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Why I Made My Dog Poop in the Dark: A Reflection for a New Year

Originally posted on Blogspot 1/4/18

My year ended with a dog fight.

Do not be deterred by my use of the term “dog fight”.  If you please, take note of the space between the two words and understand that by dog fight, I do not mean “dogfight.”  As in Michael Vick style dogfighting.  I am merely referring to a rather heated fight I had with my dog.

A dog fight, if you will.

A dog fight that taught me a lot about life…  

Okay, it didn’t actually teach me that much about life.  But regardless…I digress.  

The fight in question took place in the wee hours of December 24th, 2017.  The dog is Paulie Bleeker, an almost-nine-year-old maltese who is beginning to feel the effects of doggy aging and is handling it just about as gracefully as Gary Busey.  He needs assistance getting up and down off couches and beds now, and is not super pumped about needing all this help.  Therefore in his older age, Bleeker will quite often, and quite literally bite the hand that feeds him.  

I promise he is not vicious.  I choose to describe him as crotchety, a word I find is under-used in the English language.  May we all make a better effort to use the word crotchety on a basis more fitting of it’s worthiness.

On December 24th, Bleeker was feeling particularly crotchety.  Like.  “Clint-Eastwood-Gran-Torino-Get-Off-My-Lawn” crotchety.  We had both fallen asleep on the couch, and at approximately 12:20am, I decided to go to bed.  Bleeker, I knew, would need to do his biz one more time, and then would need some assistance getting his crotchety ass into bed.  So I called his name and nudged his body with my foot, initiating the growly, grumpy, waking up process he has grown accustomed to and after a moment he sat up, seemingly ready to move on with his life…

So I went in for it.  I bent over him to kiss the top of his head and pat his butt like I always do to get him moving toward the door…but alas…he had not recovered from his abrupt awakening, and proceeded to chomp down on my upper lip.

Needless to say, we were immediately in a fight.  
What transpired next was a series of dramatic tactics I employed in an attempt to convey my anger and hurt feelings to a dog/hurt his feelings in return/make him feel bad for me and grovel at my feet for forgiveness.

My first instinct was to drop kick him into the neighbors yard and cut him out of my life completely and forever.

But, as I said, this is not dogfighting, this is dog fighting.

Which meant Mean Girls-style manipulation and backstabbing–and I was full of fury and ready to deliver.  Nobody was safe from my wrath/over-dramatic tendencies.

After cussing for approximately 13.5 seconds, I felt the tears and the blood begin to flow out of my face.

Yes, I thought.  He is going to feel so bad for making me cry and it is just too bad because he can’t take back what he did.  He’s going to be so sorry that he’ll–I was completely unsure of my end game.  I wasn’t sure how precisely I wanted him to make it up to me. Tell me how much he regrets it?  Apologize profusely?  Make me live forever?

I had not settled on an answer when I found myself deep in the throes of my next tactic.

With a grand flourish, I flung myself off of the couch and onto the living room floor, rocking back forth, hands covering my face, still crying as loudly as I could without waking anyone.

CRY LOUDER BITCH.  SOB!  SOB BETTER. USE YOUR SHOULDERS MORE. DON’T WAKE ANYONE UP OR THEY WILL LAUGH AT YOU.

I curled up in the fetal position, and alternated between moaning and shouting profanities.  When I realized that my face was staining the carpet with blood, I decided it was a good time to check my progress.  Hands still covering my face (both for dramatic effect and for blood drip management), I peeked through my fingers to see if my dog felt bad for me yet.

He was sitting up now, head cocked to one side.  Amused.

Amused is not wracked with guilt and begging to be let back into my good graces.

This was not to my satisfaction.  

Just as abruptly as I’d hurled my body onto the living room floor, I stood up and loomed over him, wiping my sleeve across my deformed mouth, realizing too late that I was wearing my white Spice Girls sweatshirt (now lovingly referred to as the Spice Girls Blood Hoody).

“YOU COULD HAVE RUINED MY FACE! I MAY NEVER HAVE A SEXY POUT AGAIN!  DO YOU EVEN CARE???”

He did not.

Which brought me to tactic number three.  

“OUT. SIDE. NOW.  Let’s go!”  

He trotted merrily to the sliding glass door.  I flicked on the backyard light and threw open the door, careful to add lots of huffy breathing and angry flare.  Arms crossed, peering through the glass, I realized that I was not achieving anything via this tactic, as it had always been my intention for the dog to go outside…

…In a sudden stroke of genius, I flung the door open again and shouted into the peaceful winter morning, “SHIT IN THE DARK, DICK!”

I slammed the backyard light switch down and rested my forehead against the door, satisfied momentarily with this punishment.

With Bleeker presumably pooping in the dark, I had a moment to gather my thoughts.  I crept into the bathroom, wincing at my mangled face in the mirror.

“OH MY GOD IM SO UGLY!”  I cried over the sink.  “I’M UGLY AND IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

My mouth was swollen to about 5 notches above Kylie Jenner status and there was blood in my teeth from the inside of my lip.

So here I was: deformed, bloody, and puffy…and my best attempt at revenge was to make this dog poop in the dark.

I thought through all my remaining “I’m so mad at you and want you to know it” ideas…I would ignore him.  I won’t even talk to him tomorrow!  He won’t have one of his best friends ON CHRISTMAS! I won’t even look at him ON CHRISTMAS!  

I flipped on the light to find Bleeker leg upturned, mid-squirt.  PEEING AS IF NOTHING HAD HAPPENED.  AS IF HE HAD NOT SERIOUSLY HURT MY FEELINGS AND MADE ME UGLY TEN MINUTES BEFORE.

And then it hit me.  The true magnitude of what was going on:  people the world over were bent in prayer to celebrate the birth of a man who would be crucified and die for the sins of the world…and I was trying to Regina George my dog.  A dog who would listen silently to my crying, watch curiously as I performed a Shakespearian death on my living room floor, and poop in dark without giving it a second thought.

Which brought me, finally, to tactic number 4: wake up mom and cry/bleed all over her.

Later, as I lay in bed, I considered what I had learned from this experience, besides not to kiss my dog so quickly after waking him up.  I thought about how much energy I had put into trying to emotionally punish an animal.  And, let me tell ya…it just wasn’t worth it…

And so maybe no revenge is worth it…maybe now, whenever I’m angry with someone, I will just pretend they are my Gary Busey Clint Eastwood Gran Torino Crotchity Old Man-Dog and just try not to give a f**k.

Happy 2018
@itsmy_pardee (instagram)

By Jesse Pardee

Stream of consciousness blather about my blackheads and mindfulness quest.