The Grossest Thing a Dog Has Ever Done in my Presence

You are on notice: Read no further if you are squeamish.


My stepson and daughter-in-law have a son, who will be three years old in May. Their whole family moved to my town a year ago, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in my new role as Nana.

When my own son was about the same age as my grandson, my mother accomplished the lion’s share of his potty-training over the course of a single weekend, using M&Ms as rewards for “going in the potty.” So I feel a certain amount of responsibility to “pay it forward” to my stepson and his wife, to help in the potty training of their toddler son, who is exasperating everyone with his inconsistent interest in “going in the potty.”

Because they have to get to work at a set time, and I work at home, I have been spending the past few mornings with the toddler, so he’s neither being rushed to perform, so to speak, nor making them late for work by “going” exactly as they are all marching out the door for daycare and work. I declared that I would spend every morning this week with him so I could be ready to “catch him in the act” of pooping, or, preferably, announcing that he has to poop or is about to poop, so I can rush him to a potty and have him “go” there. (Pee-pee has not been a problem. This is all about #2.) Then I could take him to daycare.

Yesterday morning, he was playing in the backyard of my house, wearing shoes and a shirt and nothing else. We were on potty-watch. Suddenly, with NO WARNING WHATSOEVER, he stood still and started to poop. I swooped in, exclaiming, “Liam! You have to tell Nana when you have to poop! Let’s get to the potty!” I carried him – fast but at arm’s length, like an inexperienced TV uncle – about 20 strides into the house, and put him on the toilet. He finished pooping there, and yay! We started celebrating. “Yay Liam! You went poo poo in the potty! That’s so good! Let’s wash our hands and get some M&Ms!” He was happy and proud, and so was I. This is the first time anyone has managed to get him onto a toilet seat at poop time. So we only got the last half of the poop; we can improve!

We cleaned up, washed our hands, and still celebrating, trotted out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, where I grabbed the bribery bag of candy and gave him a small handful. Then I went outside with a plastic bag, to clean up what Liam left out there.

But it wasn’t there.

Tito the Chihuahua WAS, however. Standing in the spot where the warm poop had so recently been, licking his lips. AAAACCCKKKK! I screamed. Liam, thinking we still celebrating, screamed happily, too. AAACCCCKKK!

I know that some dogs eat poop. And though I don’t want to think about it in graphic terms, I know that my own dogs have eaten deer poop, horse poop, and the like. I’ve never SEEN them eat cat poop, it might happen, but I have no evidence of this and so I am happy to imagine it doesn’t. And I’ve never owned a dog that ate dog poop, though I feel for people whose dogs do this. This, though – oh my. I have to admit: It has changed the way I feel about Tito. Time may heal this wound, obscure the memory somewhat, but for right now, I could not be more grossed out by my own dog.

Tell me your dogs have done worse, and you’ve gotten past it?






  1. We’ve had 2 dogs who eat their own poop and the poop of our other dogs (only if fresh). The worst I have seen was a friend’s dog who would roll in his own poop when it was freshly excreted. What a nasty mess to clean up! We witnessed it happen in our backyard.