Embarrassing Secrets of Pet Parents
- Nicolas, selected from petMD
Dr. Vivian Cardoso-Carroll, PetMD
The other day I was in an exam room with a client and she sheepishly admitted that her dog sleeps with his head on her pillow. My tech looked over at me and said, “That would be a good blog topic: What’s the most embarrassing thing you do with, for, or about your pet?”
I thought it was a great idea. You guys have the benefit of being relatively anonymous. I, on the other hand, have to stand tall in front of you faceless masses to admit my doggie dirty-laundry. But that’s okay — I don’t think I’ve got anything too scandalous going on!
So after some thought, I’ve come up with a my most embarrassing dog confession. You can start thinking of your embarrassing moments now, too.
First, Two of my three dogs are dubiously housetrained. Katelin, my Min Pin, became my dog precisely because she’s potty training-deficient.
It was during my first job post-vet school, as I was walking through the kennels, that I saw her lying on a little bed in the back of a run. Katelin was simply the cutest dog I had ever seen. Supposedly her owners were pretty sure she was a Min Pin (Miniature Pinscher), but they had bought her at a garage sale for $35, so who knows? I told them that if they ever wanted to get rid of her, I’d take her.
The little voice in my head said, “Hey newlywed girl, maybe you should run that by the new husband first?”
I ignored it, naively thinking nothing would come of my offer.
Well, Katelyn’s issues became a problem. Her owners offered her up and my receptionist took her. I realized my folly and figured I wouldn’t make my never-had-a-dog-before husband have to deal with a second dog. However, the receptionist couldn’t potty train her — this wasn’t her excuse for not keeping her, but I don’t remember what was.
She gave Katelin to a lady with cancer. This lady pretty much sat around all day with Katelin in her lap, so it was perfect. Except for the fact that Katelin peed over every inch of her house (or so I presume). The story was that the lady was too sick to take care of her. I’m sure that was the case, even a perfectly healthy person tires of cleaning dog excrement all the time.
Then Katelin went to my friend’s friend, Marty. Marty had been looking for a Min Pin. Perfect! He took her for approximately 24 hours.
You can guess what she did.
He said that, well, actually he wanted a Min Pin that fetches, and Katelin didn’t fetch. This I know is untrue because she loves to fetch; she bounces after the ball like a little red gazelle! She really just peed all over his house.
So I picked her up from Marty’s house and brought her home, telling my husband it would just be for the weekend until I could take her back to work on Monday. My secret plan, though, was for him to fall in love with her and let me keep her.
Well, he’s not really a dog lover. He likes them okay, I guess, but ultimately dogs are my thing. So I subsequently appealed to his engineer side: I wanted a cat, but couldn’t have one because of his allergies. Katelin was about the size of a cat so… I should be able to keep her instead of a cat!
“Fine,” he relented. “She’s our substitute cat.”
Cats are far easier to housetrain than our stubborn little Katelin. She was extremely talented at peeing and pooping in areas of the house we didn’t frequent; the formal dining room and the game room, for example. These places were like little graveyards with poop headstones all over the place.
We finally had to resort to the “umbilical cord” method of potty training: you keep her on a leash on your person at all times. She has to go out every 30 minutes (praise when she potties). If she has an accident in the house, we provided negative reinforcement — shake a can with coins in it, etc. to startle her. This way you can catch her in the act. It took about 48 hours, but she got it.
If you give her one little inch, though, she takes it. She also forgets her potty training every winter, when it’s too cold or wet to bother using the great outdoors.
We have gates everywhere to block her from potty locales.
Currently, her favorite place to potty is my closet. It’s the only place in the house with any carpet left that isn’t gated. We’re putting springs on the doors so that they close themselves.
I’m not sure why we’re bothering, she’ll just find some other place to go.
But we love her, so we keep trying to stay one step ahead of her “accidents.”
So that’s confession #1; my poor potty training ability.
My second confession I came up with right off the bat, when my tech mentioned the subject: I have a tendency to tell my dogs I love them more often than I tell my family.
How ’bout you?