Saturday, May 29, 2010

If Our Dogs Were Two of the Seven Dwarves

Today was a glorious Saturday morning--full of bright sunshine and cool breezes, weather promising to warm up to the 80s by the afternoon, but the perfect morning for drinking coffee on the deck, watering planters full of lettuce and herbs, and deciding over a leisurely bagel-breakfast to check out the farmer's market.

One of the things I love about where we live is that we are close to several parks.  We are within walking distance of a pretty little park with playgrounds, roller hockey, raquetball, basketball, and tennis courts, and plenty of shady paths for dog-walking.  We are a ten-minute drive from Forest Park, famous for its size (it's actually a couple of acres bigger than Central Park in New York), and home to the zoo, art museum, history museum, outdoor theaters, golf courses, tennis courts, restaurants and cafes, paddleboat and canoe rentals, and biking and walking paths.  Forest Park's other claim to fame is that all of its attractions are free, which is pretty remarkable.  Even the outdoor theater sells tickets to its weekly musicals all summer, but you can sit in section C for free and you can bring your own booze as long as you put it in a non-glass container (FYI:  an entire bottle of wine will fit in the largest size Nalgene bottle).

Tower Grove park is another nearby park and it is home to a Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.  Tower Grove is a Victorian park in a number of ways--it still has the original winding streets first designed for horses and carriages and the nineteenth-century pagodas and pavilions that were donated in the 1860s and 70s.  We like to walk the dogs there and watch the adult kickball leagues in the fall.

Today we decided to venture out to the Tower Grove Farmer's Market.  As noted previously, Little Mac has been rather unpleasant lately (after an all-day hunger strike, she finally ate that pill for David after he wrapped it in more cheese), so we opted to leave her at home.  Being small, white, and fluffy, many people find her irresistible and I did not want to have to tell people they cannot pet her. 

So we just took Cooper.  He was delighted to go and although his manners when he is around other dogs are decidedly questionable, he is very sociable and friendly among humans.

And he loved the farmers market.  Loved it in the most obnoxious way possible.

Peed on every bush on the way to the market from the car.  Flung himself with gusto toward the smells and the occasional spill on the ground.  He does this "swimming" move where he lunges so violently that his front legs are off the ground and paddling through the air as he attempts to barrel chest-first toward whatever he has found of interest (for example:  Golden Retrievers, children in strollers eating Cheerios, a lettuce leaf on the pavement, a group of approximately thirty people practicing yoga in a grassy spot near the market).

Thirty pounds of puggle combined with the intensity of his doggie desperation and delight makes him somewhat difficult to control, particularly in a crowd.  We bought some homemade dog treats to distract him, which him considerably but then he kept leaping up at our hands and pockets and so we were those people reprimanding our ill-behaved dog as though he were behaving out of the ordinary when really he is just kind of a shithead most of the time and yet we still expect him to somehow know he should behave differently in public.

Finally David took him off to the side where he could pee on bushes and sniff another dog's butt in peace (Cooper, not David), while I bought asparagus and contemplated making a strawberry pie.

By the time we headed back to the car, Cooper had calmed down and David and I were thoroughly enjoying a stroll through the park.  The weather couldn't have been nicer and I felt summery and happy to have a bag full of local produce.  We cut through a field to head back to the car, pausing frequently so Cooper could sniff and take the peeing position although he had already peed himself out by this point.  David was carrying the bag and I had Cooper's leash.

Coop found something very interesting to smell on the ground and stopped short.  I stopped too, letting him snuffle the grass, before saying, "C'mon, Buddy," and gently tugging his leash. 

He didn't budge.

Instead, he flopped down and starting rutting in the grass.  Then, suddenly, he was writhing on his back in ecstasy.

This was a very bad sign.  When Cooper flops down and starts rolling his whole body on the ground, it means there is something very nasty, very stinky, and often very dead, that he is rolling in.  I've seen it happen with dead birds at the farm and dead fish at the lake and also once with some other dog's poop.  It is not a good thing.

So I (not so gently) pulled on his leash.  I proceeded to drag him about six inches, but he is still on his back.  He continued to flop around, enjoying himself hugely, until David ran up to him, yelling and clapping.  Then Cooper jumped up.  David inspected the ground and didn't see anything so he decided it was probably just "old pee."  (Seriously, that is what he said.  It seemed as reasonable a guess as any.) 

We continued to the car without further incident.

Coop loaded up in the backseat and we started driving home. I was still talking enthusiastically about strawberry pie.

David eased to a stop at a stop sign and suddenly a scent wafted toward me from the backseat.

An odor that smelled like dead animal and also ass.  Dead Ass Smell.

I immediately started gagging.

Then retching.

Then seriously dry heaving out the window.

In between heaves, I was gasping, "I don't want to barf!"

"Breathe into your shirt!" David yelled at me.

"Roll down the back windows!" I shouted back.

I was hanging out the window, trying to get fresh air, but Cooper was hanging out the window behind me and all I could smell was his terrible dead animal ass smell.

David wanted me to lean back so he could see oncoming traffic but I couldn't put my head back in the car so instead I just shouted, "ALL CLEAR!" and we started moving again.  With the breeze moving through the car, it wasn't bad, but anytime we'd come to a stop I'd have to bury my face in my tank top and breathe through my mouth, trying not to gag.

Cooper headed straight for the bathtub when we got home.  Little Mac growled when she saw David pulling the doggie shampoo out of the closet.  Then she went and hid in the bedroom.

Coop is probably not invited to join us at the Farmers' Market next Saturday.

And we have come to the conclusion that if our dogs were dwarves, they would be named Bitchy and Stinky.

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