Avocado, Pineapple & Coffee Grounds, Oh My!


Hurricane Wailea has expanded the scope of her diet once again.  In the past, I’ve chronicled her adventures devouring playing cards, US currency, leather boots, leather gloves, and the like.  But last week, our black Lab-ish pup outdid herself.

We brought her up to Lake Tahoe for her first encounter with the snow.  She jumped out of the hatchback into the white stuff with aplomb.  Dancing around as if she were playing in the sand by Crissy Field.  Several photos and videos were captured, Snapfished, and Instagrammed for posterity.  All was right in the world.

And then the bottom dropped out.  Not immediately, but definitely literally and figuratively — the bottom dropped out.  Of the trash bag.  In the garage downstairs.  While we were all, for the most part, gone for the day at Kirkwood cajoling and coddling our kids.  We entrusted the care of our dog to a normally very trustworthy family friend.  Let’s call him “Jack.”  (“Jack” may or may not be his real name.)  Others in our group who were headed to the mountain also so entrusted him with their own dogs. 

Now, though it may seem that I am about to throw Jack under the bus, let me be clear:  I am. 

You see, Jack neglected to quiz us about Wailea’s culinary predilections.  Rather than take pen, pad and clipboard in-hand, Jack merely kept his seat at the kitchen table, continued working on his sleek iPad, and generally gave us the reassuring sense of confidence in his being up to the task.  I have yet to encounter a task to which Jack has not been up, quite frankly.  But still, he really should have sat us down, insisted that we painstakingly fill out a lengthy questionnaire regarding fruits, veggies and such, in the interest of being thorough.  Any serious dog-watcher would do this. 

When we returned later in the afternoon, with sore quads, runny noses, and matted hair, the rising garage door revealed something awful.  Terrible.  Nauseating.  The garbage (we’d call it “compost” in San Francisco, but it’s “garbage” in Tahoe), stowed carefully in a large white plastic bag, had been ripped asunder.  As if a bomb had exploded its insides.  The horrific scene was exacerbated by the kids’ melodramatic dry heaves.  Another friend of mine (let’s call him “Raj”) and I went to work, barely suppressing our own dry heaves, literally shoveling the spewn contents back into the inadequate Hefty bag.  I would recount the various items I shoveled, but I would rather not.  Suffice to say, it was the detritus from the breakfasts, lunches and dinners our tribe of 13 humans had concocted and consumed (mostly) over the last several days. 


My wife and I immediately launched into a defensive posture, blaming the other dogs for ripping into the trash.  (Of course we blamed Jack, as well.  For not keeping the dogs in line during our absence.  He doesn’t blog, as far as I know, so the sound of his his skull rattling under that bus will continue on during this particular paragraph.)  Our dog would never eat trash.  Never.  It must have been the other furry beasts in our group.  Shame on them!  And shame on their careless owners!

Our nagging suspicion as to the true garbage-eating culprit was jarringly confirmed several hours later, at 3am.  That’s when Wailea seemingly turned her stomach inside out, revealing to us her illicit behavior with the Hefty bag. Among other tidbits within the squirrel-sized, um, bolus, were some coffee grounds, as I recall.  Hilary and I did our best rendition of Harvey Keitel’s “The Wolf” in Pulp Fiction, erased from our minds what we have done (for our own peace of mind and mental health), and then settled back into bed. Satisfied that this was but an isolated incident.

Two days later, we packed our little Prius up for the four-hour drive back home to San Francisco.  Of course we carved out a very humanely-sized area in the rear for Wailea. Complete with her little doggie pillow for her little doggie bed.  We had obviously long-since repressed the memory of the 3am vomit-fest.  Vomit-fest?  What vomit-fest?

An hour into the drive, 9 year-old Everett suddenly and violently objected to a noxious scent he detected, immediately and falsely accusing his father (that’s me) of some inappropriate flatulent behavior.  Moments later, the scent wafted towards the front of the car.  It was not of this earth.  Hilary and I began snapping our heads around in the vehicle, as if the offending thing would somehow become immediately visible.  Adrenaline-fueled, I fairly skidded to the side of the road, fishtailing into a local floral shop’s parking lot, so as to permit a full-vehicle inspection.  The inspection was short-lived.  We found another, um, bolus, on Wailea’s little doggie pillow.  I’ll spare you the gory details, except to say that I did spy in my brief glimpse a whole avocado pit.  How Wailea managed to keep that pit in her belly, polish it up, and produce it two days later I will never know. Regardless, Harvey Keitel makes another cameo, all scary things are repressed with forced smiles and some false bravado humming, and we are back on track.  Convinced that (a) this never happened, and (b) if it did happen, it surely would never happen again.

Yesterday, we fell easily back into our post-vacation work and school schedule.  Still basking in the Norman Rockwellian images from our time at Kirkwood. Trading effervescent texts and emails with the group of friends that had all thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company. 

But Wailea wasn’t yet ready to release her own grip on the Sierra Nevada, apparently.  In the afternoon, I found another, um, bolus, on her little doggie pillow (which had been returned to its rightful position in her little doggie crate).  Flabbergasted by our pup’s magical stomach, I studied the, um, bolus, with an archeologist’s intensity, and identified a baseball card-sized chunk of pineapple skin.  Harvey, repress the memory, back to happy happy.

A day later, and it now appears that Wailea’s gastrointestinal tour de force has at long last reached its conclusion. Which is a good thing, because I think another incident would likely trigger a full-blown eruption of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder across my entire family.  PTSD averted, thankfully, though we won’t be serving coffee, guacamole or pineapple upside down cake anytime soon. 

Thanks for reading.


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