Yesterday, for the first time ever in their lives, Cutter and Tug spent the day apart.
For about a year now, Tug’s breath has been peeling the paint. It was awful. It was so bad I’d started calling him ass-breath and when we were at the vets’ for the boys annual check-up, the doctor, gagging, had told us Tug needed his teeth cleaned and, waving a hand in front of her face to clear the air, not to bring him back until we were ready to do it.
Instead, we hemmed and we hawed and we tried other cheaper ways to get his teeth clean and his breath fresh. We tried enzyme chews. Which he hated. We tried brushing his teeth with beef flavored toothpaste. Which he hated. We tried to ignore the problem, hoping it would fix itself and go away. Which it didn’t.
So we finally gave up and made the appointment and yesterday was the day and I was bringing home a druggy Tug. A far different Tug from the Tug who had left in the morning.
Cutter came tearing down the stairs excitedly barking and impatiently wriggling. He ran up to us but stopped short when he saw his litter-mate. Tug kinda stood, swaying gently and drooling, staring kinda blankly at one of the pilings that support our house.
Mouf, Tug said to the piling.
Cutter looked at him for a long minute and then, cocking his head, looked up at me and said, Holy shit, what did you do to him?
I didn’t do anything to him, I said, getting instantly defensive. Tug had to have an orthodontic procedure, I said, he’s had his teeth cleaned and he had to have five rotten molars extracted, I said.
Mouf, Tug said to the piling again.
Cutter returned his gaze to Tug. He stared at him and then said- he’s gross.
Mouf, Tug said again, drooling a bloody drool.
Ew, Cutter said.
He’s not gross, I said, he’s sedated and I want you to be nice to him until he recovers.
Cutter looked from Tug to me and back to Tug again and then walked over to Tug and gently nudged him with his nose. Mouf, Tug said, stumbling sideways and almost falling.
Cutter looked up at me, a grin beginning. Whoa, he said, this could be fun.