The Good News

Scout and Dr. C had their best visit yet last night. This was entirely because Scout’s ears weren’t the topic of discussion (and poking and prodding) for once. Scout knows the vet’s office just by the parking lot. She’s a regular, remember. So she knew enough to be nervous when we arrived.


The vet tech took her into the back to do a urine analysis, and B and I listened as another vet tech walked by and their conversation drifted down the hall.

“Who’s this?”


“Scout’s a girl?”


“I didn’t know ‘Scout’ was a girl’s name.”

B and I exchanged a glance. Doesn’t anyone read To Kill a Mockingbird anymore?

Anyway, Scout’s urine analysis came back negative, so she does not have a UTI or bladder infection. Hooray! That left incontinence. Dr. C explained that the weakening of uterine wall muscles doesn’t have to happen in old age. It’s a risk at any age after a female dog is spayed. Scout’s risk is greater because her anatomy is a little wonky down there, which we knew. He did say that, in hindsight, we could have let Scout go through one heat cycle, which may have lessened her risk for incontinence, but there was no guarantee.

Because Scout is not having moments of incontinence regularly—say, once a week or so—we decided to hold off on starting any medications. We’re going to monitor the frequency of things, and if she starts to have more accidents on a regular basis, then we’ll look at medicating her. (Ugh. I do NOT want to do this.) Until then, we’ll keep an eye on things, but at least we now know that it’s not being caused by an infection of some sort. All in all, good news!


Dogs and Accidents

The subtitle to this post is: “When Your Dogs Pees on the Couch. Twice.” Now your interest is piqued, right?

Sometimes, something happens in your life, and you brush it off. You think, this is an isolated event, and I’m going to consider it as such and not really think much of it after this. Until the day that something else happens, and suddenly that event you brushed off doesn’t seem so arbitrary. Like a sneeze turning into a cold, but in this case, less mucousy.

A while ago, so long ago that I can’t remember exactly when or even if it was summer or winter, Scout had an accident on the couch. It was an odd event, because she was sound asleep and when she rose to leave the sofa cushions, we noticed a pool of wetness underneath her. At the time, we though, “Weird! Our perfectly house-trained dog just wet herself in her sleep!” We threw the cushion in the washer and moved on, forgiving her for what was very obviously an innocent mistake.

scout couch

Months went by. We hadn’t thought a thing of this occurrence. In the meantime, we’ve dealt with Scout’s eating of our books and frat party, so it’s not as if she’s been a perfect gem and we haven’t been fretting over her. But health matters, those seemed to be a bit calmer (assuming, as we have, that her recent bouts of misbehavior are linked to boredom and not something health related). After spending a good deal of money to straighten out her troublesome ears and their infections, we were enjoying not seeing Dr. C on a regular schedule.

Yesterday afternoon, our little family of four was stuck inside when we wanted to be out. It was rainy and cold, but there was college basketball aplenty on the TV, so we sat on the couch and waited for UNC to play. Sometime before that happened, Scout rose from the couch for one reason or another, and that’s when we saw it. A little pool of wetness underneath where her bottom had been (which just so happened to be the area where two cushions met, so there were two cushions that were damp). We picked up the cushions and sniffed. Yep, urine.

How? Well, I suppose that’s not the right question. We know how. But why? Scout hadn’t asked to go out—in fact, she’d been asleep just moments before. She was watching us remove the cushions with a look on her face like, “It’s gonna be harder to sit on the couch without those fluffy things on it, but I’ll try.” It was obvious that she had unknowingly just dribbled on the couch. We stuck the cushions in the washing machine, let her out (where she promptly peed and came back in), and continued to watch the game from the floor.

scout tennis ball

Three hours later, UNC had lost miserably and B and I had put together a consolation dinner for ourselves. While we ate, Scout claimed the remaining single cushion on the couch for a nice long nap in preparation for bedtime. (Life’s rough.) But when B asked her to move after dinner—you know, so that he could sit on the last dry cushion—she rose and revealed for a third time a pool of dampness beneath her. She’d peed on the entire sofa over the course of about three hours. With a bathroom break in between.

We started another load of laundry, and consulted Google.

The search results were mixed on this topic, but there were some common threads: urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and incontinence. Though incontinence is something normally associated with elderly dogs, young dogs can experience it, apparently. It has something to do with the fact that after the dog is spayed, which Scout was, there are less hormones in their bodies, hormones that otherwise help to regulate the muscles in the uterine area. Thus, your dog can end up having weak muscles, and accidents. In other words, they don’t realize that they’re peeing, and they aren’t meaning to.

So, we’ve made an appointment to see Dr. C. At this point, I don’t know which of these options would be better. Perhaps it’s none of them and something different entirely. We’ll have to wait and see.

Scout Gets a Taste for Literature

As our friends and family know, B and I are big book people. We love to read and to collect books. That being said, it should come as no surprise that we have lots of bookshelves in our home, and these shelves are filled with lots of books. Loads of them. Some less loaded than others, after today.

After The Great Rice Incident, we kept Scout crated while we weren’t home. It’s been a few weeks since then, and Scout has been behaving, so we wanted to ease her back into freedom while we weren’t home. This weekend, we moved her crate into our guest room, but instead of putting Scout in the crate when we went out for groceries, we put her in the guest room with the door closed. We scanned the room before we left. “Okay, there’s absolutely nothing edible in this room,” we declared. The only things in the room are a fold-out sleeper sofa and three bookshelves. That’s it. Unbeknownst to us, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing edible in there. But Scout did fine. She didn’t touch a thing. She got lots of praise, and we ended the weekend feeling happy that we’d found a way to give her a bit more freedom without compromising our rice stocks.

This was before today, before we learned that Scout had adopted our love of the written word—just in a slightly different way. B came home today and found this.


That’s right. That’s our guest room at this very moment. The floor is quite literally covered with the books that used to be on that bookshelf to the right.


So while I clean this mess up and B attempts not to make a pelt out of Scout’s hide, let’s examine Scout’s growing taste in literature, shall we?


The first tragic (and I mean that) victim I came across was actually not a book at all, but a gift from my dear friend L, the remains of what used to be a candle holder made out of magazine spines. This piece is all that survived, L. :(



Next up, book two from the series The Hunger Games, Catching Fire. Scout especially loved The Hunger Games. Irony Point #1.


And then, book three of The Hunger Games.


Followed quickly by book one.


This one, which Scout also enjoyed, is The God of Small Things, who was apparently not present in our guest room today, as Scout had a great time ripping the spine clean off this one.


Some books just got a good taste before Scout moved on. A little hard to get through, perhaps?


Joyce Carol Oates must have been too much to stomach too, because Scout was content just tearing up the cover on this one.


Then there was B’s book Falling Angels. This was a sentimental favorite of B’s. Scout loved it too. At least for the first 38 pages.

But lo and behold, there were some books that went untouched. A few rare gems that Scout left not only in tact, but still on the bookshelf. Wouldn’t you know, Mr. Cesar Millan fell into that category. Irony Point #2.


Funny, he didn’t have a chapter on How To Teach Your Dog Not to Eat Your Books. We apparently could have used it.


Madeline L’Engle got a taste too, though Scout must have skipped right to the end of A Wrinkle in Time.


She was only interested in the male lead in One Day. Funny, so was everyone else in that book.


And like Cesar Millan, the top shelf of the bookcase holds our last touch of irony: The Book Thief was not stolen by our book thief.


All told, we now have a nice pile of books to decide what to do with. If they’re in good enough shape, we’ll donate them. If not, we’ll recycle them.


Above: the trash heap


So I leave you with this, our untouched bookshelves that stood by and watched their comrades in arms head to the slaughter. When B asked Scout if she’d been a good girl today, she wagged her tail and said, “Yes, yes!” instead of her usual guilty face. When I asked her, she sat down and looked at me like this:


And that’s what happened the day Scout got a taste for books.

This is What It’s Like to…

this is what its like to


…be nervous when your human runs into the store and leaves you in the car.

This is What It’s Like to…

this is what its like to

scout and zoey printer

…hog the sun from your cat-sister.

zoey printer

…watch Mom print from the comfort of the window on a sunny day.

scout desk

…think “It’s quitting time, folks.”

Scout Lives to Tell the Tale

Since we last checked in with you, Scout has healed from her rice-eating extravaganza. After about four or five days, she was back to 100%. Even her bowel movements were normal again. Dr. C chatted with us, and we all agreed that Scout is fine, she just seems to be going through a little naughty phase. Dogs do that, a friend of mine said. “Wait until she eats your birthday cake off the counter. On your birthday. Then we can talk.”

Picture 5

But still, The Rice Event of January has stuck with us. We haven’t left Scout out of her crate while we aren’t home for weeks now. We just can’t predict what she might eat. After all, we never saw the rice coming. This experience has taught me one thing: Never, ever get rid of your dog crate. Boy, has crate training come in handy, far past Scout’s mastery of housebreaking. After doing it the first time, I don’t think I’d raise a dog without it.

Picture 4

The only other remnant of the rice incident has been our running joke about Zoey. Surely she’s the one who pointed out the location of the rice to Scout, don’t you think? ;) Why else does a dog who has never cared about rice suddenly eat 2.5 pounds of it? It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve caught Zoey in the act of setting Scout up for failure. Once, I watched as Zoey brought Scout her ball, dropped it at her feet, and then sauntered away to watch as Scout tried to figure out if the ball was a gift, and thus completely legal for dogs to play with, or still an off-limits cat toy. After deliberating a few minutes, Scout decided the ball was hers, and tore it to shreds (joyfully). If I hadn’t watched the whole thing unfold, Scout would have gotten in trouble for destroying a Zoey toy. Cats! Sneaky little buggers…

Picture 6