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  • Writer's pictureJim Pfiffer

Southern Tier Comedy Shop

The lure of puppy breath. The stench of puppy pee

IllustratED by Filomena Jack

Author’s note: This is the first part of a two-part post, which continues next week, about our new puppy and how he has changed our lives and all the carpeting in our home.

I made three big mistakes.

The first was stopping at the animal shelter. That’s where the trouble started.

Several months ago, my wife, Shelley, and I had to put down our beloved dog, Sammi, due to illness and old age. (I wrote a column about it. You can find it here if you scroll down.)

We are both dog lovers and our pets are like family, except they never borrow money or ask us to help them move.

After a few months of grieving Sammi’s death, we decided to get another dog.

“We’re not getting a puppy,” was the first thing we said.

Puppies are cute and fun but require a lot of work, patience and gin and tonics (for us). We wanted a dog that was a few years old, housebroken, good with kids and didn’t need money or moving help.

I reminded myself of those stipulations before I walked into the shelter. I visited several dogs in their kennels. “I’m just looking,” I told the staff. “My wife and I want to adopt an adult housebroken dog, but we’re going to take our time and be sure of our decision.”

That’s when they brought out a just-too-damn-cute and happy tan Heeler puppy whose tail wagged so vigorously, it blew the “Adopt some love” poster off the wall.

With ears flapping in joy, the pup jumped onto my lap and excitedly licked my face and ears, with sweet puppy breath.

He is a rescue dog from Alabama, which explains why he barks with a Southern drawl and likes Kibbles and Grits.

I immediately took a liking to this furry dynamo of happy energy.

“He likes you,” said a staff member. “Why don’t you take him home for a few days and see how it goes?”

“Well, maybe just for a few days,” I thought. “What harm could it do that’s worse then what my wife is going to do to me for bringing home a puppy.”

“We’re not keeping him!” said my wife, when I brought the dog into the house. “We said NO puppies.”

She sternly lectured me about my IQ and poor decision-making, with comments like, “We had an agreement, REMEMBER? (She talks in capital letters when she wants to make a point).

“What the hell were you thinking?” she inquired. “If he stays here tonight, he’s sleeping with YOU and YOU’RE cleaning up after him.” (She boldfaces her words when she really means them).

Of course, Shelley quickly fell in love with the pup. She loves him more and treats him better than me (understandable).

We named him Kody and adopted him. He’s friendly, alert, intelligent, a great watchdog and loves to cuddle in bed. We love him. We knew we would.

Kody spent the first several days of his new life getting to know us and his new digs by peeing and pooping on every flat surface he could reach.

Illustrated by Filomena Jack

I never saw a dog who peed so much, so often and so powerfully. He must have some racehorse in him.

He certainly has no modesty. He didn’t care who was around or who was watching when his tank was full and needed emptying. He assumed a proud, head-held-high, wide-legged stance and opened the floodgates with no remorse. If you were in the other room, you would shout,

“Yo! Did someone leave the garden hose running?”

We tried the standard house-training methods, like trying to quickly carry him outside in the middle of his flow. This resulted in spotted trails of Kody pee crisscrossing our carpets, shoes and pant legs.

“Why the hell did I get a puppy!” I said to myself because I didn’t want Shelley to hear me, or she would unleash a pack of “I told you so” boldfaced capital letters in support of my remark.

Shelley was patient and gentle in Kody’s house training. She took him for walks and hugged him and told him he was a “good boy” the one or two times when he peed outside.

Me, I mostly cussed, yelled “Nooo!” “Bad dog!” and cut up more limes for our cocktails.

Our house soon had a faint public urinal allure about it. On hot and muggy summer days, the allure was so strong the windows opened themselves.

It took us several months to get Kody housebroken, an appropriate phrase, as we went broke buying paper towels, throw rugs, stain and odor removers and carpet cleaning services.

And two-liter bottles of Bombay gin.

As for my third mistake, it was forgetting that puppies like to chew. That’s why next week’s Part II of the Kody saga explores Kody’s penchant to chew, gnaw and masticate everything he hasn’t peed on, and sometimes even stuff he has peed on. Ick!


Get more Jim Pfiffer humor on his Facebook page, his blog, FullOfWit, and his podcast The Viewsroom on Zoom with Pfif & AWAC.

To contact and learn more about Filomena Jack and to see her artwork go to


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