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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bestie (05/22/14)

TITLE: On Clean-up Duty
By Francy Judge


She calls me her best friend, always will be no matter who pats her belly, feeds her chicken, or plays tug of war. I am the official Bestie to this Yorkie. So…I get to deal with the good, the bad, the ugly. Some problems are too difficult for my little four-legged friend, Bella.

Mornings. To ease our morning rush routine, I resort to putting my friend outside on a leash tied to the fence; she can roam free but not too free, and I can pick up her little piles later, or let inclement weather take care of it. Backtrack two months…

Winter. This winter was unusually white here like most places. Poor Bella was up to her ears in snow and not too happy about her predicament. Since I was always the first to wake, I had to shovel a four square foot space to allow for Bella to run in circles, do her pre-business dance. She’d look at me, concerned, her eyes asking: “How can I find a good spot in this size space? Is this stuff ever going away?” I sympathized with my fine friend, but couldn’t totally relate. Eventually, she’d do her thing and hurry inside to share her snow with me. Since five AM was just too early to pick up piles, they remained hidden and gradually packed under new fallen snow layers…the positive side of unwanted weather.

Clean-up duty. I’m not talking the everyday walk-the-dog-with-bag-for-scooping-up-clean-up. I’m talking the real time-consuming jobs, like earlier today. I glance out my kitchen window to check on my furry friend and watch her play her favorite sport of bark at anything that moves. She does have talent for being loud for her size. The snow is gone, so I can easily see where my Bella did her circles yesterday. From a distance, someone might think a piñata had burst supplying the yard with open tootsie rolls.

Bella’s circles have grown into crazy figure eights. Back and forth, stop and squat. Nothing happens, and she repeats this new dance five times until she looks my way. Her eyes plead, “Can you do something to help me, please?” As she turns, I realize her new dilemma. A drooping piece of poo won’t fall; it dangles from under her tail. As I open the door to see how I may help Bella, she dashes inside, still hooked to her leash. Now the poo falls near my feet on the kitchen floor. I know she expects her best friend to help, but I scream and nudge her back outdoors. She does try to clean herself in the mud. Poor Bella. Now she’s filthy all over.

Totally disgusted. After I clean the kitchen floor mess, I let her back in to deal with her backside. I’m sure I’ve cleaned worse messes on my own children in the baby years, yet fur adds to the challenge of the task before me. Holding Bella’s collar, I wipe her with soapy paper towels as she tries to wiggle away. A bath might’ve helped, but I do have to get to work soon.

A new solution. I try to hide the scissors from Bella so she won’t panic as I cut the poo off with her long dirty fur. A tangled mess covers the floor. I snip as close as possible until her high pitched bark informs me I cut too close. Does she feel betrayed by her best friend? Why am I torturing her like this? I’m sorry, Bella, but trust me…I am the only member of this family who would go to this extent to help you. I admit her new hairstyle is amateur all the way. I hope to trim her front half to match her back half when I have time, if she lets me.

Even after the entire morning trauma, as I leave for work, I hear Bella crying for me from my mother-in-law’s porch. I know she’s saying, “Don’t go! Stay home with me!”

Revelation. As I bike to work, leaving the yelps behind, I think about God cleaning up my messes. Sometimes the sin clings as old habits surface. I run around in circles trying to shake it off in my own strength. But He is patient, wanting to help me clean up. Jesus loves me as a best friend, giving His life to make me new. I can trust Him as He trims the refuse away.

My furry friend’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

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This article has been read 262 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/30/14
Awww. So sweet. You've described "animal behavior" so well. The things we do for our "pups." My little guy does the same thing when a little pice of poo refuses to fall. Hahahaha! I gently remove the dangling poo, but my guy knows the routine and patiently waits. Thank goodness it rarely happens!

Anyhow...love any stories pertaining to animals. And, a great segue to end with a powerful message.

Well done.

God bless~
Joanne Sher 06/03/14
Great details and a super lesson. Enjoyed this (and was slightly grossed out LOL).
Sheldon Bass 06/03/14
Such a thoughtful Bestie you are, even protecting Bella's true identity! This one read like something I could've put in a daily journal entry as "routine" around our place. Our little 10 pound Morky has created a special sound to let me know she is "dirty" on her boo-boo—about one out of 25 times she goes.

I thought there may be more dogs in the bestie bunch, but your's is the first I've read so far. Good deal. Who doesn't like a good dog-tale? Especially when it wags vigorously as with your stellar writing.

Thank you for giving me an extended grin today!
Joe Moreland06/05/14
This was so excellently written that I finished the entire entry, even though I cringed throughout (I am weak when it comes to these types of messes).

I loved your depiction of the relationship between the MC and their dog and I love how you turned it around to show the correlation between that and our relationship with God.

Congratulations on a well-deserved 4th place finish!

C D Swanson 06/05/14
SO happy to see your article win!

I loved it.

God bless~
Leola Ogle 06/05/14
Ah, I love Bella, aka ? What a wonderful and faithful bestie you are to each other. Congratulations, Francy. God bless.
Beth LaBuff 06/05/14
Your furry little "name-changed-to-protect-her-privacy" friend endeared herself to me. :) I loved your creativity with the topic AND your spiritual comparison is unparalleled! Super work! Many congrats on your EC.
Tracy Nunes 06/06/14
Who knew that dog grooming could be so fascinating and hold such a beautiful lesson? Wonderful work!
Pauline Carruthers 06/08/14
A really heart warming story with vivid descriptions and I so appreciated the analogy at the end. Congratulations
Francie Snell 06/11/14
I must say, I'm a little late in the game, but I just read this story, and it is beyond precious. This had me laughing from beginning to end. So cute, so clever, and the humor of it has me still chuckling. Such a wonderful revelation you shared at the end. Congratulations on your placing...so well deserved.
Bea Edwards 06/12/14
Fabulous, fluffy, foibles!

Love the doggies and their antics, so your story was especially endearing.