If reading about dog poop is not your cup of tea (bad analogy, but it should scare the weenies away) then STOP HERE!! If you can handle animal bowel movements, read on.
     Our little black pug, Lucy, is now 15 years old. She canít hear anything, she is practically blind, and her arthritis has reached the point where she no longer will go down a step. But she still loves food, and she can poop like a six-month old puppy.
     I was thinking about this because, well, I think about it every day. Especially in the morning, when I walk into the kitchen, where Lucy sleeps, and pretend Iím in the Marines and have been assigned to the minesweeper patrol. So far, Iíve only been blown up twice.
     It wasnít always this way. Lucy never pooped in the house. She could hold it with the best of us, and patiently waited until she was outdoors on the grass. But now sheís old, and could care less. Scolding her just falls on deaf ears.
    Fortunately, Lucyís transgressions are strictly limited to poop. She has yet to learn that the excuses of old age will allow her to pee freely in the house without serious retribution. There is no doubt that she will figure it out soon.
    Naturally, this creates some tension around our household. In fact, itís pretty much all we talk about.
    Yes, thatís sad, but itís also exciting. On those mornings when Lucy has not made a deposit on the kitchen floor before we arrive, there is great joy. And then when one of us carries her to the side yard and comes back holding a poop bag, there is great satisfaction.
    Sometimes we even go outside together. And when we watch her do her poop dance, where she circles a few times trying to find just the right spot, our anticipation is boundless. Then when she finally settles in and lets it drop, we put our arms around each other and squeal with delight.
    It always reminds me of my mother, who loves to tell the story of me as an infant, when I had the runs for six months straight. Finally, just before the holidays, my mother ran into the room and showed my father an open diaper with a solid poop.
    "This," she said, tears in her eyes, "is the best Christmas present Iíve ever had."
    Thatís how we feel now when Lucy does her business outside. The biggest problem, though, is that even if we have a successful morning, the day is long. And Lucyís afternoon poops are less predictable.
    This is where the real tension sets in. "She hasnít gone yet," my wife will announce to me as I walk in the door most evenings. "Can you take her out?"
    So I carry her to the side yard and set her down, where she stands motionless and stares into space, wondering why sheís out there for the sixth time that day.
    To appease me, she squats and does a very short pee. But she has no intention of pooping.
   "She peed, but no poop," I announce as I carry her back in, wondering what happened to the intellectual discussions we once had. "You can take her out next time."
    And she does, right before bed. When she walks back in, I can see the distress. Not Lucyís, my wifeís. "Nothing," she mourns. "I canít believe it."
    Itís going to be a long, restless night. We go to bed, but we know Lucy canít hold it until morning. We could get up at 3 a.m. and take her out, but thatís not going to happen. Weíd rather walk the minefield in the morning.
     "I told you the dark stain on the hardwood floors was a mistake when you chose it," I said as I drifted off to a tortured sleep. "If we had light floors, like I wanted, at least the poop would stand out and we could see it before we stepped in it."
    "And I told you to stop walking around barefoot," she replied.
    We could hear Lucy snoring all the way from the kitchen. Somehow I pictured her smiling in her sleep.



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