Oreo: An Adventure in Himself

Our dog has been mentioned in several of my posts, but none of them really do him justice.  Oreo is special.  I mean special in the southern "bless your heart" kind of way.  {Aside:  For anyone unfamiliar with the distinct regional differences when using the phrase "bless your/his/her heart," here's a primer.  Oreo broke his back two years ago.  There was emergency surgery (on Memorial Day weekend when there are GREAT rates on emergency pet surgeries) and months of bed rest in a kennel before he was able to come home.  He is, for the most part, fine.  But he no longer has complete feeling throughout his backside and hind legs.  His proprioceptive sense is wonky to be exact.  Or, as Aunt Carrie likes to say, he has drunk butt.  Knowing this information, if someone were to inquire about Oreo's gait, a Midwesterner would say something along the lines of; "You know, he broke his back but bless his heart he's trying hard not to let that slow him down."  Whereas a Southerner would probably say; "He sure does walk funny, bless his heart."  Lobster, back me up on this.  And I certainly mean no disrespect to my southern friends.  I mean after all, you can't help it.  It's how you were raised, bless your hearts.}  He fits in perfectly with the family as he's certainly got issues but is a love all the same.

We adopted Oreo from a no-kill shelter during an adoption drive on April Fool's Day.  A more obvious sign could not have been sent.  The word "fool" was written on the calendar for heaven's sake.  Oreo had been born at the shelter and his litter mates had all been adopted.  That probably should have been another clue that he was unique.  But Sean and I were young and dumb and thought the puppy playfully annoying the other dog in the adjacent cage was cute.  Bonus, he had short hair so he wouldn't shed much.  Fast forward five years, a million destroyed chew toys not to mention a couple of my shoes, an overly long puppy phase, a Labor Day emergency vet visit involving ingested weapon lubricant, mysterious vanishing steaks, a dead bunny not allowed to rest in peace, a sleepover with the neighbors, and enough dog hair on the couch to make an actual new dog, and you have the 40 pound neurotic lap dog wannabe that I had to have groomed yesterday.

Oreo is pretty sure he's human but better looking.  And I won't deny that he's very handsome.  He has been called a "beautiful pointer pup" in his day.  I had a gentleman stop at our house in North Carolina to inquire if that "good-lookin' pointer is available for breeding."  True story.  Oreo was tethered in the front yard and a guy driving by wanted to "stud" him.  Um, how should I put this?  How about:  He's no longer of service in that area.  Bless his heart.  For awhile Oreo had it good.  There were no kids; just him, me, and Sean in the house and on road trips.  He got spoiled.  Crazy spoiled.  And now he thinks he's a human.  And now public baths are beneath him and therefore nerve-wracking.

When Oreo gets nervous, he sheds.  Not just a little, but enough to make you wonder when you put on that soft, white fur coat.  Wait.  I don't have a soft, white fur coat.  Ah.  I'm sure that yesterday on our way to PetSmart (he always knows where we're going somehow - joy ride or Nana and Papa's, he keeps his hair, PetSmart or the vet and he's bald) people thought it was snowing in the car what with all the white hair blowing around in the air conditioning.  But he tries to be brave and doesn't fight the leash going in.  Which is good because a fighting dog and a double stroller might be beyond my powers.  When dropping Oreo off, I always go through the "he has a back injury" introduction so they don't feel the need to explain to me that they didn't break my dog when I pick him up later.  All the while, Sweet Girl is continuously repeating her wish to go visit the fish tank and Little Man is torturing the very well-behaved mastiff next to us by waving his rice rusk in front of his face and then pulling it back quickly.  Though Little Man is directly responsible for the pound Oreo has gained in the last four months, he apparently only shares his food with dogs that ride in the car with us.  Oreo is looking at me with pleading brown eyes and making the fur literally jump off him.  Sorry dog, you smell.  So a bath is what you're getting.

Oreo gets dropped off and we check out the fish.  Then we go home and de-fur the house as much as possible.  Little Man seems a little lost without a dog to chase and Sweet Girl takes the opportunity to line up Oreo's toys for him.  Oreo puts up with the kids because he realizes he goes before they do.  It took him about five days after we brought Sweet Girl home to realize that if he sits next to a baby we definitely won't forget him.  So that's how he rolls when he sees suitcases come out.  Once the packing process has begun, you can find Oreo either right next to the suitcase or right next to a small child.  That's where Oreo is.  His fur, on the other hand, is all over the house.  I promise I have never left him anywhere so I'm not sure where his abandonment issues are originating, but they make it difficult to keep the house clean.

Eventually they call to tell me he's clean and dry.  We load up in the car and then unload into the stroller.  We get Oreo and his "Report Card" - like I need the pressure of having people judge my dog - and wheel around to pay.  Sweet Girl attempts to hand a dog biscuit to every furry creature in the store and Oreo is smelling everything.  In the parking lot he falls behind.  That's odd, we're on the way home.  He usually pulls me to the car.  I turn around to see my dog pooping on the pavement.  Traffic stopped because Oreo couldn't hold it any longer.  There's not really anything else I could do but stand there, with my kids in the stroller, and wait for him to finish his business.  The closest "Oops" bag station was three rows over so I had to leave the business there, load up the kids and the dog, blast the a/c in the car so no one got heat stroke, and then go clean up the mess.  Hot, sweaty, and annoyed I finish the task and drive home.  After unloading and getting everyone a rounds of drinks I take a look at Oreo's report card.  Apparently the woman with whom I deposited Oreo was not his actual groomer and she did not pass along my tale of old back injuries.  The report card said "He's so sweet and soft!  But I'm worried that he walks a little weird."  He sure does.  Bless his heart.


  1. Will he be bald by the time you get home from Texas? Carrie, Annie, Jamie and I will be unrecognizable in our new fur coats.

  2. Both our dogs are non-shedders, which was the one and only requirement I had before signing on to get one. And then another one, who is eating everything in the house right now. She jumped up to the counter yesterday and pulled a syrup bottle down-when I wasn't there-so I got to come home to the smeared syrup. That'll learn me to leave my kitchen messy! HAHAHAHA-like I'm gonna clean it every morning before taking kids to buses!

    We have a groomer who comes to the house in a van. I just couldn't leave Leo at the place with the cages anymore-he got so nervous and then would sleep all day recuperating. Now, Peter, who's young, and stoner-ish, comes and Leo (and now, Cobie) get washed and fluffed, and there are no other dogs freaking them out. But it's getting expensive. I might let them be long-haired hippie dogs...easier to mop us the syrup with their beards.

  3. Do you think Molly learned the nervous shedding from Oreo? Should you have to drag her into a car, there is a perfect replica of her in white fur on the floor of the back seat, the only spot in the car she will stay in.


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