My life is not an entirely pleasant one. No one’s is of course, but for the most part the general population manages to go about their days free from the dread that gnawed at the psyches of World War One trench soldiers like plague rats on decaying flesh: gas. For me, this anxiety is a daily reality that haunts me, sometimes waking me at night with its stealthy, stinking presence. No, I’m not insane & no, I’m not creating fiction for your entertainment; trust me. I live in a near constant state of distress because I share my heart & home with six Boston terriers & a Boxer – brachycephalic dog breeds which have a propensity for discharging fogs of fetid flatulence ad nauseam.
Sometimes I’m offered mercy; granted a few moments to escape by the sound of the ‘bomb’ releasing from across the room. Although the easiest farts from which to flee, these noisome raspberries are strident & quite mortifying when guests are present, as they range from furtive, airy “Pweeeeeeeeeee!!!” whistles up to floor-rumbling bass, where-the-hell-is-the-toilet-paper, moist, trucker-jeans blow-outs. My Boxer, Copper is the Champ at trucker farts. He prefers to hold them until he knows I’ve settled into bed & am perhaps nearly asleep, but not so far gone that my sense of smell has shut down. Usually, I’m lying there rigid as a botoxed forehead with my eyes huge as golf balls, staring blindly into the dark, just waiting for the attack to begin. I’ve learned through the years that the most devastating air strikes take place under cover of night… And it comes, as it always does. If I’m cowering under the blankets, all I notice is a thunderous reverberation through my pillow – but I know what it is, I know what’s coming next, & I know I can’t escape.
It’s nigh impossible to describe the vile, staggering essence that issues from these pursed doors to Hell. I’m not a connoisseur, you see. I’m simply a victim of circumstance. I’ve suffered this torment since 1988 & I’m afraid I know too much. Each strike delivers a unique bouquet, not only special to that dog, but specific to that particular emanation. No two discharges are ever alike; much like snowflakes, but critically deficient in both sparkle & artistic value. The putrid odors produced by my dogs have routinely put to shame grown men who pride themselves on gassing their wives beneath the marital blankets. When women such as these proud survivors rush out of a stricken room gasping for air, I know my dogs are dangerous. And I’m incongruously proud. Go figure.
The “silent-but-deadly” hits are the absolute worst, & Pinky the Boston has the best guerrilla warfare tactic to get in, make the hit, & get back out undetected. At eight, Pinky is currently our eldest Boston terrier, the Alpha & Sheriff of our pack. She rules with an iron tongue; she licks when she’s happy & she licks when she’s upset, she just does it differently. Pinky has also perfected her “Puss in Boots” eyes. This ploy is perfect for begging to be picked up when she wishes to plant a silent-but-deadly. Once held in arms, Pinky then employs her tongue, licking every bit of skin she can reach to distract whoever is holding her from the fact that she’s practically grunting with the effort to expel a fart in their arms & onto their clothing. Once she accomplishes her mission, she makes a leap toward freedom & it isn’t until ten or fifteen seconds later that the stench steals into the nostrils of whomever unwittingly fell for those huge, liquid eyes of hers… She gets me every damned time.
I love my dogs dearly, but it’s exceptionally difficult living this way, never knowing from which direction the next blast will come, or how horrendously ruinous it might be. Trucks rumbling by on the road out front have sent me running from the room in blind terror, certain I was about to be killed outright. I beg my husband not to feed the dogs any sort of ‘people food,’ but he claims it doesn’t make any difference what they eat, they gas us regardless. I secretly tend to agree with him, but I’m also petrified beyond belief when I see him considering a bit of leftover pork chop or chicken breast… And I know from raucous, rank, sickening experience that mashed potatoes are a recipe for disaster. Gads!! (shuddering)
As I share these thoughts, I find my eyes skittering apprehensively about me; taking in the cozy scene of this evening’s three ostensibly amiable, devoted companions, all snuggled warmly about me on the bed. But I’m neither naïve nor unwise; I’ve been engaged in this conflict for nearly twenty-five years & I know not to let appearances deceive me. For all their outward charm & quirky, bulgy-eyed appeal, I have learned the hard way that smushy-faced dogs are nothing more than fur-coated mobile barrels of self-replenishing bio-hazardous gas that seek only to lure unsuspecting humans into range; the goal: to trigger their Hellish sphincter release valves. If you’re fortunate & they give you a fair chance, you’ll at least hear a sinister, squeaky “Pweeeeeeeeee….” At that point, it’s every human for herself (or himself, of course – you big guys are certainly free to escape, too) & you’d better hope you’re wearing a turtleneck, as I am right now. Whatever you wear, if you plan to visit our Bostons & Copper the Boxer, anticipate lots of sweet kisses & cuddles, but come prepared for massive amounts of malodorous malevolence…Trench warfare has never been so adorable.