Today is Thanksgiving. I was torn about what I should write about. I thought it should be something monumental, given the day. But everybody and their brother is talking about what they are thankful for. And it’s not that I’m NOT thankful. I truly am. But I couldn’t decide – do I post about the smarmy things I am thankful for like my family and friends? Or do I go the funny thankful route, and talk about things like shirtless pictures of Hugh Jackman (actually pretty thankful for this) and the invention of Poo-Pourri?
Instead, I have decided to share a Thanksgiving story with you. And it’s a bit of a stretch to call it specifically a “Thanksgiving” story. It’s really more of a “fall-ish” story, but I am pretty sure it happened close to Thanksgiving so I should get some points for that. And it’s a dog story. Who doesn’t love a dog story? Well, maybe if you’re a cat. Cats might not love a dog story. Not because cats hate dogs, but because cats are pretty much like honey badgers, in that they just don’t care. I have a honey badger cat sitting right here, on my lap, trying to crawl on my keyboard and write his autobiography with his butt.
This story involves our old neighbors, Dave, me and the best dog ever, Rocky. This is him.
While he didn’t fly through the air with his cape and Sweet Polly Purebred or rescue Timmy from the well or unmask any villains with his tribe of meddlin’ kids, you can still see he is awesome. Damn awesome.
The neighbors loved him too. They let him poop in their yard (seriously, they didn’t care) and would call him over for scritches and pats and snuggles. Because Rocky was so awesome, we didn’t need a fence, because he never left the yard (except to poop at the neighbors). No fence could contain him anyway. When we first got Rocky from the Humane Society, we lived at our old house that had a yard with a 7 foot privacy fence. Chuck Norris Ninja Dog found a way to get over it. We never saw him do it, and we never figured out how he did it. But the evidence was plain – we put him out the back, and he came in the front.
This story takes place in November in Wisconsin, so it’s dark by 5pm. And I don’t mean “dusk”. I mean dark. Like, Lose Your Black Cat In The Yard dark. It’s the time of year where you wake up in the dark, drive to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. If you work in a windowless cubicle with nothing but fluorescent light to bathe you, it’s quite possible that you may not see the sun for 6 months. You think I am exaggerating? November, December, January, February, March, April and sometimes May. So really that’s 7 months. And yes, I know what the calendar says – but the calendar was made by old, dead, Europeans who didn’t live in Wisconsin. I say, any month it might snow, is winter. And yes, it does snow in Wisconsin in May. By rights, I should also include October, but for some reason, October is usually hotter than September. You know how all the leaves change to those pretty yellow, orange and red colors? It’s because the sun is setting them on fire. We live on the edge here in Wisconsin.
Okay. Carrying on. It’s fall – close to Thanksgiving. We let Rocky out to go poop in the neighbors yard. He loved the cooler weather, so if he was gone 20 minutes or so, we didn’t panic. He liked to patrol around the house or lay on the cement step in the garage or just read a magazine while taking a good long poop. Who knows. We just knew he was around somewhere. He was funny in that he didn’t bark. Not to come in, not when he played, not at strangers. I think in the 12 years he blessed our lives, I heard him bark maybe 5 times. We just got used to watching the patio door and when we saw his white wooly form in the dark, we would open the door and let him in. This night, Dave happened to see him first.
I was in the living room, and heard the patio door slide open and shut, followed by Dave yelling, “Hey, hey, hey!” We lived in a new subdivision, so I figured Rocky found a mud hole or something so I ran in to help with damage control. No mud, but Dave says, “He’s got something in his mouth”. The “something” was long and brown, sort of like a short walking stick. I could see him fruitlessly trying to hide under the table but he was an 80 pound hairy beast with a gargantuan stick in his mouth that kept getting caught in the chair legs. “He has a stick,” I observed. Dave gave me a “Why, thank you, Captain Obvious” look, and said, “I don’t think it’s a stick.”
Dave grabbed the hind end and I grabbed the front end and we push/pulled him out in the open with his prize. And here is when we noticed his stick had a hoof at the end of it. Where in the hell did he get a stick with a hoof? For some reason, the hoof was throwing me for a loop. “Holy shit, it’s a deer leg,” said Dave. Ah. Lightbulb moment. That explained the hoof.
By now, the kids were in the kitchen. Lindsay was laughing and exclaiming about how gross and disgusting it was and Matt thought it was cool, and proceeded to run back and forth in the kitchen and then sliding on his socks. While the hyperactivity and excited jabbering of the kids escalated, I noticed Rocky trying to disappear into the floor, while hanging on for deer…I mean, dear…life to his “stick”.
Before he got any ideas about carrying it into my living-room, I grabbed the leg and told him to drop it, which he did. (Because remember, he’s awesome like that). I held it up gingerly, careful to keep it well away from me, and his eyes followed it back and forth, his tail waving gently on the floor and his tongue out. Dave grunted and said, “I think I know where he got it. When I came home, I saw the neighbor in his garage dressing his deer.” Oh great, I thought. Pooping is one thing. Stealing a guy’s deer leg is another.
I walked over to the neighbors. Sure enough, his garage door was open and his deer was lying on a canvas tarp on the garage floor. Mr. Neighbor was nowhere to be seen, however. I was a little fearful at first that maybe Chuck Norris Ninja Dog took out the neighbor in his deer leg quest, but that really would have been out of character. Rocky was awesome, not evil. So I gently tapped on their door with the hoof. Mr. Neighbor answered the door with a fork in hand – I smiled and giggled and held out the deer leg, hoof first. “Um, Rocky just brought this home….” Mr. Neighbor burst out laughing. “Oh boy! Wait till I tell the guys this! I just took a break to eat some dinner! Never thought to shut the garage door! That Rocky! What an awesome dog!”
“Well, I don’t know what else he may have gotten into when he was over. He might have eaten or taken something else,” I explained. Mr. Neighbor did not care. Mr. Neighbor laughed and waved me away with his fork. “No problem! That Rocky! Hahahahahahaaaaaa!” He took his deer leg back though. Relieved, I went back to our house.
The next day was a Sunday. We let Rocky out for his morning constitutional without incident, and then Dave and I and the kids left for church. We came home a couple of hours later, to be greeted by an unholy stench the likes of which our nostrils had never before smelled, and prayed would never smell again, along with a football sized pile of…something….on the rug right in front of the door as we came in. This would be the “he may have eaten or taken something else” portion of Rocky’s big deer leg adventure.
“I hope you don’t want this rug,” Dave said as he rolled it up like a giant barf burrito. “The whole thing is going in the garbage.” I didn’t argue. No way was I touching that, and was indeed thanking my lucky stars that I was not the man of the house and therefore did not qualify for the “Exceedingly Gross Chores” portion of the marriage. Yes, I know that is stereotypical and sexist, but it works for us. I handle Standard Gross Chores, like snot noses, cat barf, and toilet bowl cleaning, and he handles all the rest, plus spiders.
While we had no more vomiting of rancid meat from the depths of hell, we did have to deal with Awesome Dog’s awesome gas, for at least a week. This was a gas so awesome it had the power to melt your face clean off. The Chuck Norris of gas. We ran from the room and hid in our closets when we saw Rocky coming. We were like the kids in Jurassic Park, hiding from the Velociraptors. As surely as those velociraptors wanted to have Timmy for lunch, we knew Rocky’s gas was hunting us down.
Eventually, his digestive system returned to normal – meaning he still had gas but at least our faces were safe, if not our noses. And he returned to being the most awesome dog on earth.
Someday, I will tell you the full Rocky story, but until then, do you have a funny dog story to tell? A favorite pet? A dog or cat more awesome than Chuck Norris?
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