Or: The realities of living with puppies
I have two more foster pups to profile - one male and one female - but it isn't going to happen today. Today the pups will be lucky if they even get fed again - it has been one of those days where I truly, totally, completely regret having said I would foster them. I certainly will not be taking cutesy photos and trying to describe the last two pups objectively.
The morning begins, of course, with cleanup at six o'clock. During the night they have each pooped and pee'd at least a dozen times, walked in it, eaten it, rolled in it, smeared it on the tarp and sheets and basket. They have backed their butts to the x-pen fence and pooped through the fence into places that can't be reached for cleanup.
I quickly clean what I can while they eat their kibble, put down another couple of dozen papers and a clean dropsheet, and step into the kitchen for my coffee. I turn around, cup in hand, and one pup has pooped right on the clean dropsheet (which is the play/eating area), and two more are wolfing it down. Another is attempting to drink her brother's pee before it hits the floor. GROSS! GROSSGROSSGROSS. I do not handle GROSS well.
I clean up the mess, then walk away to my office before my blood boils over and squirts out my ears. An hour later, calmness restored, I return - the pups are napping but the pen is destroyed. More poop smeared from one end to the other, more pee every imaginable place, newspaper shredded, wood chewed, tarp scratched bare. The pups wake up as soon as I approach and run to the gate screaming for me to pick them up. I toss all the pups in a crate and give the whole pen its daily thorough cleaning - throw out all the paper, mop out the tarp, get down on hands and knees to try to remove poop from the wire, floor, creases in the tarp, the bed, and water and food dishes. Half the bedding is okay for the laundry, the other half of the bedding and the drop sheets go in the garbage - there is only so much poop I'm willing to put in my washing machine.
Pen prepared, I put the pups back in. I run out to the SPCA to pick up some more puppy kibble (they go through 25-30 cups per day now). By the time I get back an hour later, the pen is destroyed for the third time. I swear they invited extra dogs in for a party - ten pups cannot possibly make all that poop. We repeat the crate/clean/replenish routine. I am down to one drop cloth and three bundles of paper (of which over two thirds will be flyers that are useless for absorbing poop or pee and must be seperated from the papers and recycled).
Unfortunately, by now it is two o'clock and time for their second meal of the day. I feed them, go outside with the big dogs, and come back to disaster number four. The day is a non-stop poop fest - after every nap, after every meal, after every play time. Why anyone would ever want to breed pups is beyond me - the costs, the work, and the continual annoying high pitched yipping, is just not worth the rewards of puppy kisses (though who would ever want to be kissed by potty-mouth pups is beyond me!)and certainly doesn't come close to the money that breeders (whether good breeders or - like most - bad breeders) charge for their pups. And besides, if people would quit breeding puppies maybe we wouldn't have all these dogs coming into the shelter! Grrrr.......people who willingly breed dogs and/or fail to spay and neuter are not my friends. I am on a rant.
My frustration is complicated by the fact that I don't feel well. I woke with a sore throat yesterday which has not gone away, and today I ache and I'm tired and I feel like sh*t - which is rather ironic, given the source of my frustration! I have an appointment for my flu shot tomorrow, but it probably is not wise to be innoculated while I am not feeling well. I seldom get sick, but obviously fatigue and stress and poor eating habits have caught up with me.
I fix a nice cup of ginger tea, sit down in my favourite chair, turn on a rerun of "The Waltons" and relax. I can hear the pups tearing around their pen behind me, shredding paper, barking, growling, playing, howling, squealing, running and - no doubt - pooping.
Yup. I get up to take my cup to the sink and there it is - newspapers all shredded into a kajillion teeny tiny pieces, many of which have been somehow shoved through the x-pen onto the carpet and kitchen tiles. And where the newspapers used to be? Wall-to-wall-to-wall poop-smeared tarp. I reach down to lift up the first pup to put him in the crate in order to do the fifth major cleanup of the day, and jerk my hands away as I feel the grossness of his fur - he is covered in poop. Holding him at arms' length, I deposit him in the kitchen sink and try to bathe him. It is not successful and I end up wetter and dirtier than he is. I drop him, soaking wet, into the crate, toss his brothers and sisters in with him, clean up the pen again, toss the pups back, and walk away. Charley is cringing in the corner, Lucy is looking at me with great concern, and Sadie is barking her head off at some imaginary passerby.
And so I am not going to profile the remaining two pups today. Maybe tommorrow. Or the next day. Or never.
The good news is - half are leaving on Friday and the other half shortly after. But that's a whole 'nother post.