letting it all out.

My family has a dog named Ace, a shitzu-poodle who I often describe as ‘a stuffed animal with a heartbeat.’ Ace is friendly and docile, looks more similar than not to an ewok, and has short stubby legs to hold up his barrel body. He has the physical stamina of a potato and the obedience of a very confused toddler. He is both our family darling and butt of most jokes; he is ridiculous. And he is ours.

Austin’s dad owns a Kansas-City based dog training resort where he specializes in all things dog. Chris, at any given point, has three or more dogs accompanying him from place to place, doing tricks and being off-leash and reminding most onlookers of a father walking with three furry kids; perfectly dutiful to his every move. He is consistently pulling out treats from a mysterious pocket, egging his many poodles to ‘dance’ or ‘jump’ or be general circus animals; it’s cute, it’s intimidating, and it’s the single best advertisement for his business.

Chris was visiting us this week with his pride and joy, a miniature poodle named Charlie, and I had my hesitations. Namely, I did not know how it would go to have Ace and Charlie in the same room. Due to his affinity for sleeping pretty much always, Ace doesn’t get out with other canines¬, though I can only imagine that carries his signature lethargy into all situations. But moreover, to be honest, it’s always a little embarrassing having Ace being around people who know what they’re doing with dogs. It just is.

And so when Ace, in the first few minutes of loving on Charlie as only Ace can: with lots of licks and taps and heavy-laden chases, pooped a fast one in the middle of the living room mid-run, not realizing what was happening, all semblance of coolness went out of the window and that was that. ‘I get it,’ I thought, as Austin, Chris, and I watched it happen. ‘The relief of letting it all out is always better than trying to keep it in for everybody else’s sake.’ You can only do what you can do.

But alas, who hasn’t been a nervous pooper? Not me, not ever. And certainly not Ace.