I was napping on my cushion after a mildly strenous morning chasing the raccoon away from the compost and then hanging out with the guys who have a smoke and a coffee outside the convenience store across the street. I’d even directed traffic for awhile before coming home for breakfast.

Pack Leader was already hard at work at the computer when I heard the postie open the gate and clump up the steps, swearing lightly at the climb.

I knew the feeling. At my age, I have to pause to gather my skirts before tackling that steep flight. The stairs are only about two wolf-dogs high, but my ticker doesn’t like it anymore.

The postie shoved one envelope through the slot and thumped off. I raised my head, briefly considering joining her on a social stroll around the neighborhood, but decided I was too lazy. I could hear Pack Leader’s heart beating calmly, which meant she’d keep on working for a while on that book that makes her snort, and she wouldn’t like to be interrupted during her earning hours. In the interests of a sooner shopping trip for dog treats, i went back to napping.

A dream came, a re-cap of Pack Leader’s strange behavior a couple of weeks earlier. It started out realiticl enough. I could tell it was time for her to take a dump, but this time she took two small bottles and some paper into the water fountain room with her. Curious, I followed, stopping a paw’s width short of the heated tile (which I hate but Pack Leader loves). Of all things, she had spread paper across the bowl of the water fountain! Weirder yet, she proceeded to remove her magnificent dump, carefully, on that paper onto the warm floor.

"It’ll cook there," I informed her. "Don’t think your vet will like that."

She ignored me in favor of playing with a little stick, using it to transfer a little of her offering into one of the small bottles. What the…? Was she trying out some new method for humans to mark their territories?

"Are you sure you’re okay? Want some help?"

She threw me a baleful look. "I’d like to see you park your butt up there and perform this little balancing act, Mr. Smart-ass Wolf! Hey…" she picked up the second bottle. "Come in here! WE know we don’t have cancer–might as well have some fun with this."

"No way!" I backed up and headed for the back door, feeling inspired to perform some acts on my own. "Any time you need a lesson in how to poop in the woods, just tag along."

She opened the back door for me. Ye dogs and little kitties! She did tag along, all the way up our back forty into our mini-forest. I picked a beautiful big fern and backed up to it for a satisfying session, with perfect results.

"Holy shit!" said Pack Leader, or similar words. "You can’t even see it! Nice job, Wolfydog."

"Always pick a flat spot," I advised, "or it can roll down the hill on you. What a waste of effort!"

She honored my offering by using the second bottle. Then she washed her paws and found me a cookie.

All that dreaming made me feel like taking a walk. My head jerked up as Pack Leader went to the door, but I didn’t hear the leash clink. She only picked up the mail. "Uh oh," she said, and tore open the envelope.

She expelled one of her super sighs, and sagged back onto her chair. "One of us, my friend, is in trouble. Shall we go see the vet or the doc?"

She reached for her bag that holds the bits of paper and plastic used for trading for better things, like turkey necks and milkbones, and dug around until her fingers found one of the little flat, round, shiny things humans feed machines on the street with. A coin.

The coin winked in the air as Pack Leader flipped it and caught it, slapping it onto her wrist as if whacking a mosquito. "Heads or tails?"

"Under the circumstances, you take tails," I said.

"It’s heads," she informed me. "What’s the vet’s number?"

It didn’t happen exactly that way. When I saw Major looking at me as if I’d obviously lost my mind, however, I was tempted. Would the lab be able to tell the real poop from the K9, I wondered? It would be fun to find out. I was 100% sure I was not the cancer type, anyway, and if the lab couldn’t distinguish wolfdog from human, I’d have the potential for a story.

Yeah, writers are terrible people.

In reality, the results of the test didn’t make it through the mail slot before I saw the GP again. She thought I’d already received them and, approximately 1.5 minutes before taking my blood pressure, let slip that the results were positive. Twenty times the permissible amounts of blood in the stool. I was flabbergasted, a state of mind which apparently translates into a BP of 170/90. I would have to book myself a colonoscopy.

Aw, come on! I’m not the cancer type! My heart is going to take me out–many years from now. Can’t we re-do the test?

No, and I’d better get my butt into the hospital soon for that colonscopy.

I pushed my work aside and began research. Whew! There are about forty possible causes for blood in the stool. One of the lesser causes was sure to be mine.

At the colonscopy, I asked whether the lab could tell whether poop donors were K9 or human. Apparently, yes. In the past, perhaps not, but nowadays, there’s no substitute for the real poop.

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