We have two dogs in our household. Olive is almost two years old, and we've had her since she was a puppy.
She is incredibly smart. In fact, she is rather too smart for her own good. Her intellect borders on that of an evil genius for a dog. She also has a particular food allergy to poultry so she has to be on a special fish based dog chow. That might seem like a random and superfluous detail, but it will be important later.
Once Olive was out of the worst of her puppy phase we decided it would good for us to get a second dog.Eventually that led us to our second dog Griff. Griff is a good boy, but Griff is very stupid. He is also not in this story so I don't know why I'm even mentioning him.
Prior to officially finding a permanent second dog of our own we had been doing some fostering. It was important to Emily, and I liked reaping the benefits of having a second dog (mainly that Olive had a playmate to burn off her excess energy with so that she wasn't such a terror) without the financial responsibility of owning them ourselves. We searched around to find a foster program that we liked and started taking in dogs while they were waiting to find a home.
One of the first dogs we took in was named Riley.
Riley, like Olive was a shepherd mixed with something small. She was about 30lbs to Olive's 40 and pretty close in size. Riley also happened to share another particularly troublesome characteristic with Olive. A very high intellect for a dog.
In addition to the other traits I have already described, both Riley and Olive shared one other characteristic. An insatiable, manic drive to obtain and consume every edible substance known to dog-kind.
I could start an entire website dedicated to stories about the times Olive has broken out of or into places and devoured an entire cake- I won't as every story would end with "Then she ate the entire cake and looked like a bowling ball with feet" which would get boring after the first or second time.
Due to the fact that we had two evil geniuses in the house, hell bent at all costs to obtain and devour anything the could possibly lay their furry little mitts on, we had to take a series of security measures to prevent them from escaping whenever we left the house.
Olive is typically kept in the living room downstairs whenever we leave the house. She has a couch near the window in there that she likes to lay on. We barricade the two doorways into that room with baby gates (We started with one and now have four due to continued escape endeavors).
The baby gate dog jail is typically enough to contain Olive. Riley, we kept in the den inside a large dog crate. Due to the combination of an uncanny and diabolical ability to escape from this crate, and Emily's paranoia about dogs breaking their neck trying to squeeze out of cages with these types of doors we latched it and had to resort to putting a combination lock on the door just to try and keep her in there.
Emily's job is one where she will work a 14 hour day, but only works about three days a week. On days when she is at work, I am typically left to my own devices from the time I get out of work until she arrives home that night.
On one such occasion during Riley's stay with us I went to the gym in the late afternoon, securing both dogs in their designated areas before leaving. I went to the gym, worked out, and came home. All in all I was probably out of the house for two hours.
Upon returning I was greeted by two things: The first was Riley, happily coming to see me at the door.
This confused me, as Riley was not supposed to be greeting me at the door-Riley was supposed to be padlocked inside a crate in the other room.
The second thing was the sight of our house transformed into a desolate wasteland of dog poo.
Imagine a barren expanse of endless depressing landscape as far as the eye can see. Nothing but bombed out buildings and ruin in all directions. Imagine that you are standing at the center of this hellscape as the crumbling remains of society decay around you, leaving you to question if it would not be better if you had never existed at all, so that you would never have had to suffer the misery of the sight before your very eyes.
Now imagine that, plus everything is covered in dog shits.
There were no fewer than eight full sized dog poos and urine puddles scattered throughout the first two floors of the house. I truly and honestly do not understand how a single 30lb dog crapped that much, that many times in such a short period of time.
I went into the den to see if I had forgotten to properly secure Riley in the crate, and on my life I swear to you that when I went in there and looked, the door to the crate was still closed and latched and the padlock was still on there.
That dog somehow got out of a closed, latched and padlocked crate without opening the door. To this day I frankly just don't know how she did it. I can only presume that she has the ability to teleport.
I went into the kitchen next and discovered the source of all the pooing. Riley had gotten onto the counter, pulled down her bag of chow along with Olives special fish food and apparently proceeded to undertake a continuous chain of eating and crapping for the entirety of the time I was out of the house.
I picked up the chow and went to let Olive out of captivity from the other room. I put them both outside so that they wouldn't be in the way while I cleaned up the mess, and because I didn't trust that Riley was finished evacuating the foods she had eaten.
It took me a solid 45 minutes to locate and clean up all of the messes scattered throughout both the downstairs and upstairs of the house. What struck me the entire time was that instead of the messes becoming sloppy or Riley having thrown anything up she seriously appeared to have eaten, processed and crapped out a weeks worth of food over the course of two hours.
Science may never unravel the mysteries of that dog's digestive system.
Little did I know at this point that the nightmare was just beginning....