My son recently sent me a photo of a pile of slimy dog poop in our mudroom with this caption:
“Mom in 2016 – WHY DO I LIVE IN A WORLD OF POO?!?!”
I’ve never lived down the moment I let rip that primal yawp of anguish after finding yet another pile of feces in the house. My children still mock me from time to time for it. They imitate my manic rage by goggling their eyes, overenunciating each word, and gradually crescendoing to the final, thundering “POO” before collapsing into hysterical peals of laughter at their mother’s expense.
Back in the good old days, my dogs would mostly do their business outside. With increasing frequency, we began finding little bombs left around the house. I had to start buying Nature’s Miracle in gallon size bottles. At first I didn’t understand that Tallis, our Shih Tzu (pronounced just as you might expect), was not trying to punish me with his fecal indiscretions. It was the first signs of illness.
Our dog has been suffering from constipation for years, and this has eventually led to his current diagnosis of “megacolon.” The silliness of the name belies a rather serious condition. When I first mentioned the constipation to his vet, my concern was lightly brushed off with a recommendation to add a little pumpkin to his diet. We tried this for a few weeks to no avail. It was clear that the situation was becoming critical, and I insisted that the vet take a closer look at him. I dropped him off in the morning and when the doctor called me at work and spoke to me in a hushed tone of compassionate concern, I knew the situation was grave. He took x-rays, ran tests, and finally referred us to another practice which had a specialist in internal medicine. Since then, we’ve tried all sorts of things to get things moving, including yogurt, lettuce, green beans, blueberries, Cisapride, Lactulose, and prescription dog foods. In the last half year, we’ve resorted to taking poor Tallis in for periodical enemas.
Every morning when my daughter brings the dogs back inside after their morning constitutional, I ask her for “The Poop Report.”
“Have the pups achieved pooition?” I ask, “How many?”
One-Poop-Days are typical. A Two-Poop-Day is cause for celebration. I actually find myself walking around with an extra bounce in my step on those red-letter Two-Poop-Days.
Two-Poop-Days call for more in-depth reporting. I press the dogwalker with probing questions…”What was the consistency? What would you say was the length and diameter?”
My children have learned to take this all in stride. They celebrate the increasingly rare Two-Poop-Days right alongside me. They can’t help but inflect their Two-Poop-Reports with a happy little lilt as they describe Tallis’ accomplishments. We crow with delight at every single thing that issues from Tallis’ back end. Never before has man or beast been so fêted for so little.
Thus my son’s text, which continued…
“Mom in 2018 – Oooooooh tell me more about the consistency!”
When I first got my son’s text, I thought he was sending it to me to complain that he had to clean up the mess.
“No!!!” he told me when we discussed it later that evening, “I sent it to you, because I knew it would make you so happy that Tallis had pooped!”
I took our dog to the vet again last Friday for another enema. This time a doctor new to the practice called me to say that we needed to start thinking about “quality of life” issues. She suggested that euthanasia rather than an enema may be in order. After some fraught discussions, we decided we would try a different kind of prescription dog food and give him another couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’re going to shower him with lots of love, keep our fingers crossed, and hope for the day that we will once again live in a world of poo.