No Life, I don’t feel like making a lemon meringue pie, take back your lemons.

Sometimes I think Life is like an exuberant lab who bulldozes past you into the house the moment you open the door trying to squeeze juuuuusst your arm in to grab the towel, tracking mud from her adventure on the carpet as you run after her, shakes in the middle of the living room flinging dirty water all over your couch and walls while you stand there trying to put the towel over at least part of her to contain some of the disaster, then drops her slobbery ball at your feet with the happiest expression on her face – because every day is the best day ever. And there you are, watching the beast you love wreak havoc on your little slice of orderly life. But every day really is the best day ever, because you were lucky to wake up to see another sunrise.
And you can’t really blame Life. Because I mean, she is amoral – she doesn’t do anything maliciously, she just does. She doesn’t wish harm on you when she gleefully runs up the stairs to her favorite spot in the house, she doesn’t hope you suffer while you clean the walls, carpet, and couch. And really, every decision you made up until this point lead you to getting home with a muddy dog who just loves adventuring and loves the home she shares with you. It’s hard sometimes to see the choices we made, and then experience the consequences that aren’t so awesome. Every choice has consequences, good or bad; we just hope that they fall on the good scale more often than not. But how we deal with the unforeseen, unintended, or unpleasant consequences help define our character, and help prepare us for everything else life will bring our way.

Like when smoke comes out from under your hood on your drive home from work one day, and for even just a second you wonder if flames are going to shoot out – or does that only happen in the movies? So you call your man, start your conversation with “I’m not freaking out but,” and then limp your way home and hope your car doesn’t explode along the way. You are thankful it’s not currently raining because you have never had car troubles before, and when you chose to buy a condo you didn’t get a garage. That was a choice. But you didn’t see this one coming. So you park in your tiny little covered parking spot, and hope it doesn’t turn into an all-night project (as it’s actually getting dark this time of year), and the rain holds off. But for the lower mortgage payment, I gambled that a garage was just a luxury.

Now, let’s get real dog disgusting for a moment. (You have been warned.)

As much as I love Kiska, she is a filthy, disgusting creature sometimes. She has habits she delights in, that make me cry. Literally. Like, sit on the edge of my bed and shed some self-pity tears. I am SURE I am not the only dog owner that has (silently) wept at how disgusting their Dogbeast is. Fish. Let’s just start with dead fish. For animals that can smell cancer, smell a drop in blood sugar, smell chemical changes before a seizure, how on earth are they so enamored with dead fish!? It honestly blows my mind. If it smells so rank, so foul, why do they insist in rolling in it? ‘They have 300 million olfactory receptors to our 6 million. The part of their brain that analyses smells is proportionally 40 times greater than ours. If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.’* I cannot even fathom rotting fish 10,000 times more rotting. The location of the bathroom in relation to the front door isn’t always something we consider when purchasing a home. But the careful-not-to-drip-or-shake-water sprint to the bathroom can feel like your hallway is suddenly 50 yards long.
And now for the most disgusting habit of all: poo rolling. I get it: I run and hike a lot too. Sometimes an emergency trail poo happens – especially on super long hikes, or when that one meal decides that it’s suddenly declaring a pan-pan and abandoning ship. I am pretty sure everyone has been there. It’s not the greatest. But, with emergency trail poos, comes the common trail courtesy of BURYING IT. If you can’t dig a cat hole, at least put a rock on it, cover it with moss, put sticks on it, SOMETHING! Because then poo pros like my beast come along and sniff it out like they just found the winning lotto ticket and come back covered in poo from nose to stomach and gleeful as hell. And then I weep. And I mean big fat tears. I have actually just bought a Tacoma for just this reason. When people don’t take the appropriate measures for their waste, I end up walking (or running) behind my dog for possibly miles on a trail, not always upwind of her, and then I had to put her in my Subaru because obviously I can’t tie her to the top like a dead deer. I always try to find water to put her in, but not all of our trails have deep enough lakes or slow enough rivers. Then my car would smell like human poo for days, and getting her into my house to clean her up the best I can is a nightmare. Not to mention the viruses and other bio hazard concerns that come from inadvertently touching human feces. Thank goodness I have a groomer that understands Kiska’s… less than charming qualities…. and is always willing to give her a bath. I mean, my disgusting beast is really job security for her, right?

I know I made the decision to buy my condo, I know my condo doesn’t have a walk-in shower stall, and that my bathtub has glass doors that can really be inconvenient. I also know that it was my choice to adopt my dog, and later buy my condo. These were my choices. But that doesn’t make it any easier when she smells so bad I actually vomited a little on her one time it she smelled so awful. And then I drank a shower beer to contemplate all of my choices that got me there.

Courtney Wendel has lived in Juneau since she was a year old. She has a twin brother and an older brother, and learned to enjoy the outdoors at a young age by following the boys into mischief. Graduating from JDHS in 2006, she attended UAS to receive her Literature of the Environment, BA English degree. When not at work she spends most of her time on the diverse trail system hiking, running, or camping with her spotted pooch and adventure buddies.