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Skunk Dog: Stepford Stories

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One of the funniest things I have ever heard happened in Stepford this week—and let me assure you, that’s saying something. In the interest of full disclosure, I was not an eyewitness to these events. My knowledge of them comes from a fellow Stepford wife through her email, voicemail, and telephone recounting of what actually happened. However, I do know this Stepford wife extremely well, so I am going to attempt to do this story justice. And before we go any further, I want to reassure all you dog lovers out there that the dog in question is perfectly fine … now.

If you’ve read much of my writing, you know that I happen to own the absolute best, most adorable, lovable, loyal, sweet dog on the planet. You also know that I believe it is no coincidence that this dog is a yellow dog. I believe my dog’s color to be of importance and most appropriate because I have been known to describe myself, on occasion, as a Yellow Dog Democrat. I’ve owned my yellow dog for just short of two years. Prior to that, I was not a dog person. I didn’t dislike dogs, but I just really didn’t get it. I would have probably lived the rest of my life without a dog, if it had not been for my kids.

However, after my daughter dug a doodle bug (that’s what we Texans call a roly poly) out of our flower bed for her preschool’s Pet Day, the guilt became too much. Actually, that’s not exactly true. Had the doodle bug made it to Pet Day, I would have probably not acquiesced on the dog issue. However, somewhere between my house and the preschool, my daughter dropped the doodle bug onto the fast-food littered floor of my minivan and, tragically, he was lost forever. My daughter took this opportunity to point out, through her angry sobs, that had we owned a dog it would have been impossible for her to have lost him in the van on the way to Pet Day. You can’t really argue with that logic—alas, we obtained the wonderful Yellow Dog.

Prior to obtaining Yellow Dog, there was one other dog in my life. Tanner is owned by a friend of mine and Tanner has always had a fetish for the lavender lotion I use on my legs. Tanner seriously must love the way this lotion tastes, because whenever I visit he does his best to lick as much of it off my legs as I will allow. Now, you have to absolutely adore anything that genuinely loves the way you smell and taste, so before Yellow Dog, I had a thing for Tanner.

My friend, her family, and Tanner live in the quintessential Stepford neighborhood—Stepfordwood. You know you’ve finally made it as a Stepford wife when you obtain real estate in Stepfordwood. I’m consistently threatening to never visit her home again because of the irritating and ever present security guards posted at the gate to the entrance of Stepfordwood. I mean, seriously, what in the hell is the point of gating a neighborhood in Stepford? Who could they possibly be trying to keep out? Less rich people? I suspect it’s Democrats, but I have no proof of this since I’ve never been asked my party affiliation at the gate and my Obama sticker-laden SUV has been allowed to pass through. I was in Stepfordwood the week before the election and I lamented to my friend, “It looks like the McCain/Palin campaign threw up in here. Who are these people trying to influence? Anyone who is not voting for McCain isn’t allowed to live here.” That’s not exactly true; my friend is a secret Obama girl. Her yard had no sign at all.

Okay, so you get that if a house is located in Stepfordwood, that it is nice—very, very nice. We’re talking fifty-two hundred square feet of wrought iron light fixtures, hand-scraped hardwood floors, hand-troweled walls, custom-painted crown molding, stainless steel appliances, rock pitch granite countertops, a mudroom, and master closest larger than some apartments, and a master bathtub that I know from experience can comfortably fit four six-year-old girls with plenty of space left over.

The master bedroom in my friend’s house has what I call a pool door. It’s a door that leads to the backyard, so that if you are coming in from the pool to your bedroom, you don’t drip water all over the expensive hardwoods. At night, the pool door becomes the Tanner door. Around midnight, night before last, after my friend had taken out her contacts—thereby making her legally blind—Tanner needed to go out. She let Tanner out the pool door and left it open a crack so he could come back in at his leisure (even pets in Stepford live the good life). Well, when Tanner came back through the door, he launched himself into the middle of my friend’s king sized bed and began rubbing his face frantically into her new comforter. Before my friend could even register what was happening, it hit her—skunk smell. Yep, poor Tanner had apparently sniffed the south end of a skunk and the skunk showed its appreciation for this boundary violation by spraying him in the face.

Now, I don’t know a lot about dogs and I know even less about skunks. But, this week my friend and I both learned that if a dog gets sprayed in the eyes by a skunk, they go temporarily blind. So let’s review what we’ve got here—one Stepford wife, legally blind for lack of her contacts, dressed in a nightie (I added that to my long list entitled “why I don’t wear nighties”), in her Stepforwood mini-mansion, holding a blind, skunk-smelling dog while screaming at her husband “Oh my God, he’s blind, he’s blind!” Wait, wait, wait … I’m not even to the best part.

Through a series of frantic middle-of-the-night phone calls to my friend’s aunt, the dog expert, it was ascertained that Tanner needed to be bathed in tomato juice. Now, my friend does not cook, unless you count heating up bagel bites in the microwave, so her husband had to get dressed, get in the car, go to the grocery store, and procure the much-needed tomato juice while my friend found her glasses. After the husband arrived home with said tomato juice, my friend made her second fatal error of the evening. This really wasn’t completely her fault. Her dog expert aunt had left out a little teeny, tiny detail regarding the tomato juice bath—but we’ll get to that in just second.

My friend proceeds to deposit Tanner into her luxuriously large master bath tub. She then takes the recently purchased tomato juice and pours it all over Tanner while attempting to massage it in. Now, if you know anything about dogs, you can see in your mind’s eye what happens next. Yes, the little detail Auntie left out was that the tomato juice bath should have been performed outdoors. Because Tanner did what dogs do, he shook like holy hell and sprayed my friend, her glasses, her nightie, and ninety percent of the custom-painted, marble-clad bathroom with minuscule droplets of tomato juice. Her maid, most likely, will begin speaking to her again sometime around the end of Obama’s first term.

The upside to this story? Surprisingly, none of my friend’s Stepfordwood neighbors called the police. I can assure you had Stepford’s finest happened upon the scene in my friend’s master bath, it would have taken them hours to figure out that what they were seeing was not produced by a double-barreled shotgun. 

And who said the suburbs were boring?


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