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I believe that my intuition (“gut” for my guy friends) is never ever ever wrong. Unfortunately I don’t always listen to it, I am 39 you think I would after all this time. Spoiler Alert: that’s a problem. I also think that the universe is always sending out little signals as well, but you have to be open to hearing them. (Yes, you have heard that on Oprah before and it’s true.) I don’t know about you but I often find myself in the middle of some shitty (literally) situation and it is then that I realize – when it is far to late – had I been looking I would have seen this coming.

Monday I went to work a little later than usual and when I was getting ready Dave told me that Cate had, as we call it, big hurried outside. No big deal, that is what she is supposed to do. A little off schedule but that means I won’t have to deal with it for a while – wahoo! Around 11:30 is lunch time in my office for Cate and I, followed by a brisk walk that generally produces another big hurry. It didn’t, but I thought to myself no worries she went “extra” at home – we are good. This is me listening to what my husband said, no weird messages from my gut or the universe, and more importantly no weird signs from my pup. 12:15 and all is good.

From there the day goes from bad to worse with busyness. I would like to say that I am the most awesomest puppy raiser on the planet and that I walk Cate three times a day for her training and to take care of any hurry issues. However, the simple truth is that walking Cate has become important for all of those reasons but my mental health too. I find myself anxiously awaiting those walks to get a breather from my desk. About 3:00 it is time for our third and final walk until it is time to go home. We walk, she works, “little” hurries, meets some new people. As we hit the back door I think – hmmm she hasn’t big hurried, but she should be fine. We go back to the office.

For those having difficulty following that “hmmmm” was the first little sign from my gut. I didn’t listen.

We are finally able to escape, I mean leave, around 5:10. We head out the back door, give her a hurry stop, and head to the car. She quickly little hurried, didn’t really even sniff around for the big hurry, I wanted to leave and so we did. Here is the thing, five month old puppies are no different than five-year old kids. You don’t wait till you see the pee-pee dance to make the go – you make them try before it gets to that point. I didn’t.

On the way home I realize that I have to stop and pick something up. Now a more correct statement is that I did HAVE to stop and pick something up, but I did NOT have to bring Cate. It would have been terribly inconvenient to go home and back out again, and even in light of what happened probably not even necessary had I been listening to the universe. In case you missed it, I hadn’t been listening.

On the way home I have the choice of a couple places I could stop. The first is a big box store and I think – ick I want to get in and out, it will be a pain with Cate, next! Now Cate has been to this store, she is never a pain, and it was quite a bit closer. Sound like a message to you? I would say so, the universe whispering and me not listening.

Stop at the next store. Cate leaps out of the car (on command of course) and lands in the perfect hurry spot. She balks, which in-a-hurry-girl (me) rationalizes is fine because she just little hurried 20 minutes ago. Then I think, oh wait she needs to big hurry because she hasn’t since the morning. We walk back to the planter she sniffs and sits, and I missed it. She is a little antsy, I blew it off and we went in.

As we are in the store I think to myself, oh yeah this is that store where I ran into a pup in training from a different organization who had diarrhea all over. Damn that is embarrassing when it happens I think, chuckling at the memory not paying attention to that being an incredibly loud warning. Cate’s antsyness is increasing but I can’t remember if she has been here before or not yada yada, and dismiss it as she is wanting to have dinner. I have picked up my item (I knew right where it was) and am in now in line, and she all over the place.

This is the moment that time and sound stop. I am around 5 foot 7 and so I am towering over Cate and look directly down at her to see that tale-tale poop squat. In hindsight I am not sure I have ever seen the poop squat from that vantage point, but it is certainly the poop squat. It isn’t a happy sight. Lickety split I put down my item and grab up her hind legs in the air, and say don’t. I start to make a bee line for the door when I realize we have already let some loose so to speak.

Here is the puppy raisers quandary. You want to clean it up, you don’t want your dog to finish, you need to correct your dog and get them outside, but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself. Did I mention this is all happening at the exact same time? You know that I am a pretty prepared puppy raiser, I always have supplies etc but none of the things you have buried in your gianormous purse are close enough to help. Here’s what happened.

While holding her hind legs up in the air I told her sternly don’t, put her legs down, picked up the poop with my bare hands dropped it in her treat bag, left the item I needed and marched out of the store. Once outside she started to squat again so she got another “don’t” and I marched her over to the planter where I asked her to hurry and she did. In this moment I am happy because she was able to wait till I gave her the command because she is learning self-control and because left quite a large – ahem, deposit. For the puppy raisers dying to know, it was “normal.” This wasn’t a stress poop, this was an “I missed my afternoon big hurry and I ate lunch so I just had to go” hurry. 

Now while she is standing there all of the signs that I missed came flooding back and I feel like an ass. Alas, even asses still need office supplies, so we head back in.

Yep, we went back in, and yes I corrected her. This is the deal, she needs to know that she has to hold it, even when her puppy raiser is bad. I need to know I can trust her to hold it, she needs to trust me that I will take her. In Cate’s defense she is a superstar on the hurry, this has never happened before and if I pay attention it won’t again. So we go back in. This time I don’t go right to where my item is, we saunter around a bit, and she is a super star. We navigate the isles, weird sounding machines, and the whole time my antsy Cate-Monster has settled in and only eyes for me. Win!

For those of you who are thinking I am crazy for going back in or for picking up the poop in my bare hands – this is it. This is the post this blog is all about. Puppy raising is hard, gross, and exhausting. It is also absolutely, without of doubt, one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and probably one the best most selfless thing I have ever or will ever do in my life. In short I wouldn’t trade any of it, my life is richer because of puppy raising. Among the things that you learn as a puppy raiser is humility and a how to develop a thick skin. You may be a humble person when you start but when your dog poo’s (and I don’t mean something that is easy to clean up) on the carpet in, oh I don’t know, lets say the carpet of the Nordstrom’s shoe section and all the sales people and customers stop to either point it out or help, it is a pretty humbling experience. I will just say it sticks with you, to the point years later you can be… let me think of an example – Oh I know.. you can be giving a speech in front of a room full of high-profile people, trip over you own feet and get back up and keep going like nothing happened. Trust me falling flat on your face in the middle of your presentation doesn’t even compare to the dread of seeing dog diarrhea inches away from $3000 Manolo Blahnik’s. It just doesn’t.

I also tell you this story because puppy raisers make mistakes, especially me. The title of this blog is three-for-three for a reason. Sabina, Lacinda, and Cate have all done the big hurry in a store or mall or similar. I do take sort of a pass on Lacinda because she had a delicate tummy and had just gone before we went inside, some puppy raisers are cursed with dogs who “go on the move” and sometimes we just misread stuff. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I forgot the cardinal rule: when you take your puppy out it is to work and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong you can work your puppy and pick up office supplies at the same time, it is just that the puppy and not the office supplies come first.

I started by saying that if we are open to listening the universe is always whispering to us. What I didn’t say is that if you keep not listening she will find a way to get your attention. Hey Universe – I heard ya loud and clear.