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Scott Rall: Awful smell made for awfully great memory

After the response I got last week from my story about my twins and a dog in the boat, I figured that another funny story might be in line for this week. Not every column has to be about hunting, wildlife habitat or fishing. This column might just make you smile. It was first published back in 2004 and happened in about 1996. I have learned so much about dogs over the past almost 20 years. I remember a story all the way to my very first true hunting dog.   

She was a yellow Labrador female, and her name was Scout. She was very lightly colored and was about 6 months old when this event happened. I was not the instigator of this event, but I sure was on the receiving end of its results.

As a new puppy owner, my wife went to the store to buy some doggie treats. She brought home a big bag of dried pigs ears. These are exactly as they sound, and for a small dog they can last a week or two as a chew bone.

My wife gave one of these treats to Scout and in about 90 seconds, this pigs ear was long gone. Well, if one pigs ear is good, then 18 must be better. As fast as they were presented to her she would eat them and then give those puppy dog eyes, like “may I please have another?” All was well when we went to bed that night at about 10 pm.

It was about 1 a.m. when my wife woke me up and said “what is that awful smell?” I was instructed to go investigate. Upon closer inspection and a nose full of the worst smell imaginable, I could see I had a problem. My yellow dog was no longer yellow. She had contracted the very worst case of dog diarrhea I had ever seen. She now looked like a chocolate lab. Did I mention that it smelled really bad? Spray painting was a great description as to what had happened in that cage.

I put a leash around the dog’s neck and led her to the basement, where she got a thorough shower. She looked back to normal, and I tied her to one of the posts in the basement while I surveyed the rest of my situation. When I looked closer, I could see the dog had tracked and dripped the slurry all the way from the upstairs family room down the steps though the main floor and down the steps to the basement. Not a pretty sight. I gathered up the cleaning supplies and made a trip from the top of the house to the bottom. It was now about midnight.

When this was done, I when back upstairs and could see the cage would not fit through the doorway. The cleaning was going to have to take place on site. I folded up the old yellow electric blanket into a tight ball and carefully carried it to the basement. A big rinse in the concrete laundry sink and then into the washing machine. When this was complete, I then came to the realization that I had unknowingly repeated step one and dripped all the way from the top of the house to the basement yet again. This time I had managed to cross the carpet as well. I repeated step two all over again. Now it is 3:30 a.m.

What was left was the cage itself. It was a size large pet kennel. Did I mention that it smelled really bad? I put on a new pair of rubber gloves and grabbed two rolls of paper towels. I took a deep breath, held it and reached in to start the process. Each time I got a little further into the cage, and after a time all that was left was the back half of the enclosure.

I took a deep breath and held it as I reached in towards the back. This was when tragedy struck. As I was backing out of the cage, my shirt got caught on the door latch and I was stuck like Winnie the Pooh when he stuck his head in rabbit’s hole and then ate too much honey and could not get out. I panicked. I was backing up across the floor and the cage was following me in lock step. I was running out of air and there was no way I was going to take a big inhale in there. Out of desperation, I stuck my nose out one of the vent holes in the cage and took a deep breath.  I was still stuck in the cage by the door latch, but I was able to keep my face from turning blue. When I was done, it was about 4:30 am. I survived the incident, but not without a seared memory in my dog memory bank. I finished the disposal and took a shower myself. There was no reason to go to bed, as I had to work in a few hours.

I loved that dog. We hunted for many years together before she suffered a torn ACL and never hunted much after that. I have never, nor will I ever allow a pig’s ear to enter my home again. If you have dogs, you will have stories. I have many more, but they will have to wait for another day. One last thought. Please remember that if one Labrador is good, then four is just all that much better.  

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