Consider the title a warning. Graphic content below. Also a few swears.
When Conrad was approached with the opportunity to travel to Cambodia for nearly 3 weeks, I was very excited for him. He loves to travel and I knew this trip would be an amazing one. “Honey, go. The girls and I will be fine. We can make it for 3 weeks, we really can.”
So he went. One small detail that I neglected to take into account when I so enthusiastically endorsed this trip: We have a puppy.
Now, I feel a need to let you all know how much we love our puppy. She was regally named Junia Phillipa, Junia is after the woman apostle named in Romans 16:7, and Phillipa because we liked the sound of it. We call her Junie Pip, Junie Bug, June, Junie, Snuggle Bug, Cutie Pie, and whatever other sentiments we’re feeling at the moment. Also, she is perfect. Her personality is sweet, and she hasn’t had an accident in the house in months.
Conrad left for the airport on a Friday morning around 5:00. I got the kids up and off to school, then with glee I got out my sewing machine and art supplies, spread the table out as far as it would go, and got busy on some projects I had been looking forward to working on while Conrad was gone.
About 9:00 a.m. I noticed our sweet puppy was acting a little funny. Lethargic, not quite herself.
By that afternoon, she still wasn’t quite herself, but she perked up when the girls got home from school.
Then, night fell. I heard her whining in her kennel. Around midnight, I hollered down the stairs for her to be quiet and settle in. She did. Ah, my perfect, sweet Junia.
When I woke up the next morning, there was shit everywhere.
I feel a need here to apologize for using the word shit. It’s so unladylike, I know. The problem is, this was not poo. It was not even crap. It was shit, and there is no other way to describe it.
She had diarrhea overnight in her kennel, then slept in it because I told her to shush. Her fluffy white puppy fur was covered, caked, and matted with this substance which was producing an other-worldy smell.
Only 24 hours into Conrad being gone, I was still feeling strong in my independence and ability to be an adult. I was not happy about this situation, but I cleaned her up and spoke soothingly to my sweet, sick puppy. I assumed she got into some garbage or something that upset her belly. I watched her closely for the day and she seemed to improve.
Next morning. I got her out of her freshly clean and sanitized kennel and took her outside. A few minutes later, the girls were eating breakfast when I saw Bryn startle and gasp, “Mom! What is this?” I looked at my dining room carpet to discover what can only be described as shit that looked like chocolate pudding. And several piles of it. I was undone.
This is getting long, so I’ll cut to the chase: Junia was not improving and in fact, the episodes were becoming more frequent and I was beginning to worry. I called the vet and described what was happening. “Yes,” they told me, “She should probably be seen, and also, could you bring a stool sample?” Blink.Blink.
Turns out it’s hard to get a stool sample of something that leaves your dog’s hind quarters and soaks directly into the earth.
Sampleless and shame-faced I headed to the vet. After a thorough exam, the vet had these words for me: “Honestly, I’m a little baffled. I can’t find anything wrong with her. I think it’s probably anxiety over her master leaving.” Right. Anxiety. Master Conrad had left her presence.
The vet prescribed some pills to calm Junia’s nerves. I asked if she could prescribe some for me too. She looked at me funny but did not comment.
So, with strict dietary restrictions, some pills, and an enormous vet bill in my hands, we headed back home to see if we could get this poor puppy’s anxiety under control. I fed her oatmeal and water for several days and her belly got better. She still acted a little depressed, but at least she was making it to the backyard before she had more accidents.
In the middle of all of this, a friend asked me if I had told Conrad about it. I think she was thinking, “A good wife would not tell her husband about this very stressful situation when he is thousands of miles away and completely helpless.” But maybe I am just projecting that.
“Um, YES.” He was given a very graphic description of what was happening on the home front, complete with ALL OF MY EMOTIONS that went along with it. And if you think I was going to somehow protect him from this stress, then you have overestimated my spiritual depth and emotional maturity.
Junia steadily improved and after the first week, her belly was back to normal. She still didn’t act quite right, but at least I wasn’t waking up in the night to clean up after her.
Three weeks went by and the girls and I survived to tell the tale. By the time Conrad got home, the dog was back to normal, but the microwave was broken, the dishwasher smelled like sour milk, the back gate wasn’t closing right, the kitchen fan only worked on high speed, and the air in my driver side tire was perilously low despite the fact that friends helped me fill it up.
Needless to say, we were happy when he got home. But nobody was as happy as Junia and her anxiety prone intestines. I may never let Conrad go anywhere ever again.