My Dog Ate Poo (s#!t)

Warning: This post contains profanity and graphic descriptions of the most disgusting thing dogs do, which is to eat poo. Read at your own risk.

It began like any other beautiful, Carolina weekend. I was recording my Half Fast Saturday video just outside my fence while my dog–my sweet baby–Grace, was lounging inside the fence. Or so I thought.

First, if you haven’t been following Half Fast and Classy on Facebook, you’re missing the Half Fast Saturday videos! Get on over there right now and follow. Followed? Okay, now the story.

Actually, a little back story is that Grace doesn’t like to potty in our yard. While I applaud her desire for pristine grounds within our little fence, it can be a bit exasperating on the occasions when we don’t have time for a full-blown walk and I have to beg, plead, and demand for her to “go potty, Grace, go potty.” The neighbors probably hear that phrase in their sleep.

Anywho, I was about 15 feet away on the outside of the fence planting some hostas and recording my progress. When I stepped back into the yard, I caught her red-handed. At first, I didn’t realize what I had caught her doing. Grace was in the far half of the yard, and she froze like a deer in headlights with her head at half mast, looking like she was debating between saying nothing or running.

As I approached, I saw that she had gone potty all on her own. Awesome! Maybe after 17 months she’s finally getting the hang of this. In my mind I was doing a little celebratory dance, thinking of the cold early mornings that I would not have to stand outside with her and beg for her to pooter. And then she licked it. The one turd. The one remaining turd. Yep, she had been dining al fecal. Noooooooo!

Why, WHY do dogs do that? It’s disgusting. It is beyond comprehension. Please, do not tell me she is missing something from her diet. I will roll my eyes and fall on the floor in psychological exhaustion. This dog is fed better than I feed myself. She is also provided with clean, fresh water throughout the day. Don’t even get me started on the treats.

Now, if the neighbors are tired of hearing my “go potty, Grace, go potty” mantra, they sure must have been surprised to hear me scream NOOOOO! as that last, lonely turd was released from her tongue so fast that it bounced in the grass. The dancing turd. Whether Mr. Hankey was a victim or willing participant, it wasn’t his fault, and as much as I wanted to squash him, I surely didn’t want to track his kind into my home.

I scolded Grace and rushed her into the house so I could finish my gardening. Clearly, she could not be trusted to enjoy our tiny yard without having eyes on her every minute. I checked on her a couple of times, and when I joined her inside about an hour or so later, she looked guilty. I looked everywhere to see what she might have done. Did she chew something because I scolded her? Did she potty in the house (which would be seriously out of character for her)? As I checked each room, she followed me, looking increasingly guilty, yet no evidence. Hmm.

It was getting onto 11:00 and I still hadn’t had breakfast, so I made myself a burger and settled onto the sofa where I eat 99% of my meals. Grace snuggled up next to me as usual, but still looked riddled with guilt.

Well it wasn’t guilt. She had an upset tummy. I know this because as I was half way through my burger, she projectile vomited about a gallon of liquid onto the sofa. Specifically, she pointed her mouth to where the sofa cushion meets the sofa arm so as to cover not only the cushion, but also the inside wall and the base on which the cushions rest.

Now, this was no ordinary vomit, because remember what she ate an hour or so before, right? This was craptastic liquid sh-t vomit. And it smelled worse than anything you can possibly imagine. And it was voluminous.

Suddenly, the burger in my hand, almost to my mouth, became so repugnant that I threw it onto the plate as if it were burning my hands. I grabbed the three blankets on the sofa that were not involved in the waterfall of putridity and quickly made a bed for Grace on the floor in case there was more coming. I would rather she be sick on something that can go into the wash than on furniture or the rug. I got her settled and ran like a mad woman from the room because the gag reflex had kicked in. You know what I’m talking about, right? Especially those of us who don’t have children. I don’t know how you mommies and daddies change those diapers, because it makes me gag so much that my eyes tear. That’s where I was in that moment.

I returned with a can of Lysol and sprayed, and sprayed, and sprayed. Still, the smell of sh-t prevailed. Don’t worry, Grace had been moved into the bedroom and the door closed by then. I didn’t know what to do, where to begin, because there was so. much. vomit. Run from the room retching, return to spray, repeat. After 10 or 15 minutes of spraying, gagging, and exclaiming to the empty room “Oh my GAWD!” OMFG! I finally regained some composure and realized the sofa had to leave. The odor was too overwhelming, and I could not see a way to even begin cleaning the sofa, so out the door it was going.

The sofa sat against a wall with the front legs on a large area rug and the back legs off the rug, sitting directly on the hardwood floor. When I moved the sofa forward, I saw that the liquid sh-t vomit had gone completely through the sofa and pooled on the hardwood floor beneath. My stomach was now so sensitive that just the sight of a puddle of yellow-brown liquid sent me into gag mode again.

But there was no time for a weak tummy now. If this sh-t fluid was leaking through the sofa, time was of the dung-filled essence. I knew from moving in that the sofa would not fit through the door with the legs on, so I flipped it on its back and began removing the legs, working as quickly as I could, all the while getting the ab workout of a lifetime from all the heaving.

When I flipped the sofa on its back, the liquid slushed from inside the bottom onto the backrest and flowed onto the area rug. I thought the rug had been spared, but no. Now the rug, too, was infected with the hellish, repugnant regurgitation.

The legs were off and I pushed the sofa a few feet across the floor and out the door. My adrenaline must have kicked in, because it landed with a thud when the far end of it hit the bottom of the stairs. If anyone had been walking by, they would have watched my sofa shoot from the front door and down the stairs like a missile.

Right where she landed; vomit blurred for your protection.

I surveyed the room. A streak of liquid sh-t vomit looked like a child’s underwear skid mark across my living room floor, there was a puddle of the putrid poo cocktail on the floor near the wall, and a round stank stain stared at me from the rug, which I promptly rolled and shoved out the door to be reunited with the sofa. I gagged one last time and got to work cleaning.

I don’t own a mop, but rather a set of kneepads, a bucket, and rubber gloves because I don’t trust a mop to do my cleaning. After two rounds of scrubbing, all the Lysol spray in the world, and the burning of a toasted coconut soy candle, I could smell nothing but feces. So I did what anyone would–I went shopping. Sofa shopping!

Grace was looking like her normal self, no actually she was looking great after her extreme super-cleanse, so I put the fan on high, got her settled in her crate with the door open in case she wanted to stretch out on the bare floor, and off I went.

Grace now has the one unscathed sofa cushion in her crate…just as she planned!

Do you ever get an odor stuck in your nose like a song on repeat in your head? I do.

As I drove down the highway with the air on and the windows open, all I could smell was the horrid stench of liquid sh-t vomit. I was sure there was a visible, excremental tail billowing from the back of my car. A dark purplish, toxic plume glowing as everyone in its wake covered their noses and ran. It took a few hours in a furniture store to shake the odor from my olfactory vault.

When I arrived back home, it smelled of coconut, Lysol, Dawn dish soap, and Murphy Oil Soap. I exhaled and my shoulders relaxed for the first time in hours. It was a zen-like feeling to not smell poo. I don’t ask for much, but not smelling poo is high on the list of must-haves. Grace and I were going to be okay without having to sell the house and move.

Some of you might be wondering why I would have a pet that could cause such destruction. When I adopted Grace, I didn’t just adopt her, I fell in love with her much like parents fall in love with a newborn baby. I know some folks don’t see pets that way, but I do. So there is nothing Grace can do to my home, whether intentionally or otherwise, to make me reconsider her place in my life. Adoption is forever. I will love and adore her for as long as she lives, which I wish could be another 30 years. I would buy a new sofa every year for that.

Others might be wondering why I’m sharing this on the blog. Half Fast and Classy is about styling life and home on a shoestring budget, right? Of course! And I love sharing with you my projects, how I get them done, if I cut corners, when they fail, and how I fix them. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl and am typically happy with the end product even if it’s not spot-on.

But the trouble with blogs is that often you only see the pretty pictures and the end product. You don’t get to see that sometimes my Pinterest-worthy abode (in my biased opinion) is, in this case, covered in fecal vomit. Well now you know, and that’s okay, because we’re all in this sh-t together, right?

The peace and serenity we show you…
Reality. A sad puppy sitting in the space where the sofa used to be…before she sh-t puked on it.

The upside is that I ended the day with a fantastic dinner and a large glass of wine with a friend. Plus, with the cash I’ve saved by DIYing, I have a new sofa arriving Tuesday!





My First Mother’s Day Without Mom

This is the first Mother’s Day since Mom passed away. One month ago today, actually. Ironically, today was going to be our first Mother’s Day together in over a decade.

Since I adopted my sweet baby girl, Grace, Mom had wanted to meet her. For over three years, I sent pictures of Grace to Mom, showed Mom videos of Grace, and I told her what a comfort Grace had been to me since the day I brought her home from the shelter. Nearly every time we talked, Mom would say she wanted nothing more in life than to meet her grand-dog. It sounds dramatic, but trust me, Mom had a flair for it.

Grace even signed cards to Mom

With me living 1,200 miles away and Mom no longer traveling, it was almost impossible for Mom to meet Grace. Almost.

This year I planned to drive from North Carolina to Illinois and rendezvous with Mom at my sister’s place in May (sister was going to pick up Mom a few days prior and bring her to Illinois). After a few days in Illinois, I would drive Mom home to Wisconsin, all with Grace at our side. Finally, Grace and I would make the trek from Wisconsin back to North Carolina on our own…all Thelma and Louise, but without the cliff.

Mom was beside herself about meeting Grace. She talked about finally meeting the grand-dog every time we spoke. Then she would say she didn’t think she would live that long, and I would say in a teasing yet gentle way, “Mom, surely you can hold on until Mother’s Day to meet Grace!” And Mom would chuckle and say “Okay, I’ll wait until May.”

But Mom couldn’t wait until May. She passed away on April 14, which makes this first Mother’s Day without Mom that much more sad. The thing she talked about for over three years, I missed by a month. Things happen the way they happen, and I’m not blaming myself, but it hurts my heart. I would have loved to have done that for Mom. I would have loved to have seen her face light up and her heart swell when she met my sweet, lovable, snuggly Grace.

In the week leading up to today, my friend Karen asked what I was doing this weekend, and invited me to visit with her and her Mom who lives in an assisted living facility. Karen is gaga over Grace, and her Mom loves dogs as well, so of course Grace was invited.

I think Grace is gaga for Karen as well!

A couple of years ago I took Grace to a therapy dog class in hopes that we could visit nursing homes and such spreading Grace-style cheer. It’s something I feel Grace would do well, and something I would enjoy. Maybe because I surprised my parents late in life and they were older than the typical Mom and Dad–it’s hard to say–but I definitely have a soft spot for the older folks.

The problem was, Grace and I didn’t do well in the class. Grace was easily distracted and began to lose her manners as the weeks went by, so I pulled her from the program.

Fast forward to our invitation this weekend, where Grace was the life of the party at the senior living facility. I was so proud of my girl and Mom would have been, too. We spent time with Karen’s Mom in her private quarters, where Grace gently took treats, snuggled, and gave kisses. Karen’s Mom was delighted.


Being the perfect pup for Miss Dolly

We joined other residents and their families for a Mother’s Day Tea in one of the common areas. The place was packed like a Friday night happy hour and with the noise level to match. In all the chaos, Grace didn’t miss a beat. She sat when I asked her to, she let people awe over her and pet her, she had her picture made with several folks, ignored another pooch who walked through the room, and sat nicely while a little fellow of about three timidly pet her and ran off squealing.

Giving the facility director some puppy love

The staff gushed over her, sat with her, loved on her. This is exactly how I imagined she would behave in this environment. Grace was made for making people smile, for bringing them comfort, and it brought me as much joy as it did the residents.

Grace loved everyone she met

To bring this back to Mom, and the ache in my heart that she is gone, that I did not get to be with her today and watch her face light up at the sight of my smiling dog–my first Mother’s Day without Mom was made less painful knowing that a few other Moms enjoyed the company of a sweet, little red shelter dog who loves as big as the world.

I am blown away by the people in my life who made sure I was not grieving alone this weekend. Whether you reached out to me in person, or simply held me in your thoughts, thank you.

To Mom: I miss you more than words can say, but I take comfort in believing that you’re smiling. Smiling because your grand-dog and I did some good in the world today. Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom.


My Dog Grace: Grief Counselor

Anyone who knows the love of a dog will likely tell you that dog is their baby. What many folks don’t share is that said dog is their world. I’ve been admitting that since the day I found Little Miss on the Wake County Animal Center website. I met her, and my heart melted. She was mine, but more importantly, I was hers.

I was going through a tough time when I adopted Grace, and it is no secret that she rescued me as much as I rescued her. She was homeless, emaciated, and had heart worm disease. I had just moved back to my condo and found myself alone for the first time in decades, and I was only beginning to deal with the psychological aspect of breast cancer. Grace and I were destined to save each other, and you will not convince me otherwise.

That was over three years ago. Fast forward to two weeks ago when I lost my Mom, my first best friend, and I couldn’t conjure the emotional strength to leave my bed. I got up at 7 a.m. to let Grace out for her morning business, but then went right back to bed and curled up with my heart aching. I could have stayed there until it was time for Grace’s evening break.

Typically, Grace will fuse to the sofa or the bed right along with me during a Netflix binge or while I read a book, but on that particular day, she got restless. She had stretched out next to me with her snout on my chest long enough. Around 10 a.m., she made a show of jumping out of bed and left the room. I could hear her huffing somewhere in the house. Large inhales followed by audible exhales.

I got out of bed to see what was going on, and this is what I found right outside my bedroom door:

Waiting for her Mum

She was feet from my bedroom, impatiently waiting, giving me the gentle signal of her huffing and puffing until I got myself out of bed. As soon as I stood in the doorway looking like an extra from The Walking Dead with bed head, puffy eyes, and still in my PJs, Grace jumped up and greeted me as she always does. With joy, gratitude, excitement, and unconditional love.

With her beautiful, soft brown eyes, and her gentle flicking of my hand with her muzzle, she convinced me that a walk was the best thing for us. And so I got dressed and we walked. Exercise, fresh air, and my whole world walking next to me. Just what the doctor dog ordered.

I recommend letting your friends and family help you through difficult times, and talking with a professional counselor. I’ll likely seek that out in the weeks to come. Also, I highly recommend adopting a dog.


Grace Started Therapy Dog Class!

Therapy dog class has begun! I may have mentioned that I wanted to get Grace into a therapy dog class for so many reasons, a few being:

  • I think she would do well as a therapy dog with her calm personality and love of humans; how can I not share that?
  • It will be a great bonding experience for us; there is nothing like working as a team with your dog–it’s actually more like play
  • It is one avenue for me (and for Grace) to advocate for Grace’s breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier, which falls under the umbrella of pit bull

We are doing the Canines for Therapy course at Teamworks Dog Training and, well, we are rusty on our commands. Nothing that can’t be remedied with a little practice. Remember when I posted this pic over the summer showing how well Grace loose leash walks? Somehow, when we walk through the door to class her leash walking abilities are wiped clean from her big, velvety noggin. She acted like she had never been on a leash!

Grace the dog loose leash walking
She knows how to loose leash walk!

Teamworks is where Grace did her Canine Good Citizen training and we had such a good experience there, it was the first place I checked for a therapy dog class. Of course I’m the consummate proud momma and have to brag about my baby being called on in class to demonstrate something other than loose leash walking. Here,  trainer Christie Canfield is showing us how to do the safety triangle maneuver. If you and your dog are being rushed by people (or even a single person) and you need for them to slow down, this move keeps them at bay and provides your dog with a sense of security. Then you can ask the individuals to approach calmly to pet your dog.

Instructor and Grace the dog demonstrate safety triangle
Trainer Christie and Grace demonstrate the safety triangle

There are tons of things we need to learn over the next several weeks before we take the exam. But even if we pass and become a registered therapy team, this is all contingent upon whether Grace likes this kind of thing once we’re in the field. We could head off to a nursing home only to find that isn’t Grace’s kind of gig. If she turns tail and runs or buries her head in my tummy (like at the vet), that’s no fun for her or for the residents. Ultimately, it will be Grace’s decision.

I’ll keep you posted on how we do in school. The instructor says this class is 25% dog and 75% handler (we’re in trouble). Send us your good vibes and let’s hope I don’t get us put in doggie detention.

Have you all taken your dogs to any classes or had a trainer come to your home? Please share!