Butler County Times Gazette
  • Lost in Suburbia: Here’s to mud in your dog

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  • Every spring, the April showers not only bring May flowers, they also turn my backyard into a muddy swamp. During this period we are forced to keep a laundry basket of rags by the back door so we can intercept the dog on his way back in the house, wrestle him to the ground, and sand blast his paws before he does a muddy cha-cha through the family room. If we are lucky, this ritual will only last until we hit summer and everything dries out. If we are unlucky, it can go all the way until winter when the ground freezes.
    Sadly, this year the April showers kept right on showering into May which meant I have had to wipe the dog’s four paws, roughly six times a day, for going on 75 days. And those are just the times I’ve actually caught him.
    Which brings us to the muddy cha-cha in the kitchen.
    “Tell me again why I insisted on getting another dog,” I asked my husband as I surveyed the expansive display of dirty paw prints all across the floor and rug.
    “You said it would bring more love into the house,” he echoed my words back to me.
    “”Yeah, well I’m not really feelin’ the love right now,” I responded, giving my muddy dog the hairy eyeball.
    Much as I usually adored the dog, I was growing weary of adding daily paw-wiping, floor-mopping and towel-washing to my job description. So after two dogs and a cumulative 12 years of this routine, I finally decided that I needed to smarten up.
    Yeah, I’m nothing if not a quick learner.
    I got out one of my old rectangular windowsill flower pots and filled it with water. Then I put it out next to the back door. The next time the dog did his mud dance outside, I stopped him on the way in and dunked each paw in the flower pot. Then I dried his paws on the way in the door. Of course, it added an extra step to the demudifying process, but it made for a lot fewer disgusting rags to wash.
    The new procedure was working like a charm. I was thrilled. Then about a week into the Great Beckerman Mud Plan, just as the dog was trotting back to the house, someone rang the front door bell. The dog heard the bell and came charging at the back door at top speed. In a flash, the dog ran straight into my paw washing station and knocked it over, spilling a torrent of muddy water in the door and across my family room rug. Then he jumped over the washing station, into the house, and across the rug with his muddy paws to greet whoever was at the front door.
    Page 2 of 2 - I stood stunned.
    “Mom, someone’s at the door,” yelled my daughter.
    “Who is it?” I yelled back as I surveyed the wreckage that had previously been my family room rug.
    “Someone is collecting unwanted items for the needy,” she said.
    I shook my head. “Ask them if they’ll take a dog.”
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