Earning her keep

The fourth girl in our house is finally working her way back into our good graces (with the first three being, you know, me. And my daughters. We’re girls). Unfortunately, the apple pooping in the grocery store was only the tip of the crapper iceberg; Jambi* proceeded to pop a squat pretty much every time we ventured forth to Target or Wegmans, or pretty much any time she had to walk for more than five minutes.

* rhymes with Zombie, in case you were curious.

This is not to say that we didn’t try to avoid such incidents; we did, of course. We let her out when we left the house so that she could relieve herself and would walk her religiously – and a bit maniacally – for five to ten minutes around the outside of the building we were about to enter to ensure that she really got things moving and could expel anything that needed to go. And still, despite having peed and pooped and smelled every blade of grass between the car and the store, she would still manage to take a dump inside. It got so that every time I took her out in public, I looked as though I had developed a series of tics because of the constant, rapid-fire head turning in her direction to ensure that she wasn’t about to do her business in front of aisle seven.

Not exactly the start of an illustrious career for a potential service dog.

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Bringing her to the Y seemed pretty safe; very little walking around. In fact, very little standing up at all. Laziness FTW!

At last, we had to concede that she could no longer be free to remain in the backyard and eat the apples as she pleased. Already, we’d been calling her into the house more quickly than before – to catch her before she could consume too much fruit – and I’d been walking and running with her more often, to make up for her being outside less. This apparently wasn’t enough, however, because a) she’s a Lab and Labs are the garbage disposals of the dog world, eating everything they come into contact with, and b) the damn apple tree was REALLY FREAKIN’ PROLIFIC, so even a few minutes outside provided Jambi with a veritable feast.

Action was called for, and since it wasn’t feasible for us to leash her up every time she needed to go outside (that’s what fully fenced-in, awesome yards are for; plus also, see: two kids, two other dogs, general insanity), I decided that the next best course of action was to remove all of the apples from the ground before she could get to them. Easy enough, right? Technically, yes, except have I mentioned that this tree was like a procreating rabbit — its adorable cherubs would spring forth from its loins at a ridiculously alarming rate, completely filling the ground beneath it and providing ample bounty for would-be apple consumers. (To be fair, Nick and I have also used the tree’s apples – which are perfectly edible – for all of our juicing; it will be a damn shame when we actually have to pay for apples at the store.)

apple tree basket
These days, the leaves are in cahoots with the apples, acting as camouflage and making it super difficult for me to spot the forbidden fruits, but perfect sniff-and-seek treats for the hounds.

When I first began picking up, it would take only a few days to fill the entire garbage barrel to the top because the tree was dropping approximately ninety-five apples per day. Even if you like apples, just think about that… NINETY-FIVE APPLES every single day. No wonder Jambi was having trouble not dropping a deuce in Target.

Of course, it wasn’t like I could just pick everything up in the morning and then tell the tree that I’d had enough for the day; no, I had to go outside and fill the barrel every time the dogs were in the yard. A pain in the neck? Yes. But worth it to prevent Jambi from defecating in the dairy section? Heck yes.

At the suggestion of my cousin, who is a trainer with CCI out in California, we haven’t taken Jambi on any longer, indoor outings since her bowel troubles began, but she’s been doing a good job walking home with the girls from school.

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The leggings? Halloween, naturally.

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That Jambi will walk patiently beside a nutball six year-old girl is definitely winning her back points she lost while apple-pooping.

I’ve also slowly begun bringing her out to other indoor locations where we won’t be gone as long – returning books at the library, getting a drink at Starbucks (duh) – and she’s done well on those. She’s a relatively small Lab for ten months old – only fifty-some pounds and much tinier in stature than Langston – so she also continues to go with me to the Y, sitting with her zen expression and not being even the littlest bit rattled by the thumping music and weights dropping to the floor at random moments.

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If I stare cutely enough, will I get one of the treats that’s in your fanny pack? Yeah, I just called it a fanny pack. Own it.

Now that apple season is almost over, I think I’ll be able to start bringing her on slightly longer trips. I’ll still bring the poop bags and paper towel, of course… But my fingers are crossed.

Yep, she’s definitely working her way back into our good graces. When you glance forward after doing a sit-up and see this staring back at you, how could she not?

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2 thoughts on “Earning her keep

  1. Pingback: Thin Ice | All Together in a Scattered Sort of Way

  2. Pingback: Thin Ice | All Together in a Scattered Sort of Way

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