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Gill was thrilled to meet the newest member of our family a few days after she arrived home on holidays. Crazy D brought his new puppy to call. So, now that he has been introduced to everyone, he is officially a member of our family. You may be asking yourselves:  why now? Hasn’t this delightful creature been with us for a few months now? Ah, but you see, dear readers, not only has he met everyone, he has also passed The Official Test to becoming a member in good standing in this family. He peed — not once, but twice– on the carpets! This is our family initiation rite and every dog in our care has passed with flying (or whizzing) colours. (I cannot comment on human habits de toilette.)

Dear departed Poochie first anointed the floors when she was a puppy. Crazy D was her downfall. As the only male in this house of females, he quickly asserted himself (in Poochie’s head at least) as the resident Alpha Male. Poochie was always nothing if not enthusiastic. When Crazy D came for a visit, she got so excited she literally peed herself. Since he usually entered through the mudroom, her dribbles happened on tile floor and were easily cleaned. No real harm done. But occasionally, she augmented the initial greeting with a few frantic turns around the living room, pee spurting everywhere as she ran. (I suspect, although Gill insisted this was not the case, that she was ever so slightly offended that Poochie never bestowed upon her this same level of joyous greeting.) Yes, Poochie’s bladder control needed some fine tuning…but any woman who has given birth will simply scoff and advise:”Get used to it!” It was with Poochie’s arrival that I began a rigorous schedule of professional, industrial-strength rug cleaning every three months. As Poochie matured, the problem went away and she never peed on the carpets again. Vomit yes, pee no.

You, dear readers, may not be aware of the different classifications for pee. Allow me to elucidate. As discussed, there is the enthusiastic greeting pee (the dog equivalent of ‘I laughed so hard I peed my pants’). This calls for laughs, no scolding needed. Indeed, to scold would be cruel. It would mean crushing the poor beast’s spirit and rebuffing the creature’s love overture.

Second up is The Statement Pee. Enter The Pig (L’il Sis’s beagle). When Poochie was still alive and reigned supreme in my house, The Pig began peeing on the carpet…sometimes in full view of the people. These pees were meant to explain The Pig’s displeasure at not being Top Of The Pecking Order. She also let loose when she was generally ‘pissed off’ with our behaviour. Oh, she APPEARED to have accepted Poochie as Top Bitch, but inside, she was seething with jealous rage — rage that had to be vented. And so, my family room carpets paid the price of her mood swings. Despite cleaning, they were permanently stained — an ode to and constant reminder of –The Pig.

And The Coonhound, the senior citizen in our pack of dogs, has an old and leaky bladder. When he crosses the family room (assuming his back legs haven’t collapsed beneath him), a tiny trail of pee follows. Perhaps he’s leaving a trail to find his way back to the water bowl to fill the tank again. I can’t reprimand him since, at my age, I may soon be following in his footsteps — although, if one buys into the latest ads, old age is nothing but one sexy tango step away from a graceful retirement…sodden diapers be damned!

“I guess I’ll have to replace the carpets,” I moaned to Gill. But before rushing out to replace them so my home would again look stylish and well-cared for, we sat down and had a conversation.

I admonished myself, “Why would I go out and buy new carpets for the dogs to ruin? That is an exercise in futility.”

“But your house looks like wolves live in it!” Gill added thoughtfully.”I know housekeeping has never been high on your to-do list, but you’re always complaining you can’t have proper guests with it looking like this.”

“Wolves DO live here…or their nearest relatives. I should quit trying to be Martha Stewart and live with the stains. Besides, the dogs need traction. They can’t get a grip on the hardwood floors beneath the carpets. They’re getting old and their back legs aren’t what they used to be. What do I want: style or a comfy, loving home?”

So, you guessed it, I went with the latter. Guests are overrated anyway. You have to cook for them, fuss over them, and then they just drink and spill your wine. Way too much effort.

With the arrival of Crazy D’s new puppy, I patted myself on the back for my decision. He went directly to the carpets on his arrival and peed. Gill yelled from downstairs:”Ma, puppy is now our official family baby. He peed on the carpet.”

Despite being pretty well trained at home, he continued to have ‘accidents’ on the carpets. Then it dawned on me: the carpet isn’t a carpet. It’s a Toilet. It likely still looks and SMELLS (despite cleaning efforts) like the Designated PitStop to dogs. Clearly all I need to do is put up two signs, one in the middle of each one. The first will say Bitches; the second, Studly Dudes.