This Is Us

How to Handle the Stinky Fear Juice

The way others respond to crisis doesn’t have to dictate your next move

Micah Enloe
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readApr 1, 2020


A photo of a man with a serious expression holding his face with his two hands.
Photo: eclipse_images/Getty Images

SSince Lady ‘Rona struck our fair lands, I’ve been hanging out with a lot of Hollywood puppies and kitties. I’m working part-time at my friend’s vet practice. Yes, I’m one of those tireless heroes still going to work, risking it all for the good of… your pet still getting its anal glands expressed. Hashtag essential. You’re welcome.

Before working there I had no idea that anal glands even needed expressing, but I quickly learned that they most surely do when one of the vet technicians squirt some lube on her gloved finger and then fingered a puppy in front of me.

She was rooting around in there on a hunt for something, and that something — when expressed — smells oddly like rotting salmon guts left out in the sun (a distinct smell that I learned while working in Alaska). It’s intense, and recently while trimming the nails of a giant old dog, in fear, the poor guy sharted and self-expressed his anal glands all over my shirt and arm, which can happen when they let fear take them over and they lose their shit, literally.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s been eye-opening watching pandemonium unfold and all the subsequent stinky fears (and equally pungent kindnesses too, thankfully) that spray all over you when you’re dealing with the general public during the temporary end of the world. It’s a shocking, unforgettable experience full of lessons.

One lesson, for instance, was gleaned from an always-panicky woman who comes in with a thick mystery accent and her always-perfectly-okay puppy. This dog is clearly her baby and her entire life. Every week she comes in with a new horror, holding her Donatella Versace — yes, her name is Donatella Versace — crying, shaking (her, not the dog), and screaming that it’s an emergency. Now that the city is on lockdown, we don’t allow people to enter the office anymore; they have to call from their cars, and we come out to take their pets, while wearing gloves and masks and makeshift full-body condoms.

Of course this woman tried to get in the office anyway, seriously banging on the windows, because, as she later explained — after I told her…



Micah Enloe
Human Parts Author, essayist, screenwriter, copywriter, movie-maker, actor, beach-lover, bison-lover, gym-goer, all-around-the-world-goer. Insta: @Buffunny