5:00 p.m.

Snips Ďn snails Ďn puppy dog tails....

I just need the snips and snails. Then I'll have the ingredients for making a little boy. I already have the puppy dog tails; Iíve procured those today. Iím thinking about selling them on e-bay.

We docked the tails and removed the dewclaws of eight, 3 day old Rottweiler puppies today. I loathe doing it. The little guys scream and carry on for a long time. Of course, I would, too. The screams - they're haunting.

Note: Silver nitrate sticks are used to chemically cauterize wounds. If they come in contact with your skin, even for a second, they will stain it a deep brown color. It doesnít happen right away, it usually takes at least 30 minutes before it begins to change color, and slowly darkens over the next few hours. It doesnít burn, and you donít even realize youíve touched it. It doesnít wash off, even prior to the staining; you just have to wait until your dead skin cells slough off. Iíve contemplated using this in some sort of revenge scenario. (Writing moron on someoneís forehead for example.)

Ok, thanks for the science lesson, Julie. Could you get on with it?

I mention this only because we use silver nitrate sticks when we do tail docks and dewclaws. Iíve made the mistake many times of not wearing gloves, and have ended up looking like I raided the Hershey chocolate factory, or Iím very messy in the bathroom and didnít bother washing my hands. After 3 days of explaining why I look like I need to be taught hygiene, the stains finally fade, and the memory along with them. Today, I was smart. I remembered to don the latex gloves, and even reminded the doctor - I was so proud.

Ok, youíre getting bored. I realize. Iíll move on, but youíll understand why all of this prefacing was necessary in a minute.

On the last little puppy, I couldnít help myself; he was just too damn cute and cuddly. I kissed him after he was done and soothed him until he quit crying. Twenty-five minutes later, Marie, one of the receptionists, motioned to me to wipe something off my face. I tried, but she said it was still there. I wandered back to the bathroom to investigate, and there it was Ė a blob of brown right next to my lip. Itís about the size of a nickel now (and when you imagine having a brown nickel plastered to your face, youíll realize just how big this is). From prior experience, I know that nothing will wash this off, and Iím just going to have to bear the taunting and staring for a few days. Iíve already been called shit-eater and brown-noser (itís the best they could come up with so far) numerous times.

Iím having a family portrait taken on Saturday, and damn it, it better be gone by then.

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