CSI: Coolidge Scene Investigators

The victim appeared to be a 110-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback

If you ever have to dispose of a body, do yourself a favor and don’t chop it up and transport it in the back of you car. Just ditch the car – wipe the prints and roll it off a mountaintop.

I can assure you: The trunk of your car will never be the same after it’s housed a dead body. The clean-up is long, loud and ultimately impossible. There will be blood – lots of it – and some day far in the future when you’re thinking you’ve managed to escape the long arm of justice, some crafty crime scene investigator or blood-spatter analyst will come along and bust your ass¹ for busting a cap in someone else’s ass.

I know this because Pat and I spent $354.31 and two hours last night cleaning up the aftermath of Coolidge Carnage™.

Those of you who are faint of heart may not want to read on or access our Gallery of Gore™.

Our mystery begins on Friday, October 21, 2011: The suspects – Patrick and Stacy Bertinelli – departed their house for an evening at a charitable wine-tasting event where they established an air-tight alibi. At least six witnesses submitted sworn statements that Stacy was seen at the crab-legs bar on four (4) separate occasions that night, and the Deschutes Brewery representative testified that Patrick Bertinelli “begged” him for extra samples of his special Stoic Belgian Brew.

Hungover, but not in violation of driving-while-intoxicated statutes, the couple returned home the following morning to find blood smeared all over the door-stoop leading from the garage to the side yard. This is the exit their canine companions – Coolidge, age 8, and Winslow, age 7 – use to access the backyard where they bark for no reason, dig holes and deposit copious quantities of poo-based evidence. Examining the blood that covered the 3-foot-by-5-foot concrete pad, our suspects posited three theories as to its provenance:

  1. Coolidge and Winslow must have killed a medium-sized animal (likely suspects: a spectacularly fat pigeon, a dim but well-fed rat, or that surly cat from next door) and they ate or buried every last part of it – claws, paws, beaks, tails and all – since there was no evidence of fur or feather in the yard.
  2. An interloper scaled the block wall and tried to break-and-enter into the house through the extra-large dog door (Coolidge is 110 pounds, after all), and the miscreant was intercepted by the dogs who attacked and sent him scurrying away to other nefarious deeds.
  3. Either Coolidge or Winslow must have suffered a serious cut or scrape, but a thorough investigation of both dogs turned up no puncture wounds or lacerations.

Fast forward to the night of Monday, February 27, 2012: Our suspects were enjoying a peaceful evening at home, resting comfortably on the couch and watching TV. At or around 7:30 PM, the aforementioned Coolidge roused himself from his position of repose on the floor at their feet. He wandered to the kitchen – a trail of bright red blood dripping behind him.


Chaos ensued as Patrick retrieved the first-aid kit. They could see that the victim had some form of wound on his left front leg near the elbow, but there was so much blood they could not determine what kind of cut it was. They wrestled Coolidge to the floor, doused the cut with hydrogen peroxide, applied an extra-large gauze pad and wrapped the site in athletic tape – at which point the blood started dripping through the bandage. The suspects called their veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Brown.

“Dr. Brown! Sorry to call you at home at night on your cell phone! Coolidge cut himself and he’s bleeding all over the place! We can’t stop it! Should we go to the emergency vet! It’s a lot of blood!”

Dr. Brown reassured the suspects that the dog would not in fact bleed to death before their very eyes and that hydrogen peroxide interferes with clotting (Important Safety Tip). Application of firm pressure for an extended period stanched the flow. A new bandage was applied and plans were made to follow up with a visit to Dr. Brown’s office on Wednesday, as he does not work on Tuesdays. Patrick agreed it would be prudent to work from home on Tuesday to observe Coolidge. The couple then set about cleaning the palm-sized puddle of blood from under the couch and the spatter evidence scattered across the kitchen and family room. A can-and-a-half of Spot Shot later, and the blood was gone.

On Tuesday, Coolidge licked the carpet, pooped in the yard, lifted his leg and generally appeared to be free from pain or aftereffects of the injury. Neither Pat nor Stacy removed the bandage to examine the wound site closely because they feared re-starting the gusher. They would leave that to Dr. Brown on Wednesday.

Having managed a day without bloodspurt, Patrick and Stacy secured Coolidge in the laundry room with access to the backyard on Wednesday morning. Around 3:30 PM that afternoon, Patrick returned home to retrieve Coolidge for the follow-up visit to Dr. Brown. Running late, Patrick rushed into the house, dropped his wallet on the counter*, grabbed Coolidge’s leash and had to force his way past Winslow who was whining and barking and trying to either join Coolidge on a trip to the vet or prevent both Coolidge and Patrick from taking said trip…

(Clue: Does this behavior seem a little too much like Lassie trying to save Timmy from the well?)

With Coolidge safely ensconced in the back of Patrick’s 2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS, Patrick departed the Pinnacle Reserve neighborhood, heading south on Scottsdale Road and observing all posted speed limits (shocking, we know, but he testified that he didn’t want to jostle Coolidge). Arriving at the Loop 101 and preparing to head east, the suspect looked over his shoulder to check on the victim, and instead found Exhibit A:

It looks like paint... but it's evidence.

At this point, Patrick decided to ignore all posted speed limits and HOV lane restrictions and proceeded at a controlled rate of roughly 100 miles per hour down Loop 101 to the Scottsdale Ranch Animal Hospital. He was not intercepted by law enforcement, but if he had been, we can imagine three (3) outcomes:

  1. The arresting officer asks for the suspect’s license and registration, sees the carnage and gives the suspect a lights-and-sirens escort to the animal hospital.
  2. The arresting officer asks for the suspect’s license and registration, sees the carnage and arrests the suspect on suspicion of animal cruelty.
  3. The arresting officer asks for the suspect’s license and registration, completely ignores the carnage and arrests the suspect for felony speeding, driving alone in the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane, and driving without a license*.

Fortunately, the suspect and victim arrived at Scottsdale Ranch Animal Hospital without incident, wherein they sloshed into the reception area, announcing: “We need some towels!” Upon seeing the victim, the staff gave Patrick and Coolidge the red-carpet treatment – bypassing the waiting area, the mandatory weigh-in, the rectal thermometer, and going directly to Dr. Brown: “We’ve got a bleeding dog in here!”

At which point, Dr. Brown observed: “That’s a lot of blood.”

And later: “This won’t stop bleeding.”

To which the suspect replied, “Now you know why we called you at home on Monday night.”

Dr. Brown then asked, “Do you have any errands you can run? This might take a while.”

The suspect called his accomplice at roughly 4:20 PM to relay the circumstances that brought him to the Animal Hospital and to corroborate their stories. He then proceeded to Target to buy supplies to cover up the crime: Two cans of Spot Shot, a carpet steam-cleaner, carpet cleaning solution… and while at the Target, he realized he had in fact left his wallet at the house. Just go ahead and add attempted robbery to the rap sheet.

Saving Patrick further embarrassment, Dr. Brown then called the suspect to retrieve Coolidge. The diagnosis: A skin tag on his left front leg had been torn off, the bleeding so profuse that Dr. Brown’s vet tech had to hold her finger on the wound so Dr. Brown could shave the site. Cauterized and stitched up, Coolidge was ready to end this adventure, crawl back into the bloody SUV and head home.

Patched up and headed for home

If only that were the end of the story. Instead, arriving at the scene of the crime, the suspect encountered the Gallery of Gore™.

Back Porch Blood Sport
Deck Disaster - Part 1
Deck Disaster - Part 2: The Carnage Continues

It was this bloody nightmare that Winslow had tried to warn Patrick about when he stopped by the house to pick Coolidge up. It was here that we learned the limits of Crime Scene Clean-Up: Two-and-a-half cans of Spot Shot, a quarter-jug of Bissel Pet and Odor remover and an hour’s worth of loving from the Bissel Lift-Off Carpet Cleaner, and we were still pulling blood spatter out of the truck’s interior. It’s not like we could take the truck to the Classic Car Auto Spa – they would have called the cops as soon as they opened up the gate to shampoo the floor mats.

Disposing of the evidence - blood and carpet cleaner

Suffice it to say, it was then that we realized a few crime-scene truths:

  1. We can’t let anyone in our backyard until we either a) put down tape outlines of the bodies or b) resurface the deck.
  2. We probably shouldn’t ever try to sell that truck because a quick dousing of Luminol would result in some cold-case re-openings
  3. If you ever decide to murder someone, you shouldn’t just chop up the body and throw it in the trunk of the car. Take the extra time to purchase some contractor bags to keep the blood off the upholstery.
  4. Pay attention when Lassie tries to tell you that Timmy has fallen down the well.
  5. Coolidge may not be a blood hound, but damn³, that dog can bleed – though he did not bleed anywhere on the carpet on Wednesday. He kept it all outside, and that my friends, is a good dog.


¹ ² ³ I gave up cursing again for Lent, so that’ll be a $3 donation to charity.



1 thought on “CSI: Coolidge Scene Investigators

  1. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully, I won’t need it, but I’ll be filing that info away just in case.

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