A Conversation with the Neighbors

The boys had a much needed grooming on Saturday. The routine when they return is always the same. They slurp a gallon of water and then go have a chat with the neighborhood. Just as I am fortunate not to be a mindreader, I don’t actually understand what my dogs are saying. But, I can imagine.

We stand on the deck so Haas can survey his kingdom.

Haas: I have returned! It has been many years, but I am victorious and I shall secure my lands from all intruders.

Mom: You’ve been gone 3 hours. No one has taken your stuff.

Haas (projecting louder): I have survived the women who tried to drown me!

Neighbor dog on the left: What did they do to you? Was it the big truck that brings boxes to your house everyday?

Mom: It wasn’t the FedEx guy. Leave him alone. And they didn’t try to drown you. You just smelled smelled gross and got a bath.

Haas: Neighbor friends! They washed my butt! You must believe it is still me, even if I don’t smell of the poo. This is why I proclaim my presence! Hear me and know it is really I who have returned.

Neighbor dog on the right: I will send my sister to verify you return. Wait. She wears the cone and does not fit through the fence.

Haas: Also! They removed the dirt from my feet and much of my claws. Pack friends, we must go slowly until my paw protection returns.

Mom: Dramatic, much?

Neighbor dog on the left: The pain. The horror. Oh! My kid is jumping. I will return.

Drake: You’re all morons.

Mom: I haven’t had enough coffee for your hysterics. I’m going inside.

Percy: I love you so much, mom!

Haas: Pack friends, let us sing the song of the fluff-butt kind!

A Letter from Percy

Dear Nanny,

I’m having a rotten day. Mom is being so mean and since you are her mom you can say “NO!” really loud, like she does to me.

First, Mom didn’t let me eat my fill at the salad bar before breakfast. Dad left all that grass by the fence last weekend so I could have snacks. Yeah, I may have gagged a little and almost lost it, but I didn’t. Ten minutes isn’t enough for my morning appetizer. Tell mom green things are good for you.

Then, I only got my breakfast. Drake and Haas ate all theirs and only saved me like three kibbles and Haas growled at me when I ate them. I’m a growing boy! Mom says I am four years old now and will only grow fatter, so that isn’t good. I say growing is growing and I need more food.

Mom wouldn’t let me sit on her, either. She said she was too hot. Dad says she is old and has many paws, but I have more paws than she does. I’m much faster. Grandpa says I am like a mack truck. I think that’s a good thing.

At lunch, I didn’t even get a carrot! They’re so crunchy! Mom knows I love them. She had cheese and sausage, too. I didn’t get anything! Nanny, Mom is starving me. She only gave me water for lunch. I’m afraid I’ll only get one dinner, too. Mom said something about a diet again. I think that’s when the kids make popcorn and I don’t get any. It’s not fair.

Nobody loves me, Nanny. Can I come live with you? Mom says there is a pool at your house. I like to swim. I promise not to eat your pool like I ate mine. At least, not all of it. I can taste it, though, right?

Your grand dog,


P.S. Drake says he needs to get away from a whine baby. He says he should be your only grand dog. I hope Haas sits on his head like he sat on mine the other day.

Everyone has their own thing.

It seems like the default when you don’t know what to say to someone is to ask about a favorite. What’s your favorite song? What’s your favorite food? I used to think only humans could have favorites. I was so wrong. Each of the terrors in my house is quite opinionated about their favorite things. Here are a few of our favorite things (did you start singing in your head? I did. No shame, my friend)


Percy’s favorite thing is me, with his blanket a close second. If you want to make Percy happy, let him stare at me while he chews on/snuggles his blanket. As I am typing now, he is right by my side with his soggy, stinky blanket hanging from his mouth. It’s nasty. Like, rotten fish mixed with egg farts nasty. When it gets that gross, we send it through the wash with heavy duty detergent and hand him a different one.

Percy and his blanket

Percy is also a coward, unless he has his blanket. If someone moves in another room, or bumps something, or the evil feline who lives with us appears, Percy cries and runs for his blanket. Once he has it, Percy is brave and will investigate. If we have an intruder and Percy catches them, I imagine the urge to laugh at him will slow them enough for his big brother to take over.


Haas’s favorite thing is a nice cow femur, followed by getting brushed, and snacks with Dad. I know that bones aren’t really good for dogs, but if he has a bone, Haas is less likely to break off a chunk of concrete and eat it in my living room. If I get to choose, the boy is getting a bone. He also adores being brushed and combed. He may fake sleeping or pretend to be dead, but if we utter the word “brush”, Haas will immediately leave his room and plant his furry booty right in front of whoever has a grooming device.



Drake’s favorite thing is to cause trouble. He also likes anything with sugar (which I am well aware he is not supposed to have, but the other members of our family don’t really care. It’s a whole thing.) and chocolate. Drake is a quick one and has been known to snatch a candy bar wrapper and hide it to lick later. Much like how Oldest Child can’t comprehend that cleaning their bedroom is a necessity, Drake can’t believe that cookies and chocolate are not a dog’s friend.

He spends most of his free time tormenting Percy. If not properly stimulated, Drake has been known to steal Percy’s blanket and rip it to shreds. It’s almost scary how happy tearing something to pieces makes that dog. Any new toys immediately have the belly ripped out and spread around the room. If it’s Percy’s toy, all the better for Drake destruction. I still love him, though.

Meri (aka The Hag)

If you are new, or old and need a reminder, I am not a cat hater. I actually love them. I just don’t like my cat. She’s horrible! She’s mean, she won’t stay off my quilting projects, and refuses to be around the dogs. I don’t know why she stays with us, except that she must really enjoy tormenting me.

Other than biting my head when I am on the phone, she loves sleeping on the beds of those who are allergic to her. It’s a good thing she’s pretty. Meri is definitely not my favorite.

Meri asleep — the only time she is sweet.

Final Thoughts

The dogs are good for my self-esteem. I know how to be the favorite for each of them, and I might be more partial to one of them over the others. Does that make me a bad owner? I don’t really care. I know where the blankets, bones, and cookies are kept. They are all healthy, happy, and decently well-behaved until Meri decides to enter the dog domain. At that point, all bets are off and a 6 pound cat can keep 325 pounds of dog running for their lives.

It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows or destruction and chaos here, but the mix always keeps life interesting. I hope you have the opportunity to have pet family members enrich your lives. I also hope none of them eat concrete. It’s a pain to clean the crumbs out of your carpet.

The toolbox doesn’t gather dust

Some people remodel houses for fun. Some people remodel houses to make money. Some people remodel because of a natural disaster. We remodel because our dog makes us.

A few years ago we had to replace our living room curtain rod, curtains, and removed blinds because our big boy thought he saw an intruder in our yard. He also gnawed on the doorknob and tore out a window screen

Our next project, thanks to Haas, is changing the trim around our back door. After all, if you can’t turn the doorknob with your teeth to get out, the next logical step is just to try and rip the whole door out of the wall, right?

Open this door, too, Mom. I need tools for the renovations.

He’s a good boy, truly. Haas just really had to go outside. It’s too bad the kid doing virtual schooling didn’t notice Haas wanting to go out. Must be some really good headphones.

Any recommendations for a new door with a pet flap big enough for a mini horse?

Know your place

There is so much sorrow in the world. Sometimes it is hard to digest. I want to know why people can’t just be nice. Kindness isn’t the answer for everything, but wouldn’t it go a long way in getting rid of a lot of the questions?

I want to hold up dogs as an example here. I want to say that dogs being kind to their pack and humans is the answer to all things. I want to say it… but it’s not, so I can’t. Sometimes dogs are buttheads, too. Sometimes they are accidental buttheads. Sometimes they are deliberate buttheads. Like people!

Example A: When Drake is released from his crate in the morning, he practices something that looks like a rodeo bronco performing parkour. It’s like zoomies on speed. He runs jumps, and has a good time. His big brother sees this as time to play and slams a prodigious paw down on Drake’s head or whatever body part is in reach. Then, there’s a dog crying and Mom fussing and a confused Haas. He really thought this was how playtime worked. Haas was an accidental butthead.

Example B: The dog crates have been in the same place for pretty much all of the dogs’ time with us. If you’re new to us, that’s years. During the day, the boys come and go as they please, using their crates/rooms for when they want to be alone. It’s their spot and even the human children know to leave the boys alone when they put themselves to bed. Here is where deliberate buttheadedness comes in. To torment Percy, Drake will camp out in Percy’s room. Percy, who is all about not being confrontational (takes after Mom, you know), will sit outside his crate and stare mournfully. He does not take the 3 steps to just use Drake’s equally large crate. Drake doesn’t sleep in Percy’s crate. Drake just takes it because he can. He is a deliberate butthead.

Mom, Drake stole my bed again.

Do I have a point here? Kinda. Even when the boys are being buttheads of either the deliberate or accidental variety, I still love them. Should we still love the human versions of these two? I don’t know, honestly. I want to say yes. Love them, anyway. I also want to say buy a spiked collar for the accidental buttheads and let the flatulence fly when someone steals your bed.

Ultimately, perhaps I should stop trying to find life lessons in creatures who are shocked it hurts when they bite their own tails. If you’ve had a rough day, week, month, year, I hope you find a reason to smile today. I’m sorry we all have our days. The boys and I think you are paw-some and we are glad you are in the world.

Drake is a demon

Percy is a pain. He’s always been a pain. He’ll probably always be a pain. Percy’s obnoxiousness can sometimes distract us from the other trouble makers in the house. Drake is quickly taking over the rating of most terrible lately.

Drake and Haas are not nearly as voracious as Percy when it comes to food. They often don’t finish their meals and as Percy will consume everyone’s food, they have to be fed separately in their crates. If Drake and Haas do not finish their bowls, I hide them for later. It generally works out.  This is where the power play began.

As I was taking Drake’s food out of his crate, he sniffed the bowl so I offered him a bite for the road.  He grabbed a mouthful and, instead of going to eat in front the tv, he dropped the kibble in front of Percy’s crate and ate them one piece at a time while poor Percy watched. I figured this was a fluke and went on about my business.

In the meantime, when Drake decided he was ready to snuggle, he would climb up on the couch and sit on Percy until Percy left. Then, Percy would sit and stare mournfully while gnawing on his blanket.  I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure I heard Drake laugh.  This was my first indisputable sign that Drake might be a bully.

I knew he might need an intervention when it was time for the dog’s flea tablet. The medication delivery system is a part of a peanut butter sandwich. Haas ate his.  Percy ate his. Drake looked at it, looked at me, crossed his paws, and huffed. Fine. I opened his crate to tear it into pieces. Instead, he grabbed part of the sandwich, dropped it in front of Percy and ate it slowly.

Drake is such a punk. I’d like to say I’ll have him trained and in line by the end of this extended time at home, but I have a feeling it will be quite the battle of wills. Maybe he’ll have us trained!

Mom. You are done grading. Pay attention to me and bring me candy.

We hope you are having the opportunity to spend time with family, even if it is virtual. Be safe!

Dogs, kids, and starting a long stretch at home.

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to write about the boys. We have had some changes in the house and between a few minor medical issues, life, and a strange calming of the boys. They were even quite calm for a while.

Here’s the quick update on all of the terrible four footed friends.

Haas — Still a giant goof.  Still tries to bring concrete and rocks in for snacks.  New to Haas is pretending to eat but not actually doing it.

Percy — Still on a “weight management” plan. Still tries to eat everything that fits in his mouth. New to Percy is the loss of his “spot” on the couch as he has been bullied by his brother.

Drake — Still pretty sure he is part shark as his fur has this really strange grooves that look like gills on his neck. Still has a terrible sweet tooth and tries to break into candy he really shouldn’t have. New to Drake is his claim on Mom. There are times when Drake refuses to let anyone, human or canine, sit next to Mom. Mom doesn’t always tolerate that, but sometimes it’s nice to have her own personal bouncer.

Fish front– all original fish are now swimming in the great toilet bowl of beyond (figuratively, of course, since one was buried in a matchbox). As I have acquired another citizen of Angstville (aka Teen Town), that child brought a new fish. I have forgotten his (the fish’s — not the kid’s) name. I want to say Marvin…

Meri — Cat is still a hag. She still hates me working on technology so, to gain peace from fuzzy animals who are thrilled Mom is home all of the time, I am sitting in a coffee shop, well away from other patrons. It’s a local business so I am trying to support them as much as possible and not have the back of my head bitten.

In our house, we are going to keep taking walks and working on leash and training skills. We’ll probably check in more often and we hope everyone is staying safe, calm, washing hands, and learning something new. Find something that makes you smile today. You’re worth it.


Haas tries a new snack.

We don’t treat our dogs equally. Most of it is for their own good. Some of it is because, like Haas, Dad doesn’t feel the rules apply to him, but whatever. For example, Drake doesn’t like the high quality, natural, probiotic, made-for-ginormous-mutts food we buy so he gets to eat cheaper food mixed in.  Basically, he wants the equivalent of chicken nuggets at every meal. Percy doesn’t get any junk food to avoid some fearsome flatulence issues. Haas is allowed to roam more rooms of the house because he doesn’t tend to eat socks. Against my wishes, Haas lets himself out of his crate and joins Dad in a 3:30 a.m. snack.

I bet most people don’t find random veggies outside their dog crates.

After one post midnight munchie, Haas decided to retrieve a butternut squash from the kitchen and bring it to the living room. There he snuggled up with the squash, give it periodic licks, and just existed. Normally, I don’t find squash in my living room but it was a nice change from finding a random chunk of concrete. I’ll take a small win.

When I came home from school, the squash, only lightly punctured, was sitting on Dad’s end table. I was quite relieved as I was afraid by well fertilized back yard wouldn’t become a field of squash next year. The boys went out to play and came in nicely and Haas grabbed his butternut buddy and flopped down in his favorite floor spot.

Why have a new friend if you don’t share the dirt you bring in as well?

Minutes later, I feel a pathetic stare. Haas looks miserable and Percy the butternut are gone. Being nice Mom, I find Percy’s hiding place and retrieve Haas’s …friend? Baby? future snack? Whatever. If my dogs weren’t weird, I wouldn’t need a dog blog. Percy pouted at my feet and I wrongly assumed I could continue my 523rd viewing of The Great British Baking Show.



I was not risking squash poop on my carpet.  That was NOT happening. Mom confiscated Haas’s prized possession and discarded it. The boys bring enough dirt, mud, and twigs in as it is. For the rest of the evening, Haas sulked in the living room floor, refusing to make eye contact.  Maybe Haas needs a new nickname.


Pouty McBigBaby

The Butternut Butthead


Just when I thought I could say “good boy” with a straight face…

So, it’s been awhile and I almost thought my boys were at the point where they were no longer terrors on four feet. I was wrong. We’re back after an extended break and as terrible as ever. To be fair and only slightly biased, but one of the original terrors, Percy, has been pretty well behaved. The other two, not so much.

Time for some backstory. Our boys don’t get beds. Due to destructive tendencies, we choose to no longer spend money on even cheap beds. Cleaning up the fluff and filling makes me a bit cranky.

Mom and Dad believe in second, third, and even thirty-second chances when sufficient time has passed. There has been minimal destruction lately and Haas and Drake have even had nights where they could roam free. Our delinquents may just be growing up!(Silly, optimistic, puppy parents)

Home came three new, but inexpensive, trial beds. There were carefully laid out, neat and tidy. Percy the Pain sniffed and decided the sofa snuggling with mom was better. Drake preferred to fuss at Percy and bully him out of the special seat. Haas flopped down in his newly redecorated room. Peace and calm settled with only a huff or two and all was well with the world, until Dad passed by the Haasasaurus and noticed the giant monster chewing a hole in his bed. What a punk. At least Mom still had two good boys who could rest in comfort.

It seemed like we were going to have a Christmas miracle and dog beds would last more than an hour. One day went by. Then, in the quiet, there was the faintest rip. Dog check time. Percy had his blanket and was trying to figure out how to fit his giant, smelly butt on Mom’s lap. Haas was rolling and writhing on his back, kicking random legs in the air and grunting. (I don’t ask as I don’t want to know.) Where was Drake?

Another rip sounded. Mom was suddenly sure this was the sound of dog bed destruction. As usual, Mom was right, mostly. Drake wasn’t destroying his own bed. No, not my demon. Drake had snuck into Percy’s crate and was having a grand time making sure neither of his brothers could have nice things. Then, Drake settled in his undisturbed bed, paws crossed and gloating.

What a sweet face for such a stinker!

Percy and Haas had their revenge in the end. Percy dragged the sole remaining bed around, gnawing at it until Haas started ripping it to bets.

And that’s why Mom has yet another new vacuum and the boys don’t have beds.

Happy Dog Day!

If you have found us, you know that our house has a slight fondness for canine companions. My life revolves around four legged, frequently foul-smelling, but frighteningly friendly dogs. They don’t really let me do much else, which is my current excuse for being behind on my grading. Before the trio of terror, it was my kids. Now my kids are too busy for mom, but their neediness had nothing on my boys. Between training, watching for hot-spots, chasing Haas out of my bedroom, pulling inedibles out of Percy’s mouth, and trying to get Drake to stop slapping…everyone, they keep me hopping. They even make it hard to blog or grade online now that they have figured out that if they tap the touchscreen on the laptop, the offender immediately has Mom’s attention and big voice.

Regardless of the chaos, I wouldn’t trade them for all the cheese and bacon in the Midwest. Dogs (and cats, bunnies, hamsters, flying squirrels, or other pets, too) are so good for us. They make us better people by demonstrating how to be loving, affectionate, and that one should always be excited by the arrival of the one who feeds you. They help our blood pressure, keep us active, and are often our excuse to get out of events we would like to avoid. Dogs are good for us and we should be good to them.

This week, I got to see something heartwarming that made me smile for my entire 40 minute commute home. I suppose I should start at the beginning, which was the beginning of the school day. While running an errand to the office, I overheard another teacher telling the principal about a stray dog outside. This isn’t terribly unusual but I always perk up at the “d” word. Then, throughout the day, I heard from multiple kids about this poor, tick riddled dog who was following them around. I heard several different names for this dog and I assumed he would be gone by the time I left. I made a quick joke about adopting him to be our English department pet and then continued with my day.

As we were leaving, a faculty member who knows my appreciation for pooch pals checked to see if I had a leash and collar with me. I always have dog stuff, even when I don’t have dogs. I also have everything from sewing kits to pliers to toothpaste, but that’s another whole obsession I won’t get into. I went to get my leash and leftover lunch and noticed how many faculty and staff members were intent on rescuing this dog. In addition to those 6 or so adults, there were several students and kids as well. Two of them were former students who were intent on capturing the dog and taking him to the vet. There is no town animal control or shelter so I was concerned about what we would do with him once we had him. If I brought home another dog, I’d have to kick out a human so, it really couldn’t be me.

This boy was very skittish after having been chased around for who knows how long during the day so I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t work. Our school also butts up against a highway so there was also the fear we would see an unpleasant end to our new friend. Luckily, with a bit of cooperation, we were able to catch the sweet boy and transport him to a vet. He has been fed, bathed, vetted, and posted on social media with a back up home waiting. I love that the kids and adults were willing to stay at school after required hours to save a boy I suspect doesn’t have a loving home or people to share his picture on Facebook and Instagram for National Dog Day. It’s nice to know that one more boy is closer to a happy home. I’m so glad I got to be part of that rescue.

Off to the vet and a good meal. I don’t know what this guy’s name is but he deserves a Dog Day shout-out.