Broom Wars – Puppies vs. Human


The three 10 week old puppies graduated from the area near the kitchen 10 days ago to the “official” puppy area, complete with a 20’ by 30’ grassy yard, covered with a fishing net (I worry that owls and eagles might find a whippet puppy a delicacy) and their very own dog door. They’ve had the kitty litter they were trained on and the dog door now for 10 days and it’s time to get rid of the litter for good. Whoosh! Out into the woods with the nasty, biodegradable kitty litter. As I walk in the door, the stench is immediately improved.

Next, on to sweeping up spilled kitty litter, fuzzy chunks of disemboweled toys, crushed water bottles and nasty, soggy bits of a chewed cardboard box.  Whippets are bred to chase anything that moves. After 30 years in the breed and being a lure coursing judge, I actually know this. Why is it a surprise that this task would be difficult with them present? The broom, making long smooth strokes sweeping up the mess, is a perfect prey object. One puppy latches on with his tiny jaws in a fierce grip and is practically lifted off the floor before he will release. OK, long smooth strokes aren’t workingI try short, quick jabs to the floor, reaching out and sweeping back towards my feet. Whack! Ow! The jabs are keeping the puppy at bay, but I hit my shins with the broom. That’s going to leave a lovely, self-inflicted bruise. I am now sweating in my efforts.

I am making progress, despite the determination of the puppies to kill the moving object. Now it’s time to scoop up all the debris with a dustpan. I use fancy footwork and the back side of the dustpan to fend them away long enough to create a pile. I flip the dustpan over and sweep into it, unfortunately sweeping up a puppy in the process. Another dilemma – how to get rid of the puppy and not dump the trash, keeping one hand on the broom so it doesn’t get towed into the next room and one hand on the dustpan. Dump the puppy, spilling debris in the process. Sweep up trash again. More fancy footwork to push away determined puppy.

On to the mop. Better than a broom, it has strings! It’s even easier to grab and hold when moving. Swish the floor, detach the puppy. Swish the floor, detach the puppy. Repeat until puppy is exhausted (didn’t happen) or floor is clean.

As I complete my task and head upstairs for a shower I pause to think. It’s a gorgeous, sun drenched northern MN July morning. Why didn’t I just put them outside?

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