Day 2: Diapers
Brandon left in the afternoon.
He’s not one for goodbyes, and mostly just said, “see you around” as he left, giving the dog a pat on the head.
She’s smart, and she knew that he wasn’t just leaving for a little while.
While she was crying downstairs, I was crying upstairs as I took inventory of all of the tiny bloodstains that she made on my new carpet every time she sat down and used her bottom like a little rubber stamp. This was a problem that needed to be solved sooner rather than later.
So I put her in the crate that we bought for her, and made the journey to Petco.
That is where I found Simple Solution Diapers. They were doggie diapers for females in heat or for puppies with incontinence or excitable urination. And they even boasted “tail-wagging comfort!
The instructions seemed simple:
Note the well-behaved dog in the instructions, standing like a statue.
In my mind, I imagined my dog standing completely still for me, perfectly proud and unbothered by me pulling her tail through a hole and fastening sticky tabs to padding on her underbelly.
It was a battle to finally get one of those things on her. It was an entirely different battle trying to keep her from ripping it off.
Ultimately, the diapers were a failure and I had to go to Plan B — some really great cleaning products.
Day 3: The Vet
I figured that if I was going to keep this dog, I needed to take her to the vet for routine care, including getting vaccinations and a checkup. And to also figure out when she could get spayed.
It was her first time in my car, and she found herself enticed by my air vents.
Fortunately, the vet was right down the road.
While we waited in the lobby, all of the vet nurses and secretaries came out to pet her and proclaim how cute she was. I rather enjoyed the attention she was getting from the opposite sex, and realized that maybe this dog was my ticket to procuring a girlfriend.
“Aw, what’s her name?” one of the girls asked.
“Sparky for now,” I replied. “But I’m pretty sure that I’m going to change it to something a bit more feminine. But not too girlie.”
Upon hearing this, three of the ladies congregated to offer their suggestions. But they did so in such a way that felt as if they would have the final say in the naming of my dog.
Vegas, Nevada, and Elvis were their frontrunners. Apparently “location” was the most important criteria in their naming process.
“Maybe!” I said, knowing full-well that I wouldn’t choose any of those names.
“Okay, Vegas, time to head on back,” one of the nurses said.
On our way to the exam room, the nurse reaffirmed her selection. “Vegas,” she said. “I think she likes it.”
The dog offered no signs to say that she did.
The doctor was waiting for us in the examination room, and he told us to put the dog on the table.
And that is when things got hairy.
Vegas Sparky The dog was slightly nervous at first, but the nervousness became sheer panic when the vet placed the collar around her neck to keep her still.
I had only had her for three days, but seeing her so scared broke my heart. I approached her to calm her, but the vet told me that it would be better if I stayed on the other side of the room, as she probably wanted to be with me (which broke my heart even more).
She was a little trooper though.
She stood still while he gave her various vaccinations.
And she stayed calm while he drew blood to test for diseases and parasites.
But she did not like it when he took a stool sample. Can you blame her, though? Wouldn’t you yelp if someone stuck something up your butt?
Ten minutes and $500 later, the results were in and we learned that she was a healthy dog, now juiced up and immune to rabies, distemper, and all kinds of other things I have never heard of.
We would have to wait six weeks to get her spayed, however. Which worked out I guess, as six weeks would give me some time to save some money for my next visit to the vet.
Pets are expensive.
While I waited for the receptionist to fill out the vaccination papers and to give me my credit card back, the ladies had re-congregated to praise “Vegas” for her heroics during the past fifteen minutes and to discuss her overall cuteness.
It was at this point that she pooped. Like, all over.
I’m no detective, but I think it might have had something to do with her having something shoved up her ass just moments before.
“Bad Sparky! Bad!” I said in the best scolding tone I could muster.
One of the girls got on her hands and knees and began picking it up with paper towels.
“I’ll get that!” I said, pulling a bag out of my pocket that was left over from our last walk.
“No it’s okay! She’s just scared,” the girl says. “This place is scary, isn’t it, Nevada?” she asks, throwing in her two cents.
“No, really. It’s my dog. You don’t have to clean it up…” But it is no use. She insists on cleaning it up, saying how it is her job and how I wouldn’t believe how often this happens.
But really, it wasn’t my dog yet. I had simply claimed ownership and claimed love for her. I wasn’t quite yet the parent of the dog, instinctively knowing exactly what to do. And I guess that this was apparent by my non-authentic effort to clean the poop. Saying “I’ll get that” and making a slight gesture to rustle the bag in my hands was kind of like when the waitress puts the bill on the table and you make a fake argument to pay it, even though it is implied that your father-in-law or boss is footing the bill. You just pull out your wallet, only opening it halfway, and say something like “Are you sure?”
“Yes, she’s a good girllll,” I said, petting the dog. “But that was BAD!”
I raised my head back to the counter, where the receptionist had pushed a pamphlet into my view.
“Youngman, this is a guide to house train Sparky,” she said with a stern voice. “You DON’T want to scold her.”
I had scolded Sparky when she pooped in front of this woman’s counter. But apparently it was bad to scold dogs when they did something wrong.
However, I guess it was good to scold humans, because this woman was giving me an earful about how I shouldn’t let her see me clean up any accidents that she has and blah blah blah…
It was apparent that I was being trained.
She handed me my credit card and paperwork and I thanked her for the literature (which did prove to be helpful).
The girl who had cleaned up the poop came back with a sour face, though it was not due to the poop.
“I was thinking,” she said, “and I don’t think Nevada is right for her. She is definitely Vegas.”
“I told you!” another girl yelled from the back.
And so it was settled. For them, at least.
“That’s definitely a possibility! Thanks!” I said as I walked out the door.
When we were outside, she ran to the first patch of grass and found some more #2 to squeeze out, surprisingly. She looked up at me and I looked down at her, and I felt a sense of surprise that I still sometimes get, that this little dog is mine.
I didn’t know her story.
All I knew was that someone on the other side of the country decided that he didn’t want her anymore, and while I hated him for the way he treated her, I loved him for letting her go.
Brandon brought her in, took care of her, and drove her across the country, and I loved him for that.
I moved into my apartment three months ago and have been living by myself for the first time in my life.
Call it fate, or call it luck. But this little dog had found her way into my life at a perfect time.
And I loved her for it.
“Come on, Sadie,” I said to her. “Let’s go home.”