—The Broken Oreo Philosophy—
Poop over there.
Poop all up in my hair.
Look, I did a rhyme. I’ll call it, Oopsie Poopsie. It even kind of looks like a poop.
Oopsie poopsies happen a lot in our house. When we first started caring for Dallas, our incontinent foster, a poop sighting was a code red emergency. At the first sign of anything brown we were screaming “POOOOOP!” while simultaneously lunging for the dog while the other person scrambled for anything to clean with, all the while trying not to gag. Now, six months later and much wiser, it’s just poop. No big deal. Now we move the dog, calmly grab the cleaner out of it’s convenient cupboard, and wipe away the mess. Then I giggle and call Dallas a poop butt and he gets all worked up. It’s all quite adorable if you ask me.
I will say, caring for a dog who is both urinary AND fecal incontinent is not an easy undertaking, but it’s also not the worst thing ever. There are so many dogs that are put down because incontinence issues. Helloooo….. ever heard of diapers?! They make them for dogs you know? All different kinds! Even baby diapers work on dogs! The tools are out there, we just need to educate people how to utilize them!
Every day thousands and millions and gazillions of people willingly decide to make a little poop and pee machine (or two or three or 19 and counting) that they have to constantly clean, wipe, and diaper. I once saw one of my nieces being pulled out of her carseat, covered head to toe in her own feces. She had reached into her diaper, pulled out her poop, and smeared it all over her face and body, her carseat, and the seat in front of her. It was, by far, the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. It was in her mouth guys. She ate it.
If people can care for a toddler, they can deal with having an incontinent dog. Dogs are not even HALF as gross as that little girl was that day. Dogs also learn very quickly that diapering is part of their life and, with a little training, will master a perfectly still “stay” as you change them. It’s a breeze, no squirming, no screaming, no crying. I don’t have my own children, but I have many nieces, nephews, and of course done my fair share of babysitting, and I have NEVER had an easier, more patient changee than Dallas. He knows lay down, he knows stay, he knows that it may take two minutes or 20 minutes to do what needs done, and he. Will. Not. Move. He patiently waits for an “okay” and a tap on his side and he is free to go. Dallas is one year old and he is a master patient. It just takes a little training, and your incontinent dog will be easier to change than your children ever were.
There will occasionally be poop on the floor, poop on a wall, poop on you or even in your hair, but guess what? Poop is just poop. It may stink to high heaven, but it doesn’t stain and the smell washes right out. Diapers may take a while for your dog to get used to, but time, consistency, and training should do the trick. With a urinary incontinent dog, you may have pee on the floor, that wipes up washes out too. Always remember, messes are temporary.
None of the messes matter when you know you are literally saving a life. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness a neglected dog that someone decided deserved to die, living a full and joyful life. Unfortunately, people often lump all disabilities into the category, “too much to handle.” In reality there are many different kinds of disabilities and many different levels of care they require. Sometimes I worry that people look at Dallas and his many disabilities and the level of care he requires then automatically assume every incontinent dog will be just as challenging. Dallas’s care is very involved not just because of incontinence alone, he has mobility issues, amputations, abnormal body shape, and internal abnormalities. Dallas is a very special case, most incontinent dogs don’t require nearly as much specialized care as he does. I’ve seen videos of people holding their incontinent dog over the toilet, giving the pup’s bladder a quick squeeze, and voilà! Easy peesy.
If you have raised a toddler, you can care for a dog with incontinence problems. Even if you haven’t personally raised a toddler, like me, there is a wealth of information to be found on the web. When I first began caring for Dallas, I watched Youtube videos, scoured handicapped pet specific websites, and talked to many many nice people willing to share their own tips and experiences. The best advice I got was probably also the simplest, stick to a routine. Simple as that. That is how I managed to save a life.
Please, never underestimate yourself. I constantly get praise for doing something that people assume they could never do, but I’m sure could if they tried. We need people willing to do what most others won’t. Don’t let the most extreme cases deter you from helping a dog in need!
Every day there are volunteers checking shelters for dogs who need saving. Sometimes, very special dogs get passed up for fear that finding someone to foster them will be next to impossible. If you live in Florida and are a responsible person who thinks you could dedicate some time and patience to helping a medically needy dog, please follow this link and fill out the form so we can build a bank of reliable volunteers we can call when we find a dog in need!