Toot's House of Love

Ever since the holistic world began touting echinacea as a deflection device for the flu, I have been flu-free. It's safe to say...hypochondriac that I am....that I would ingest just about anything that would ward off those hellish symptoms. And yet, fifteen minutes after Thanksgiving Dinner at Diane Gonzalez's house, I felt an annoying tickle in my throat.

The tickle was annoying enough for me to decline Diane's sister's invitation to a post-dinner DESSERT party. I parked myself on the couch....with the nine resident Eskies, one Min Pin, and the remote control. By the time Diane, and family, returned two hours later, I was perched at death's door. Diane swung into action with tylenol and the hot honey-lemon tea. She offered me the piece of pumpkin pie that she snagged for me at the party, and I almost could not force it down.

Nikita wasn't feeling so well himself on the way back to Boston.

The next morning, I was supposed to drive back to Massachusetts and was not sure I was up for the trip. But then, I felt that--perhaps--we had outworn our welcome, after Nikita crapped green diarrhea on Diane's pink an area known to be off-limits to dogs. Diane can pinpoint the needle in the haystack. After I spent half a nocturnal hour scrubbing that spot with Diane's very own spot cleaners....her first morning words were, "So when did Nikita crap on my carpet?" It was time to hit the road. Besides, I had rescue plans. I was scheduled to pick up Sammy from his owner in Western Connecticut. Right before I pulled into the rest stop, Nikita exploded in the back seat. The aroma was dizzying as I careened into the parking space and raced into McDonalds for emergency water and napkins. I always like to make an entrance.

Sammy's rescue was a very good reason to get out of bed!

The Sammy transfer went smoothly, and I got home just in time to collapse in the bed. By morning, I was shaking....every flu symptom in the book was plaguing me...but, I had rescue plans. I was scheduled to retrieve Pongo from his Massachusetts foster home....and these folks were coming unglued because I had been delayed in picking him up. I had to go. I pulled myself together and downed two cups of Dunkin' Donuts tea. After an hour drive to snag Pongo, and then ten minutes into the return trip, I had to pull over on the highway to make a roadside deposit of the Dunkin' Donuts tea.....not to cast any aspersions on that fine establishment.

Funny, I can recall my good old advertising days, when I considered "sniffles," or a " blue mood" valid reasons to call in sick. Now, it appears that absolutely nothing interferes with rescue. I had not been that sick in ten years, and there I was chauffeuring dogs. This must be what Tony Robbins refers to as "Passion" ....the flipside of "Nuts."

Poor Pongo didn't know what he was getting into.

I barely made it home in one piece. Pongo brought the headcount up to six...four residents and two houseguests. At my best, six dogs would have been a handful, but in my delirious state, my alpha position went up for grabs. It is a sad, sad state of affairs when you can't find room for yourself in your own sick bed. There was nary a space to lay my head. I pushed my way in, and laid flat on my back, praying to God that I could live to see the light of day.

I felt as though I was besieged by locusts as they crawled all over me to garner their positions. Nadia anchored herself across my feet. Irma La Deuce crawled under the covers and sat on my lap ...generating heat equivalent to a blow torch in a sauna. Sammy climbed onto my pillows and planted himself in my hair. Nikita and Pongo each took a hand, and nudged me for ear scratches as though they were flipping dead fish with their noses. And then, just when I thought I was as uncomfortable as I could get....I was overcome with extreme tootness. Toot came slithering up the side of the bed and sat down next to my face. She leaned over with a maniacal gleam in her eye ....belched, puked into the crook of my neck, and then proceeded to lick my cheek with her sweet n' sour puke breath.

Sadly, I couldn't move. I was anchored by Eskies. The tears streamed down my face as I begged her to stop..."Toot, stop."...."Toot, quit it." ....."Toot, knock it off.," TOOT, YOU'RE KILLING ME." I was going to be the first person on record to croak from Toot Love. Six hundred and twenty two kisses later, Toot curled up in a ball and went to sleep, having fully exhausted her facial muscles. One day, I am going to tie her down, and give her six hundred and twenty two kisses. Let's see how she likes it.

Soon, concerned friends began to call in their sympathies. My two best friends, Diane Gonzalez and Ann Harris are inconveniently situated in New Jersey and New York. While Diane was feverishly devising a way to Fed X chicken soup, Ann had one comment on my dog-induced misery....."I hope you are taking AFG pictures." And so, I dragged myself into the kitchen to get the camera.

Once under the kitchen lights, I noticed several tiny blood specks in the lap of my lime green flannel pajamas. OH NO!!! NOT THAT!!!! If this situation was not already rockbottom bad, I discovered that Irma La Deuce was in heat. I cursed myself for giving our rescue girl, Ivy, Irma's spay appointment, and made a mental note to reschedule le snip snip. Panic set in as I realized I had three male dogs -- thankfully neutered -- and one six pound Irma in hormonal hell. However, there appeared to be a bit of gender confusion as Nikita, Pongo and Sammy ignored Irma La Deuce, while Toot and Nadia took turns at the old humparoo.

Nikita always did have poor timing. His interest in Irma La Deuce piqued only after Toot and Nadia had exhausted her, and she was way, way bored with this heat thing. Then, Nikita leered at her from every conceivable angle, until he got on her last nerve. I am happy to report that Nikita managed to teach Irma La Deuce to lift her leg on my antique Haitian fireplace screen. Nikita sees no point in owning fine art if it is not properly peed on.

The next few days were torture in Toot's House of Love. The inconsiderate beasts took their raucous play into my sick bed. They pummeled me with flips and twists and turns. That Toot kept stepping on the remote and flipping me right out of General Hospital....although I couldn't see too much of it anyway past their big heads.

After all I have done for them, you would think that these ingrates could at least have brought me a cup of tea.

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© 2002 Eskies Online/Denise Gareau