"Miss Rinn's Home for Peculiar Diseases"

I’m failing miserably at writing my memoir. It’s not for lack of content because I assure you the year and a half I spent in South Texas making an outrageously half-assed attempt at earning a college degree could easily be turned into a series, with an entire book dedicated to the dog I adopted from the humane society using a fake ID. The dog who I somehow managed to harbor in my dorm room for months and had a weird habit of shiting under beds. I wasn’t there when my friend had to explain to her mom why there was poop under her bed but I can imagine that it would make for a rather entertaining chapter in itself.

No, the experiences are definitely there. Rather the sheer amount of WTF moments has proved overwhelming. I’ll try to find a moment to record how I rationalized smuggling a puppy into my dorm room because I lived on the first floor of a building that faced a field and could easily open my screenless window to let him out to piss (never did I consider that dogs bark and that other windows faced this field and could easily witness my outstretched arm holding a leash while he squats to do his business) and then I’m interrupted in trying to alleviate and manage what started as seasonal allergies...on Tui. That’s right, my current, non-fugitive dog has allergies. It’s not enough that Rinn takes daily doses of Zyrtec, Flonase, and both of us have to have our clothes washed in free-and-clear detergent but it’s been determined that Tui is allergic to being outside during certain times of the year.

This is the dog who lives purely for exploring the backyard where he will undoubtedly team up with the cat to track down, trap and transfer some unsuspecting critter to the garage leaving it’s carcass for me to find; serving as a reminder to be thankful that they rid the land of all the moles, tarantulas and snakes that were foolish enough to take up residence on our property. Take this away and he would be a furry shell of his former self; the equivalent would be me breaking out in hives every time I drank wine in bed or bought a discount romper I definitely didn’t need at TJ Maxx. Not to mention our lawn would quickly become a nightmarish minefield of creepy crawly varmint. The horror.

We tried coconut oil in Tui’s food to combat dry skin from the inside and lathered him up in an oatmeal based shampoo to soothe itches from the outside but I lost this year’s war on allergens and we ended up seeking a professional opinion after I noticed nasty patches of flaky skin and hair loss (I can have short hair but he is forbidden from shedding his lustrous coat). Thank the stars we did because he was diagnosed with a full body staph infection; allergies lead to excessive scratching leads to sores leads to infection and vwala you’re pet is on daily doses of antibiotics and antihistamines and you’re forking over $132 dollars for something that spends most of his downtime licking his own butthole.

Having had my own bout with staph last year (excessive aerial flight time leads to loose harness leads to chafing in unmentionable places leads to infection in those unmentionable places) I asked the veterinarian if this is the same contagious strain of staph that humans get.

“Does he sleep in your bed? I probably wouldn’t do that for the next 4-5 days.”

As passive and indirect as his response was I picked up what he was putting down but couldn’t bring myself to banish my already sick and pitiful pet to his crate. Last winter Tui found a wounded finch in the backyard; unable to let Darwinism prevail and ignore it’s cries for help, I put the bird in a shoebox determined to nurse him back to health. I even took him to my biology class the next morning so I could get expert advice from my professor on how to care for a sick bird. Unfortunately the little fellow died during the lecture and I was left carrying around the shoebox with his corpse stuffed inside like a crazy person until I could dispose of his remains without being noticed. I’m a sucker for animals, it’s my cross to bear but I bear it proudly. Bear...see what I did there...moving on.

Having accepted that I might end up with staph because I’m a sap, my only battle then was to figure out how to keep Rinn from crawling in my bed in the middle of the night which he regularly does after he uses the bathroom around 4am. While I can justify putting myself at risk I can’t do the same to my child. See, I do have some shining moments as a mother. Unless Rinn is outside palling around with his Papa and you’re asking him to come in for dinner, which results in an earth-shattering tantrum that I often think will end with the neighbors calling CPS, he is a relatively reasonable child. With that in mind, we engaged in a simple conversation where I explained Tui’s diagnosis, my pushover personality and how Rinn should stay put in his own bed for a few days so we don’t end up going to urgent care...again. Apparently small boys can have adverse reactions to chigger bites when those bites occur on the wiener and they end up with something the medical professionals call “summer penis.” Seems we’re a family doomed to face bizarre ailments.

Rinn graciously understood and I assured him that if he was desperate to co-sleep he should simply wake me up and I would join him in his bed for the night, leaving Tui snoring loudly, probably belly-up-weiner-out on my queen-sized mattress. They really need to rethink using the a-dog’s-life adage to describe life’s difficulties and unpleasantries, a dog’s life is where it’s at. The 4 to 5 days that the vet suggested have come and gone. Rinn has returned to sleeping in my bed after his nightly trip to the bathroom, we both avoided contracting yet another infectious disease and Tui no longer resembles a leper. Maybe now I can get back to work on writing my memoirs, which at this point could double as a manual fur curious and unusual maladies, the working title being: “Sand Fleas, Staph and Summer Wiener: Miss Rinn’s Home for Peculiar Diseases”.

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