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Saturday, February 8, 2014

NEITHER RAIN, SLEET, OR HAIL


It’s my fault really.  Three years ago, we got a shelter dog in December. It rained and rained and…not the best weather to potty train a twelve week old pup. At that time we had not renovated the yard. With the Sacramento hardpan and the incline to Elk Horn Boulevard behind the back fence, each inch of rain transmuted into three inches of standing water in the backyard.
Poindexter’s stubby Bassett legs raised his body an inch and a half to two inches at best. When he squatted in the yard all but his shoulders and head were above water. The cold puddles made his sad eyes weep. He would not go out alone. Trained by a foster home before he was released to the pound, he refused to do any of his business inside the house. Good dog.
To keep the little guy from exploding, I slipped on my housecoat and UGGs, tromped into the flooded yard, and stood vigil over my peeing-pooping pup. Every two hours. Every Day. Every night. Dex went on command in waters chin-level without a whimper. On particularly bad days, I let him pee into a pile of leaves I had arranged on one corner of the patio. That did not serve him for number two.
Eventually, it stopped raining. Dex got taller—not by much. He braved any weather on his own. I thought my rain duties had ended.

            I dare anyone to come up with a more pitiful looking mug than a Bassett mutt holding a mangled Frisbee and whining at the patio door. Yes. He will do his business in the rain but play? No. The sad face and ear-splitting whine continue until I don my raincoat and schlep out into the wet for a game of fetch. Dex will play until he drops as long as I am soaked too. As I stated earlier it is my fault. I trained him.