I think my puppy might need to be exorcised. We were looking for something friendly and mellow. It didn’t matter what breed or mix it was as long as it was healthy. Cute would be a bonus, because it’s harder to hate cute when the inevitable messes happen. We brought home a puppy, cute friendly, bouncy and velvety soft on a Thursday. By Friday, our older dog was happily bounding around the yard with the puppy, totally smitten.
By Saturday, the puppy started excreting a pungent runny leak that I think I could market to the military as a chemical weapon. To start with, this was irritating, but not worrisome. 2.5 seconds after you look away from any puppy, they eat something they shouldn’t. Or pee on something. I think there’s a cosmic coin flip that decides which one you get each time. That should have been my first clue though: isn’t the smell of sulfur a sign of possession? By Saturday night, it was clear the puppy needed to always be close to open windows, running water and the front door.
I took the first night on the couch by the front door while puppy stayed in a kennel right next to me. Puppies with unpredictable leaks stay in comfy kennels that can be hosed down if necessary. That’s when the second sign of possession appeared: our adorable new puppy transformed into a high volume cross between a Star Wars Tauntaun and Dark Crystal Fizgig. Ever seen a sick kid demand a popsicle and deliberately choose to cry when they don’t get their 3rd popsicle? With a terrifying and far too intelligent gleam in her eyes, the new puppy figured out that human trick. It might have been funny if she hadn’t figured it out at 2 am while I figured it out at 4 arm. For the next 2 days, the puppy was taken outside every 2 or 3 hours around the clock. We ran through towels so fast I bought a giant bag of them from goodwill and dubbed them puppy towels. A gallon of Natures Miracle was used up in days. In spite of those efforts, we still had a couple of 3am dog baths. And through all of it (except the baths), the puppy was eating good food, drinking plenty of water and bouncing around playing happily at every opportunity.
Only then did I begin to suspect she was possessed by a demon sent to taunt us and drive us mad with toxic gases and sleep deprivation. We finally got her in to see the vet and since they were overbooked she had to stay over night before they could see her. Which (Hurray!) meant we’d get to sleep an entire night through. This is when I knew we were being toyed with by something unnatural. At 2 am, Kris’ phone rang. 2am phone calls mean panic inducing bad news, so there was adrenaline before the ring tone faded. The call told us our phone and internet access had been blocked and that we needed to contact them immediately. I spent the next 30 minutes confirming that it was in fact a phishing call at 2 am. Whatever possessed the puppy clearly had access to the internet and phone lines.
Puppy came home the next day with medicine and instructions that it would be 5 days before she no longer leaked uncontrollably. She would still need to go out every 3 hours around the clock. For 3 days, the toxic smell and chemical weapon production slowed down. I thought we might have forced the horned entity from our cute puppy with medications. But no. It all started getting worse again. So back we went to the vet who I was hoping had a secret identity as a Voodoun priest. This time, they kept the puppy for a night and we got delicious decadent sleep without nightmares of toxic green ooze flowing through the house. The day the puppy was due to come home, I had to be at work 3 hours early at 5 am for a production release. But, I’d get off work a few hours early, pick up the puppy then go home and nap. At 3pm, I picked up the puppy from the vet and was told they couldn’t find anything wrong with her in the 24 hours they’d had her. At 3:06pm on I-205 she violated her kennel and my car with a torrent of something unspeakable. The rest of the drive home was unpleasant as I wondered if there was a puppy in the back or a shape shifting demon who’d been angrily waiting for me at the vet for 2 days. When I got home and looked in the kennel, I saw a puppy, but smelled a demon. I cleaned puppy then set her on the porch next to me while I cleaned the kennel. 2 minutes later, she’d done it again. 4 minutes later, she did it a third time and broke a law of physics. Unless there was a dimensional wormhole in her intestine, there’s no way that much volume could be held by a body that small. So back to the vet we went because that is not a puppy, that’s a supernatural incursion.
The next day, I got a call from the vet. He told me there was nothing wrong with the puppy. I started asking questions because clearly his mind had been wiped by the TonTon incantations of the false puppy. That’s when I discovered that the vet was a wise and kind man, but his staff had been replaced by brainless zombie replicants incapable of conveying information. The vet was in fact a medicine man of many talents and with all of the information he needed would keep her another night and perform the correct medicinal ceremony to start the puppys withdrawal from the dark side.
The next morning I received a call at 8am from the vets office berating me for not having the puppy enrolled in puppy classes. Now that I knew the staff were mindless replicants, I was patient as I explained that the puppy was about 8 feet from the desk she was calling me from and was only fit for puppy classes if they were going to provide respirators and silver crosses to all the humans.
Later that same day, the vet finished blessing puppy and sent her home with an involved series of ceremonies that needed to be repeated 6 times a day for a week. We finished all the unguents and medicines yesterday and now we’re waiting. And watching. Is the demon exorcised for good, or is it hiding quietly under floppy puppy ears? If you don’t hear from us for a couple of days, make sure you have your crucifix when you come looking.
I am loving your vignettes… They remind me of the whimsy of Frank Baum… With adult sophistication.
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