When his face got close to mine, he licked my cheek and, without even having to inspect the contents of his teeth, I knew without a doubt it was soap. His breath smelled rather fresh…in a soapy-clean way. He wiggled again so I put him down and trudged down the hallway toward the bathroom, dreading the mess I would find. Sure enough, there was a trail of ripped wrappers and three little soap cakes either crumbled up completely or bearing gnaw marks. My floor was also pock-marked with a half-dozen or so little puddles of shampoo and conditioners because, apparently, the plastic bottles were tasty, too.

“How the hell did you get into the cabinet, you little shit?!” I asked him, conversationally. He gave a small whine in response and bounded out of the bathroom as I started cleaning up. I closed the door to the cabinet under the sink, where he’d managed to Houdini it open somehow and drag out the basket I’d had stashed under there.


When I closed it, I realized that a curling iron I’d shoved under the sink had shifted, blocking the door from shutting all the way. It left a very small gap, but it was enough to let the little demon dog worm his nose inside until he was able to get his head in.

I cleaned up the mess, shaking my head and muttering the whole time. I’d just finished when I heard a shout and then pounding feet as Brandon raced down the hallway, hollering for me.

“Chloe! There’s something wrong with Grady!” He sounded frantic, which made me panic, because I didn’t even think about the fact that he ate soap…God, what could that do to his little belly? I jumped up and raced out the door, meeting him halfway down the hall.

Brandon was holding the pup under his furry armpits, dangling him in front of him. I stopped, my alarm giving way to uncontrollable laughter, even though I knew it was not a good time for it. I couldn’t help it, though.

Apparently, Grady had gotten a drink from his bowl in the kitchen and the water, mixed with the soap bits stuck in his teeth and agitated by his lapping, created a lovely, frothy white beard of bubbles that was dripping down his doggy chin like a deranged, soapy Santa. His tongue was lolling from his mouth, and he was still wearing his goofy puppy-grin, like he didn’t have a care in the world.

“He’s foaming at the mouth…he has rabies or some shit! What the fuck is going on? Why are you laughing?” Brandon shouted at me.

I laughed even louder, clutching my stomach, unable to form words as tears streamed from my eyes because, as he was yelling at me, Grady belched, a lovely, bottom-of-the-gut burp that gurgled from his mouth. With that burp, a perfect soap bubble sailed out into the air, floating over my head to pop on the wall behind me.

Brandon glared at me. “Jesus, Chloe. Can you stop laughing long enough to tell me what the hell is going on?”

I wiped my eyes and, still chuckling, took the dog from him. I carried him back into the bathroom and grabbed a towel to wipe his face, explaining to Brandon what happened while I did.

“Oh.”

That’s all I got for a reply until he said, “Is it gonna make him sick? Did he eat it all?”

My concern returned and I glanced into the trash can where I’d deposited the crumbled soap pieces. “I don’t know. I don’t think he ate much of it, just kinda crumbled it all up and chewed on it. I probably should call his vet to see. Do you know who they use?”

“They probably take him to Doc, same as everyone else. That’s where we take Doug and that’s where Emma and Luke take DJ now, too. I’ve got his number in my phone.” Brandon pulled his phone out and called the vet’s office as he walked out of the bathroom.

Grady, still in my arms, suddenly looked at me with a pained expression (yes, even dogs can look pained) and whined.

“What, boy? Does your tummy hurt?” I cooed to him softly, ruffling his fur. He whined again and I shifted him in my arms before placing him down on the floor. We headed out into the living room to find Brandon still talking on the phone.

“Yes…uh-huh…okay. Okay, thanks Shirley.” Brandon paused again, nodding as he listened to whoever Shirley was. “Well that doesn’t sound very pleasant…okay. Got it. Thanks again!” Brandon said as he hit end on his phone.

He looked at me and explained, “She double checked with Doc and he said that his stomach is probably going to be a little upset, but it won’t hurt him as long as no big chunks get lodged in his intestines, causing a blockage. She said that he probably will throw--”

His words cut off as Grady made a horrible hacking sound and then horked all over the carpet. We both stared in horrified disgust for a second until Brandon gagged and ran from the room.

“Hey!” I yelled after him.

“Gotta get to the shop, have a client!” was shouted back at me, followed by another gag. I heard the back door slam and shook my head in disbelief. He was off today, there was no client!

Grady was done spewing everything in his stomach all over my floor and sat watching me, wagging his tail in happiness once more.

I cleaned up the mess, thanking my lucky stars that I’d bought more carpet cleaner last time I’d gone to the store, and then checked my phone when it dinged. A bubbling, squelching, almost-empty-ketchup-bottle sound came from behind me and my heart sank as I read the text I’d just gotten from Brandon without turning around.

He’ll be fine, Doc said. He just will probably throw up, which you know already. He’ll also probably have the runs. If he doesn’t eat or drink and keeps getting sick, take him in. When are Allie and Jacks coming back?

I closed my eyes and groaned, knowing what I would find when I turned around…and it wouldn’t be pretty.

It wasn’t. Nor was anything else that came out of that poor dog for the next couple of hours. He acted completely normal between bouts, bounding around the yard until he had to hunch over for the soap to come out whichever end it decided to that time. Thank God it was a nice day because I had no choice but to stay outside. No way in hell was that happening on my carpet any more!

Four hours after the initial explosion, Grady had ceased his disgusting attack on my yard. I’d have to say the only upside to this whole fiasco was that his vomit didn’t stink. Instead, it smelled rather fresh, like…well, like soap.

I allowed him back inside finally and fixed myself some lunch, after I’d blocked him into the kitchen with me, of course. I didn’t want to take a chance in the event he decided to have more digestive pyrotechnics, but I figured if it happened, it’d be easier to clean off the tile than it would be to have to drag out the carpet cleaner every time. Fingers crossed, though, that he was completely done—that the soap had left the canine!

I was standing at the stove, stirring a pot of mac & cheese (the boxed kind, I was being lazy) when I heard the door open and keys being dropped on the front hall table.

“Is it over?” Brandon hollered cautiously.

Mentally high-fiving myself for my evil ingenuity/payback, I made a hacking sound in my throat a couple times, sounding like Grady had earlier, and then grinned when I heard Brandon gag.

“Aww, man…” he groaned and then gagged again.

I laughed out loud, giving away my game. I couldn’t help it; I’d finally found a weakness!

I saw him peek his head around the corner, his eyes darting around the room wildly to make sure he wouldn’t see anything gross. I kept laughing and stirring the noodles, still chuckling as I spooned one out to check for doneness.

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