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.

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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.

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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.

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How many pets are too many?

I think I may have a new pet. I really didn’t want another one. Oldest Child has been begging for a rabbit, hamster, lizard, frog, or a turtle. Dad is allergic to the rodents and I am adverse to reptiles/amphibians so Mom says no every time it comes up. The extra pets are so much work! Don’t get me wrong — I love pets and think they are beneficial to our mental and emotional health. There’s nothing like caring for another creature and if it can care for you, even better.  I would be miserable without my boys. Sometimes, though, we have to set limits.

While this new pet could be incredibly beneficial to my physical health, I’m concerned about the drawbacks. First, the smell. We already have to be careful with what the dogs eat because their emissions are dangerous to our environment. Thanks to probiotic foods, that is mostly under control, so do I really want to add something else stinky to my house? Second, what if my children reject it? They aren’t always accepting of new experiences.

Microorganisms are not something I would have thought to cultivate.  You can’t really pet a sourdough starter and if you name it, then your family starts talking about “stress levels” and “cutting back on the caffeine”. However, I have a bit of an attachment to the stuff that is transforming regular old cabbage into sauerkraut on my counter. I have decided that it must be a “he” and I check on him constantly.  I have been careful to burp the jar multiple times a day and attempting to ascertain if it is mature yet. This is my first ever batch and I am like a fussy new mom. Is it okay? Have I done everything that I can? Will I like it? Will this help my gut? What else can I ferment that isn’t alcohol?

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This is my new friend. I am trying not to name him so it is easier to eat.

I may have a pet problem or a new obsession for the next few months.

An awkward conversation

22 July 2019

Dear Haas,

We need to talk. There is this thing called “personal space” that you need to accept. I know this is hard for you because you can’t conceive the idea that someone doesn’t adore you or want you up in their bubble. What you did today just put your behavior over the edge. You absolutely cannot sit on a stranger’s lap when you are out in public. It’s just not done.

I know the gentleman was kind enough not to say anything but, still. That’s not okay. You have gotten too heavy and your hygiene lately has been sub par. No one wants a hairy, stinky giant they don’t know plopping his big bony rear down with no warning. All he wanted to do was wait patiently for the vet with his shih tzu. The next person may be frightened and then won’t want to be your friend.

Look. Dad and I love you. The kids love you. We’ll take your hugs and snuggles, but please stop sitting on strangers’ laps. Also, stay out of the trash. It’s just gross, dude. The groomer isn’t going to keep being so happy to see you.

I know you are a good boy and I love you. I just want you to give people their space and maybe don’t take up so much of a small waiting room. Also, leave the hot spot on your neck alone so I can take a week off from paying the vet. We’ll talk about you removing your sutures on your own another time and why that’s no good.

Love,

Mom

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Mom. You’re blowing this way out of proportion.

Dear Mom,

If he didn’t like it, the man could have scooted over. Also, if you kept treats out on the table so I could have a late night snack, I would stay out of the trash. The next step is to call grandma and grandpa. Now, turn off the light, I’m trying to take a snooze.

Love taking up the whole bed,

Haas.

I need pet insurance

My dog looks high and we have spent entirely too much time at the vet in the last month. We still have two more visits to go this month and it is a good thing I prefer to stay home instead of going to a nice beach and wiggling my toes in warm sand while sipping some umbrella’d drink. I’d have no money to tip the waiter/delivery dude.

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We want something from a food delivery guy. Dad has food. He can deliver it to our faces!

Instead, we fretted over an abscess on Drake’s neck ($), treated it both internally (gross) and with oral medications, before we discovered Haas’s incessant licking near the wound caused a hotspot that needed more medication ($). While the first week was a challenge to get Drake to hake his meds, the second week was much easier due to the prednisone. Within a few days, Drake was out-eating even Percy and didn’t require a cheeseburger to wolf down pills. We did have to stop him from trying to rob Haas.

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Right after having Drake’s abscess drained.
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I know you say I’m all better, Mom, but snuggles will make it extra better!

As Drake recovered, we knew we needed to take Haas in to have his itchy ears checked and treated for infection ($$) Since we had to pay for a doggie exam anway, I thought it would be a good idea to check out a bump that had formed on his back end. His foster mom thought someone had shot him with rock salt so when we first noticed it a while back, we assumed it was something just under his skin. We were not so lucky and found it was a tumor that needed to be surgically removed ($$).

Today my biggest boy went in for booty bump removal. This isn’t the first time we have had to take a dog in for tumor removal but it was always something benign. The only thing I was worried about was his no-longer-fluffy butt getting sunburned or how the other dogs in class might giggle and point. However, this time the news was both good and bad. Haas did well in his surgery, didn’t have to be completely put under, and they got all of the tumor. The bad news was the tumor was malignant. There are no medications required but we will have to watch for the inevitable return. We hope that it won’t be any time soon. He is currently wandering the house on unsteady legs and hoping for a treat. I think he’ll be getting a few of those this evening.

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Mom! Let me have some dignity, please.

The positive is Percy is completely fine and eating everything in sight ($$$$$).  We are glad to be back to detailing doggie adventures and hope you are having a fabulous summer. Until next time, I am off to baby my poor pathetic puppies.

Making myself useful

This last week I got to do a few hours of volunteer work transferring a couple of dogs from a kill shelter to a different town’s no-kill shelter. This was organized by a local rescue organization that is woefully understaffed and underfunded but still does an amazing job. It was a wonderful experience and one I plan to repeat.

As the getaway driver, I was quite nervous for our hour drive. Would they cry all the way? Would I fall in love and want to end up with two more? Would they pee in my car? What if their gas was worse than Haas’s?

My heart started to break when I saw these beautiful pitty babies. Normally, I’m not a pit bull fan because I am drawn to scruffier dogs. However, these two, a male and female, melted my heart. I’m a sucker for animals with special needs and it was obvious these two needed some TLC. The female was terrified, appeared to have an abscess on her sad little face, but her buddy was a mess. He seemed to have chunks ripped out of the fur on his back and little nicks in various places. Their toenails were overgrown to the point it looked painful. The animal control officers said they had been covered with ticks and what I thought was some matting, on closer inspection, seemed to be a healing wound. They were in dire need of a bath. These were the worst smelling dogs I have ever encountered.

Their behavior on the trip was impeccable. The little female sat quietly with the saddest look on her face while her friend alternated trying to climb into the back glass and drooling on my console.

When we arrived at their new (temporary) home, their roles switched. The female willingly walked out of the car into the building while the male refused to leave the car or go through any  doors. Their sweetness doubled as we had to wait a bit for their intake papers and kennel to be set up. Meanwhile, a staff member and I fed these pretty pitties treats that they took delicately from our hands and stayed close for snuggles. As they had been dumped, neither dog had a name. The assisting staff member named the male Diesel and I was allowed to name the female Agatha. For some reason, I felt so much better about them after they had names, even if they may not stick.

It was so hard to leave them but it made me grateful for my own boys. I love my rescues, at least one of which was also dumped. I so hope those brindle beauties find a loving home soon. I keep an eye on the new rescue’s website for those sweet babies but I am betting they need some vetting still. They are going to make someone very happy one day and I’m glad to have met them.

Stranger Dogs, Stranger Days

There’s a new routine/obsession for my pack of terribles. It has become all consuming. As soon as the back door is opened, all 3 boys shove past the resident door person, hip checks the adjacent table, and fly down the steps.

This is where paths often diverge and the hunt begins. Percy barks orders (or fear, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt) and heads to the south side of the shed. Drake races toward the north and Haas alternates west and east. The hunt for the shed monster begins anew–every couple of hours, loudly, over and over.

Drake’s concentration is fierce and he carefully, yet frantically, digs under the shed. Here, Percy takes command/paces nervously and lets the entire neighborhood in on the play by play. Meanwhile, Haas keeps trying to shove his giant, fuzzy head into a previously dug hole roughly the size of his paw. Granted, the paw is massive, but his head is bigger. The only thing Haas retrieves is another pound of dirt that he magically  transforms into a muddy hipster beard.

When Drake yelps and the hound howls come out, the big boss calls off the hunt. The pack gives Mom sad eyes and all 3 attempt to crowd into her lap. She doesn’t give in and take care of the shed monster for the boys. Mom is wise and knows it is probably a garden snake, a mother bunny just trying to care for her babies, or even a shared canine hallucination (these boys will eat anything, good idea or no, so maybe it’s doggy drugs). It definitely isn’t a scaly beast who will come through the walls and devour us in our sleep, no matter what these boys think.

Mom isn’t scared of the shed monster; but even still, she’s not checking out the situation. She’ll just snuggle big, brave, muddy puppies and keep watching Netflix.