Poop Happens

Poop Happens

14 September 2014

Sofa Faith


Each year, to re-teach the Elements of Story, I use David Sedaris’, Big Boy. In the story, he visits the powder room and finds a large turd in the toilet. The ensuing battle illustrates both internal and external conflict. Students also analyze the theme. Sometimes, they come up with “Poop happens.” Other times, they explain that you will have to clean up messes that you didn’t make.

Both themes are apparent in a life with dogs.

First, poop happens.

Second, because I am the only one in the Hooker Horde with opposable thumbs, it falls to me to clean up the mess.

Today is Sunday and it was my intent to sleep past my usual 5:00 am wake-up call. But, around 5:00 am, I woke to a foul smell. I rolled over, pulled the blankets snug, and buried my head in the pillow.

The smell, however, permeated the air with a dark pungent odor. I got up taking Betty White with me. Panting, Faith padded behind with enthusiasm.

With each step the smell worsened. I peeked into the guest bathroom, extra bedroom, and the TV room. Nothing.

When I reached the stair landing, I knew whatever it was, it was downstairs. Waiting.

Carrying Betty White, I whistled for Gus who leapt off the bed and started bounding down the stairs.
Fortunately, both Gus and Faith, stepped around the giant puddle of diarrhea in the dining room on their way to the back door. I set Betty White outside with them and surveyed the damage.

In the past, when friends with small dogs take care of Faith, they joked, “You need a snow shovel to clean that up.”

Often, it takes two bags to get it all. Sometimes, I use one bag on my hand and another to collect it.

Faith's Face

Along with the puddle of diarrhea, there were regular-sized and shaped droppings along with more liquid like leavings all around the table.

Even though it was close to freezing outside, I opened all of the windows to air out the house. Then, I lit mimosa-scented incense. (After all, it was champagne Sunday.)

Using a roll of paper towels, I mopped up the diarrhea.

Then, I invited the dogs to come back inside. Gus scampered back up the stairs and into bed. Trying to stay warm, Betty White leapt up onto the sofa and curled herself into a ball.

Faith looked at me with soft brown eyes and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to wake you up.”

Next, I scooped up all of the solid waste with toilet paper and flushed it.

After that, I moved the chairs from around the table and carefully slid the table off the rug and into the kitchen. Made of Japanese ash, the table is rather heavy. Pulling from the end closest to the kitchen, I felt something squish beneath my bare foot.

I walked on the ball of my right foot until I moved the table and could wipe my foot on the parts of the carpet that were clean.

Being careful to not spill any of the runny waste, I folded up the rug I purchased just about two weeks ago after a similar event compliments of Booker, into what appeared to be a giant eggroll, and carried it out the front door and beyond the gate.

I wiped up what had leaked onto the hardwood floor, added water to the steam cleaner and gave it a thorough steaming. Then, sprayed the hardwood floor cleaner and scrubbed. At this point, I was grateful for my curling team experience as it taught me how to “sweep” and scrub.

Once the steamer, the mop and the cleaning supplies were put away, I returned the table and chairs to their home in the dining room and decided it looked just fine without a rug under it.

Then, I picked Betty White up, whistled my standard tune for Faith to follow, and went back to bed.

My heart hurt for Faith knowing she was embarrassed. I snuggled with her and apologized for not hearing her get up.

This is just life with dogs.

Poop happens.


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The Only One with Opposable Thumbs

The Only One with Opposable Thumbs 



As the only member of the Hooker Horde with opposable thumbs, several jobs fall to me.


I pick up poop, open cans of dog food and pumpkin, cut bags of buffalo flavored grain-free kibble open, brush heavy fur coats, hold leashes, fill water bowls, vacuum, smash sweet potatoes, and maintain the blog.

But, every few days, I wish there someone else with opposable thumbs in the Hooker Horde.

photo 2-1


Every few days, when I put on a dress that zips in the back, I think, “If only . . .”

photo 1

Posted in Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, For the Love of Dogs, Friends, home, Senior Animals | Leave a comment

Being a Cheapskate

Being a Cheapskate

7 September 2014


My ex-husband and best friend used to say, “You are such a cheapskate!”


The Urban Dictionary defines cheapskate as “A stingy person. Somebody who buys cheap in favor of higher quality or better stuff. Even though they might be able to afford better. Not particularly offensive and often intended to ridicule in a light-hearted manner. North American origin (skate apparently meaning “fellow”).


Our cabin at Sundance was built in 1977. The only option for heating, at that time, was electric. Therefore, throughout our home we had electric heaters at the baseboards.



From 1993 to 2003, when I called the cabin home, our electric bills in the winter were astronomical. Typically, because family and friends stayed for the holidays, the December bill went as high as $1,700!


Therefore, even though I could, per the definition, “afford better,” I informed Dwight that we would not turn on the heat between Easter and Halloween.



I was a teacher and drove down the canyon each day. It was at least ten degrees warmer in Orem than at Sundance.


When I’d come home, frequently I found the heat on and the thermostat cranked up to keep Dwight warm in his office.


Dwight claimed I railed like “an old fishwife” and called me a “cheapskate” when I complained.


Now, over a decade later, here, in Park City, I have not changed. The mornings are very chilly on the main level of my home. Sometimes, the thermostat reads as low as 58 degrees.


But, it is not Halloween. Therefore, I bundle up in a sweatshirt, turn on the gas fireplace, and brew warm coffee or tea.


When Halloween arrives, I’ll turn on the heat.


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More from Betty White

I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot!

  • Betty White    betty-white-animal-friends-quote-300x227


When Betty White took the name Hooker and joined the Horde, she strutted right in the front door, jumped on the sofa, and then moved up high onto the back. (That is a very alpha move.)

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A few weeks ago, my neighbor, Christie, was sitting on the sofa with me. Betty White jumped up and leapt to the back cushion. Christie’s eyebrows raised and she asked, “How is it that you end up with these senior dogs with alpha personalities?”


She’s right.


Every senior that has joined the Horde has been an alpha. Betty White is no different.


Without teeth and deaf, Betty is ballsy. Although, the original Betty White noted, “Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls?’ Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding.”


Out walking, without fear, Betty White approaches larger dogs and growls. She runs as fast as her short little legs will carry her through the path in the open space.


After school, she is the first to bark and leap up onto the sofa back.


It is strange and funny that a dog, less than five pounds without teeth acts large and in charge – in her new home, with her canine siblings, and out and about.

photo 1-1

Posted in Betty White, blogging, Dogs, For the Love of Dogs, home, life lessons, love, memoir, Senior Animals, Special Needs | Leave a comment

Sweat pant Saturday with Champagne

Sweat pant Saturday with Champagne, Dogs and Fire

6 September 2014



After eleven days of school that include a 5:00 am wake up call from my iPhone singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” it felt juicy and decadent to stay in bed until 8:00 today.


Downstairs, the temperature was a chilly 58 degrees. With the fire on, I brewed a pot of coffee, fed the dogs, visited with a girlfriend living in South Carolina about racism, and settled down in my sweat pants with the dogs.


Now, I am enjoying a glass of champagne. Well, it’s the “champagne of dairy.” Reading the label, I found this:


“The Champagne of Dairy

Lifeway Kefir may be slightly effervescent due to its unique probiotic strains – look for a slightly rounded bottle – it is perfectly safe, delicious and active. But, don’t forget to shake really well before popping the top. The natural non-homogenized milk may have a few lumps.

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Seeing that, how could I resist shaking it and popping the top? Since it is a screw top, it did not make the traditional sound of opening a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Opening a bottle of champagne should not be accompanied by a “pop,” it should sound like the sigh of a contented woman.

photo 1 

I poured the thick pink champagne of dairy into a tall glass with a stem and sat by the fire and sipping in my sweat pants with the whole Hooker Horde.

Posted in blogging, cocktails, Dairy Products, Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, For the Love of Dogs, Kefir, memoir, Saturday | Leave a comment

I Have Faith

I Have Faith

2 September 2014


Sometimes I envy those with blind faith. I envy my mother who believes, with her whole heart, that there are three kingdoms in heaven and, if she keeps the covenants she made in the Salt Lake Temple, our family will be reunited.


Growing up LDS, I wondered how the adults could stand and say, “I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.”


Again, I envy that kind of faith.


While wrapping my head around the teachings of Christ, I fall back to the passage in John saying, “A new commandment I give to you love one another. As I have loved you, love one another.”


I have Faith.




Labels bother me. I don’t “own” a dog. I’m not the leader of the pack. But, my dogs have me and I have them.


I have Faith, a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog.


Today, she is six-years-old.


Faith follows Jesus’ commandment. She loves everyone.


When we walk around the neighborhood, people stop and stare.  “She’s so beautiful,” they say.


Then, she leans against their legs, looks up and her eyes say, “I love you.”


When the ten-year-old across the street has a bad day, she wraps her arms around Faith’s neck and whispers secrets. Faith listens and loves her.


Four years ago, Gus arrived in our home. After three years in a puppy mill, he was afraid. He followed Faith and she showed him how to be a dog. She showed him how to love.



I have Faith. Real Faith.


I believe in love. I believe that Faith is love.

Posted in Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, faith, For the Love of Dogs, Jesus, Kindness, life lessons, love, neighborhood, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Introducing Betty White

Animals don’t lie. Animals don’t criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do. – Betty White


This is Betty White Hooker.



A sweet senior without teeth, she joined the Hooker Horde on Friday, August 15th, 2014.


Originally named “Daisy,” she was dropped off at the shelter in Spanish Fork with her three sisters. Her previous person sobbed when he left. With colon cancer, he could no longer care for his furry family.


The Adopt Me Society rushed to rescue the four Maltese and tried to adopt them out as a foursome. Then, they tried to send them out in pairs. Finally, the sisters went solo. But, Daisy was left.


For almost seven weeks, Daisy lived in the boarding facility. It was not how she was accustomed to living.


In addition to being toothless, she is deaf. Therefore, even before we met, I re-named her Betty White.


When we met, she danced and pranced. I scooped her up. Compared to the rest of the horde, she is tiny.


She snuggled into the soft bed and rode shotgun all the way home.


Like her namesake, Betty is an alpha. She walked right in, jumped up on the sofa, and settled on the back cushions.


To be continued . . .


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