Some of my neighbors enjoy a good cookout. This is an understatement, actually. This past weekend at least 15 of my neighbors and their family and friends laid claim to the slab of concrete next to our building and set themselves up a cookout to end all cookouts. It started late in the morning and carried on until late that night. Roughly 12 hours worth of meat, smoke, and bone-gnawing. It’s not really my thing, ripping meat off the bone with my teeth. No one, including my family, knows where I got so uppity, but there you have it. I like my meat de-skinned, de-boned, and preferably sliced into pretty little pieces before I am willing to take aim with a utensil. Nobody taught me to be that way, so let’s just say it’s instilled in the very fiber of my being. 

So imagine my horror when I took Mia out today to relieve herself and looked down just in time to see her little muzzle snap up a little ant-covered…something. Mia is still wearing her E-collar, mind you, so really this was quite a feat. As fast as my brain could process, I assumed the object in question was A) food and B) an artifact from the meat marathon this past weekend. The image of a bone getting stuck in my little pup’s gullet popped into my head. It was replaced with the image of a vet bill with little green dollar signs popping out of it to the soundtrack of  “Cha-CHINNNG!” Without further ado I swung into action. I grabbed Mia’s nose and found myself face to face with a bulb of greasy chicken skin protruding past her whiskers. Cue dry heave number one (my own, not Mia’s).

Now, Mia is used to having to drop at my command the various and sundry objects that she in all her puppyness loves to pick up. But the second her little taste buds wrapped around the greasy scrumptiousness of someone’s discarded bone, we were suddenly in the midst of a entirely new ball game. “Mia,” I said in my most commanding voice, “GIVE.” I hoped my obedient pup would drop it docilely from between her teeth. The new visual in my head was the interior of her mouth filled with crawly ants and someone’s gnawed up leftovers, and I did not relish the thought of going in and retrieving it. I waited expectantly and was rewarded instead with growl that sounded suspiciously like, “There is no way in hell I am giving this one up, it is wayyy better than your underwear.”

And so I went in. I pried open her jaw to remove the truly offensive object. The smell of warm puppy breath and old chicken hit my nose as fingers closed around slimy, squishy fat wrapped with hot, wet tongue. I imagined someone smiling, chewing, and slobbering all over gelatinous bits of fat before tossing it aside…and just like that, the uncontrollable gagging starts. “You damn *gag* dog, let *gag* it *gag* go! The meat stretched a little as I pulled and I gagged again. With a wave of desperation (and nausea) coming over me, I wrenched the bone out of Mia’s mouth and flung it far, far away. I then dragged her into the building, up the stairs, and into the apartment where I lost no time heading straight for the sink. 

The gagging, dry-heaving, and obsessive hand washing have not ceased since (okay, so it just happened, but whatever). Inevitably, the physical reaction causes goosebumps to break out across my arms, reminds me of pimply chicken skin, and it all starts over again. Mia, on the other hand, is still licking the interior of her E-collar to the best of her ability and looking at me balefully. I offered her a nice, safe, dry rawhide. No dice.