Once Cricket (and her crate, and the towel, and my shirt) were cleaned up, we began the process of acclimating ourselves to our new living situation. Cricket slept and shook for most of her first two days as she recovered from the shock of her plane trip. During this time we cuddled on the couch, read, and basically laid low, as Cricket was still scared, and I had picked up some sort of bug from the trip home from the airport and was fighting off a sore throat, pulsing headache, and sinus infection at the same time. It’s safe to say we were both miserable.

During these days I first became aware of one of the defining aspects of dear Cricket’s personality. She was, and is to this day, a scarfpuppy. Now for those not familiar with the term, a scarfpuppy is exactly what it sounds like. A puppy that thinks she’s a scarf. The most comfortable place in the world for Cricket, and Crickets are, as a rule, comfort-seeking creatures, was lying down across the neck of whomever would entertain such a gesture of love and macroscopic fur. Although it sounds quite awkward, it is actually a very cozy position for both Cricket and human, and hastened our bonding and my recovery.

My parents came to visit on Cricket’s second day in the house, coinciding with my graduation from graduate school. They arrived that morning, and after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the puppy for a half hour or so, my mother’s frustration level began to show. For some reason unbeknownst to us to this day, Cricket had no desire to assume the ‘scarf’ position for my mother, who took it as a personal affront. My father, who was content to lie back in his chair and watch Sportscenter, couldn’t keep the miniature bundle of fur off his neck. Personally, I believe it had something to do with the perfume my mother was wearing, but she was truly offended.

Moving on, however, I took some Tylenol and off we went to my graduation ceremony (leaving our dear puppy in her crate so as to avoid any major clean-up work upon our return). The ceremony went well, but upon arriving home we were all rather tired, and looking forward to some lunch, a low-key afternoon, and perhaps even a nap on the couch with the Sunday paper.

As we walked back into the townhouse, we were amazed to find dog poo sitting at the back door. Amazed for two reasons – the first being that Cricket was locked in her crate, which is exactly where we found her. The second being, we had left Cricket’s crate at the front door, a good 40-plus feet from the back door, facing 90 degrees away from the back door. From her crate, there was no way she could have had a direct shot to the back door. Being a very detective-like family with roots in investigatorial reporting going back centuries, we determined that we must figure out how this had happened. Following a thorough examination of Cricket’s crate the fundamental events of the transgression became apparent – she had felt the urge to use the restroom in her crate, and upon completing her task, had managed to fling the pungent doggie feces out the caged door of the crate and around a 90-degree corner and 40-feet down the main hallway. What made the feat even more impressive, however, is that a close inspection of both the dog crate and her paws showed no evidence of there ever having been a mess in the crate or paw-to-poo contact. My father was extremely proud, stating that his son’s new dog had ‘skills.’ Thankfully, similar incidents were never repeated, but despite a variety of theories on the event, the Mystery of the Flinging Poo has never been definitively solved.