Look. I didn't intend to fill your lives with puppy poop stories this year. I had hoped to have a more diverse catalogue of anecdotes for you in 2022.

This is another puppy poop story.

I knew I was taking a risk when I did it. I knew this was a risk. But I don't think I really anticipated how much trouble this 33-pound monster could possibly create in 20 minutes.

It was Sunday morning and I needed to make a quick trip to the store. 20 minutes. That's all.

Normally when we leave Louie in the house unattended, we have to engage in a complex puzzle that requires so much brain power that our house now registers unhealthy levels of radiation. We can't go out the back because once we do, Louie will engage in a frantic game of "scratch the hell out of the door." So we have to lock him in the kitchen using a gate and then go out the front, but before we do that, we have to distract him through a series of treats and toys and then we have to tiptoe around the house to the car because if he hears us he'll lose his mind.

This is so exhausting that I have frequently opted not to go anywhere for days on end just to avoid the hassle of leaving.

Well, on Sunday I decided that since I would only be gone for 20 minutes, maybe I could skip over all of the formalities. I wouldn't lock him away. I'd let him have full access to the entire house. I gave him a treat and made a silent escape.

I then returned to a water bowl that had been fully turned upside down, a now-empty box of what was once several brownies sitting on the dining room table, and a pile of dog shit, so big that it dented the floor.

And there sitting in the center of the room, his mouth completely brown, was Louie, looking perfectly satisfied with himself. When I started to speak, he grunted at me.

We had bought the brownies the day before for a dog party we hosted for all of Duncan's and Louie's friends. The brownies were for the people. Not for the dogs.

Several google searches later, we learned that Louie was not likely in any danger. "He may have some diarrhea in the first 12 hours," a website told us.

And so we watched him. And he seemed fine. He seemed fine at 5:00PM. He seemed fine at 9:00PM. He seemed fine at 11:00PM when I finally went to bed.

Skylar had opted to sleep in the basement because he had a very early shift the next morning and so wanted to go to bed early. So it was just me and the dogs upstairs for the harrowing journey that was to come.

I woke up at 1:00AM to the sounds of Louie chewing a bone on the floor. He's a loud chewer generally, but it surprised me he was awake considering that he's normally a very good sleeper. Just as well, I thought. I needed to pee anyway.

I stood up and took one step, firmly planting my right foot in another GIANT pile of cold poop.

I don't know if this is normal, but the fact that it was cold made it grosser to me.

Listen. My bedroom is not right next to a bathroom. The layout of my house is weird. I have to walk through another bedroom and then through the kitchen to get to the nearest bathroom.

But there I was, one foot now caked with a pound of dog poop, hopping through my home in a sleepy stupor and in the dark, trying desperately not to vomit.

Little did I know, as I scrubbed my foot in a bathtub, that this was only the beginning.

What followed for the remainder of the night was a constant onslaught of projectile diarrhea. Everywhere. On every surface. I found poop on walls at heights that didn't make any logical sense.

Well, Eli. Why didn't you take him outside?

Honey, I did. We spent hours outside that night. I couldn't leave him back there because every time I tried, he began howling, and my neighbors didn't deserve that. So I'd just sit with him out there and he'd only want to play and not poop so finally I'd convince myself he had gotten it out of his system, bring him back inside, and then watch him promptly explode all over again.

Skylar finally woke up at 5:00 to find every light in the house turned on, Louie wagging his tail like he was having the best time of his life, and me, on my knees, scrubbing a rug with zombie-like cadence.

"Oh no! Did he poop?" Skylar asked. His question sounded so innocent. So understated. It was like asking a soldier returning from World War I if there had been any recent disputes in Europe.

I answered through grunts and then climbed into bed, trying desperately to convince myself I wasn't lying in poop.

Please enjoy some Strangerville:

This time in Strangerville, Eli went to a four-day wedding with straight people, Meg will not leave her home, and Meredeth Muller takes the Strangerville Live stage to share her harrowing tale of going to teen court.


Teen Court, by Meredeth Muller

Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

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~It Just Gets Stranger