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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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To Pee, or Not to Pee?

My dog has ascended to a whole new level of making messes in the house. You might say she’s gone above and beyond the call of doodie.

(I wouldn’t say that, of course. But you might. Its okay. I won’t judge.)

To be fair, she’s an old pooch and has had her share of health problems — many of which cause uncontrollable voiding of various internal organs every six minutes, apparently. We all suffered through that. Me, my wife, and the dog. But mostly the carpets.

“Getting the dog outside to pee is like teaching calculus to Mr. Magoo.”

Infirmity is not the current problem, however. Now it’s just old age and stubbornness. Getting the dog outside to pee is like teaching calculus to Mr. Magoo. There’s a lot of confusion, false starts and detours, and in the end there’s pee on the floor and you wonder what the hell happened.

(Maybe that never happened in a Mr. Magoo cartoon. Sometimes I zoned out on Saturday mornings and had to make up my own endings. That’s probably not good for anyone.)

The thing is, the dog just physically doesn’t want to make the trip outdoors. She’s still able, mostly, but it’s a hassle for her. She’s got to walk to the door, then climb down three porch steps, and schlep down the block before she can squat and squirt.

Much easier to just wander into the foyer and unload on the rug. I get that. Hell, I’ve thought about it myself. The bathroom is pretty far away from the couch, after all.

So I understand, to a degree, if the mutt makes a mess in the middle of the night, or when my wife and I are away. But when we’re home, we make sure to check the state of the pooch’s bladder on a regular basis. As in, every twenty minutes. Mostly, this leads to a series of standoffs in the front hallway, culminating in her new not-so-secret weapon. Usually, it goes something like this:

Me: Do you want to go outside to pee?

Dog: No. I don’t want to go outside to pee.

Me: Do you need to pee?

Dog: Nope. No need to pee.

Me: I’m just asking because it’s been a while since you’ve peed.

Dog: Has it? Because I’m good. No pee in me at all.

Me: None? You’re sure? I’ve got the leash right here.

Dog: Absolutely. Color me peeless.

Me: Okay. If you’re really sure. It’ll just take a minute.

Dog: Nope, we’re all good.

Me: Fine. All this ‘pee talk’ has made me have to go. You stay right here.

So I leave her, sitting pristine and wagging happily in the hall, and I use the bathroom. And I come back to find her, sitting pristine and wagging furiously nervous, next to a spreading puddle of pee on the floor.

‘Old age’ is one thing. Even ‘cantankerous’, I can deal with. But that’s just wrong.

So lately we’ve been walking her every two waking hours, as clockwork as we can. For us, it’s a matter of practicality; we’re simply grabbing the proverbial bull by the bladder. And squeezing.

For the dog, on the other hand — it’s a nightmare. You’d think we were publicly torturing her. In between using the bathroom and sniffing other dogs’ butts and eating unidentified bits of filth off the sidewalk, she looks at anyone passing by with wide pleading eyes, as if to say:

Look at these barbarians, parading me around on a leash! And forcing me to urinate in public, like a common squirrel! Oh, the houndmanity!

Frankly, I can live with that. Sure, we feel a little bad for the pup’s creaky joints. And we get a lot of dirty looks from the neighbors for being so mean. But what’s the worst they can do — call the ASPCA on us for cruel and unusual dogwalking?

Go ahead, I say. We can take the dog in to sort things out in front of a jury. And she can pee on their carpet. Case closed, yer honor.

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