Remember the Looney Toons we watched as kids? Nearly all of them would feature the toons fighting, or one trying to capture the other only to be destroyed in the process. Bugs versus Daffy. Bugs versus Elmer Fudd. The Road Runner and Wiley Coyote. Sylvester and Tweety. There were so many great adversaries. And at the end of the cartoon, when the pursuer was ultimately broken, he would raise one scratched-up, pathetic arm from under the rubble and wave a white flag, signalling his total and utter defeat.
I confess: my dog has me beat. I’ve crawled out from so many pitfalls and piles of rubble lately that one of these nights my arms is going to itch for that white flag and I’m going to wave it around. Vigorously.
See, Fenway is grating on my very last nerve. I know it’s my last nerve because she’s chewed through, destroyed, and irritated to death all of my other nerves. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. It started about a week ago: she’ll whine, just a little bit, in the back of her throat. It’s not the whine she uses when someone’s in the neighbor’s yard and she thinks they’re too close to the house, or the whine she uses when she’s giving all her tells to go outside and no one’s paying attention. No, this one will happen when she’s lying peacefully under the table with her humans right there, or while she’s sitting looking out the window next to me as I work on the computer, or while she’s chewing on her bone while I’m working on my mom’s scrapbook. I’ve tried reassuring her, letting her outside, snapping at her (to curb a bad behavior), making sure her toys weren’t stuck somewhere…I’ve done everything except stop and give her attention because we’re not training that behavior! But the whining – it’s absolutely grating on my everlovin’ nerves. For serious.
And then there’s the other issue. (Because of course there is.) I haven’t decided if the two are related – please tell me, mkay? (I should post a reward for whoever figures this out.) Fenway has been rather reluctant to go outside to pee. The dog doesn’t go outside all night, goes outside (with enthusiasm) in the morning while we’re getting ready, then is inside all day while I’m at work. I know the dog has to go. But see, my dog has always been part camel. (Which, um, isn’t a real thing. Camels can go a long time without water, but growing up in my house it came to be a term to mean a person who could go a very long time without using the bathroom. And that was never me. I am the opposite of a camel. But that has nothing to do with anything…) When I come home from work – or anywhere, really – Fenway refuses to go outside. If she doesn’t need to go, she’ll sit. I’ve come to trust that tell – if she does it, she absolutely means it. So I learned that when I came home, she will refuse to go outside for about 20 minutes. She needs some water and some attention and maybe a treat, if I’m so inclined, before she’s ready. And she’ll come and get me and do this mouth-breathing thing when she’s ready. So I know her signs.
The trouble is that for the past two or three days, the dog ain’t havin’ it. She’ll come get me, tell me she has to go outside, and so I’ll open the door and she’ll sit down. The first few times I thought I had maybe read the signs wrong. Then I started checking her water bowl – remember how she trained me to get her some water? – and saw she had water, so what in the world?! Then when it kept happening, I started snapping at her. Then I started making her go in her crate if she didn’t go outside after telling me she wanted to.
It’s gone on and on. The whining. The refusing to go outside. This morning, I asked if she had to go potty, she rushed to the door like always, like it was the best idea she’d ever heard like usual, and then sat her butt down when I opened the door. I nearly skinned her alive. I had Gracie come and try it, to see if Fenway would go out if it was someone else. I didn’t want the poor thing to bust her bladder sitting in her crate all day! She did go outside when Gracie offered, but then when she saw Gracie wasn’t going out to play, Fenway just sat at the door until I let her in 10 minutes later.
So what in the world am I going to do? Is my poor puppy sick? Is something wrong with her insides that hurts her and so she doesn’t want to go? I don’t want to take her to the vet and say “Oh, my dog’s just whining. And maybe hates me.” Paying $300 for whining and nothing medically wrong is not an option for my checkbook. And Fenway’s acting fine other than that. She’s not lethargic or acting like anything is wrong… except the whining. And the whining isn’t constant – it’s not the kind of whine like something is hurting her. I know that whine. It’s more like one short blippy little whine every five minutes, like she’s a smoke detector whose battery has gone bad. See? Aren’t those beepy smoke detectors annoying as all get out? DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M DEALING WITH?!
So tell me please. Tell me what’s wrong with my pup. Or maybe buy her from me because oh dear heavenly universe I have no idea what I’m going to do.
Other than raise the pathetic white flag and beg for mercy.