I’ve done some gross things in my day. Being a parent, it comes with the territory. I’ve cleaned up my share of explosive diarrhea. One time my son vomited a whole meal’s worth of chili – from the top of a bunk bed. It took me 2 days to get chili out of the carpet, off the walls and in the cracks and crevices of the bed. Fun times.
But nothing – NOTHING! – compared to a recent experience that I had with my dog.
I was just getting out of the shower when I heard my husband yelling, “Sherrelle, come quick!” Thinking something was wrong with one of the kids, I ran downstairs in a towel where I was further summoned outside. Ditching the towel and throwing on a coat and my slippers, I go outside to see my son standing on the sidewalk holding our puppy, Chili Dawg. And in his mouth is a dead squirrel.
Let’s stop for a minute and rewind. Did you notice that my husband called me outside? To take a dead squirrel out of my dog’s mouth while he watched from the porch? And this is not the first time that I was asked to handle a dead squirrel. When my dad removed a dead squirrel from our attic he handed it down to me in a trash bag, because he knows that my husband (who was standing right there) wasn’t going anywhere near it.
I’m not squeamish, but even I have my limits. A dead squirrel in a trash bag is not the same as one hanging out of my dog’s mouth. Oh, let me clarify: this wasn’t just a dead squirrel (like from the attic); my dog had picked up squirrel road kill on his walk. It was about 3/4 of a squirrel – minus the head – with blood and guts spilling out. Yeah.
I actually tried to find photo online to accompany this story and there were many to choose from. For some disturbing reason people take photos of squirrel road kill. But I couldn’t bring myself to use a photo; my stomach turned just looking at the images. So this photo of a live squirrel is misleading, but dead or alive I don’t believe that I will ever look at a squirrel the same again.
As disgusting as it was – AND IT WAS DISGUSTING – what choice did I have? My kids couldn’t do it and my husband wasn’t going to do it. My dog’s health depended upon me removing the squirrel from his mouth – which was not going to be easy, I could tell. He had a death-grip on that squirrel and no amount of cajoling or bribing him with treats was working, so I put on rubber gloves and pried his mouth open. To do this I was very close to the dead squirrel and the smell and sight of squirrel guts was overwhelming. I dry-heaved several times in the process, but finally pried the squirrel out of Chili Dawg’s mouth and threw it on the ground. I disposed of most of the squirrel pieces before one final heave told me that I had reached my limit. My husband (watching from the porch) saw that I could go no further and finished picking up the last bit of squirrel guts from the sidewalk. I spent the next half hour sitting on the porch washing Chili Dawg’s face and brushing his teeth.
Still naked under my coat.
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