The wolf in the bathroom


That’s what the wolf in the bathroom is all about. Hijinks.

He’s a coyote, not a wolf. My bad. But let’s not become distracted by the matter at hand, which is hijinks. My lovely hostesses got up to some hijinks on our last night in Louisiana, and everyone was in on it but me.

A coyote in the bathroom is par for the course for these girls. In fact, they’ve been pulling this trick on unsuspecting houseguests for years — literally. Is it any wonder I love these girls?

A little history: Sister Wendy, whose bathroom is pictured above, has a friend, Hanks, who is a biologist. Hanks and his wife, also a biologist, have access at their workplace, the Monroe branch of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, to some fine, preserved animals. “Choppa” is one such animal. Apparently Choppa was due to be retired after 30-some years baring his teeth, but was too fine a specimen to be thrown onto the trash heap. Hanks rescued Choppa, and like many other wayward animals, he came to reside at Wendy’s house.

Sounds like a nice, altruistic story of coyote adoption, right?

Nuh-uh. While Wendy & her hubs Lester are the epitome of altruistic when it comes to rescuing abandoned animals, having amassed quite the menagerie of strays, their altruism is certainly equaled if not outmatched by their mischief. Hence the coyote in the bathroom.

Allow me to introduce the current cast of Wendy & Lester’s menagerie. I really should let Sister Wendy tell this part because she’s much more amusing than I (again, hence the coyote in the bathroom), but she’s probably busy at this very moment in the OR helping someone transition from an old, worn-out hip or knee to a new and improved body part. So, you’re stuck with my version with bits of Wendy’s version sprinkled in for flavor.

There’s Brown Betty, who’s in charge of the pack. Don’t let that sweet face and those soft brown eyes fool you — she rules her pack with an iron fist, but I like to think she imparts her authority with love not tyranny. She had the good sense to show up at Wendy’s house, and the agreement was to foster her for a few weeks while Sister Holly found her a home. Sister Holly also has a soft spot for stray dogs who could easily star in the Island of Misfit Toys. In fact, we’ll now refer to Sister Holly as King Moonracer.

So King Moonracer finds Brown Betty and says she will find her a home while temporarily placing her with Aunt Wendy. That was 8 months ago. I’m guessing Brown Betty is a keeper. Wendy refers to BB as “a work in progress” and her main talent is identifying things that belong to Lester to chew. 

Next in the lineup of rescued dogs is Baby Gretchen. On the Island of Misfit Toys, she’d be the Dolly for Sue. Cute and cuddly but teeming with psychological issues.

Baby Gretchen showed up Wendy & Lester’s as a tiny baby. So tiny it was hard for her benefactors to tell if she was a kitten or a pup. She was small but mighty and mean enough to bite right through Lester’s palm. Gotta love a tiny girl with big spunk. She has a permanent sneer from a previous injury, which is just plain funny. It’s hard to get a photo of her because she’s a little nervous about people pointing things at her, and my iPhone-attempt to snap a quick pic of her freaked her out.

Then comes Disco, whose main nickname is Biscuit, and somehow I managed to conflate the two names to create Bingo, much to my favorite girl’s chagrin. She couldn’t for the life of her figure out why I kept flubbing that sweet dog’s name. Bingo didn’t mind the flubbing. She survived being shot or stabbed in the mouth as a young pup, so she’s pretty forgiving of a city-slicker who messes up her name. I love Bingo for that, and also because she has the softest face, which reminded me of my sweet Harry. And because she likes to sleep all the way under the covers, which reminds me of our little piggie

Disco/Biscuit/Bingo has perhaps the most colorful story of all the mules in the pack. Wendy and Amy saw her running down the highway the day after Thanksgiving and noticed she had a collar so they called her over to get her owner’s info off her tag. Wendy says Disco came right to her, but jeepers creepers she was dripping pus from her jaw. Her jaw “was obviously caddywompus and not quite aligned as one would expect.” Intrepid rescuers were not deterred, however, and loaded her into the truck but had to stick their heads out of the windows because the smell was SO BAD!  (emphasis Wendy’s). They cleaned her up and had Papa give her a penicillin shot, then brought her to Camp Langley (aka Wendy’s place) for a bath and some TLC. After her bath and her medical treatment, you might think that Disco was on the mend. However, as Disco shook her wet coat in the kitchen, Wendy says that “something went flying! I found some jawbone in the living room. Yes, I said jawbone.” Yikes. Wendy started Disco on antibiotics and flushed her jaw wound several times a day. “That girl was hooongree and thirsty! By Monday she was a new girl.” A trip to the vet confirmed a big bullet in her shattered jaw. Wendy reports that “most of the bone was dead, and the vet removed the jaw on one side and sewed her lip together so that it wouldn’t sag. She felt better than ever that night and has been our cutie pie since.” Talk about being luckier than a dog with two tails. As if having the most colorful back story isn’t enough, Disco also has the best nickname: Yellow-bellied-lilly-livered-long-eared-speckle-bellied-cat-head-biscuit.

At the bottom of the pack is Wayne Gretzky. About WG I have two words: sweet. heart. At first he scared me a little bit, I’ll admit, because he’s big and rock-solid. My first impression was that I wouldn’t want to meet up with him in a dark alley, but after scritching him between the eyes and having him flop at my feet, I realized he’s a lover, not a fighter.

Wayne Gretzsky showed up at Camp Langley and Wendy says that “after various attempts over a few days of Lester trying to make our home not-so-hospitable, I told him that if he tried one more time and the dog didn’t go away, he was ours. Immediately, WG ignored Lester’s latest attempt and came right up to me.” Smart dog. WG has also endured a run-in with a gun and had “a 22 graze” down one side. Not being a gun person, I can only assume this means he was unlucky enough to be shot by a 22-gauge gun and lucky enough to have been grazed rather than punctured. For some unexplained but likely equally awful reason, WG was missing part of his tail, and one of the other dogs in residence bit him and broke his nose right away. That dog, Ally, is no longer with us but like all Camp Langley dogs, has a story. Says Wendy, “Ally had a tracheostomy and no voice and poor WG did not know how to read her signals…..but she is a whole ‘nother story).” Indeed. Wendy says they tried lots of names on this dog but King Moonracer “got naming privileges on the day that her dog Cooper died. She picked Gretzky but we called him Wayne Gretsky because he looked like he had been in a hockey fight.”
So the discarded coyote is in good company at Wendy’s house. Wendy & Lester’s friend Hanks was involved in the culling of some of the worst taxidermy work at the Wildlife & Fisheries office. When he saw the impressive choppers on that coyote, according to Wendy, Hanks said to himself, “Lester needs that. It looks like a werewolf with dentures.”
Because of his impressive choppers, the coyote was crowned “Choppa” and has been instilling fear and inciting pants-wetting every chance he gets.
Here’s how Choppa’s attempt to scare me went down: I showed up at Wendy’s house for what I thought was a cook-out — burgers for the carnivores, portabellas for me, squash fresh from Papa’s garden for everyone, and Wendy’s special meringue cake.

newsflash: yum!

It seemed like a normal cook-out, with kids swimming in the pond and adults chatting and sipping. Instead, it was a wily plot to lull me into a sense of security and well-being then scare the pee-waddle outta me. This is how people get their jollies in northern Louisiana. Food was consumed, liquor was drunk, and a good time was had by all. Unbeknownst to me, everyone around the patio table was waiting with bated breath for me to excuse myself and go to the loo. For once in my life, my bladder outpaced my drinking — that never happens! So it was a long wait for the tricksters that night.
When nature finally did call and I moseyed to the powder bath, I didn’t even notice that the entire household — kids included — was following me to the bathroom. I flipped on the light and saw this:

Choppa, in all his glory with his impressive dentures flaring menacingly!

I can only surmise that the proliferation of adult beverages, including this delicious dill-pickle martini, is responsible for my less-than-creeped-out reaction to finding a snarling coyote on the vanity. If I recall, instead of a blood-curdling scream followed by a frantic fleeing from the scene followed by a need for a change of clothes, I uttered a small yelp that most likely disappointed the mischievous band of spectators. I’d give myself a 3 out of 10 for my reaction to Choppa. I was more alarmed by the fact that every single person knew what was going on but me. That kind of a hoodwinking following right on the heels of a full-blown surprise birthday party worries me. I’m afraid I may be losing my edge and will endeavor to become more observant, suspicious, and paranoid straight away.

Meanwhile, I need to get this photo blown up and framed as a memento of one wild & crazy night. 

I’m gonna get one for Amy, too. 

11 Comments on “The wolf in the bathroom”

  1. Jan Baird says:

    Choppa, the werewolf with dentures, just cracks me up. Your post is the merriment medicament at its best. Definitely get one for Amy. xx

  2. For one moment (just one moment, like a split on), I thought it was an animal in the bathroom . . . can only imagine the shock you had walking in!


  3. Wendy Langley says:

    Love it! A memorable night indeed!

  4. Amy H. says:

    Ha Ha Haaa HHaaaa haaaaaa! That was so funny! You should have seen your face!!!

    Just kidding! I was so surprised by your non reaction. I give you a 2 out of 10. I wondered if you heard all that thundering behind you and was more puzzled about the “race” to the restroom than finding Choppa. I love Choppa. Good times!

    One of my favorite things about going to “Aint Wendy & Uncle Westard’s house” is finding out the new nicknames they have for their dogs. They have nicknames for my dogs that my kids aren’t even aware of! (and not because they are unfit for tender ears!)

  5. elizabeth connolly says:

    hey, you’re a Texas girl and i figured they didn’t scare easily and i was right. Of course, the evening of sipping especially the martini’s may have played into it. Congrats . But don’t you get any ideas about slipping stuffed animals into your bathroom when I’m visiting. I’m old, I could have a heart attack. Of course, if i drink my usual quantity of champagne at your house, I might not even notice. Love ya!!!!!

  6. […] The wolf in the bathroom […]

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