There are many wonderful things about being a dog owner. The playing, the walks, knowing that your dog wouldn’t do a damn thing to stop a robber but would, without hesitation, risk its life to protect you and your loved ones from squirrels. These things, however, pale in comparison to one of the true joys of having a furry friend. I’m talking, of course, about standing on the grass for unbelievably long periods of time waiting for your dog to pee.
My wife Julie and I adopted Chloe (the Wonder Shih Tzu™) last August. Since then, I estimate we’ve spent roughly 14,285 hours waiting for Chloe to pee (that’s 45 years in dog time). It’s not as dull as it sounds. See, “waiting” implies you’re merely standing around, checking your watch every ten seconds, your anxiety level rising because you’ve got to catch the train to get to work on time and the clock continues to tick, meanwhile Chloe is having a gay ol’ time sniffing around yet failing to do anything that resembles peeing and, for the love of God, you’re going to miss that train! No, our morning pee trips are considerably more engaging than that—largely due to the amount of begging involved.
“Okay, Chlo. Time to pee!”
“Goooo, good girl. Let’s peeeeee!”
These requests accomplish two things:
- Chloe staring up at us and rolling her eyes to say “I don’t watch you pee, dude.”
- Strange looks from passerbys who likely thought we were perfectly normal dog owners at first but, after witnessing this ordeal, now look at us much like you would at the guy sitting on the mall bench, big globs of drool falling from his mouth as he clutches a high heel to his chest.
Naturally, this ordeal begs the question, “if Chloe isn’t peeing during this time, what is she doing?” (as opposed to the more obvious question: “whatinthehell is wrong with you?!?”). Good question. If you must know (and she’d be soooo embarrassed that I’m telling you this), Chloe is what you’d call a yenta. For those of you who don’t speak Yiddish or own the Mel Brooks Anthology, yenta means a “busybody” or “gossip.” The original paparazzi, if you will. And that’s Chloe.
If someone is pulling out of their driveway four miles away, she’ll hear the running engine and want to check it out. If another dog is peeing in another zip code, she’ll want to smell it (the dog and the pee, that is). And don’t even get me started about what happens if she sees a squirrel. “Stop, Chlo!” I’ll shout as this 17 lb. ball of fur and crooked teeth is pulling me cartoon strip-style across the grass in a frantic effort to catch the squirrel.
Anyway, once everybody—and everything—in the continental US finally cooperates and gives Chloe the complete peace and quiet she needs, then, AND ONLY THEN, will she squat down. Julie and I celebrate this triumphant act with the type of celebration you’d bestow upon someone for a truly spectacular accomplishment such as winning an Olympic gold medal or resisting the urge to make fun of a really bad toupee.
“YAY, CHLOE!,” we’ll shout. “GOOD GIRL!” (I won’t even tell you about the types of looks people give us here).
Now Chloe wasn’t always a slow pee-er, mind you. There was that time, last September, when the vet, in an effort to control Chloe’s allergies, put her on steroids. Two words: ‘roid rage. Seriously. The steroids turned Chloe from Wonder Shih Tzu into Shih Tzu Badass. Among the side effects of the steroids was a sudden increase in energy, a desire to devour anything resembling food, and Chloe shaving 5 seconds off her 440 time. And then there was her increased thirst. When she wasn’t killing a pack of bubble gum (again, seriously), she was inhaling her water dish. Which, of course, meant she was peeing. A lot.
We’d take her outside and before she even had a chance to plot her squirrel-killing strategy, she’d pee. Then, on our way back inside the house, she’d pee again. Of course, it’d be wrong to keep Chloe on steroids just so she’ll pee faster. I mean, aside from the ‘roid rage, we’d have those pesky random urine tests to worry about. I guess that means we need to find another way to move the peeing process along.
We’ve talked to the vet and he suggested using some sort of a reward system to encourage quick peeing. You know, she pees and we give her a treat, such as a dog biscuit or a blueberry. I’m all for trying this idea though, to be honest, I think the key element here is selecting the right treat. Can you say “squirrel”?