It’s Sunday, and I am living in dog slobber. The kitchen floor looks like a kid with a leaky sippy cup walked through and circled the room 14 times. Around the table, then back around the sink island, then over to the pantry, inside the pantry, back out and over to the door to the porch, laundry room in and out, then back to the living room.
It’s like we’re in one of those Family Circle cartoons with the little dots all over the place that show where the kid walked around the back yard on his way straight home. Meandering slobber dots from one room to the next.
If you know Max, you know that it’s raining buckets outside and the thunder is rattling the windows in the house. He is rattled. I am rattled with him. And there is slobber everywhere.
A good friend gave me magic pills that are supposed to calm a dog down when he is having a panic attack. “Chewable Tablets Your Dog Will Love,” says the promo on the packet. A picture of smiling lady with a happy puppy, who doesn’t look nervous at all.
Problem is, Max is not eating. He hasn’t touched his food all day. He hasn’t touched his water bowl all day. He hasn’t peed all day. Lawd, I don’t know what his bladder is made of, but I wish I had his control.
I have an old-man-bladder. In case you are young and you have no idea what that means, count yourself lucky. But one day it will come upon you. You don’t have to ask for it. You won’t be expecting it. Just one day, it will occur to you that you’ve been to the potty 8 times since breakfast and it’s only 10:00AM.
Your sleep habits will change. You’ll learn that you can walk to the potty in pitch darkness if you have to. You’ll long for a good night’s sleep, but your bladder will laugh at you. “Who do you think you’re dealing with here, old man.”
Max, evidently, has a cast iron bladder. I’ve never seen a dog that can hold it forever like he does. He was up at 6:00 when I got up. He stayed inside all day long. I took him out once with an umbrella and gave him the opportunity, but no deal. He came back inside for a while, stayed in all night long, and never went. Not one time. You gotta admire his durability.
I tried to get him to take the chewable tablet even though he wasn’t eating. If he was a cow, I could have used my old pill plunger. A bovine worm pill is the size of a small football. You stick the plunger to the back of a cow’s tongue, nearly all the way to the other end of the digestive system on the back end, shove the plunger handle, and the cow swallows. You pull the plunger back out all covered in cow slobber, which is thicker than dog slobber.
I needed a doggy size plunger. Do they sell those? Anyway, I still managed to get a tablet in his mouth. Held his chin up and massaged his neck. He pretended to swallow. And as soon as I let go, he dropped his mouth to the floor and spat out the pill in a puddle of more slobber. I swear he looked up at me and grinned while he panted and drooled on my shoe.
I may not be the greatest doggy Dad, but I want you to know that I tried to make him a safe place. I surrounded his bed with suitcases standing up on edge. Threw a blanket around and over them. I used to be pretty good at building blanket forts for the kids, and this was one a child would envy. Max went inside for about 15 seconds and decided to come out and slobber some more on my shoes.
His previous owner told me that he had some separation anxiety issues. But I wasn’t prepared for this. What she should have told me was that he goes nuts when it rains hard and thunders a lot. He will pace right under your feet until Noah loads the boat. And oh, by the way, he pants constantly while a river of slobber drips continuously from the end of his 6 ft. tongue. He cannot be consoled.
A few friends have told me that I need to get him a Thunder Coat. If you’re unfamiliar, this is an antique torture device that looks kinda like a strait jacket from the insane asylum. You slip it over the dog’s chest and legs, pull the Velcro snug, and wait. The idea is the same as wrapping a baby in a blanket real tight to make them feel secure.
“It’s kinda pricey,” my friend says, “but it’s cheaper than a new couch or door.”
That may be next. I did try wrapping him in an old Ace bandage I had laying around. But he looked like an escaped Mummified dog with ends of bandages hanging to the floor dragging in slobber and smearing it from one room to the other.
After Max gagged out the pill on the kitchen floor, I did the only thing any reasonable dog Dad could do. I picked up the tablet with my fingers, slobber stringing down to the puddle under my hand, and I put it in his food dish. Hoping that maybe he might get hungry and eat it later.
As the evening wore on, I knew that the only way any of us were going to get any rest at all was to take him down to my shop under the house. That meant going outside in the rain. He had already gone to the door once. He stood up against the kitchen door with his paws at the bottom of the glass and slobberfied the entire door, puddles forming at the threshold and oozing under the door out onto the porch.
I got my shoes on. Grabbed the umbrella. He came eagerly when I called and bowed for me to hook up his leash. Out we went. When we got to the bottom step off the porch, he headed for my truck. He’s thinking we’re going for a ride. Lightning struck close enough to make my bladder turn loose, but I held it. I stopped by the Camellia for him to go, but he just tugged at the leash.
He doesn’t usually like to be cooped up in the shop. Piles of sawdust everywhere. Cut off ends of wood lying around. But there is a cubby under one of the saws that the likes. I made him the perfect blanket fort upstairs in the living room, which he refused. But the box down here is full of old T-shirts and towels for rags, and he crawls in for the night.
I honestly have no idea if he slept at all, but I know I did. Except for that one clap of thunder that made me sit straight up in bed around 3:00 AM. I laid there thinking about Max. Was he okay? I listened. No sounds of crashing lumber or thrashing anxiety attacks. I went back to sleep.
I got up early, and after I made coffee this morning, I put on shoes and went to get Max. He was happy to see me. The rain and thunder was gone. I paused for him to pee, but he was headed for the kitchen. What a man!
First thing he did was to chow down on his food dish, which was still full from the day before. I had forgotten about the tablet. He laid on the living room floor while I drank my coffee. His eyes were a little heavy. I swear he looked peaceful. And so far, it’s been an anxiety free, slobber free day at the farm.
Those chewy tablets really do work.