Rusty Has a Deathwish

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Ramblings...

I think the scientific community has generally accepted as fact, that those who own pets live longer lives. That just goes to prove that the scientific community doesn’t know jack; or at least Rusty.


Rusty is our seven-and-three-quarter year-old mutt, rescue dog (In case you were wondering, the 3/4’s actually does matter, due to the fact that in dog years that’s like 3.9375 human years, which is kind of a big deal) (Also, he is a rescue dog in the sense that we rescued him from slaughter at the hands of the state, not as in, he’s rescuing people stuck in an avalanche or anything).

Anyway, Rusty was a good dog for seven years before he was destroyed. Oh, I don’t mean he died; no, I apologize, I was speaking more like when Obi-Wan was telling Luke about how his father had been destroyed… you see Rusty was overcome by the dark-side and eventually destroyed by his alter-personality. In that way, I didn’t technically lie to you; it was the truth “from a certain perspective.” However, unlike Anakin/Darth Vader, Rusty did not get some sort of cool Sith lord title (because he’s a dog people, and that would just be ridiculous…)  

Anyway the story of Rusty’s fall from grace starts in November 2011. My brother in law thought it would be an awesome idea to deep fry a turkey. And since we do most of our family dinners at my house, it was kind of implied that we would be frying this turkey in my backyard. I told him I was fine with that (which was my first mistake). Now this is where most “deep frying a turkey” stories go into that whole ‘I almost melted my face off when I put in the frozen turkey and it exploded;’ however my brother in law knows how to do it properly, and we had no safety issues. In fact it was quite a good turkey and nobody got Ebola or anything from eating it.

So now you’re probably saying, “how can you possibly link Rusty’s decent into the dark-side with properly deep frying a turkey?” Well, let me tell you… Just as good as my brother in law is with deep frying a turkey; he is equally as bad cleaning up after himself. I believed cleaning up was an unstated expectation/condition of our verbal contract, but apparently that feeling was not mutual as he never came back to clean up. And since cleaning up after him would not be doing my brother in law any favors, from a ‘character-building’ standpoint, I let that 5-gallon stainless steel container of peanut oil sit in my backyard as a talisman for approximately another 4 months. Eventually my desire for a less white-trashy backyard overcame the desire to see my brother in law have a ‘character-building’ experience and I decided to clean it up myself.

I imagined 4-month-old peanut oil to be a little more rancid than what greeted me when I lifted the lid. In fact, it really wasn’t that bad looking, and only smelled kind of peanutty and a little oily, instead of disgusting (which makes sense when you think about it), so I felt that this would not be quite as bad as I thought. However, apparently I had not put THAT much thought into it, because I still had not come up with a place to dump the peanut oil. And this is where the story takes a disastrous turn. You see, I have an area in the back of my house, down a small hill, that just contains bushes, old leaves, brambles, etc… and that sounded (at the time) like the perfect place to dump said oil… All 5 gallons of it… I kicked some leaves and junk over it, and congratulated myself for de-white-trashing the yard.

Flash forward to 2am the next morning. My wife gets up to attend to our crying infant, and steps in something viscous on the floor. She’s thinking some water must have gotten knocked off the night stand, so she looks down and she can tell even by the twilight in our room that it is not water due to the fact that her white sock is now black. So she takes our youngest out to the living room to rock her while I attend to the fluid. I turn the light on, and I am introduced to the most foul dog vomit explosion I have ever seen. It’s really not that hard to imagine. Take dirt, leaves, miscellaneous sticks and seeds (possibly) and stir them all up with used 4-month-old peanut oil… I felt violated after having to clean that mess up. Anyway, I explained the situation to my wife, who surprisingly took it quite well, checked the rest of the house, and we returned to bed.

The next day went rather smoothly. When I returned from work, I dug up the whole area tilled the soil, and then piled a bunch of wood, branches, and heavy miscellaneous items over the soiled earth. I felt satisfied that Rusty would not be able to get into the offending cooking oil (due to his absence of opposable thumbs) and absolutely nothing bad could happen at this point. How wrong was I…

That evening, my mother in law let Rusty out to go to the bathroom. He seemed gone for quite some time, and then as my Mother in law was opening the door to let him back in, she screamed in horror and slammed the door. Naturally, I was drawn to the sound of shrieking from the other end of the house, so I darted over as fast as I could. As I approached the living room this horrible garlic smell hit my face, and I just knew something awful had happened. My mother in law was staring in shock through the glass door at the monstrous beast lurking just on the other side. At first I recoiled a little at the sight. It was like Rusty went trick or treating and wore this ultra-realistic Cujo-style halloween costume or something; only it wasn’t a costume…

Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to grab my camera. Looking back, I constantly beat myself up about it, because as you know a picture tells a thousand words and honestly, in this case, I don’t even think a thousand would do it justice. He emerged from the darkness with the porch lights illuminating his eyes like golden alien spheres. His fur was matted and appeared to be wet. His hackles were up, his muzzle was bloody, and he kept doing this sneeze where he bared his front canines and shook his head. In short, he scared the crap out of me.

It all hit me at once. He had been sprayed by a skunk because he interrupted the skunk trying to get at the peanut oil. Apparently there had been an altercation, and either Rusty or the skunk had inflicted or sustained a nasty wound. I determined I would have to go out to check Rusty even though he may be in the process of changing into a zombie at that very moment. I opened the door and was immediately hit with the strongest, most pungent odor I can ever say I have had the displeasure of smelling. It was like frankenstein gave life to a rubber tire filled with garlic, and then somebody set it on fire creating an acrid burning rubber-garlic-death smoke stench. I checked him out as quickly as I could, determined he was not the victim in this situation, and then ventured out to find a fresh skunk corpse out in my backyard. Apparently the skunk was able to limp off somewhere to die, because it was not in the yard. Since there was no way I would be cleaning him up that night, and since there was ABSOLUTELY no way I was letting him back in the house, I tied him up on a short run outside.

After the vet visit the next day to confirm that he did not have rabies (which by the way is pretty pointless due to the fact that they really can’t confirm, just recommend you quarantine him and look for “foaming of the mouth”), we assembled the materials necessary to de-stank our pooch. The instructions told us we needed to combine baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and water in a cauldron, and then stir counter-clockwise while “cackling.” In addition to this, I obtained the following safety gear: Double-insulated elbow length gloves, Z87 safety goggles, and Adidas Shell-Toe sneakers. I also managed to dig out my least flattering clothing just in case of splattering/spillage. Rusty got like 3 peroxide baths, and then we set him up a nice flat in the garage for about 2 weeks.

Skip forward about 2 weeks and 1 day in time. Amber and I both had to work, so Rusty had the run of the house. Once again another bad idea… I should have realized that a dog who eaten a substantial amount of peanut oil soufflé and then strewn it about the master bedroom the last time he stayed inside the house, probably should have at least been contained to an area with a less-porous flooring material. Alas, I did not. When we returned from work, our master bedroom carpeting (where the puke pile had been cleaned weeks before) looked as if it had been scalped like a cowboy that had ventured too far into Comanche territory. Rusty had eaten the weave of our California Berber down to the backing (which I can only assume he did not eat because it contained fiber and might possibly be good for him).

My wife found the spot first. The guttural sound that came from her in most parts told me immediately that action was necessary. I stepped into the room, looked down, and then Amber and I just stood there, both looking at the spot silently both thinking approximately the same thing. I spoke first.

Me: How much do you think it costs to have a pet put down?

Amber: (After 2 minutes of thought). My carpet…

Me: I bet we need to have some sort of diagnosis that he’s in pain or something before they would do it though…

Amber: He. Ate. Our. Carpet.

Me: Maybe I should just have somebody from work do it. I know people who live in the country and own guns…

Amber: (Stunned Silence)

Me: Yeah, that’s the ticket, I’ll make it happen… I wonder how much a bullet costs?

Amber: No. No, we can’t do that.

And that pretty much ended the discussion, because I wasn’t about to argue with Amber / The Voice of Reason, because technically it was my fault anyway. However, I never punished Rusty because 1) I’m sure throwing up peanut oil soufflé is probably punishment enough, and 2) I still wasn’t convinced I wasn’t going to kill him (I was kind of looking at him like he was Lennie from Of Mice and Men at that point) and that just seemed like enough punishment if it actually happened.

You would think that after The Great Peanut Oil Disaster of 2011-2012, Rusty would be on better behavior. Sadly this is just not true. Electrical cords (while they are still plugged in), children’s toys, diapers (new or otherwise), repaired electrical cords (after being plugged in again), sticks, birth control, toothbrushes, remote controls, and nylon straps have all been laid waste and left to ruin in Rusty’s wake. But his most favorite delicacy is without a doubt baby wet wipes. Just last week he ate almost a half of a pack, which was left out on the couch. It’s gotten so bad now, that when I mow the grass, it almost looks like a ticker-tape parade…

Now all these things would kill a normal dog, but despite his best efforts to do himself in, Rusty continues to chance death at each turn. As of this posting, he is still alive and well.

  1. jennigreen49 says:

    Soooooo are the baby wipes new or used??????ick

  2. leeann says:

    at least with the baby wipes, Rusty”s butt gets cleaned as he poops them out

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