My first mistake was forgetting to take out the organic kitchen waste and put it in the green bin on the night before garbage pick-up when it should've gone out.

My second mistake was taking the plastic bag of waste out of its kitchen container a day later and putting it on the floor at the top of the stairs so I would remember to bring it out with Simone's last nightly walk.

My third mistake was not paying attention to Simone as I was on the computer. She usually stays by my side in the house but that night she had quietly gone downstairs and when I half realized she was gone, that part of my brain made some excuse for her like she wanted to get a drink downstairs (which didn't make sense because she had water upstairs) or she heard something and wanted to check it out (which also doesn't make sense because she'd rather I go check out strange noises first) or that she wanted some alone time on the seafoam sofa (which does sorta make sense because it's just that comfy).

When I did finally decide to go downstairs to see what Simone was up to, I first looked into the living room but she wasn't on the sofa. I went into the kitchen but she wasn't at her water bowl. I stood there for a second wondering where she could be. Then I stepped back into the dim hallway, turned on the lights and saw the garbage bag torn open, half its guts spilled out by the top of the stairs.

This wouldn't have been a big deal except I remembered what I had put in there and there was no sign of it as I searched through the remains.

Every couple of weeks or so, I cook up five pounds of ground beef for Simone. I put the hamburger in a pot and put the pot on the stove, stir occasionally for half an hour and it's done. The ground gets divvied up with Simone's meals over the next two weeks.

A lot of fat comes out of the cooking. I scoop the fat out before storing the rest. Rough guess is about a pound of fat comes out of the regular ground. I put the fat in the fridge where it cools and hardens before I put it in the waste bucket. That's what was missing from the mess at the top of the stairs, along with some mouldy cheese, some bits of bruised brown banana, some dry bread but mostly that, mostly the fat was missing.

Simone had eaten a pound of beef fat all in one go.

You know how "scientists" once believed, and some still do believe, that animals are purely reactionary creatures and they have no real personalities? You know how some people like to use that word "anthropomorphize" as if only humans can feel certain emotions which those lowly animals couldn't possibly feel? Well, that's bunk. Animals feel everything we feel, maybe in different ways and to different degrees but they feel it all.

I finally saw Simone come slinking out of the shadows of the back room, her head held low, looking deliberately at the ground, taking each step in slo-mo and gingerly like she was walking on glass, avoiding eye contact, and this despite me not having raised my voice, not having said a single thing, not having ever, in fact, disciplined her for garbage diving - because she had never done that before, not that I would discipline her for that anyway - and while one part of me was quite worried about the night ahead, another part of me was amused and thinking this had to be the most ridiculously overwrought display of guilt I'd ever seen.

It actually took at least a day before Simone behaved normally with me again. At first, it was the guilt. Even after I told her everything was okay, even then she continued to mope around me but as the moping continued into the night, I'm not sure when the guilt stopped being the root cause of it and nausea took over that role.

In the night, after I'd fallen asleep, Simone barfed twice on her main bed before she got up and moved to her bed in the study which she then barfed on as well before she started pacing around because there were no more beds for her upstairs. She must be an exceptionally quiet barfer because I hadn't heard a thing. It was her pacing which woke me up.

I turned on the light and at first I thought Simone needed to go outside but then I saw her main bed and then I saw the other bed and I understood why she wasn't lying in either one.

Simone had barfed out thick puddles of liquid fat with pale brown and grey/green chunks of partly digested/rotten food floaters which had congealed into semi-solid off-white pancakes.

I looked at Simone and I said, "Simone ..." and she looked sadly at the floor and I looked at the mess and I looked at the clock and I looked at Simone and I looked at the mess and I looked at my bed and I looked at the mess and I looked at Simone.

New experience: standing hunched over in the bath tub scraping and scrubbing greasy, disgusting crud out of bedding at 3:30 in the morning.

Forty five minutes later, Simone was on a third bed I'd made up for her from towels and waterproof pads. I was lying in my own bed just about to turn off the bed side lamp and Simone looked up at me, obviously not happy with her makeshift towel mattress, and she had her "Can I sleep up in your bed" look on her face with that slightly hopeful wagging of her tail.

"Yeah, right," I said to her and turned off the light and went to sleep.

Simone barfed two more times the next day, greasy messes still but not as congealed as previous. I kept her off food for twenty four hours. She wasn't particularly hungry anyway. The day after that she was back to normal.




10 Comments to “Three Mistakes”

  1. I'm giggling as I read this, but I'm glad to hear Simone is on the mend!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok, you have hit on something I have always wondered......They KNOW its wrong to get into the garbage, but at what point does that sense of wrong-doing kick in?? Do they a) look at the garbage bag for a long time before hand, debating the guilt vs reward ratio and decide the rewards outweigh the risks? do they b) See the garbage bag, rip it apart with gusto, the whole time thinking "man, am I going to be in trouble for this one, but it'll be worth it" or do they c) Rip into it without a second thought then at the end look at the remains and go "uh oh, not good".
    I really want to know!

  3. Fr ed says:

    I think their behaviour with regards to garbage and guilt is as varied as for people. In Simone's case, knowing her personality, I suspect it was scenario b).

  4. IMHO, you're lucky it came out the front end! Could have been just a whole lot worse....

  5. Fr ed says:

    Tigerspirit, yes, I was counting my blessings.

  6. Windelynn says:

    maybe time to switch her to raw :)

  7. GoLightly says:

    You've described my life on an irregular basis, thanks to my Flip wonder dog, one kidneyed, half-hoo-hooed nutbar she is. Oh, the puke.

    Stealing stuff is self-rewarding, once it's done, it's done. You have to catch them in the act, or prevent the behaviour, I know you know... Flip is very good at the invisible sneak, it's like whisper-mode with her paws, even her collar. Of course, outside, if my eyes stray away from her, she's on anything disgusting in a second. Not if my eyes never leave her! Sneaky...

    Their discomfiture may very well be gastric-pain induced, too. Eating something great, that makes you feel bad later? Dogs will always opt for the now.

    Simone is seriously gorgeous. what a wise face:) silent simone;)

  8. 001mum says:

    I was totally waiting for the "other end" story too and ON your bed.
    No where nearly as bad as I thought it would be. also expected a flatulence story....

    FYI
    I was at my vet's today and a city of Toronto animal control or whatever they're called :)van pulled in. Some one had left 4 stunning GSD mix pups at the vet's door. They were found when the staff came in to work this morning. I didn't see the pups clearly because they were bundled up and carried to the van. Looked about 3 months old? hard to tell. handsome pups from a quick look. not sure where they were taken. east maybe? Hope they will be OK. I found it emotional to see them carried out to the van. Though they were abandoned, it could have been a much sadder situation. I hope they weren't there long.
    would you be able to track them down?

    My pup is from lab rescue,I bless his rescuers every single day, and sometimes with tears. I am so proud we did not buy from a breeder.


    happy that Simone is feeling better.

  9. Fr ed says:

    001mum, looks like the pups are at TAS East. I don't expect they'll be there for long once they clear and get into adoption.

  10. 001mum says:

    Thanks Fred-guess you can't do their photos-out of your area.

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The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

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