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Poop Bugs

We interrupt our laborious Labor Day weekend posts to bring you a docublogumentary post from the elusive Cap’n Firepants.  My husband, who usually has to force himself to show any interest in my blogging world, for some reason took it upon himself to provide me with a topic that he thought would fascinate my readers – The Amazing Poop Bugs of  Southeast Texas.

Every time we go to The Ranch, our citified group cannot get over the miraculous work of the dung beetles in the yard.  We usually have a combined total of at least four dogs when we all converge on The Ranch – and four dogs make a lot of poop.  But, no scooping is necessary because these little insects remove it faster than we can.  Well, faster than we, who have absolutely no desire to spend our weekend of relaxation scooping poop, are inclined to do.

This time, the Cap’n decided that the 10 other people who read my blog might actually want to know about these creatures – and would like photos.  So, I give you some morning coffee worthy pics of bowel movement-dozing beetles.  You can thank the Cap’n for this educational post.

Approximately 5.1 billion beetles converge on a poop pile in the middle of the yard.
photo credit:  Cap’n Firepants


Vladimir Pooptin assigns each beetle a ball of poop twice as high as itself to roll across the yard to the Designated Poop Beetle Warehouse, which we still have not discovered.
photo credit: Cap’n Firepants

Rebel Poop Beetles, looking for political asylum, roll their poop balls out of the yard and onto the concrete patio.
photo credit: Cap’n Firepants

In about an hour, the pile of poop is gone.  No sign that it ever existed.  I’m not sure where it goes.  But, as long as it isn’t in my suitcase, I’m good with this process.

We’ve talked about bringing a pack of Poop Bugs back to our house, so we would never have to scoop Wonderbutt’s Poop Pen again.  We’ve talked about breeding them, and marketing them to pet owners and parents of potty training toddlers.

But none of us wants to touch them.

So, instead, for twenty years, we have watched the Poop Bugs perform their magic, and dreamed of making millions of dollars off these remarkably disgusting, but industrious little creatures.

Just one of the many highlights of our weekends at The Ranch…


I Hope You’re Not Eating

The other morning, I stumbled out of bed to go eat breakfast.  Dimples and the Cap’n were just finishing up.  Before I could get my first spoonful of cereal into my mouth, Dimples asked the Cap’n, “Can I tell her?”  The Cap’n said, “Wait until she’s finished eating.”

I don’t know about you, but when someone says that, I pretty much jump to the conclusion that I’m about to hear something gross.  Fortunately, the Cap’n knows me (and most normal people) well enough to recognize that starting the morning with a gross story is not the way to go.  The other conclusion that I jump to when I hear the word “gross”, particularly when it is emitted my darling daughter, Dimples, is that it is going to have something to do with our bulldog, Wonderbutt.

As soon as I finished my last spoon, I said, “O.K.  Go.”  I wanted to get it over with, and I was afraid Dimples was going to explode if she didn’t get the chance to tattle on her little brother in the next five minutes.

“He pooped out a bracelet,” she said, with great satisfaction.

“Was it yours?” I asked, pretty certain that it wasn’t mine – and it certainly didn’t belong to the Cap’n.


“Guess you shouldn’t leave those laying around, then.”

“Don’t you want to see it?”

“Not really.  But thanks for the offer.”

It turned out to be a bracelet of plastic beads.  Lucky for me it was not Dimples’ silver charm bracelet.  It would break my heart to make the poor kid don some rubber gloves and recover that valuable gem from the Poop Pen.

Wonderbutt licks the back of Dimples' chair while we are eating dinner. He's the perfect little brother.

Foiled Again

We took Wonderbutt for a walk today against my better judgement.  If you’ve been keeping up with Wonderful World of Wonderbutt, you know that he likes to Poop as He Walks And I don’t like to clean it up.  And I keep forgetting to bring the necessary accessories for proper removal and disposal.

Today, however, I had a plan of attack.  I immediately began to feed Wonderbutt dog biscuits when we got home from work and school to start getting the whole digestive/excretory system going.  Then I coaxed him outside to his pen, and tried to convince him that it was in everyone’s best interest for him to do his business now.

I tried.

Then Dimples tried.  “I’ll do it,” she stated with exasperation after I failed.  She seems to think that she has a magic technique for extracting poop from the dog.  I have yet to see evidence of this.  She gave up after five minutes.

I was determined, however, to not get thrown in the slammer for allowing my dog to poop on the road.  Well, technically, that is not what would get me put away.  It would be the matter of me running away from the poop which might lead to my criminal record.

About 20 minutes after the Poop Standoff had begun, it was over.  Wonderbutt glared at me, walked through the dog door to do his business, then burst back into the house at 100 mph, ready to rock and roll.

I gave Dimples the all clear and we gathered up all of our supplies.  In order to ward off the Murphy’s Law Enforcement Team, I grabbed a few plastic bags, reasoning that it is only when I am completely unprepared that the worst usually happens.

I felt pretty confident that I had this whole thing figured out.

It was about 76 degrees today, and the dogs were full of vim and vigor.  It’s hard to tell Mrs. P.I.B. is 10 years old, almost 11, when she is prancing around the block, the sun glistening on her golden hair and white muzzle.

The four of us proudly rounded the corner at a leisurely pace, and headed down the Hill of Doom, which is usually where Wonderbutt decides to Poop as He Walks.  I wasn’t nervous, though.  All precautions had been taken.

We passed the point where we usually end up wheeling around and racing back to the house in the hope of making it to our yard before – well, you know.

I smiled.  You are so smart, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, I congratulated myself.

And Wonderbutt threw up chunks all over the road.

Dimples looked at me.

I looked at the plastic bags in my hands.  Suddenly cleaning up poop didn’t seem so bad.

“Run?” Dimples asked.

I nodded.

I would have to check the ordinance in question, but, technically, I don’t think I broke the law this time.

This sign clearly absolves me from worrying about emissions from the front end of the dog.

photo credit: <a href=””></a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Don’t Pretend this Doesn’t Happen to You

This post is dedicated to The Dictator.  She knows why.

Some dogs, like our dear young bulldog, Wonderbutt, have a startling habit, which I shall title The Poop as You Walk Habit.

This habit is a somewhat comical sight, or at its worst an inconvenience, when the dog happens to be walking on his own property.  You can almost bring yourself to admire the dog’s multi-tasking skills.  But it tends to disturb other people when the dog goes off the reservation, so to speak.  Especially if the dog happens to choose a neighboring reservation for the deposition of said poop.

Now, this is not really an uncommon problem.  This is why many neighborhoods have rules about cleaning up after your dog.  Rightly so.  (Although I would like to make a side note that this rule is clearly not enforced for anyone else in our neighborhood since we regularly find foreign dog poop in our front yard.)

Anyway, the previous dogs that we have had in our family have not had The Poop as You Walk Habit.  Mrs. P.I.B., our golden retriever, has been a model of pooping behavior for most of her 10 years.  And, the rest of our family, including my 9 year old daughter, seems to be fairly good at waiting until we get home, too.  So, we have gotten out of the Bring a Bag When You Walk Habit.

This is exacerbated by the fact that we have gotten out of the Walk Habit altogether since it is Winter.  However, we decided a walk was just what the Firepants family needed on a recent particularly chilly 70 degree day.  Cap’n Firepants determined that he should stay behind to guard the house from Indians, so it was up to Dimples and me to protect the dogs from varmints and other dangers during our walk around the block.

Picture this.  It’s a beautiful day in Texas, and you and your daughter are accompanying your canines on a happy-go-lucky tour of the territory, giving Wonderbutt much-needed exercise and Mrs. P.I.B. much-needed attention from admirers who are also enjoying the fresh air. (Mrs. P.I.B. has always drawn the most compliments when we walk.  Even when Dimples was a baby in the stroller, people would come up to us and tell me how beautiful my dog was, completely ignoring my stunningly attractive infant.)

You are about halfway through your jaunt, and Dimples says, “Uh oh.”  You freeze, because you know there are only two things that “Uh oh” in that tone can mean.  Either Dimples just passed gas – which really wouldn’t need an “Uh oh” out in the fresh air, or –


“Quick.  You can run faster than me!  Take his leash!” I yell frantically.  We tangle up the leashes for Mrs. P.I.B.  and Wonderbutt in our haste.  Mrs. P.I.B. is more than willing to run, even with her old arthritic joints, and Wonderbutt is more than willing to continue jogging in the opposite direction so he can finish his business facing the same way he started.

Finally untangled, Dimples begins the dash.

But it is too late.

And, of course, there are plenty of people to witness our shame.

At least it’s not in someone’s yard; it’s on the street.

Where everyone walks and jogs because we have no sidewalks.

Where young mothers push their strollers.

I make a big show of gathering large leaves and collecting Wonderbutt’s piles while Mrs. P.I.B. and the rest of the neighborhood watch me.  The Channel 5 News crew televises my crime to the rest of the city and outlying areas.

Dimples and Wonderbutt are long gone around the corner.

After pushing the mess into a nearby sewer grate, I make the shameful walk home with a puzzled Mrs. P.I.B.

Cap’n Firepants greets us at the door, shaking his head, having already surmised when Wonderbutt and Dimples burst into the house, what crime I have yet again committed.

I hate beautiful days.

One more thing I shouldn't have Googled - courtesy of Bun Bags

Unfortunately, Wonderbutt has no tail to speak of, so the above device would not be of any use to us anyway. Aside from the fact that I would forget to affix it.

You’ve Made Your Point, Wonderbutt

Wonderbutt Tries to Get a few Pushups in Before His Weigh-In at the Vet - Or is He Trying to get to the Krispy Kremes?

Wonderbutt is having stomach problems.  It could have something to do with the piece of panty hose he ingested tonight.  Or the strings he managed to swallow off his rope toy yesterday.  Or the three low-cal dog treats he got at the vet today.

Talk about good times.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Both Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. needed the same vaccination so I reasoned that it made sense to take them both at the same time.  I think grabbing the snake by the neck the other day made me feel like I could do just about anything.

To add to the fun and games, I brought Dimples along.  The intention was for her to help out.  Uh huh.

Surprisingly, Wonderbutt was quite well-behaved at the vet.  He didn’t lose control of his bladder as soon as the receptionist said his name, as he usually does.  And he didn’t sulk when the vet said that he, a short bulldog, weighed only one less pound than Mrs. P.I.B., a quite tall golden-retriever, and that Wonderbutt could probably stand to lose about ten pounds.  He even it kept together when we heard how much this was all going to cost.

Oh yeah, that was my cue to lose control of my bladder.

So we all piled back into the car and headed home.  Two minutes into the 15 min. trip, there wafted a very nasty smell up to the front seat.  Wonderbutt had passed some obnoxiously noxious gas.

Nope. Worse than that.  And worse than the bladder thing. “Ewwww!” was Dimples’ helpful response.  Can’t really say I blame her since his fragrant deposit was on the floor behind me, and she was seat-belted next to it.

So I stopped at a dumpster, and scooped Wonderbutt’s Revenge for Getting Vaccinated to where it belonged.

Two minutes later, the smell was no better.  In fact, it was even more abominable.  Apparently, he hadn’t been finished getting his message across.

I refused to stop again, reasoning that, at this rate, it was going to take us 24 hours to get home. (That probably isn’t mathematically correct, but I have to wait until next week to pose the problem to my gifted fifth graders.)

We finally made it to our driveway, and after much confusion about how to exit the car without spreading the wealth all over the upholstery, got the dogs into the house.  I did my best to oust the stain and the smell before the Texas sun baked it in permanently.

Walked back into the house and nearly water-skied across the kitchen floor on Wonderbutt’s next gift.

Apparently, he had had second thoughts about that vet bill.

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