Ten days ago we abandoned our responsibilities (dogs) to venture south for the St. George half Ironman race. We left Duncan and Louie with two different friends because we've lived with these dogs and we really didn't want to ruin relationships by assaulting any one person with [waves hands] all of this.

The race was fine, thanks for asking. Every time I ran or rode by Skylar he would yell things like "we are so proud of you" and "you're the cutest one here" and, very confusingly, "you are the fastest person in the this entire show."

Then we drove home.

And that's when we discovered canine vengeance.

Look. I know this is our fault. We have pampered these dogs into an adversity-less existence. As a result, if we so much as drop a pen on the floor, Duncan goes into a deep depression that can only be cured with 24 hours of direct eye contact and a gentle run-on sentence monologue filled with words of affirmation. He and I have that in common, actually.

So we weren't surprised when we brought him home and discovered that he was fully despondent.

Our friend who watched him told us he didn't really see Duncan eat anything all weekend. This didn't really alarm us. He's dramatic like that. You don't get raised by two uppity gay men in a neighborhood where there are more lesbians than cars without becoming dramatic from time to time. He will sometimes go on hunger strike at home if we cut our daily walk a little short. So we weren't surprised.

But that very night we also noticed he had diarrhea. He filled our entire backyard with it. So much diarrhea that he set national records and made history. So much diarrhea our house is now technically a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We did not sleep that night, for we were parading him around the yard watching him spray every plant like a skunk who had something to prove. Then we'd sit on the floor and catch his vomit in our hands. Why did we catch it in our hands? I don't know. We are very tired. We haven't slept in ten days.

As the week progressed, Duncan was clearly losing weight and he looked miserable. We had initially thought maybe he just ate something that didn't sit right with him but day after day, the diarrhea didn't get better and his appetite seemed to be getting worse.

Finally, on Saturday morning, I took him to the emergency vet. I had been communicating with our local emergency vet (hi Dustin) via Twitter all week and he had given me advice and sanity checks, but since things just kept getting worse he suggested I come in so he could take a look.

The most telling sign Duncan was not feeling well was he seemed completely unfazed to go to the vet Saturday morning. Normally his entire body starts vibrating in terror the moment we pull into the parking lot. Instead, he just lay on the floor in the lobby, staring off into the distance. It was so sad. And cute. Because everything he does is cute.

Duncan's bloodwork and other tests all came back clean and the vet suggested we put him on a bland diet (something like chicken and rice) and he gave us some anti-nausea medication and probiotics.

We got home and greeted Louie. And that's when we discovered that Louie now also had diarrhea. Except Louie wasn't nearly as polite about it as Duncan, who would sacrifice himself in a volcano before ever pooping in the house. Louie had sprayed so much shit all over our living room that the city condemned our house by noon. Which I didn't know you could even do to a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I spent the entirety of Saturday cleaning and cooking chicken and rice, which Duncan refused to eat unless I hand fed it to him. And even then, he only took a few nibbles. Louie scarfed down his portion, which, considering the poop massacre referenced above, didn't necessarily instill confidence in me.

Skylar got home from work just as I discovered that Louie somehow pooped again on this brand new wool rug Skylar had just bought. One that, we have learned, is exactly impossible to clean.

I'm going to tell you right now, by Saturday evening, neither of us had experienced more than 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep in about a week.  On top of all that, Skylar had come down with a terrible cold several days before and had been working 12-hour shifts every day because apparently we don't let doctors call in sick.

The point is, we were no longer operating with functioning brains. Which is why Skylar, in what can only be called a "fatigued rage," scooped up the 50-pound rug and threw it into the garage, vowing loud enough for the neighbors to hear to never buy a nice thing again in his life. All this while I sat on the floor trying to shove pieces of chicken down my emaciated rescue dog's tiny gullet next to our actively vomitting puppy.

And then things got bad.

On Saturday evening, we needed to go to my niece's sixth birthday party. I don't know what we were thinking. It seemed to us we could leave these dogs for one hour without incident. I don't know why we assumed this considering that we couldn't even sleep for one hour at a time at night without them needing to shit or throw up on us.

We shut them in the kitchen, where we thought they could do the least damage. We put up a gate between the kitchen and the living room. A gate we discovered Louie can jump over like an Olympian hurdler. When we arrived back at home we found Louie sitting in the living room, looking more pissed than he has ever looked.

He had peed all over. Everything. The floors. The couch. Chairs. Rugs. Everything.

It looked like Donald Trump's Moscow hotel room in there.

I think we just went into shock at this point. It was so much pee that I didn't believe it could actually be pee. I legitimately asked Skylar if he thought maybe there had been a flood.

Skylar started cleaning and I'm telling you right now, I could actually see his brain contemplating moving out of the house and starting a new family with someone else. And I might have gone with him if he committed to it.

I swear to god, while he was cleaning, I up and drove to Home Depot to buy a handheld carbon monoxide monitor because I genuinely believed a leak was the only plausible explanation at this point.

We do not have a carbon monoxide leak. When I tell you I was disappointed with that outcome, you must believe me. By Saturday night I wanted an answer for all of this so badly that I no longer cared what the answer was. I just couldn't live in the uncertain chaos anymore.

We went to bed that night knowing we weren't really going to bed. I don't know why it took us a week to come up with this plan, but we finally decided to rotate night shifts. Skylar stayed up with Louie that night and then went to work at 6:00 AM.

Fortunately, Duncan took a sharp turn Sunday morning and started eating like he had never had food in his life. As I sit here typing on Tuesday morning, he seems fully recovered and has even regained some of the weight he lost.

But Louie is still several days behind. Last night might have been the worst one yet. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I think we took him out more than 20 times between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. In the rain.

When he wasn't outside, I sat on the floor, catching his vomit with my bare hands.

Skylar's alarm went off at 5:30 and we both just stared at one another and cried.


~It Just Gets Stranger