The Games We Play

Blue's foot
What have we here?  Just schmutz
When you live out in the boondocks, sometimes you have to get creative to make life interesting. At our house, we play a game called “Schmutzi, Scab or Mean Buggy” to enliven our days. I suspect some of you out there may also play a version of this game.

The game begins when you send your hounds outside to play or potty in the back yard. The game is most exciting when it’s a nice day and the kids decide to hang out for a while or lay in the sun. The longer they are outside in the back yard, the more challenging the game.

What is this faint discoloration, scab?
The real fun begins when they come back inside. Depending on how sporting I’m feeling I may change up the rules a little during this part. Being the self-appointed game “commissioner” and the only player with opposable thumbs, I can make these rulings. If I’m not feeling sporting, I make the kids wait on the porch. I go outside and conduct my inspection. We check every body part both visually and with a pat down. When I come across a dark patch or a lump or otherwise unidentified object on their bodies, I must pronounce what I believe this to be. Some schmutz they picked up, like dirt or grass etc. Or a scab that they picked up by running in to some object or each other. Or a mean buggy and by this we typically mean tick but sometimes mosquito. Then we do a closer inspection and find out if Mumma won the big prize.

Oops, it's mean buggy
If I’m feeling sporting, I may let the kids come from the back yard directly into the house uninspected. Then we play the game in the kitchen or living room. This is more of a challenge because there is the added excitement of a mean buggy making an escape and taking up residence in our house. This year we have had a tick and a number of mosquitoes make a break for it. We never saw that tick again.

Sometimes, Mumma misses a lump or spot upon initial inspection. That’s when the game goes into extra innings. Usually I’ll be sitting on the couch snuggling with one or the other or both hounds. Then I find an unexplained bump. Inspection ensues and usually we’re on our way to the bathroom to give our tick friend an alcohol bath. Not long ago, I had to play the game at midnight when I was patting Bettina as we were headed off to sleep and found an unexplained bump on her hip bone.

I didn’t win the prize on that one having guessed scab only to find out it was mean buggy. I’m glad we found him before we fell asleep but just try getting a good night’s sleep once you have lost a round of “Schmutzi, Scab or Mean Buggy” in your own bed.


  1. Aaahh...the fun games we get to play with our pets.

  2. I lost a round of that with Koira yesterday- it turned out to be a unidentified black lump that is going to have us at the vet to have it checked out tomorrow. I thought it was a bit of dirt or a scab, so I lightly picked at it with my nail. Then it got angry and started bleeding and I decided I'd better leave it alone and call the vet.

  3. Ah, yes, the games we play! I am glad that Mr. Taleteller is the player in this game at our house! And no, I don't want to sleep with any of them, either!

  4. This game is particularly hard with a heavily coated dog like a corgi! Mean buggies often go undetected for a couple of days. It's just so gross! And, yes, I have awakened in the middle of the night on more than one occasion because I thought I felt a mean buggy crawling on me!

  5. I have never heard to game named before and I'm glad to know the official name! I don't check my guys very often because we are in an area where there are few bugs. Scabs are another story!
    That thin skin and thin fur layer are easily torn!
    So glad to hear that you don't want to sleep with buggys


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