Odd Trundles…and the Pit-and-Pendulum

Poor Odd Trundles. Poor, poor Odd Trundles. Sad Trundles.

So it had been a while since I’d had an honest-to-gosh puppy around, but I know what sort of havoc the little four-legged darlings can cause. They’re like toddlers–tiny chaos machines, full of drool and energy, and everything goes in the mouth. At night, Odd slept with his little snout buried in my neck–there’s really nothing like a bulldog puppy making a damp spot under your hair to really make you appreciate the idea of sleeping alone, I’m just sayin’–and whenever his breathing paused I would jolt into terrified wakefulness without moving a muscle, sure that I would have to try to perform CPR on his slobbering self.

Look, I am not rational at 3AM, okay?

Anyway. Dear Odd was a lovely puppy, more than happy to follow me around the house all day and mouth my ankles while I was at my desk (you really have not lived until you’re writing an INCREDIBLY HAWT smexxor-scene and suddenly a very warm tongue is licking your bare foot) and only occasionally wandering away to get into mischief that Miss B would warn him away from in no uncertain terms.

Miss B: NOT THAT.
Odd: But it looks tasty…
Miss B: NO. SHE’LL SCOLD US.
Odd: I don’t care if she yells.
Miss B: I DO. NOW SHUT UP.

I was still faced with the problem of what to do with the pugnosed chaos generator when I was on my morning runs. Fortunately, I was prepared. I knew all about crate training and had introduced him to a spiffy fabric-covered one that cost about as much as a decent hotel stay–Odd Trundles deserved the best, buy once, cry once, and all, plus it looked reasonably able to withstand the Jaws of Panic. He loved his crate, for it was associated with TREATS.

Slight digression here: Miss B had really spoiled me. She’s not very food-oriented. The way to train her is with praise and pets; she will do almost anything for a belly rub. Food, eh, she can take it or leave it. I was afraid she was anorexic before I realized she was just one of those rare self-regulating canines. (Except for when it comes to squeezie-cheez. But that’s–say it with me–another blog post.) NOT SO ODD TRUNDLES. The little idiot is driven entirely by the need to shove whatever edible, barely-edible, or might-possibly-be-edible thing down his gullet as fast as possible. I mean, I know dogs love to eat, yes, but OMG he takes it to a new level. A somewhat frightening level.

Anyway. The upshot of this was, for a small treat or two, he would happily stay in his crate for a half-hour. I also scooped him up when he was about to fall asleep and moved him to his crate, so he associated it with naptime. He would happily snooze inside its warm embrace until it was time to pee again. (Bladder the size of a teaspoon, that dog. ANYWAY.) I was so proud of both of us for taking to this training thing so well.

I should have known better.

Once he was consistently in the crate and happy for half-hours at a time, I suited up one bright morning, took him outside to pee, brought him in and petted him, then there was a treat and the crate. Thirty minutes was all I needed to get three miles in, and Miss B was at the door with her leash in her mouth, ready to go. I heard a faint whimper as I closed the door, but I thought the Odd Trundler would settle himself down and nap. He had, after all, had a very active morning and almost eaten a whole legal pad. (Don’t ask.)

B and I were both happy to be running again, and we clocked three miles round-trip in a little under a half-hour. We were home, exhausted and happy, and I had barely recovered enough breath to say “Hello the house!” before we stepped inside…

…and heard the most piteous wailing ever. A violin of grief was playing with a bow strung with weeping maiden hair, and there was scratching as well, and crying, and nary a pause for breath.

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA TRUNDLES: ooooOOOOOOooooOOOO, it’s COLD and DARK and LONELY and there are RATS and I’m STARVING and HELLLLLLLP ME and gooooooOOOOooodbye CRUEL CRUEL WORLD and WOE is meeeeeee and I AM GOING TO PEE but I can’t and there is NO FOOD HERE oooooOOOOOOOOoooo…

You see, I’d been in the room, or in the house, every time he’d been crated before. Also, I figured out later that the Mad Tortie, driven by the desire to taunt the new addition to our household unmercifully, had leapt atop the crate.

So there I stood, Miss B attached to her leash knotted around my waist, both of us with our heads cocked at exactly the same angle as we took in the scene before us.

How did I figure out the cat had jumped on top of the crate to taunt poor imprisoned Trundles? Because, dear Readers, the Mad Tortie was still atop the crate. And the crate had migrated across the living room, powered by Trundling, much as a hamster ball, if you can imagine, and ended up fetched-up door-downward and half-spun, leaning against the couch. (I don’t know if I can describe it properly and I was too flabbergasted to think of snapping a picture.) Apparently the Prisoner of Zenda Trundles had thrown himself against the walls, and had furthermore acquired enough mass from his sucking-black-hole eating habits to power the crate–a rigid structure covered with fabric, nice and light–all the way across acres of carpet, the cat probably laughing her ass off as she rode it like a lumberjack rides a spinning, floating log, the whole damn cat-and-dog-and-pony-hamster-wheel show ending up with the dog tangled in his Special Trundles Blankie and the cushy memory-foam padding for the bottom of the crate, because I love my dogs and I wanted his silly, stupid little puppy ass to rest in comfort.

Miss B: THE LIVING ROOM LOOKS WEIRD. ARE YOU SURE WE’RE IN THE RIGHT HOUSE?
Me: What the hell?
Miss B: I TOLD YOU HE COULDN’T BE TRUSTED. HE EATS HIS OWN POOP.
Me: He’s just a puppy.
Prisoner of Zenda Trundles: oooOOOOOOoooooo mmmoooOOOOOOOMMMMyyyy is that yooooooouuuuuuu I AM ASCAIRT AND HUNGRY–
Me: Jesus Christ.
Miss B: I NEED A BELLY RUB.

Sweat-drenched and amazed, I rescued the prisoner and took everyone outside to calm down. Odd Trundles wriggled and licked my face and hands in an ecstasy of liberation, trotted around the yard, peed, and scrambled back to me barking excitedly, telling me all about his eliminatory adventure. He seemed to have forgotten his incarceration, but when we re-entered the living room, he immediately alerted to the fact that it LOOKED DIFFERENT OMG and attacked his battered crate, thinking to protect his mistress.

The instant I got the crate back to its former place, with its padding and his Special Blankie restored (which was a job and a half with Miss B suddenly interested in what I was doing because Odd was making SO MUCH DAMN NOISE, plus he was trying to kill the damn thing) silence fell. Odd looked at me, looked at the crate, and looked at the cat, who had taken a spot on the back of the couch and was observing all this with a bright, interested smirk.

Then Odd trundled into his crate, turned around twice, flopped down, and began to snore.

I just don’t even know.

Comments

  1. Colleen chimes in

    My boss just popped her head out of her office…”what in the world are you laughing at?” Good luck with the little trundler!

  2. chimes in

    You have the most fascinating adventures with animals. Simply fascinating. Living with squirrels who worship Pat Elrod as the Squirrel Goddess, Mafia chipmunks and an all black Hemingway cat (yes, they are evolving thumbs, people) totally pales by comparision. You really should collect these blogs and publish them when you get the time. I would buy the compilation in a minute.

  3. chimes in

    I was laughing so hard reading this post that my Mom called over from the kitchen to see if I was okay. I relayed part of the story to her and she was also amused, although she thinks you’re nuts for having multiple pets. :-)

  4. particle_person chimes in

    Oh dear. I did mention the entire stereo system my mom’s poor bulldog Bugsy ate. We eventually recovered the half-digested remote control with no harm done. To the dog.

  5. Ariadne chimes in

    I have a wonderful Rottie puppy, Lily, the same age as Odd who also explores the world by chewing on it. Kong makes some chew toys you can put treats in that will stand up to Rottweiler chewing – so they might also work for a bulldog. Working to get the treat out of the toy will help keep him occupied while he’s in the crate. Good luck.

  6. chimes in

    Oh, poor baby! We had a lab once who hated her crate so much that she chewed a gaping hole in the plastic and cut herself up trying to get out, so I’m glad your baby’s okay.

  7. Wolf Lahti chimes in

    I can *so* relate, as we have a new puppy, a Shetland Sheepdog, the spouse’s breed of choice (not mine). Herding breeds each have their unique style for keeping livestock in line: Border Collies use ‘the eye’, Aussie Cattle Dogs nip, and Shelties yip (or yap, depending on the accent). Ours has a yip with all the melodious quality of fingernails on a blackboard.

    To the Sheltie brain, yipping is *the* response to every possible situation. Whether it’s needing to pee, wanting to eat, wanting attention, hearing a strange noise, hearing a familiar noise, being happy, being unhappy. If a toy rolls under the sofa, the obvious mode of attack is to yip at it until it gets properly herded out where it can be played with again. (Oddly enough, this actually works, although it usually involves some human intervention.) The first time the puppy slept till eight o’clock, with no noise coming from his crate, the spouse was certain he had died in the night.

    And, yes, when the mouth is not busy yipping, it is used to investigate (by taste and chewiness) every existing thing in reach–with an especial fondness for shoes and the expensive sheepskin throw rug. Shelties are truly the Geminis of the canine world.

  8. chimes in

    You do have a way with words, my dear. I was laughing so hard I was crying. (Very vivid imagery!) I look forward to the further adventures of little Odd, Miss B and The Mad Tortie, though I’m sure you are rather ambivalent about this thought… :P

  9. Aimee chimes in

    Omg! I had a great Dane puppy…and finally managed to creat train him with treats too! Ours was really big( I sectioned it off when he was a puppy) and was heavy so it didn’t move. Can’t believe your cat decided to break in the rookie…..muhahahahaha! Good luck!