30 Pounds of Canine Chaos
By Tom Embrey
Until two weeks ago, evenings at my humble Pinehurst abode were noticeably calm. Perfectly serene and still. Even eerily quiet.
Those days are long gone.
Chaos arrived in the form of a 6-month-old, 30-pound ball of black, fuzzy fur with a flop ear, a fighter's stare and a funny man's sense of timing.
Chaos, thy name be Fosbury.
I adopted Fosbury (Fozzie for short) from the Animal Center of Moore County after meeting him while working on a story. The plan was for Fozzie, then known as Snowball, to be featured in a story I was writing.
Three days after the story ran in the paper, sans the photo of the dog previously known as Snowball, I was driving home from the shelter with adoption papers in hand - and a dog in the back seat of my car. (Al Carter, director of the center, wrote a letter about us that appeared last Friday.)
Briefly, Fozzie was a stray who had been in the shelter for about a month when I met him. He was all-black and had a soft, double coat and no tail. He had a spring in his step when he chased tennis balls and a glint in his eyes when he stared at you with a gentle cock of his head.
Those traits were all factors in hooking me as a new pet owner, but the one that put me over the top was his floppy left ear. I can't say why, other than that funny flop ear gave him character and made him stand out from his sheltermates.
By and large, Fozzie has been a near-perfect pup, but he has had his "Marley and Me" moments. Many of them came on the first Saturday he was a member of the family.
If you have or have had dogs, you know that dog smell. I liken it to living with a smoker. You get used to it when you are around it all the time, but as soon as you are away from it for a while, you notice it much more easily.
Well, after his first week with me, Fozzie had become quite fragrant, a bouquet of equal parts puppy, grass, dirt and chew toys, and tasty training treats.
It was definitely time for a bath. Easy enough, I thought. Take him outside, hose him down and lather him up with some shampoo. No worries. Fifteen minutes, and Fozzie would be good to go.
Forty minutes later, I was on my way to Dave's Dirty Dogs with a wet dog in the back seat of my car.
Based on the previous hour, I was pretty sure this was not going to be a good experience, especially when it took Fozzie several minutes to enter the business and another 10 minutes before he tentatively entered the standing dog wash bin.
Then he was great. Well, OK, great if you mean he didn't drown and didn't hurt himself or anyone else while we power-washed him with warm, soapy water. But then I pressed my luck. As he plaintively stared at me to get him out of the situation, I made it worse by deciding to try drying him using the hair dryer that resembled an industrial leaf blower. I still have the claw marks on both my arms where Fozzie tried to climb over me to escape.
So, a few minutes later, I was on my way home with a wet dog in the back seat of my car. But, this time he was clean.
When we entered the house, I discovered, much to my horror, that he still smelled. A quick trip to PetSmart for some "dog perfume," and I was back home to try it out before Fozzie was off for a photo shoot for this story and a trip to visit a friend for a play date. Then disaster struck.
Fozzie and his friend Scout, a 2-year-old Siberian husky who belongs to a friend and co-worker, were taking a break from their hourlong game of chase when both dogs ambled up to a small pond in the yard to get a drink. Soon Fozzie had flopped into the pond. Soaked again.
After a few more minutes of play, I was again headed home with a wet dog in my back seat.
Later that evening, as a dry Fozzie curled up in his crate with a chew toy, gently grinding away, I looked around at the -tennis balls, toys and stuffed animals strewn around the room and realized, as I dozed off, that the evenings filled with peace and quiet are gone for a while, and that a little chaos is perfectly fine with me.
Tom Embrey is a senior writer with The Pilot. Contact him at email@example.com.
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