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Wishful Peeing

We used to take Cricket on two mile walks around our old neighborhood and, yes, the first ten times she peed there may have been some actual liquid coming out, but by the thirteenth time? No. And yet, she’d still squat down to leave her message, even if not a drop of pee could be produced. This is wishful peeing.

The search for pee mail begins

The search for pee mail begins

This could be a good spot

This could be a good spot

Ideally Cricket would know ahead of time how many messages she will need to leave, and be able to control how much pee to leave for each message, but she’s not that forward thinking. She’s also not the one who decides when the walks will happen, or where the walks will take her. And no one can really know ahead of time how many pee mails she will need to answer.

So many messages, so little pee left in the tank

So many messages, so little pee left in the tank

            Dogs use pee as a complex messaging system. I can’t say that I understand how the system works. My nose is not attuned to the specific notes they can pick up that tell them: Pug, after breakfast, eats dry food, misses her Mommy. But each message is more than just a simple ID card; it must be ever changing, or else they wouldn’t keep rechecking. Cricket sniffs Butterfly’s butt a few times a day for new information, and she certainly doesn’t need her basic info anymore.

Here Cricket can both rest, and sniff, at the same time

Here Cricket can both rest, and sniff, at the same time

Maybe there are pee Haiku where the dog is expressing joy at being outdoors and seeing a butterfly, or grief at having missed her friend by just seconds. Some dogs may pee in sonnets, of love for the Chihuahua down the road with the hand knitted sweater who always smells of butterscotch and rosemary. And some would ramble on, and go off on tangents, and repeat themselves with endless references to chicken treats lost in puddles never to be eaten again.

            There is a whole world of literature hidden in dog urine. Maybe some day scientists will find a way to decipher the code and open us to the wonder that is pee.

            When we were finally able to go on a long walk again, recently, after a summer of heat and rain and just general grumpiness on my part, I realized that Butterfly has learned all about pee mail and leaving an endless trail of messages along the way. I couldn’t keep count of the number of pees my two dogs attempted to leave, but it became clear early on that there was very little liquid being deposited, if any, after the first few messages.

"is this a good place to pee?"

“Is this a good place to pee?”

"Or this?"

“Or this?”

            My girls seem very happy with themselves when they squat for the fifteenth time along the route, but I just wonder how exquisitely sensitive a dog’s nose would have to be to recognize that a message had been left at all.

            “It’s the thought that counts,” Mom said. I think she also said this when my brother brought a pancake as a present to a friend’s birthday party in high school, and it turned out that she was right. The laugh made all the difference.

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About rachelmankowitz

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

80 responses »

  1. My two do the same thing and I am totally puzzled that night after night they can go to the same place and spend ages sniffing what appears to be a single blade of grass. I would dearly love to know what it contains. I sort of feel left out of the conversation :o) Odd thing – when we come back home after the walk the first thing he does is head for the water dish, and she is not all that far behind him.

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  2. Doggie logic: “If it’s not food that you can eat, or a toy to be played with… Just pee on it and walk away..!!” I think your girls and my Gracie went to the same “school”. 🙂

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  3. Cricket and my male dog, Miki, should get together to discuss the art of pee mail. He’s 13 and doesn’t have nearly as much urine as he did as a youngster, but he will attempt to pee on almost everything on his walks. The girls have increased the need for pee mail with age, but it may be weaker bladders combined with a greater desire to be known in the neighborhood.

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    • Butterfly went to pee on the sidewalk the other day, and, unlike in the grass, where I’ll never really know if there was pee or no pee, on the sidewalk, it’s obvious. There was nothing. Just dreams.

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  4. It’s like “doggie Face Book”. Thye leave a little comment at first and when the pee runs out it’s just a like. 🙂

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  5. maybe the yellow signs are as mystic as the hieroglyphics of the pyramids? I like the idea of your brother! Have a great sunday :o)

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  6. I think my male chi is convinced that whomever pees on it last owns it. He will wait for my female to pee so he can get his on top of hers.

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  7. I just love your sense of humor

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  8. I like your funny ‘pee theory’ 😉

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  9. Great Poste, I laughed out loud! My Charley-girl is often nicknamed Tinklebell for that reason;0)

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    • That’s great! Cricket has heard herself called the super pooper, because she is prolific. But she doesn’t appreciate it. She prefers her nickname from puppyhood, the tiny assassin.

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  10. Lol! My Bianca does that too! I made the mistake a few times of taking her on my exercise jog. I had to keep stopping for her wishful peeing.

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    • Cricket likes to stop for pee mail and then rush to catch up to where she thinks we should be on the walk. So it’s the epitome of stop and go traffic, very bad for the wheels, um, legs.

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  11. This is familiar to me also. Too funny. Thanks for liking my post on the dog jumping through the hoop also.

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  12. Reading their p-mail, guys! And replying 🙂

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  13. omg, pee mail. Woof! (runs around, chases tail) I could not stop laughing. It’s true!

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  14. I thought only male dogs did that. They never run out – always a few drops in the tank!

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    • When Butterfly first came home she only seemed to notice the pee messages that were higher up, but eventually she realized that the girl messages, on the ground level, were more in depth, and talked about their feelings.

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  15. Very cute post. Neither of our current two do this, but one of our GSD’s never ran out no matter how many times she squatted.

    Cindy

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  16. hello cricket and butterfly its dennis the vizsla dog hay i like reeding peemail too!!! their is always so mutch to lern if yoo only no ware to sniff!!! ok bye

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  17. I will be more patient on our walks after reading your delightful post. As my dog smells, squats and pees I will know she is adding her message to those already left by others. 🙂

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  18. Kaci SHOUTS. She has a move when she wants to be heard-we call it the “walking piddle”. She sticks her tail up, bends her hind legs somewhat but keeps on walking while liquid comes out. I think its called broadcasting.

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    • This is a brilliant idea, Kaci! This way, many more friends can hear at least part of your message, and then they will be intrigued enough to follow the rest of the message wherever it leads.

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  19. I loved this…made me smile and giggle. Now I know why Chancy keeps hiking his leg after he has peed a gallon or more and nothing else comes out. lol Such a creative mind you have…great talent and wonderful sense of humor. Hugs and nose kisses all around!

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  20. that is so funny how i wrote a pee haiku same day,you wrote this….but it was only about how the dog’s mean parents wouldn’t let her stop to pee.: they were too busy jogging.

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  21. Bravo! Loved this, especially the paragraph about the haiku. Beautifully written! I have three dogs, two boys and a girl, and it’s only the boys who mark things along their walks. The girl is far too regal to reduce herself to peeing indiscriminately. She only goes when she has to–usually only a half-dozen times a day. The boys will pee on anything, and as one of your other commenters said, one of them always waits for the other to go, so he can cover his brother’s pee with his own. Strange but fascinating little critters, aren’t they! 🙂

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    • Thank you! I’m wondering what it means that my girls are training for the pee Olympics with the boys. Cricket is definitely a tomboy by nature, but Butterfly is very girly. As my youngest nephew said, she walks like a lady, swishing her tushy from side to side.

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  22. We had a “mass pee-styria” here at the Litt Palace of Puppy Love the other night. When Rocky, a little chihuahua who used to be our foster dog, was staying for the weekend while his new mama went out of town. When I took him to the front door when they came to get him, our four dogs and the two new fosters we had just taken in the day before, all went to the gate to say goodbye. In the two minutes it took for me to walk him to the front door, one or many of the remaining dogs let loose in mass pee-styria in the kitchen. It was as if we had a sudden plumbing leak!

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  23. I’ve always called it “pee-mail.” This is wonderfully written, Rachel. You’re correct that there is an entire literature in dog urine (amongst other smells). I’ve been reading “Inside Of A Dog”, which is fascinating. You might enjoy it too. 🙂

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  24. This is awesome! I know as our male puppy gets older, he’ll be smelling every blade of grass looking for that perfect spot to leave his messsage. Our Miniature Schnauzer will pee really fast and then run off still dripping, so I guess that could be called the “pee and run.”

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  25. Cute! My furbabies do the same on walks. Squat/lift and nothing comes out! haha

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  26. picture 2 that looks exactly like Donna sometimes! 😀 We let her pee all she wants 😛 we rather she clear her ginormous reservoir of pee outside than to bring it back in the house 😀

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  27. This is great! Who knew what an entertaining blog post could be had just by being observant while walking the dogs! You know them well.

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  28. BOL – I always call it P-mail. Sometimes I make them walk in the street next to me because I get tired of all the stopping.

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    • And they go along with this? Butterfly is terrified of the big street next to where we live. God forbid a bus should pass by, Butterfly cowers, and Cricket jumps up and starts to bark at that monster!.

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      • We are lucky because we live on a peninsula with very little traffic, however, the garbage trucks, well any truck, freaks Sofie out and she will run the other way. So, I understand. It is hard being small in a big noisy world.

  29. Aww that’s great never really looked at it like that..so true though. Interesting post mmm make’s you think
    Enjoy your day x

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  30. Pee mail – that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Oh my goodness. So true and so funny. Thanks for this laugh out loud post.

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  31. Brilliant Rachel! My boy Nico is the same – our friends laugh everytime we go walking and they do a count – until they loose count and have to give up!

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  32. Thoroughly enjoyed your analysis of dog pee, having experienced the same event many, many times. We’ve often marveled at the continuing saga even after the river has stopped flowing!

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    • Butterfly is fond of creating epic poems as soon as she leaves the building, and then moving into Haiku mode, and then, of course, getting a lot of pee reading done. I think someone has been peeing a novel, in installments, on a particular bush up the hill from us. Both dogs are fascinated.

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  33. Such a great post. I refer to this as ‘Pee on the World’. 🙂

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  35. Dogs can be so funny with their little habits 🙂

    Reply

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