Never kiss Ping on the lips

I am an animal lover. I love all of our brethren from the animal kingdom. From Aardvarks to Yak’s, I was raised to respect helpless dumb animals. My payback for showing “Gods Creatures” my respect would be an eternity in the jungles of heaven, seated next to all manner of wild beast and generally waiting around for God to stop by to say hey. Now that said, I have to say that there are pros and cons to loving animals. One of the pros is that we are able to keep certain domesticated animals for companions. Like the dog, your friend to the end. If you take the time to teach and work with a dog, it will give you years of low maintenance, unconditional buddyhood the likes of which you will get from no other known animal. Then there’s the domesticated feline, the cat. Mostly untrainable, independent but capable of giving you loads of love in return for very little in terms of investment. The women in my family have all been cat people and as a pre-teen till I was fifteen, it was my job to keep the litter boxes clean. I said boxes because we usually had two or three. That means that we always had more than one cat. At one time I remember we had thirteen cats. My mom may not have been classified as a “crazy cat lady” back then but, if she had lived past her 44th birthday, she would be considered a “crazy cat lady” now. My grandmother, The Queen Granny Helen, is definitely a crazy cat lady now and she is 86 years old. If you have never had to clean a cat box out, you have missed one of the joys of cat ownership. The domestic cats urine and feces is so toxic that it can cause Leptospirosis and Toxoplasmosis. I cannot remember which is which but one of them, if contacted by a pregnant human, will cause severe birth defects, the other causes prolonged bouts of vomiting and explosive diarrhea and every day after school, I got to get the “pooper scooper” and sift through the cat boxes to remove the poopee and turn the litter to dry the urine. On Saturday mornings, I changed the litter, dumping the old, scrubbing the boxes and adding fresh litter. For that I was paid the hefty sum of $3 a week. All cash aside, ownership allows you to socialize with dogs and cats and that’s priceless.

When I became old enough to have a place of my own, I opted for Canine ownership instead of feline. I don’t know how much better owning a dog is over owning a cat because they both have their moments. As I said about cats, there’s the cat box thing where as dogs just go outside in the yard, most of the time. Cats just  have a genetic link to poopin in a box full of clay litter, just stick it on the closet floor and throw them in it, they make the connection almost immediately. Dogs on the other hand need to be trained to go outside and that requires work. How much work will depend on the intelligence of the breed, and how smart the dog you so lovingly picked from the litter is. I have never had any luck choosing a dog from a litter of puppies. It seems that I have always chosen the stupidest, most neurotic one of the bunch. I once picked a dog from a litter who went so crazy, the vet insisted that I put him to sleep, he even paid for it.

I have had dogs that were very good pets. Every one of them I got from a shelter or the pound. I prefer that route because, for the most part, the dog has been housebroken already, knows how to sit and stay and is free from the dementia that sometimes makes a pet impossible to own. One day, when I was between dogs, a friend of mine called me and asked if I wanted a purebred Shar Pei? I asked him why he was trying to palm off a magic marker on me and he said, “SHAR PEI not Sharpie you idiot” Allegedly, this dog came from a champion bloodline that could be traced all the way back to the Forbidden City in China. Stunned by such extravagance, I asked the next logical question and that was, “how much” ? I expected to hear the magic number to be at around $1000 for such a dog but when my buddy told me “free,” I jumped at the opportunity. I was about to own a really cool dog and my daughter, Sweet Beverly B who was half Korean, was going to get a surprise of a lifetime. An asian dog. Yes sir, ‘ol dad was about to become a hero to his little girl and I was finally going to look cool by walking a dog bigger than a coffee can. See, all of the dogs that I have had, for one reason or another, have come into and out of my life-like they were stuck in a revolving door and all of them were little girly dogs too. I remember Sweet Beverly B flying into the house, out of breath and screaming, “daddy, daddy, free dog, free dog, you gotta come here, you gotta come here”! I walked /ran down the street with her to the 7/11 where a big burley guy with a Chicago Outlaws M/C vest on, was waiting patiently for the little girl to return with her parents. The guy told me the dog was his mothers and she was sick and he had to get rid of it and the little girl started petting it and wanted it and I said you need to go get your parents permission and yadda yadda…. Then, as we were walking home with our new little foo foo dog, Beverly was telling me how she was going to walk her every day at least two times and feed her and give her water. Any parent who has been in this situation before can tell you that the novelty will wear off sooner than one thinks and then it will be up to the parent to take care of the dog after that. Well, that dog was named Lady and she was a really good dog and after about two months, I was the primary caregiver. One night about 11:30, I was walking Lady when out of a parked car steps two very attractive, very intoxicated twenty something ladies. They looked at me, then looked at Lady the dog and started laughing. I am 6’ 3″ and at that time about #275 of prime manmeat. I have beat up men for just looking at me and smiling. Well, one of the women, between her fits of laughing said, ” is that your dog dude? You look like you should be walking a Rottweiler!” I immediately stated that ownership of Lady was my daughters and the other woman laughed and said, “yeah right dude” ! I just stood there stunned as they stumbled down the street, holding each other up and laughing. I heard bits and pieces of their conversation as they got further away and I was able to hear, “sissy”, “creepy”, “faggot” and “for sure he’s gay”. Now, I guess you could call me “gay friendly”, as I have never had a problem with ones sexual proclivities, where ever you choose to park your pecker is your business (as long as it is not in a child). But I felt emasculated. I was never going to have that problem again though, I am getting a Shar Pei.

The night before our new family addition arrived, I had read Sweet Beverly B a bedtime book. It was “Ping The Duck”, a story we had read together at least fifty times before that. Ping is the name of a domesticated duck who lives on a riverboat on the Yangtze River in China. He had to go out every morning and root around the river with his relatives, and is expected back every evening. The last duck on the boat would get a smack in the can with a stick and finally the day comes when he is the last duck. He doesn’t want to catch a beating so he spends the night on shore. When he wakes up his boat is gone and he is soon caught by a dude on another boat where he thinks he is going to become their dinner. After a week or so, the boy lets Ping go just as all his duck family are getting back on Ping’s boat nearby. Ping makes it back to the boat and happily accepts the smack in the can, just glad to be back. When my buddy dropped off the dog, Sweet Beverly B, named him Ping.

Ping the dog, unfortunately, displayed not one degree of intelligence what so ever. I spent weeks trying to teach this dog to make poopie and pee pee outside, to chew on a bone instead of my $160.00 Air Jordans and to just calm the hell down. Ping was also in possession of an insatiable appetite. One evening when I came home from work, I let myself into the hallway of my building and smelled Ping dookie. I unlocked my door and as I slowly pushed it open, I was smacked in the face by the smell of Ping poop. I looked down and the door sweep had smeared two poop mounds into that 1/4 round area of door swing, forcing poopie into the space at the bottom of the door, you know that space, the one where you have to take the door off the hinges and flip it over to clean. Then, as my eyes focused to the shadowy interior of my apartment in early evening, I counted no fewer than 13 randomly placed piles of Ping Poop. Those piles plus the two at the door made 15. That dog crapped 15 times in about ten hours in my house! That is 1 and 1/2 turds per hour. What the… I ran and checked the garbage, all there. I looked for my other Air Jordan, still there. Worms? Fleas? What could have made that dog poop like a platoon of infantry men who have just dined in Korea for the first time? I went to the pantry to get a few plastic bags for poop eviction and there it was, the answer to all my questions. One empty bag of Ping Kibble, shredded and laying in a pile of crumbs on my pantry floor. I was not only amazed at this feat of Herculean piggery, committed by a 50 pound dog, I was also pissed as I now had to spend the evening picking up dookie. Also, I had to spend money that I really didn’t have for more Ping kibble. This dog had just consumed 1/3 of his body weight in food. Now I am a big guy but there is no way I could consume 1/3 of my weight in food. That would be like 100 pounds over ten hours. 10 pounds an hour, Thats like around a 4oz a minute give or take an ounce. Like eating one McDonald’s Quarter Pounder a minute, and McDonald’s food is so soft and mushy it’s like pre-digested. That dog ate dry food, dry, and there was still water in his dish! Well, when I got to the living room, there he was, laying there moaning. I grabbed the Tribune classifieds and rolled it up and started to beat the poop right out of that dog, (not hard or in the face), all the while waving the empty bag of food in the air and hollering “bad dog, bad dog”.

Well, between Sweet Beverly B and I, we got the Ping Poop cleaned up, house aired out and dinner made, I settled in to the couch and the television. I was feeling really guilty for spanking the dog so I called him to me and spent the rest of the evening petting, scratching and talking to Ping, making him feel good and wanted after the incident. I put Sweet Beverly B to bed, reading “Hop On Pop” instead of “Ping The Duck”. I brushed my teeth, locked down the house and headed to the bedroom, ready to put the days affairs to rest along with myself. I climbed in the bed, and in the fetal position, pulled up the covers and stretched out my legs. I didn’t immediately realize what was happening but I felt something cold and wet on my legs. Then the smell hit me. I threw off the covers, jumped up, looked down only to see my legs, smeared brownish green with cold, wet, smelly Ping poop. That damn dog pooped in my bed! I began wretching and gagging as soon as I saw it and ran to the bathroom, screaming about how I was going to kill that damn dog! Into the shower and then here comes the vomit. The sight and smells combined to make for a perfect storm. My shower drain now clogged, stomach empty, legs cleaned and bedding balled up and bagged for the laundry, I hit the couch for bed. As I lay there, I could not help but think of ways to get rid of that monster of a dog.

It was Friday, payday, the day after the poop incident and I asked Sweet Beverly B what she wanted for dinner and she decided on Kentucky Fried Chicken. Old Harlan Sanders 13 herbs and spices. Greasy, and not very good but once in a while. Mike Meyers said it best in “So I married an Axe Murderer”. He said, “The Colonel puts a secret ingredient in his chicken and it makes you crave it a fortnight”. KFC is not too far from the house so I hopped in the bucket with Sweet Beverly B and headed to the drive thru. An 8 piece box with sides and on our way home.

Upon arrival, I put the chicken on the counter, went into the living room and cleared a spot for Friday Night Dining with Wayne ans Sweet Beverly B. Poured us some Coca-Cola In the big cup and made for the livingroom. All the while, Ping is going insane because I have food and I have always been a sucker for pets and I feed them from the table. I sit down, grab “both” remote controls and turn on the television, find us some Saved By The Bell (because that’s what my daughter wants to watch) and then start dishing out the chow. potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and Kentucky Fried Chicken. I should have been wrapped in a U S Flag.

As I said, Ping was going crazy and I grabbed his collar and pulled him over to me. I was doing a little rough housing with him and then I grabbed him and kissed him right on his wrinkled face and lips, telling him I just love the big boy yes I do I just love him yes yes who is the big man yeah! Then I reached down, tore a piece of chicken off and tossed it into the middle of my living room floor and thats when I saw it. The chicken was a big chunk of breast meat, as white as an Irishman’s ass. It hit the floor and bounced about 6 inches from a huge pile of Ping Poopie. A big wet shiny pile of dookie that had to go easily one pound. I couldn’t believe it. That dog is a menace. Just one huge licence to make doodie, and to make it where ever he wishes. I was just starting to think how glad I was that the chicken missed the poop when Ping ran over there looked at the poop, sniffed the chicken and then ate the poop! I mean he ate that poop like a fat kid eats cake, he gulped it down in two swallows. A one pound pile of dog crap, downed in two big ass gulps. My daughter witnessed the same thing I did and we both looked at each other at the same time and said, “EEEEEeeee WWWWWwwwww!!!!!”. I could not believe that dog just did that! I knew a guy who had a dog once and all it did was eat poopee. I swore that I would never ever have a dookie eating dog. I was repulsed by that but I was also pissed off too. I knew that the dog, Ping the Shar Pei, had to leave my house and to leave forever. I had a lot invested in this dog, a lot riding on the line so to speak and what do I get? A shit eating dog! Yep, if you could buy a crummy car and call it a lemon, you can get a lemon of a dog too and it looked like I had another one. I looked at my daughter, not knowing what to expect from her especially since I need to tell her that its time. Time to say good-by to the biggest dog we have ever  owned. To tell her that I cannot possibly live with this dog in my house for another day. I expected sadness from her tiny young heart, tears from her beautiful brown eyes, I anticipated days of comforting her fragile soul at the loss of the first dog that she was able to name. Her and her alone put a name to this creature of god and I am about to rip it out from under her soul and I am not feeling very good about that but not all of parenting is birthday cakes and graduations.

As I looked at my daughter, The Sweet Beverly B, I understood her first expression, it was repulsion. I had the same expression on my face at first. Then, without warning, My daughter started laughing. She was laughing harder than I have seen her laugh in quite some time, I was shocked to say the least and then she said it, she said, “dad, I can’t believe you just kissed Ping! You kissed Ping right on the lips dad, you should know better, you never kiss Ping on the lips”.

As a postscript to this story, The Clown, The King and now the Colonel are all off the list.

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