“No regrets,” Baby Hugo said after it was all over.
I was kneeling over the rug scrubbing it for the third time and realizing that it still smelled shockingly bad.
“Oh no?” I asked.
“Not a one.”
“Is that your stomach? Or is that thunder?”
Hugo was quiet for a long second.
“I’ll be right back.”
So went the conversation I had with my puppy dog yesterday 24 hours after he’d had the biggest “meal” of his life.
It had been a sunny Saturday and our wonderful painter Sean (plug for Patriot Painting!) was just about to paint the back deck. He had moved just about everything off of it and placed it on a cement pad we have at the base of the deck stairs. On top of one of the chairs, he had placed a pail that had been connected to our smoker. The pail was full of rancid grease, the end result of quite a few smoking projects.
Because I never read manuals and trip my way through anything having to do with appliances, I was not actually aware the pail existed. If you were to ask me, in fact, where I thought the grease went post-smoke, I would have told you, feeling pretty confident, that it burned off and disappeared exactly like smoke itself.
So as I rounded the corner to round up the dogs, I was surprised to discover a little silver bucket filled with brown, lumpy, frothy sludge.
I was even more surprised to see my little dog Hugo happily lapping it up.
“Deeeelicious!” he declared with a greasy brown mouth.
I promptly took the pail away from him — “No fair!” — and headed back to the front door. But not before I got a big whiff of the pail’s contents, which smelled exactly as good as they looked.
I put the pail in the garage and the day progressed happily enough. I’d like to point out that the rest of the afternoon mostly took place outside. With the dogs alongside me, I weeded the back garden and thinned the herbs in the front. Hugo seemed his happy, laidback self, enticing Tilly to play with him around the willow tree and bounding back to me every once in a while to oversee my work.
We had just gotten back inside when I saw Hugo standing confused and looking a little woozy on the rug by the front door. In front of him was a sea of sludge he had vomited nearly the second he entered the house. I watched it seeping, nearly audibly, into every last fiber of the rug.
Hugo looked at me and I looked at him and we knew we were both in for a long road.
I gently picked him up and gated him in the carpet-free kitchen. Then I grabbed a dust pan and the kitchen garbage can and, trying not to vomit myself, scraped as much of the grease into the can as I could.
I won’t bore you with details, but in case you were wondering, grease sludge doesn’t come out of rugs very easily. I went through a roll and a half of paper towels. And a bottle of Resolve. And the paper towels never came away from that rug looking anything lighter than beige.
But the fun was just beginning because, as we all know, what goes in, generally comes out. The “fruits” of Hugo’s second stage of digestion started to become apparent around 9 p.m. My husband and I were watching Veep when in traipses Hugo with all the swagger of a politician. All seemed well until I saw that he was … dripping. I whipped him upstairs to give him a bath while he happily lapped up the peanut butter (more grease!) I had to smear on the bathtub wall to keep him under the water.
“This truly is the most delicious day ever, mother,” he confided.
I thought surely he’d be “empty” by then and resumed watching Veep with William. Hugo, in fine spirits, jumped up on William’s lap. And, moments later, I heard William sniff, then sniff again and then say, “What the …”
His white t-shirt was covered in … Hugo sludge.
I went to bed that night with Hugo with me in the basement, the bed coated in towels. I expected we’d be up and down all night, but he surprised me by sleeping soundly until morning.
Which brings me back to me on my knees scrubbing the rug once again. When Hugo returned from outside, he was holding a full apple in his mouth.
“Look what I found. They are falling, I mean, literally falling from a tree out there.”
“Hugo, give me …”
“Can’t catch me!” he said, darting away and giving it a firm chomp.