The horror of January was making the Grady twins look like fun company.

First it was a lice outbreak, now our dog was deciding to crap endlessly in our new place.

When I talk about a dog pooping on a floor, don’t picture a sweet, 10 lb Chihuahua who has made a firm, glossette-sized doodle on an inch of the living room.

Picture instead, a 110 lb chocolate lab who has stored up 2 days worth of ‘gotta-go’ and decided to let loose in EVERY SINGLE CORNER OF THE HOUSE.

It was a shitstorm. Literally.

There were trails. There were different textures. There were different colours. There were smells that I don’t even have words for. There were rugs that had to be thrown out. There was almost 8 hours of cleaning in the hallway; in the den; in the bathroom; the kitchen. Our shame faced pooch had decided he would redecorate with gusto.

I couldn’t contain my rage. Never mind that he was now cowering down by the front door. This was obviously a plot to mess with my fragile sanity.

Maybe he’s having transitional issues, I thought. We just moved after all.

“BUT I TOLD HIM. I TOLD HIM WE WERE MOVING. I WALKED HIM THROUGH IT.” I was yelling at no one in particular. I had officially lost it.

“Maybe he got into something at the park?” Mused Cap as we scrubbed.

This wasn’t the first time our dog had this issue. There were similar ‘explosions’ at our other place — about once a month. We chalked it up to a gross-but-favourite watering hole at the dog park, a potentially poor reaction to his chicken-based food, and/or the generalization that it was a ‘lab thing’.

That morning however, it seemed to be a diabolical, pre-meditated statement of protest about the change in surroundings.

By the end of the day the floor sparkled, we were exhausted. And after that we became fixated on the dog and his pooping. Of course no matter how many times we took Rolo out to do just that, he wouldn’t. He would just stare at us defiantly with his laser-dog vision. He seemed to say:

“I want to poop where I like to poop and this isn’t it.”

Back inside we’d go. Overnight, Cap was waking up at 2 hour intervals to check the dog.

No poop.

We’d created a comfortable closed in area for him in the kitchen so if there was another accident, we wouldn’t be scrubbing the entire first floor again. His energy was good, he was drinking plenty of water, and he was playful. This went on for a couple days.

No poop.

Tuesday morning we woke up to make pancakes and coffee, safe in the knowledge that Rolo was at least confined in the kitchen should anything happen. But nothing was safe. Nothing.

Rolo had broken out of his confines. And this time, even forensics would have been confused.

I sat on the stairs sobbing, holding Kid Vader. “Mommy?” asked Vee from behind me on the stairs. “Did Rolo…explode?”

Cap stood in the centre of it all, a broken man staring. “How did he even…” Torn between admiration and disgust we pieced together the devastation that was our dog’s opus magnum.

“It looks like he started in the kitchen,” began Cap, tracking the trail, “then broke out and made his way to the living room…where he trickled back down the hall and pooped again here in the back corner of the den… and then… yes —here in the bathroom…” We all retraced the path on our tip toes.

“Then he came back out and pooped again here and here,” continued Cap, “Before heading down the stairs and oh GOD HONEY DON’T LOOK…”

The bottom of the stairs was a sea of rancid dog shit. Vee started crying. There, huddled into the smallest ball we had ever seen was our boy. A shame-faced grin on his face.

My nose was burning and Vee broke the silence. “Soooo… can we get a German Shepard now and give Rolo away?”

“No honey. But if he does this again I WILL TRADE HIM FOR A SWIFFER!”

Downstairs Rolo cried as the whites of my eyes blazed. The mixture of rage and guilt and sadness and fear we were feeling did not dissipate after the hours of cleaning. I couldn’t look at him without growling low in the back of my throat.

A $300 visit to the vet later, we were relieved to find out that it was indeed his diet that was the issue. His tummy wasn’t reacting well to his chicken-based meal. Although I maintained it was because he was passive-aggressively telling us he didn’t like our move.

We began to look at different foods for sensitive dog tummies —raw diets and lamb/grain free kibbles. After much crowd-sourcing and forum stalking and talking to dog lovers and experts, we decided to go with Acana’s Ranchlands grain-free, (beef and lamb) food for sensitive tummies and things have started looking up.

It was mid-January now and things were slowly starting to feel ‘normal’ again. Except that moving forward would mean leaving someone special in the past.

And none of us were ready for that.

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Mantra: When the shit hits the fan it might literally hit the fan.