Practicing Parenthood Puppy Style

The weekend we brought Mocha home, we went camping with M’s family. On the way back to the Big City, she passed out completely, our little puppy, completely exhausted by the romping and running, meeting new people, campfires, and snuggles from strangers. She sat in the back seat on a pile of bedding, her ears flopping in the wind from the open windows, and slept. Hard. I remember looking back at her and thinking, no, she’s not a little human, but even so, M and I have sort of become parents.

(Note: Certainly not like these two have become parents. But still parents.)

This weekend, Mocha drove that point home for us in the least pleasant manner she could dream up.

I’ve had Pekoe for 4 years. In those 4 years, I didn’t buy him that many cat toys, mostly because he didn’t play with them much. But, I had a few, and they moved with us to the new apartment. Many of them, Mocha adopted as her own: the ball and bell on a string, the rattling balls, the cloth mouse. She chews on them, rips them apart, has a heyday with them and, mostly, Pekoe doesn’t care. (He wasn’t so thrilled when she crunched through his plastic rattle ball…)

Earlier this week, we found another toy hidden away, a square of cloth, stuffed, with a bell, attached to a thin elasticy string. Without a thought, we threw it into Mocha’s menagerie of toys and she fell on it with the glee of a kid at Hallowe’en. A day and a half later, there was nothing left but some stuffing and a silver string.

Warning: Graphic Puppy Poop content beyond this point. Proceed at your own risk.

Saturday night, M and I snuggled into bed with a laptop and for a couple hours. We watched Scott turn people’s basements into a nicer place to live than their home itself. When we stepped back out into the living room, we were faced with a carpet full of small brown turds. No portion of the room was left untouched. We were confused. What was wrong with our dog? She’s gotten so good at telling us when she has to go that accidents of this nature rarely happen, let alone in such quantity. We cleaned it up, took her for a walk, and went to bed.

Sunday morning, I got up to take her out for her early morning walk. Flicked on the light. It was as if we hadn’t cleaned up at all. Except that this time, it was even messier. I took her downstairs, walked her, then sent her back to bed (with the still sleeping M) and set to work.

When I got out of the shower about an hour later, M was cleaning up a different kind of mess.

“I figured out what her problem is,” he told me. In the middle of her puddle of vomit (on our bed, no less) was a huge chunk of green cloth: the cat toy. She had swallowed it, and, when her body couldn’t digest the synthetic fibers, it tried to get rid of it in every way it knew how.

The worst thing is that Mocha won’t learn anything at all from this. She doesn’t connect the way she felt for the past two days with eating the cat toy. If we give her another toy just like that one, she’ll probably scarf it down and the process will start all over again. Of course, we won’t do that. We need to make a stop at a pet store soon to get her a few more appropriate doggy toys. If she hasn’t learned, we certainly have.

This morning, she’s back to normal. I can finally stop worrying.


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