IMG_4860Oh god, I am so sorry about this. I have spent the last 30 minutes trying to come up with a different column topic than what you are about to read and nada, folks, nada. I’ll try to pick up a new hobby in the next few weeks so you can read about needlepoint or leather working or something equally fascinating. Maybe I’ll attend one of those painting classes where a group of women each paint a peacock or a boat in a sunset. We’ll at least have a good time laughing about how my peacock looks like a billy goat. But in the meantime — aside from the obvious question of, “What exactly is a billy goat?” — I just have to write about my dog.

See, it’s Day 6 of No Potty Accidents and I’m nearly popping with pride. Yes, I said popping, not pooping, though I did need to double check myself there. Holy moly, it doesn’t take long to have BMs on the brain when it comes to the possibility you might step in one at any moment.

Luckily, Fitzgerald has been very good about it since Day 3 (reminder: he’s the best dog in the world). Peeing though, different matter. For six weeks, he didn’t give any thought to puddling on the floor and then gamely walking through it. He did care, however, about getting his wet paws washed thereafter, resulting in him running away from me and spreading the mess to every corner of the kitchen.

This led to a long contemplation on mops (I’m done with squeeze-sponge heads, I tell you, just done!), which ended up with me and Gabrielle in the cleaning aisle at Kroger so I could purchase a new one. As you can imagine, the teenager wasn’t overly jazzed about being included in this errand and numbly looked upward at the selection as I considered which mop heads could be most easily removed and washed in the washing machine. It was fascinating to me how fascinated I had become in securing the best mop. And more fascinating still how much affection I have developed for my Libman Tornado.

Even so, it’s kind of amazing what has happened to my sense of cleanliness since becoming the mom to a perfect little puppers. I mean, dogs are dirty. They shed. They gnaw on gucky bones. They spill their food on the floor. They even drink messily. Pre-puppy, I didn’t even really like it when friends’ dogs licked my hands, if we’re honest. But now? Last night I was holding a dentabone for Fitzi so he could more easily attack it. I looked down at my hand and the space between by thumb and forefinger was coated in a pretty impressive layer of brown slime. My husband William noticed it around the same time I did.

“What are you going to do?” I said.

“Just keep holding it, I guess,” he shrugged.

Still, urine is urine and I was pretty keen on removing the possibility that it reside on the floor. In turn, Fitzi-boy and I have had quite a lot of time outside, sessions that kick off with me inanely saying, “If you go potty, you can have a treat.”

For a long time, Fitz would just look at my hand with the treat in it as if to say, “Are you torturing me on purpose, mother?” But eventually, and I don’t even really know how, he caught on. In fact, it took him whining about 15 times at the gate in our kitchen before William and I became sure he knew he was asking to go outside.

And now when I hear that melodramatic chirpy whine, I am awash in pride. Pure, ecstatic pride. And that’s the thing about dog ownership, I’ve learned. It’s just the pure, bloody joy of it. Nothing gets too complicated. No one’s having a bad day. Fitzi doesn’t hate his boss. He doesn’t have a headache. He’s just there to sleep and play. Pure, shining happiness, that’s what this is.

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