can or, failing that, at least be able to identify his position in the house to within a few square feet. That way, you can at least leave a note saying something like,

Dear Cheap-Ass Neighbors Who Can Clearly Afford A Pet Sitter But Instead Mooch Off My Goodwill,

During his morning scamper, Uggs decided to have some quiet time under the sleeper sofa and I could not dislodge him, not even with your Dyson vacuum cleaner, (which needs to be emptied, by the way. Who knew so much fur could come off so quickly?) so there he stays. Hope you had a good time at the funeral.

Love, MM

Problem is, a visual inspection of several (dozen) likely hideouts has yielded nothing. Flummoxed yet humanely desperate enough not to have a beloved pet disappear on your watch, it occurs to you that the best way to find the critter is to call upon the talents of someone who is uniquely qualified to detect rabbits--not by sight, but by scent.

And so you bring your dog into the house.

Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So again I ask: Why? Why did that seem like a good idea at the time, but later was so clearly...

Well, let's back up a bit.

In my defense, I should say that we have established a precedent for this kind of work. Blaze has identified the location of small animals when I could not detect them before. And my idea to bring Blaze into my neighbors' house to sniff out the bunny was actually a good one, insofar as he DID successfully identify Uggs' location.


At first, though, he made a yipping beeline for the kitchen, where he ran head-first into the rabbit hutch, causing an enormous racket, as though someone had just tipped a drawer full of silverware down a flight of stairs.

Wow, did that ever freak out the birds. The noise was bad enough, but when That Goddamn Bird and The Other One saw Blaze, their chittering rap

("Whothefuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckeeeeee? Whatthefuck? Whothefuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckeeeeee?? Whatthefuck?" "Ieeeeeedunno. Ieeeeeedunno. Whyaskmememememememeeeeeeeeeeeee?")

was so loud and so piercing I'm fairly certain my ears started bleeding.

Although a confirmed bird killer, Blaze gave these two almost no notice as he banged into the hutch again and again, sniffing and yelping. I was afraid he would cause the birds to have tiny little heart attacks (and how would that scene look with my apologetic note about Uggs lying nearby?), so I had to physically pick Blaze up and carry him into the dining room and out of sight of the birds (they calmed down at length and since they abruptly exit our story here, you'll be pleased to know that they are still alive and well to shit in their water and sing their chirpy songs).

Blaze would not calm down. He was thrashing his head every which way, twice bashing me in the nose with his hard doggy noggin. He was sniffing frantically, sending sprays of watery canine nasal fluid hither and yon. It was like the very air was impregnated with devil-bunny scent (and I suppose, for him, it was). I growled at him several times using the technique I'd been taught by our dog trainer (I've gotten better at. No, I really have.). But slowly, eventually, he calmed down and adjusted to his environment. I thought.

Holding his leash till it left horizontal slits in the palms of both hands, I began walking Blaze around the dining room table. He sniffed the air a bit more, casting about. I quickly brought him through the kitchen to the basement door and led him to the bottom of the steps, when he started getting very excited, yipping and woofing as he gave his nose what I was certain would be the mother of all rug burns. He pulled me across the floor, around the pool table and back to the stairs (along the way--and so quickly that I couldn't stop him--he sucked up the lone rabbit turd sitting at the foot of the stairs). I was convinced he had the scent of fresh bunny in his nostrils as he dragged me back up the stairs.

He didn't even pause in the kitchen, but bulled straight into the living room. He stopped once by the sofa, sniffing hard, then yanked me around the sofa and into the middle of the room where he began chewing at the carpet. I yanked his leash to stop him, but when he lifted his head, he was still chewing, and that's when I realized what it was: more of those hellish little M&M droppings, which I had not previously noticed, since they were as dark as the carpet and blended right in.

Thus fortified, Blaze renewed his tracking of Uggs, yanking me up the stairs and down a long corridor, stopping short by the bathroom door to suck up some more evil nuggets of bunny treasure. And then Blaze just stopped. Sat down by the bathroom door and looked at me with a quizzical expression that I could only hope did not mean "I can't believe I ate all that. But I think we're going to see it again real soon."

I was going to yank him back down the hall and try again, when I heard a noise that made me stop. It was a slick and skittery noise and it was coming from the bathroom. I stepped in, but Blaze stayed where he was. I had forgotten: he hates bathrooms. Bathrooms mean tubs and tubs mean bath-time, Blaze's least favorite activity on earth.

It was a completely white bathroom. White tiles. White Corian sink. White curtains, white towels. I was probably giving Uggs more credit than he deserved, but it occurred to me that if you were a white rabbit, you couldn't pick a better hiding spot. Indeed, I gave a very close look at the fuzzy bathmat on the floor next to the shower and ultimately had to nudge it with my foot just to make dead certain it wasn't Uggs. Then, ever so gently, I peeled back the shower curtain, exposing a Jacuzzi as big as my kids' wading pool, but about three times as deep. Ah, you're saying, Uggs fell into the tub and was stuck there. That makes perfect sense! And it would--except he wasn't there. I peered behind the wastebasket next to the toilet. I looked in the space behind the toilet. Finally, I opened the white cabinet doors under the white Corian sink and looked in there. No Uggs.

And then I started to stand up and let out an involuntary shout and I found myself staring into one blood-red devil-eye.

Uggs was lying in the sink and had so perfectly molded himself to the contours of the basin that he presented almost no profile. He had been right in front of me the whole time, camouflaged in Corian.

"Hi there," I said gently. "Come on back down to the kitchen with me, and I'll tell you all about my favorite movie. It's called Fatal Attraction." I've never actually had to pick up a bunny before, so I just kind of bent over the sink and when Uggs tried to bolt, I hooked my arm under him and clasped him to my chest. He kicked me a couple of times--hard--in the stomach, but I held on, gently whispering the plot synopsis of some of my favorite films involving bunnies. He struggled mightily and for a brief moment he nearly got away from me by climbing up my face and almost over the top of my head. It was like being smothered by a down comforter, wrapped around a sack of weasels. But I got him by one leg and pulled him back to a position where I could breathe once more. Then he abruptly settled down.

Blaze stood quivering at the doorway, making sub-vocal whining sounds. I finally succeeded--through a series of growls and gesticulations--to convince him to head back downstairs and not to attempt to save me from the ravening buck-toothed freak of nature. Once down the stairs, Blaze dutifully went to the front door and sat, whining.

Feeling a little frisson of satisfaction, I finally deposited Uggs back in his hutch. He sat there for a moment, then gave me a good long stink-eyed sort of look with those red eyes, and disappeared into one of his stovepipes.

Mission accomplished, I changed his water and his filled his food dish.

It was then that I heard the sound. It's not a sound you hear often, even if you own a pet. But, like the pump of a shotgun or the squeal of brakes, once you hear the sound you never forget it.

It was the unmistakable sound of a high-pressure jet of urine hitting a large and absorbent surface.

In this case, it was the dark loamy rug my neighbors had in their living room. In a snap, I peered around the kitchen doorway and there was Blaze, standing more or less in the center of the room, one leg half-cocked as he whizzed on my neighbors' carpet.

"WhattheFUCKareyoudoing?!!?" I shrieked at him, as if I expected an answer. He just gave me this strange look. He seemed to be a dog not in full command of his faculties, as if he were being controlled by some strange telepathic devil-bunny force to piss all over my neighbors' rug. I dashed into the room and made the classic mistake of giving him a shove, but that didn't stop him. It just made him spatter.

I dashed back into the kitchen and began looking for something, anything to sop up the damage. In the garage, I found a roll of paper towels and began a campaign of furious blotting. While I was doing this, Blaze stood nearby, staring at me with what I thought was an apologetic expression.

Until he raised his leg and began peeing afresh.

"ohmygodSTOP!" I cried. I picked him up again and carried him to the front door as he dribbled on my jacket and halfway down my jeans. I deposited him out on the porch, where I tied him once again to the railing.

Inside I blotted like the wind. Where in God's name had all this pee come from? I had just walked him and personally witnessed him water half the lampposts and hydrants in a five-block radius. Did he have some reserve tank, some Vulcan inner eyelid of a bladder that activated only in times of great olfactory stress, such as being in a house that smelled like giant fat white-furred devil-bunnies?

I went through the better part of a roll of towels to mop up the two spots. Then I turned my attention to the spatter issue. As I did, I repositioned myself on the rug. And immediately felt the right knee of my jeans dampen.

Another spot? My God, how many places had he peed in the fraction of a second it took me to come back? With this dark carpet, my options were limited. I could feel around on my hands and knees some more, or I could walk around the rug in my socks until I found any more spots.

I won’t tell you what my choice was as I knelt there in that unexpected minefield of dog urine. Suffice it to say, I found only one other spot, but it was big one, roughly the size of a manhole cover.

Of course, I quickly realized it didn't matter how much I blotted. My dog had covered what I conservatively estimated to be a full third of the carpet with his urine. This was not a time for blotting. This was a time for rug shampoo. And of course, you can rent a shampooer at almost any grocery store. An easy fix. After all, what are the chances that anyone would rent one today, Saturday morning?

Well, the answer to that question is: Better than you'd think, if it's the weekend before a holiday in which you are planning to have lots of family over for dinner. I went to five stores before I found one that hadn't already rented out their shampooer.

I'll spare you the embarrassment of returning Blaze to our house and having to tell Her Lovely Self why I was leaving on what would turn out to be a county-wide tour of the area's grocery chains. Sometimes you reach a point where your misadventures are just so awful that if you happen to be married to the misadventurer, you can do little else but throw up your hands and announce that you don't want to hear any more about it.

I'll also spare you the two-hour process of moving furniture and end tables, the discovery of just how much torque these devices have (at one point, the shampooer propelled itself along the edge of the rug and slightly up the side of the brick fireplace, forcing me to run up the side of the wall, Matrix-style for about two steps before recovering control), and the final clean-up, which included a wonderfully head-scratching moment when I couldn't remember if the sofa belonged here or there (the shampooer had wiped out all traces of furniture indentations, you see).

I'm pleased to report that, after opening every window to let the place air out, by the time I returned for the evening feeding, everything looked perfect. All the pets were still alive and well. The living room no longer smelled as though it had recently been cleaned by a desperate man. My neighbors would never realize anything had gone awry (or at least, if they did notice anything out of the ordinary, they haven't troubled themselves to mention it to us so far).

But when I returned home for my own evening feeding, Her Lovely Self greeted me with The Look. And a roll of paper towels. And a can of spray-on foaming rug cleanser. "In the family room," was all she said.

Blaze sat hunched in his cage when I walked in, his expression the very definition of "hangdog." Nearby, an impressive load of partially digested rabbit turds, marinated in a generous helping of doggy bile, sat on the rug. So much for my appetite (and yours too, I'm guessing).

"What were you thinking?" I muttered at him as I cleaned up the last mess of the weekend. "Whizzing on the rug, snarfing rabbit crap. What the hell?"

Blaze said nothing. But if he had been granted the power of speech at that moment, I think we all know he would have said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

From Somewhere on the Masthead

Every time I consider getting a dog, I read a story like this that quickly changes my mind. Thankfully, none of those "it seemed like a good idea at the time" stories for me involving a new dog.

And I can honestly say I never in my life expected to see "camouflage" and "Corian" used in the same sentence. Never.
Oh my GOD. Living your life must completely exhaust you. Lucky for us, though, it's HIGHLY entertaining. Glad you got out of that situation with only a rug-shampoo. :)
I am now slowly rereading Stephen King's "On Writing", and these posts seem the perfect companion, as though I am taking Mr. King's class and Mr. Man is the T.A.

Again, thankfully, I was smart and avoided food and drink for an hour before reading this. When I got to the part where Blaze whizzed a second time, I nearly whizzed myself.
I can hardly believe this whole adventure, including going all over for the carpet shampoo. Promise me that you will tell those neighbors next time to get someone else to feed the animals.

Although, perhaps you have successfully avoided ever having to feed those animals again, yourself, by doing such a horrible job this time (another MM reader suggested that this might have been your end goal all along.)

If so, bravo. I am impressed.
You mean you found and replaced the bunny and you cleaned up all the pee? Do you realize you had the perfect way out of any further requests to pet sit? I mean, now they're just going to think, "Gee, even the carpet looks better when they take care of the animals!"
So sorry this happened to you, but, like the others, I'm not at all sorry to get to read it (except that I was eating).
"more evil nuggets of bunny treasure"

"It was like being smothered by a down comforter, wrapped around a sack of weasels."

OMG. I don't know how, or when but I *will* find a way to use those phrases one day. Too funny!
I bow. I prostrate (Prostrate? Yeah, that's the right one) myself. I am prone before your awesome storytelling might. Utterly hilarious. Thank you.
Whatever happened to those warning labels you were going to put on your stories? This one needed at the least a "spew beverage through your nose" and "vomit" warning. I am sure there is another one out there, but I'm still laughing too hard to think of it.

I am going to be laughing well into my PTA meeting tonight (won't that go over well).
Jasmine eats rabbit, uh, leavings also. They seem to agree more with her though. :)

I'll bet Blaze was peeing on top of the rabbit pee that was already there (or nearby).

You will tell the neighbors this whole story the next time they ask you to pet-sit, I hope.
My God, I haven't laughed like that since...well, since one of your last posts. Can we hear this from the Blazey point of view sometime? I bet he has a whole different take on it!
I will never eat while reading your posts again. After all this time, I really should know better.
*has nothing to do with your post (which was hilarious - I agree with the food comments - DON'T eat leftover Malasian soup while reading this, I'm sure it won't come off my keyboard)*

You and HLS were in my dream last night.

You lived in a cleft in a rock in a forest, and you had a flat-screen TV nestled in there, along with a bag of popcorn and a rug. You weren't so keen on my visiting, because you didn't want people to know where you lived, but your wife (who I've never really seen, so she looked like a combination of your children, in probably the neatest addition of features my brain has ever done) was very pleased to see me and offered to give me dinner.

I woke up when I got too weirded out. And because it was a strange identity dream about someone I didn't know, decided not to email you with the story because then you'd know who I was...

And no, I don't really care who you are and won't go looking through forests. It probably just means I'm desperate for friends and want a flat-screen TV. :)
I'm so glad I had dinner before reading this. It made me laugh heartily and say ew a number of times.
I really shouldn't laugh at other peoples' misadventures, but in this case, I just couldn't help it.

This story cheered me up enormously and I'm sure that my boss will thank you. LOL

Take care, MM.

Sincerely, FJ.
I'm with Ericka...

It was like being smothered by a down comforter, wrapped around a sack of weasels.

XD Spectacular!

I think Rurality is right about the pee...

You can't let this go without giving us Blaze's point of view. As hard as I laughed at your take on it, I'm sure Blaze's story would be equally entertaining. Please?
Good God Almighty... I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Especially linking over to the dog whisperer.

You're a funny funny guy.
Ya know I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one that has these crazy things happening to them. I could never retell it with such flair and my gosh I laughed my butt off... errrr well no its still all there dernit...but you know what I mean.
Ahh, Blaze...keepin' you on your toes!
Poor Blaze, just trying to channel Uggs by doing what rabbits do -- eat their own poop. At least, rabbits eat their first set of feces (cecotropes, to be technical). Sorry, that was a digestion, er digression. Great story.
poor blaze!! at least he didn't EAT hte bunny...

"I can't believe I ate the wholeeeeeeee thing.." haha.
poor blaze!! at least he didn't EAT hte bunny...

"I can't believe I ate the wholeeeeeeee thing.." haha.
I know exactly why you wake every morning in a near coma-like state. If you actually woke conscious and alert in the morning, you'd never get out of bed again.

Your life is the best sit-com in existence.
OMG, I so needed those laughs. My therapist thanks you :)
Yes Heather, dogs do drool better... they make bigger puddles. Not sure that's something to go announce loud and proud in the streets.

I've been away for two weeks and was too busy to pee for two weeks before that but I'm all caught up. I need a new box of kleenex though. I laughed so hard I cried!!!

It would be wonderful if you left them a two page report/summary of the things that their naughty Bun does when they're away! For instance: "Did you happen to know that devil-eyed fat bastard likes to hang out in the bathroom sink? It would have been helpful if you mentioned this!"
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