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You, our regular readers, are familiar with The Pig (L’il Sis’ beagle). About the time the dog learned to open the refrigerator at her apartment and help herself to whatever was inside, L’il Sis also decided it was time to move the whole shitshow to my house. After a short period of readjustment, The Pig  screwed up her courage and took on my home’s weak points, i.e.: the garbage under the kitchen sink, my stash of chocolate in the mudroom, anything left on the counters (of which there are many). Let me point out that, over the years, I have become accustomed to many ill-trained hounds…the worst, in terms of damage inflicted, was Elvis,  the Coonhound. His most famous exploit was stealing and eating an entire Christmas apple pie from the back of the counter and hidden behind a case of beer. Gill still regales new friends with that one when trying to explain her family ‘back home’, the crazy ones.

I suspect The Pig has heard, in the manner of folklore passed on from former generations, of the Coonhound’s wondrous escapades. She has heard, considered, and will not be outdone. And so, despite kiddie locks and an elaborate series of rubber bands, she attacks my kitchen garbage every day. It is definitely not a matter of hunger. Since moving in with me, she has, as regular readers again know, been the daily recipient of two bowls of homemade chicken soup, tidbits from my lunch, afternoon bits  of my cheese and cracker snacks, and pieces of salmon or chicken on top of her kibble. It is sheer Pigheadeness, pardon the pun,  that makes her try to thwart me and my house. This week, she found a package of meat that had ‘gone off’. I had been interrupted on my way to putting it in the garage compost bin and left it at the back of the counter. She found it…and by ‘found’, I mean ate. I warned L’il Sis to expect the worst.

Nothing that night. We had dodged a bullet.

Until two days ago, when I entered the house to a smell. A very bad smell. A smell that every mother recognizes — since it is burned indelibly into our memories. It is the smell of shit. I’d call it the more refined ‘poop’ but there is no point in trying to pretty this up. It smelled like shit. But where was it? I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Then The Pig appeared, all smiles with her creepy way of showing all her teeth. Tail wagging, she made a big fuss over me, showing me how glad she was to see me. Yeah, right. I still could not find anything but could smell it. However, it was lunch time so we moved on to her chicken soup regimen. I moved Mrs. Beeton(the pink parakeet) out to the deck to enjoy one of the last summer days. Returning inside an hour later, there it was. The Pig had been busy. Five piles of something. I know that sounds strange, but I honestly couldn’t identify which end of the dog it had come from. All I know is it was foul and it made a trail from the kitchen, by way of the front hall carpet, to the laundry room.  I rushed The Pig outdoors where she retched again — twice. At least I was able to verify which end it came out of. I could see her stomach still contracting and she obviously felt miserable. This was surely worthy, I reasoned , of a trip to the vet. A shot, some pills, and special canned food later (oh, and my wallet being $175 lighter), I settled the patient on her dog bed for a nap.

“Not to chastise you when you’re down, Pig, but perhaps this will teach you a lesson.” This to a dog that had hydrogen peroxide poured down her throat so she’d barf after ingesting a dark chocolate bar a month ago.

But, I know you’re waiting, dear readers, for the punchline. Did it teach her a lesson? Yes . . . that a dog shouldn’t leave garbage unattended too long. The very next morning, she mangled the kiddie lock,opened the cupboard and scavenged yet again. I can’t remember, but in my tirade, I may have asked her for the $175 back.

When I shared the incidents with Gill, all she could do was shake her head.”Ma, that dog is evil. I love her, but she’s crafty and wicked. I’m almost glad to just have Catlady’s belligerent cat to live with now. Although, I think she’s scheming to hide in my luggage and go with me when I leave this place. That’s not necessary, though. I’ll have enough of the cat’s hair to take with me on my clothes to remember her by. I’ll be sneezing all the way to Bristol.”