I was a little late writing this essay -- I meant to do it a week ago, but was in the middle of moving from one apartment to another. The reason we were moving was because our apartment had become Manhattan’s answer to the Amityville Horror. It wasn’t haunted by poltergeists or ghosts, but instead by extremely bad plumbing and the occasional rat riding the elevator. Also, there was no gas, going on for some seven months, and there were drug dealers on the fourth and eighth floors. Though the walls hadn’t actually bled, we’d seen blood on them, as well as on the floors and in the elevator -- some sort of “stabbing incident” was the explanation we got.
The experiment of moving to a huge, beautiful, cheap apartment in a marginal neighborhood had failed miserably, and we had to admit defeat and go. We actually tried to move back to our former building, but in the two years since we’d left they’d instituted a “no dogs” policy. At the time, we had three dogs of our own plus a foster dog, so that wasn’t going to work.
I placed the foster in a great home and then found a dog-friendly building for the rest of us. Aside from it being in a very nice neighborhood, it was right next to Central Park. I do love trees, but more than that, I was hoping the proximity to the park would help me with something I’d never been able to do: housebreak my two “puppies.” Our older dog was broken, but the little ones (now three) had just been. I firmly believed they were suffering from some sort of genetic abnormality that caused them to not know the difference between grass and rug.
When we finally moved, we threw away everything that smelled of or had ever been peed on (because of one very incontinent earlier foster, this included our couch). In our spanking new home, with all new, clean stuff, I panicked. How would they ever get housebroken?
The first second they were in the apartment, the two younger dogs peed on my daughter’s new rug. (It’s black with pink skulls and really startlingly ugly.) I sprayed the spot with something promising to “STOP MARKING,” and then took the pair out. In fact, I took them out nine times that first day and ten times the following day. By the third day, miraculously, they were housebroken. Today, I even awarded them their two-week chips.
And I just can’t stop talking about it: Our dogs are housebroken. Our house doesn’t smell funky anymore. There are no pee spots anywhere. And there hasn’t been one accident, not a single one! I’m starting to wonder if they really were broken all along and that their peeing all over the place was just a commentary on the state of our old apartment. And, if that’s the case, that black rug with the pink skulls better watch out.
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