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The Goop Stealer

Cricket, before her morning makeup

Cricket, before her morning makeup

Cricket. Oy.

Cricket. Oy.

 

I am the goop stealer. Goop is my highly technical term for doggy eye snot. My battle is to keep my dogs’ eyes open and seeing, but they do not like this at all.

Cricket’s goop is especially sticky and kind of like hardened rubber cement. I should be able to sit her on my lap, grab a tissue and wipe off the goop before it hardens into stalagmites in her hair, but Cricket hates being futzed with. If I go near her face with the tissue, she bites my fingers, and grabs the tissue, and jumps to the ground with her treasure. It’s sometimes possible to do a sneak attack and grab the goop with my bare hands, pinching it off like a tick, but if it’s stuck on, or I’m too slow, this can be very dangerous.

This is how she reacts to the toothbrush, just imagine if i tried to get closer

This is how she reacts to the toothbrush, just imagine if I tried to get closer

I’ve tried special eye cleaning pads on her, but she acts like the cleanser on the pad is burning her eye. The way she reacts, I can almost hear the sound of sizzling acid burning through her skin. She’s very convincing.

Cricket hiding on Grandma's lap

Cricket hiding on Grandma’s lap

The two methods that work are: a) Cut the goop off during a grooming session when she’s trapped in the bathtub and distracted with chicken treats; b) Scrub her with shampoo during a full out bath (because if her whole body is wet she’s a tiny bit more subdued.) At the very least, the soaking of the under eye area will loosen the schmutz a bit so it can be removed by hand.

Cricket’s goop embeds in the hair under her eyes and plasters itself to her skin so that I start worrying about infections and cooties crawling under her skin and chewing her up.

Butterfly’s eye goop is different. It doesn’t clump right under her eyes or in the corners. It catches on a group of longer hairs, lower down on her cheek. And since her hair is thicker and oilier, the goop is easier to pull off. She still doesn’t like the removal process, though. She dips her head like a baby avoiding a spoonful of peas. She doesn’t attack or bite or growl like Cricket, she just bobs and weaves.

Butterfly's rust stains

Butterfly’s rust stains

And a little eyeliner

And a little eyeliner

 

When we first adopted Cricket, and realized that a white haired dog was a whole new creature, with tear stains to worry about, we tried all kinds of things. There were wet wipes and special eye wipes for grooming around the eyes. Then we found a powder to add to her food that was supposed to at least limit the rust stains under her eyes. But nothing prevents the build up of goop.

I need another plan. I thought of putting Vaseline under her eyes every morning to keep the goop from sticking, but I think it would lead to Cricket rubbing her head so hard on every surface that eyes will pop out.

The fact is, Cricket doesn’t care if her butt is covered in poop or her feet are dirty, or her eyes are rimmed with goop. She resents being handled and gussied up. She hates being clean overall. But I want her to look her best. I don’t expect her to be poofed and sprayed and dressed in lace. I just want her to be clean and healthy and not smell like pee or poop or eye goop.

Is that so much to ask?

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

52 responses »

  1. This would have been funny to me except (1) I was eating breakfast when I was reading it and (2) I have a white Poodle and a white Maltese. Such a true story. I know exactly what you go through. In fact, I can’t put it off any longer. My poor doggies await. Not really–if they knew what I was planning they wouldn’t just be sitting there! sigh… White dogs are a breed unto themselves! 🙂

    Reply
  2. What a nightmare for you. That’s it, I’m sticking with black dogs 🙂

    Reply
  3. I agree with Cricket – I hate it too to be clean ;o)

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  4. My humans are simply obsessed with the removal of what they call “eye boogers.” I really cannot understand their fascination.

    Reply
  5. Oh goodness…we feel for you!!!! You are a great dog mommy!!!!

    Reply
  6. My ancient cocker Layla has cataracts and dry eyes which causes her tear ducts to produce more mucous than tears, so I’m either continually wiping her eyes or putting in natural vitamin E. Thankfully she is very tolerant of these sessions. My husband asks how I do it?…it’s simple, we love our dogs and they depend on us. Your pups are fortunate to be with someone who takes such good care of them.

    Reply
    • There’s something very sweet about wiping a puppy’s eyes, if they’ll let you. It’s the same thing that makes me want to wipe dirt off my nephews’ faces, or brush my niece’s hair. It only feels bad when they hit me.

      Reply
  7. hello cricket its dennis the vizsla dog hay i do not blaym yoo for resisting the goop steeling!!! that goop is a valyoobal kommoditee!!! otherwise why wood yore mama be trying to steel it??? perhaps yoo mite want to kontakt the thundering herd and ask them to bring there picket line over wunse they ar dun fiting the power over in there kampgrownd!!! dog solidaritee!!! ok bye

    Reply
    • Puppy power! Cricket believes there is a safe in the apartment filled with eye goop, puppy poop and dog hair, all stolen from her over the years and worth bazillions of dollars she could be using to buy chicken treats. Damn humans!

      Reply
  8. Hi There….I have EXACTLY that same problem! We Maltese-types tend to have it worse than many other doggies.

    Anyway, this is what my Mama does for me.

    1. Wet a small face towel. Squeeze off most of the water.
    2. Twist it to a point.
    3. Gently wipe the goop with that point.
    4. When goop loosens, use soft tissue to flake them off
    5. Using a fine comb, gently comb through the rest of the leftover bits!

    Btw, dont wait till goop gets too dry or it will be very uncomfortable for Cricket…I know it from experience! The whiskers might hurt…that’s why she sometimes resists it.

    Good luck!

    xxx C

    Reply
  9. Ohhh that face! My little one gets that way if you try to get anywhere near her eyes too. But we’ve started using these Earth Bath wipes and we give her a quick rub down after walks and it’s been a lot better.

    http://www.amazon.com/Earthbath-Natural-Hypo-Allergenic-Fragrance-Free-Grooming/dp/B000WFIVSQ

    Reply
    • Cricket is a magical escape artist. If I manage to capture her and try to, delicately, clean her, she climbs my shoulder crawls behind my neck and digs in her nails to hang on. She seems like she’d be too big for a maneuver like that, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

      Reply
  10. Eye boogers or goop, no matter what you call it, it is just plain nasty. Luz does a pretty good job of ridding herself of her own boogers but Diego needs my assistance. Problem is he doesn’t like my help. : (

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    • I wish Cricket could remove her own goop. She tries real hard, scratching her face against her grandma’s blanket like her skin is on fire. But it doesn’t work. Maybe her nose gets in the way?

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  11. I’m lucky. My dogs just blinked and snorted in disgust when I wiped my hands over their eyes to get their eye “boogies”. Sometimes I had to use a warm rag on Zoe, but I could usually get it with my finger.

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  12. Our large dog also suffers from “goop” – it is disgusting but we all got to do what we got to do! Poor baby and poor momma.

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  13. Ah, chicken treats…coin of the realm for my two too! I am always cleaning the eye snot out of the 12 y/o’s eyes…the 3 1/2 one hasn’t gotten that far yet…lol

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  14. Mothering is hard, isn’t it! 🙂

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  15. I too wrestle with the eye goop issue with my little Coco. *sigh*. It is good to know I am not alone. 🙂

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  16. thanks for the ‘like’ 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog and sooo sympathise with some of the things you’ve struggled with : eye goop is my pet peeve too, and making my Hannah swallow a pill is a superhuman effort (nothing works other than crushing it so finely that she doesn’t realise). keep up the great work!

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  17. As the owner of a fluffy rabbit with messy butt and weepy eye troubles, we can relate to your Cricket.

    The best way I have found is sneakily do it with my bare hands while patting and cuddling. It’s made of tears and the fur under the eye is hardened and clumps together. If it’s dry, I take the matted between my fingers and squeeze and twist so that the hard stuff breaks up and and crumbles away. I pick out any bigger bits.

    If it’s wet, I get wet cotton wool and wipe gently, replicating a bunny’s soft grooming tongue. Then I use a dry cotton wool to soak up the excess.

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    • Oh, “soft grooming tongue,” I love that! Makes me picture a mommy rabbit taking care of her baby. I’m getting a bad feeling that Cricket would prefer if I cleaned her face with my tongue rather than with a tissue. Maybe I can teach Butterfly to do it for me?

      Reply
      • People get old rabbits companion rabbits to take care of the older one. I guess in the wild, they live in families and while they might not live as long as pet rabbits, they have their family to take care of them in old age. I’m not sure that dogs will groom each other?

  18. lisaelskerarvid

    😄Så nydelig😃

    Reply
  19. I do the same with our cat. One eye is surrounded by black fur, but the other eye is surrounded by white fur and that side bugs me. Every bit of goop is very noticeable on that white side and of course she hates for me to try to clean it out!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the like on my post “Of Orchids and Fuzzy Creatures”!

    Reply
    • These little creatures. Makes me wonder what kind of grooming issues they think I’m under-doing about myself. Are they commenting to each other about my hair? More likely they think I’m overdoing the grooming. All those showers make me just smell wrong.

      Reply
  20. What a good puppy mom you are.

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  21. I love to read your posts. Butterfly’s goop is the same with my dogs goop, he always gets it stuck on some hair near the eyes….. Myself and my Mother always wash it out when we bathe my dog, we never get a chance to get the goop out besides the bath.. Milkshake my dog does sleep all day!!

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  22. Hehe, luckily my pooch is part golden retriever so even though he doesn’t like having his eye crusties removed, he tolerates it. Sometimes when he’s really not in the mood he will try to duck his head down and cover it with his paws lol. I keep telling him that only homeless/peopleless dogs don’t get their eye crusties groomed and they also don’t get fancy foo-foo salmon treats either 😉

    Reply
  23. Wow! I think the problem here is threefold: 1) Your dogs are long-haired 2) Your dogs are low/no shedders 3) Your dogs are white. It’s the trifecta!

    Our pit bulls all have eye goobers too, but they are extremely short-haired, shed, and are (respectively) fawn colored and black. They’re also really tolerant of us cleaning those goobers away.

    This post made me super thankful for something I take for granted!

    Do you think Cricket would do better if someone was treating, letting her nibble on, say, a big piece of chicken, while the other worked around her eyes?

    Reply
  24. I struggle with this problem with my dog, too. They so hate being handled around their eyes…
    P.s I’ve tweeted this post and two other engaging ones. 🙂

    Reply

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