Living with a border collie is like having Spock around 24-7.

“Thank you, human, for giving me this interesting toy. I’ve examined it thoroughly, and I’m impressed by its ball-like structure and shape. Motioning at me is illogical. Bringing it back to you will only make you throw it again. I’m leaving it where it landed. What’s next on our agenda?”

So when he decided to take a nap the other day, I panicked. This was a cry for help. I called the vet on Friday and got him an appointment for yesterday. Over the weekend, he went from that one nap to not being able to keep food down. The vet visit, stool samples, temperature readings, blood panel, even X-rays later, we find out that he has indigestion. He’ll be alright–with the help of meds and a strict feeding regimen this week.  No idea what caused it, but he’s on the mend now.

So I’m monitoring him. And, as a writer, I noticed I’m keeping a pretty serious journal here. I’ve got his feedings, medicine schedule, moods, stomach noises, cheerfulness (which knows no end), water intake, and his bathroom breaks all logged. If all works as expected, he’ll be fine in 10 days and I’ll never have to show it to the vet to try to uncover any further problem. But that doesn’t mean I’m lax about any of it. photo-3

And because he’s a border collie with a brain like a super computer, he figured out right away that I was stalking him and writing things down. So I had to get covert about it, hiding out of sight and smell and being really still when he’s doing his business. In the last 24 hours, I’ve turned dog stalking into something worthy of National Geographic. And this Poop Journal might win me a Nobel Prize.

He also figured out the pattern of returning inside to find a rationed scoop of “GI Restore” dog food waiting for him. Now he asks to go out every couple minutes just to get more food. (I’m on to him because as I stalk him, I see he’s just sniffing around in the yard, then happily returning inside to look for his food dish. I logged that in the journal, too.)

So even though I hope no one ever has to read the journal, I’m being overly diligent about it. It’s these moment when “no one’s watching” that true character is born.


For more of my thoughts, check out Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon.