I’m getting too old for this

In this corner, weighing in at 175 pounds, a Great Dane with droopy jowls, astigmatism, and absolutely no killer instinct … and in this corner, weighing in at 130 pounds, an English Mastiff with an unholy hatred for Great Danes. At the bell, come out fighting!

As you might expect, the Mastiff was all over the unresisting Dane, like flies on poop. What followed was three interminable minutes of two strong young men and two past-their-prime arthritic ladies trying to pry the Mastiff off the Dane.

After the first 20 seconds of hauling on the Mastiff, I was spent and sucking wind. I tag-teamed in a couple times, but it may as well have been a kitten bitch-slapping Godzilla for all the strength I could muster. My friend was spraying the hose to break up the fight, so we staggered into the veterinarian’s office wearing our jammies and eau de wet dog.

Maybe I’m too old to deal with pets of any kind. I spent the week house-sitting for my daughter, with her two Rottweilers, one chameleon, and one snake. The chameleon had a badly swollen and inflamed eye, and the snake was a baby who hadn’t eaten his first meal yet—a recipe for disaster.

The kids left last Saturday, and on Sunday, I found the chameleon in the bottom of her tank stiff as a board. I said some bad words as I chopped through laurel roots to dig the grave. After the admittedly underwhelming funeral service, I had to haul a heavy glass tank down a flight of stairs for the cricket catch and release program.

The dog fight was at my friend’s house, where I had gone at 4:00 in the morning to have coffee and commiserate. It wasn’t until the adrenaline wore off that I realized I had more aches than I did joints.

I went home the next morning to look in on my own dog, and found five diarrhea messes on the carpet. That was 90 minutes and a dozen attempts to drag myself up from my hands and knees to refill the portable steam cleaner.

By Thursday, I still hadn’t seen the snake, who was presumably somewhere under the pine mulch bedding in the bottom of her tank. I envisioned my kids coming home to two side-by-side reptile resting places in the front garden. That would have been hard to explain. I finally found her alive (hooray) and got her to eat her first pinky (baby mouse).

At least I managed to keep the Rotties away from horses, dogs, people, cars, electric mixers, brooms, balloons, lime jello, and bikes. They have issues. I made it through the week with only one dog fight, two trips to the vets, five diarrhea messes, one lost snake, and one burial. I’m looking forward to a long nap, preferably in jammies that don’t smell like wet dog.