Monday, April 10, 2006


Toxoplasma gondii is my new hang-up. Aren’t you excited to share in this exciting new adventure with me? It’s the parasite that lives in cat poop. In addition to being the parasite that lives in cat poop, there is new research that suggests a link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis. I’ve touched enough cat poop in my life to infect a half dozen people with schizophrenia germs.

Today, my mother-in-law called just as my dog discovered something exciting on the back porch. Had this been anyone else in the world, I easily could have shouted, “DOG IS EATING SOMETHING GOTTA GO BYE!” However, one hates to do this to one’s mother-in-law. It just isn’t done. I could hear the dog chomping away at something, and I knew with terrible certainty that this was going to be gross.

The dog found cat poop.

It wasn’t as if there was cat poop hanging out on the back porch. This was something wrapped up in a garbage bag that had apparently slipped out of the trash disposal container on its way to the garbage bin outside. And of course, my dog is a poop-seeking missile, so she found the lost turd. The sound I heard while I was on the phone was the dog breaking through the plastic bag to get at the juicy contents.

And so, I removed cat poop from my dog’s mouth as soon as I could politely get off the phone.

Yet more toxoplasmosis in my life.

By now the dog’s mouth was covered in toxoplasmosis bearing cat poop, and with each breath she exhaled the smell was getting stronger. I thought I’d vomit. “Just please don’t let her go chew on her toys or lay down in her bed,” I just needed a couple minutes to come up with a germ-fighting plan.

I found a spray bottle and loaded it with Scope. I approached her with the “good dog!” trick, then opened her mouth and sprayed the scope all over her teeth and gums. I had a paper towel in my left hand and the spray bottle in the right. She thought this was a great game and withstood it for probably longer than I needed to go on. I followed with a breath-defying Greenies chew bone that’s kind of shaped like a toothbrush. When she finished that, just to be sure, I fed her a Ricola sugar-free cough drop.

She may be schizophrenic now, but at least we have toxoplasmosis together.

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