Death dog wants to cuddle

So a new babysitter took care of our crew this weekend, a super sweet 14-year-old who sometimes babysits a friend’s child.

She was darling—played tag with the children outside, made sure they brushed their teeth, kept the T.V. watching to a minimum and had them in bed on time. (Basically all of the stuff I wish I did more consistently.) The children loved her!

So did Jasper.

You remember Jasper, don’t you? The fluffy, sweet-faced lunch-bag pee-er?

Here’s the thing: Jasper isn’t the smartest pup. He rams into the screen door full force every. Single. Day. He tries to go through the hinged-side of a door when it opens. He once barked at my purse for a half-hour straight. He went nose to nose with the neighborhood black bear, tail wagging wildly, too stupid to know he might be tasty.

But I digress.

Here’s the thing you really need to know about J-dog. As soon as you sit on a couch, Jasper will sit beside you. He will shimmy until he is perfectly molded to your side, his head resting against your shoulder. It doesn’t matter if you were a stranger a moment ago. You sat on the couch. You need cuddles.

So I know that as soon as our sweet babysitter put the children to bed, she waited out the hour until we came home with Jasper glued to her side.

And I feel so, so bad for her.

Once we got home, I asked how the children behaved. She said they were amazing. I asked if Jasper bothered her. There was a moment of silence, and then she commented on how affectionate he is. But there was a weird reluctance.

“He’s due for a grooming,” I said (I’m prone to total verbal diarrhea. If I don’t know what to say, I’ll simply say all the thoughts. All at once.) “He smells gross, but I didn’t want to bathe him because I treated him for ticks, but it’s just the usual needs-to-be-groomed smell. He has an appointment on Tuesday. Emma says he smells like canned peas and corn chips when he needs to be groomed.”


Soon enough, I would find out why.

The smell! It hit me as soon as I walked back into the house. I went to the living room, where Jasper was parked on the couch, awaiting cuddles. It hit me again.

Something dead—long dead—was in the house.

“Is that horrible smell coming from Jasper?”

My husband, because he is a good man, leaned into Jasper and breathed in. And then he immediately began to retch.

A black decaying slime coated Jasper’s neck down to the middle of his chest. While the children played tag, Jasper must’ve played roll-in-the-dead-bird. Insert the sound of me puking here.

We washed the stink pup while I became more and more mortified. “I need to explain it to the babysitter, so she doesn’t think we just let our pets smell of death.”

“Don’t worry,” said my husband. “I’m sure she probably thought that’s just the way our house smelled.”


Because it was so late, I sent the girl a text instead of calling. I tried to explain that our dog—not our house!—was disgusting.

“I was wondering about that,” she replied.

Again, awesome.