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Modern Dad

At least the Roomba didn’t switch on

Our beloved dog Lightning turns one this month. I think I’m probably the only member of my family who would use the word beloved to describe her but whatever. She’s always happy to see me and never asks me to do anything other than play fetch so she’s basically perfect.

Lightning came to us in somewhat dubious fashion. I paid a deposit to a labradoodle breeder in Greenville and on pickup day was told drive to a single family home with an envelope of cash. Later that night I googled “identifying a puppy mill” and checked at least six of the ten boxes.

Yes, we’re horrible people and we spent two car payments on a designer dog. Yes, you hold moral authority over us because you “rescued” your pet from the clutches of certain death. The Mother of Dragons doesn’t do dog hair.

Some people think it’s weird to name a dog after a word defined as an occurrence of a natural discharge of very short duration and high voltage. During her first visit to the vet I realized her full name was Lightning Show, which is objectively awesome.

Lightning spent her first six months eating everything in sight – the Blonde Bomber’s tiny ankle socks becoming somewhat of a delicacy for her. She then spent her seventh month on medicated food and rice while she passed 14 inches of mulch and other thingamabobs the vet found in her colon.

Somewhere around the eighth month of her life I ran to the pet store to grab food and realized that the pet store didn’t have the same orange bag of food as the other pet store, so I just bought an orange bag of food and called it a day.

I fed the dog that night and again in the morning and again the next night. Before I went to bed I took her for a walk and when she stopped to relieve herself it was more post-Chipotle than normal, but nothing alarming given the irregularity of every bowel movement she’d ever produced.

The Mother of Dragons was out of town so I went to bed alone. At 5am, I was awoken to the yelping of what can only be described as a baboon being tortured. I ran through the hallway and down the stairs, and when my foot met the ground floor it hit me. The worst stench I have ever smelled in my life, and I’ve changed more than a thousand noxious diapers.

I flipped on the lights to find Lightning standing in her crate next to a massive pile of raw sewage. I appeared to have awoken at the exact moment of the explosion so I felt I could contain most of the collateral damage if I moved fast. I opened the cage, leashed the dog and ran her outside in case there was a segundo wave of numero dos.

As we stood in the darkness she stuck out her tongue and wagged her tail at me with the appearance of overwhelming relief that you would expect from an animal that just completely evacuated its bowels. I swear she was smiling.

As we walked back toward the door I noticed her mouth was glistening. I leaned in to get a closer look and the toxic bouquet of dog diarrhea filled my olfactory glands. I looked down and her feet were also soaked in liquid defecation.

I cradled her and ran upstairs to the shower to begin the arduous process of cleaning her bowel-caked fur, each dousing of water washing a fresh wave of brown liquid down the drain. After 30 minutes the water and soap ran clear and we were finished.

I dried her off and walked downstairs to discover that, in my haste, when I chose to walk her outside she tracked butt butter through the living room, kitchen and foyer. Four paws travelling 40 feet from crate to front door. Roughly 80 smatterings of doggy doo doo.

I took the soiled crate outside to clean it out and then went back inside to scrub each paw print with individual bleach wipes. The dog stood and watched the entire time, still smiling but now with the satisfied look of someone who knows she won’t be asked to help.

I bagged up all evidence and tossed it in the curbside can (luckily it was trash pickup day) and walked inside. The horrific aroma still filled the air so I opened up the windows and emptied a can of Lysol from under the kitchen sink.

My phone alarm went off and I went back upstairs to wake up the kids for school. When the Blonde Bomber lumbered downstairs I asked her if it smelled, and she mustered the strength to say, “No.” When Future Man finally graced us with his presence moments later I posed the same question.

“It smells like dog crap and medicine,” he said, and suddenly his eyes burst open. “What happened down here?”

“Lightning,” I replied. An occurrence of a natural discharge of very short duration and high voltage.

Happy birthday dog.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.