The white underbitey

When I got Edsel, he had normal teeth.

maybe just hint of unnerbite.

I got Edsel off a website, like how you’d order pornography or books or a bride from overseas. It was a “rescue” site that I now sort of suspect, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I wish I still had the picture they used to advertise him.

dis not it

A person was holding Eds over her shoulder, and all you saw was a puppy head and 50 feet of ears. “I want this ears-y one,” I announced to Marvin, to whom I was formerly betrothed.

Marvin sighed. He didn’t really want a puppy. We already HAD a dog. And that was my point: Our dog needed a playmate.

sheee really did NOT mom

Tallulah up there was correct. She tolerated Edsel for the rest of her life, but he was never her cup of tea. But oh, was she ever his.

The point of all this is that Edsel had normal teeth when I got him.

Did I mention I got him in a gas station parking lot? The “rescue” place online said to meet them there, in a town called Mt. Airy, about an hour away. They were very late. I nervously watched the sun set beyond the Shell sign as I awaited their (late) arrival.

Eventually, a sleazy-looking van pulled up and I worried I’d end up in that Silence of the Lambs pit, even though Marvin my husband, fmr., was with me. Marvin wasn’t what you’d call an alpha.

In the van was an old lady driving, with an even older lady in the passenger seat, holding my “rescue.” “She’s got dementia,” said the driver. “That puppy loves her.”

Edsel did seem to love her. He looked at me nervously as I handed over the $90 “rescue fee.” What I didn’t know then was that he was not a fan of strangers, and at the time, that’s what I was.

“His mom was a white German shepherd,” the driver–sorry, the RESCUER–told me. “She was a backyard dog. Someone got her pregnant and her owner said he didn’t want a bunch of puppies.”

Well why didn’t he–

How could he–

God, I hate people. Also, his mom was a Carolina Dog. You can’t tell me any different. A white German shepherd. Pfft.

As I took Edsel to my car, with his normal teeth, the lady said, “I didn’t think anyone would take this homely one.”


I’d been planning to name him Sputnik, but on the drive home, I said to Marvin, “What about Edsel? The car nobody wanted.”

Marvin was a Ford guy. He was all up in that name choice. Five months later, Marvin was gone, but I don’t blame Edsel for that. I blame today’s vows, schmows attitude.

His teeth began to stick out as he aged. Edsel’s, not Marvin’s.

For a while, it was sort of charming.

Eventually, people started asking me, “Has the vet ever said anything about orthodontia?”

The vet never has. But I can tell you one thing: Eds doesn’t use those bottom teeth. Like, at all. He doesn’t chew with them. They stick too far out. The only thing those teeth are good for is bouncing popcorn off them when I toss him a kernel.

About a year ago, he was staring at me as he does, and I noted one of the bottom teeth was loose. I panicked and made an appointment with the vet, who seemed to think I was fairly berserk. He told me as dogs age (Edsel will be 9 in July) their teeth get loose, particularly at the bottom. I remembered Tallulah having one less tooth one day, on her bottom row.

“It’ll come out very soon,” he said.

Define “very soon.”

Because for ONE YEAR, I’ve watched that thing get looser, and I’ve watched him not use his bottom teeth, and I’ve watched popcorn bounce off it, but in his mouth that tooth remained.

It became more and more obvious, and I considered calling the vet to pull it, but that seemed like it would traumatize this already-nervous animal.

edz gotta cut loos. toof loos. kick off m’sunday shoos.

Yesterday, I could tell that we were near the end. That thing was ready to be gone. And it was making him uncomfortable. I saw it in the way he ate, and the way he fetched Blu. He’d…work his way around his tooth.

So at lunchtime, I had an idea. Usually, we go into the yard and fetch Blu until he gets so tired that he brings it back only halfway. Edsel will never give up on fetching Blu, but he will bring it back about three inches from where he retrieved it, like, O, dis close enuf. And right then I know.

But yesterday, instead of throwing Blu across the yard as far as I can (news flash: I throw like a girl), I tossed Blu straight up in the air. I know he doesn’t use his bottom teeth to fetch, hence the dang yearlong wait for the leaving of the tooth, but I know when he leaps up to catch, sometimes his bottom row gets involved.


It worked.

gone in 60 monthz

I only had to toss Blu in the air, like, five times until he dropped it and smiled up at me with a gap.

The relief was instant. He was a new dog. Well. He’s still neurotic Edsel, the puppy nobody wanted. But a newer version of Edsel, let’s say that.

wut a releef

And that’s the toof.


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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

60 thoughts on “The white underbitey”

  1. Love this post. All Edsel and his tooth.

    Your post made me remember a dog tooth story. I had a miniature dachshund and my daughter was about 15. Katrina (the dog) lost a tooth that we found. Being silly I made a big deal out of the “baby” losing a tooth and decided we would put it under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find. It turned out I didn’t have any ones, so the TF left Katrina $5. When my daughter found the money in the morning, she was so mad! “The most I ever got was one dollar. She’s just a dog and she gets 5!”


  2. I just loved this post June! What a sweet and precious tale about Edsel! Someday I will write about how Marley ate a bar of Dial soap Sunday night and you will see what kind of pets I have… lol..sigh! Love Edsel and such a great name!


  3. We have a dog, Chopper who everyone adores but truth be told he is a bit of an asshole. We have another dog that is much more loyal and likable but our guests never give him a second look but the a-hole dog? Everyone is all about him.


  4. So glad the dang tooth is out! I never thought of him as a nervous animal, but I guess that is true. I think of him more as a trying to please/ cowering animal. Just another way of saying nervous!


  5. Now he can have his class picture taken. I always had my class pictures taken the day after a front tooth fell out. Charming.


  6. He may eat puppies but his love of all kittens balances the scales of justice. Did any of you June moms save your kids teeth as they lost them? I finally tossed those calcium nuggets last year… are 38 & 40, it was time.


      1. Tee,
        I read your comment to mean that you had most of your teeth in.your.mouth until last year. I don’t have a clue why I kept them.

        I wondered why you would have had them pulled! Right then I knew.


    1. No, I didn’t save our kids’ teeth but I still have any puppy teeth we found over the years with multiple dogs.


    2. My mom still has all of our teeth. and i have all of my kids’ teeth. In my jewelry box, like they should be.


  7. Smart move on your part. Quick and no vet bill and no more pain. So, how much money did the tooth fairy leave Edz? When my niece’s little girl lost her first tooth I asked the same question, in their area of town $20 was the going rate for a tooth. She told me it was going to be $2 with glitter in their household. I got 10 cents per tooth, except when I lost both front teeth, I got a quarter! I’m old.


  8. I’ll miss his little loose tooth but I’m glad it isn’t causing him any pain.

    “His teeth began to stick out as he aged. Edsel’s, not Marvin’s.” To be fair, we haven’t seen ‘ol Marvin Gardens in a while. His teeth may have begun to stick out as he’s aging.


      1. Not every has to (gets to) live with Edsel. We only see the highlights. You get the whole dog. He’s celebrity in that way. Yeah, Hugh Jackman is hot but in real life I bet he is annoying sometimes.


      2. Hmmm. We know him through your writing and you write about him in such a way that we all love him, so . . . either he’s lovable, you’re a wonderful writer, or both. I vote both.


  9. I’m glad Blu did the trick as I was picturing you trying to tie Edsel’s tooth to a doorknob. I’ve always heard of the doorknob trick, but it was never used on us. If the tooth didn’t come out for us while we incessantly moved it back and forth, my Dad could pull it in an instant. We didn’t know the Blu trick.
    So happy Eds feels better without his loose tooth.


  10. I think Edz is and was adorable in a slightly goofy but very endearing way. I liked the look of that tooth but if it botherd him I’m glad it’s gone. Smart thinking with blue!


  11. Edsel is and has always been adorable.

    There’s a man in my life (party emoji) who has two dogs, Jumbo and Fiona. Jumbo has a pretty serious under bite and he’s lost two of those bottom teef. The vet told the man that it would happen as they aged because he bangs into stuff and those teef are more exposed. Jumbo loves to play fetch but sometimes he trips over the stuffed animal and bangs his chin on the floor. When I have PMS this makes me teary but every day, PMS or not, he gets an extra treat when I see him do this.

    Congrats, Edsel, on your new dog-ness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would definitely date a man who’d named his pets Jumbo and Fiona. I don’t think I could get serious about anyone who had a Bella or a Bailey.


      1. Honestly, his pet names were part of the reason I liked him. Had he picked Hendrix or Cobain or some such other homage to music, or some foofy name as mentioned above, I’d have dropped him like a hot potato. I have standards. (Mostly.)


      2. Cat names. Have a friend who named their four cats after porn stars. Her husband owned a video store. My favorite was Seka. She was a beauty.


  12. Oh Edsel. Who’s a good boy? I was really hoping you were going to tell us you tied one end of a string to Blu and the other end to his tooth, like we used to do to our kids. Well we wouldn’t tie their tooth to a dog chew toy, we would use a doorknob, but… oh, never mind. My point is, when you have kids you go through this over and over and over again. The constant “look at my tooth” as it dangles by a thread. I would tell my kids “didn’t I just suffer with you for months while those teeth were coming IN? Now you want me to get excited that they’re falling OUT?” I’m what you call a “fun mom”.

    How could anyone call that puppy homely? He was adorable then and he’s handsome now!


  13. I actually think Edsel is handsome. When we brought our Jack home from the vet whose kids had found him, he was long and skinny and funny looking. He fleshed out, as all my animals and household members do, and became so handsome with his ruff, tinged with white. Prosperous looking, as Pam would say. Anyway, I wouldn’t change a thing about Edsel. I love him. AK


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