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Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:00

Fluffy turns out to be a greaser

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By Stephanie Wampler

My fluffy white dog was no longer white — his snout was grey with grease, the hair slicked back from his nose. My cheerful dog was not so cheerful — he was sprawled across the couch, stomach bloated, groaning miserably. My obedient dog was not so obedient — garbage was spread all over the porch, birthday cake crumbs and shredded paper towels littered from one end to the other.

 

It had all begun innocently enough. I had cleaned up from my son’s birthday party. Remains of the cake had been deposited in the garbage. Plates dripping with melted ice cream had been tossed on top. Then chicken bones from the birthday-dinner fried chicken.

Then the grease from the frying. Altogether it was disgusting, too disgusting to stay in the house. I had set the bag on the porch, ready to haul away.

I then sat at my computer and typed industriously, absorbed in my work. Normally, my little dog is by my feet. Wherever I go in the house or the yard, he is right there, a few feet behind me. When he has worn himself out, he lies down nearby and watches me, his eyes following my every move. But this morning, he was absent, and if I had been at all conscious of my surroundings, I might have noticed. But I was unaware, and he was nowhere to be seen.

Sometime later, still absorbed in my work, I heard him whining. It was the Time-to-Go-to-Bed whine. Usually he reserves this whine for night time. If I have been too long helping the children get to sleep, Jack comes to get me. With his chewed-up stuffed bear in his mouth, he stands in the doorway, whining at me until I wake up and go with him upstairs. But this wasn’t night time, and I didn’t have time to put the dog to bed. I ignored him, and eventually, he stopped. I didn’t bother to find out why.

A little while later, I hit “Print” and my work was done. Finally and hallelujah. I stood up, stretched, and turned around, surveying my surroundings with a fresh eye, happy and ready for life. I had a free hour ahead of me. Maybe I could go for a walk, maybe I could bake a cake, maybe I could dig a new flower bed. The world was my oyster. Life was good.

Then my eyes fell on the miserable little creature on the couch. He was sprawled on his side, bloated, groaning, his eyes clouded and sad. I went to him, knelt down in front of him. He looked at me blearily. I stroked his head, wondering what on earth could be wrong. He rolled his eyes back, sighed, and then burped. Utterly besotted, inebriated, the devil sick of sin.

And with the burp, right in my face, I noticed something. It smelled a little, no, a lot, like grease. Straight grease. Where could he have gotten into grease? Ohhh. Ohhh. OHHH. The garbage. My sympathy evaporated instantly.

I raced upstairs and saw it all in a glance. The bag was utterly destroyed, nasty garbage strewn all over the porch.

Lovely. Now I could spend my free hour picking up trash, mopping the porch, and washing the dog. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

I turned to fuss at Jack, but he had disappeared, so I got to work. Later, after I had thoroughly cleaned the porch, fished him out from under the bed, and convinced him that a bath was truly in his best interest, I vented my irritation by giving him a little lecture.

As I soaped his smelly snout, and looked deep into his guilty eyes, I pointed out that there were several lessons to be learned here. The first I considered an excellent rule to live by: don’t eat grease straight. Not good for the stomach. I felt sure that he would be eating grass forthwith, and that things wouldn’t go so well, digestion-wise, for the rest of the day at least. Jack looked at me and whimpered.

The second lesson was related to the first. I suggested that if he was going to gorge on a panful of grease, he should have at least been a little more careful. Dipping his whole snout in it was bound to result in a rather unpleasant bath. Knowing, as I well know, his feelings about baths, especially baths that involve soaping his face, I certainly felt that this guideline was appropriate.

As appropriate as it seemed, he apparently didn’t appreciate it, since he chose that moment to begin getting sick. I cut off the lecture, finished the bath tout suite, brushed him, dried him, and put his sweet self outside.

Since my free hour was over, I had to get dressed for the rest of the day. When I was changed and ready, I went outside where Jack was happily sniffing the new garbage bag, checking for any weak spots in the plastic that might be chewed through quickly. Was that grease he was licking off his chops? Hmm.

Yes, there were lessons here, but it apparently wasn’t Jack who was to learn them. I grabbed the bag, and he looked up at me, carefully pressing a paw against my foot. “Please, may I have some more?” I could almost hear him.

“Absolutely not,” I said, and I tossed the bag, lovely smells and all, into the trunk of the car. Lesson learned.

(Stephanie Wampler lives in Waynesville and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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