Haas the terrifying(ly goofy)

The movie Jurassic Park freaked me out when I was a teenager. I had nightmares that gargantuan carnivorous dinosaurs would break into my house and turn me into a midnight snack. We lived near a set of train tracks so when a train would go by and cause tremors in my water glass, I just knew that some day, I would either be crushed by a giant dino foot or coated in slobber as a massive bite was taken out of my torso. I may have had a teensy bit of unreasonable anxiety.

Or, so I thought.

Then, the Haasasaurus showed up at my house.

Haas hand

Now, those same ominous feelings of trepidation reemerge when my coffee starts to jiggle and the floor shakes. I know that there is a chance I will either experience a humongous foot crash down on my head or feel a coating of slime up the side of of my face when a dog/dinosaur hybrid tries to fit my head inside his mouth.

Haas face

Haas is a sweet boy. Mostly, he is a gentle giant who can’t jump. Most of the time, he wants to laze around in his crate or on top of one of the other dogs like a dragon guarding a horde of gold (if the horde of gold is his smallest dog brother). He loves cuddling with his person (Dad) and is the only dog I have ever met who likes to give hugs. There is no rejecting a Haas hug. Once he gets you, he won’t turn loose until you hug him back and tell him you love him.

Haas cuddles

Then, there are those times when he is a supersized terror and hauls Drake around by the collar or drags him through the soggy yard with a tug rope while giving off this weird high-pitched roar. Such noises shouldn’t come from a dog, let alone a dog of this size.

Are any of my boys normal? Eh, who cares? I love them no matter what.

Today, the terrible one is on two feet is me.

We are at a frustrating point of training. This isn’t Percy’s fault. He is a terror, yes. However, the fault fully lies on my shoulders. I lack patience. That’s the nice way to put it. If you want the honest truth, starving newborns have more patience than I do. Sugared- up, Mickey Mouse obsessed toddlers at their first trip to Disneyland have more patience than I do.

I want Percy to understand what I want him to do and not have to keep repeating things over and over and over. I want him to “down” and stay down and not imitate an overwound jack in the box.

I don’t want to have to hand feed him every meal and I don’t want to have to use a special training collar and I don’t wa0nt to have to spend another month in the basic level class.

But, I don’t want to give up. He is worth it. He is worth searching the depths of my being for the last scraps of patience that I managed to secret away after a day of dealing with teenagers who are done for the year. Few of them also mean to drive me to distraction; its just a side effect of 16.

I have been so focused on trying to be what my kids need me to be that I think I have neglected my sweet, crazy boy. I am not as understanding as I need to be with a creature who wants to do what I ask. I am also not as forgiving and calm with myself as I should be.

I don’t know how to fix that. I don’t know how to change a basic tenet of me. It is probably one of those traits I would be most likely to change about myself. When I was younger, I wanted to be thinner and prettier. Now that I am older, while being thinner and prettier would be awesome, what I really want is patience to help people more. I want the patience to make the changes that I need to make personally and professionally. I want the patience wait for those rewards that require my effort and work.

I love to make plans so I will finish my night making plans for success. I’m not sure if it will work since I seldom follow my plans, but maybe I can put post-it notes around my house telling myself to breathe, start over, change takes time, etc. Pinterest is probably full of those inspirational type things. Maybe I can go old-school and write “I will not lose my temper and say bad words” one hundred times.

Maybe Percy and I can just take a night and do something fun. Maybe we won’t do any work tomorrow night on his sit/stay and down/stay. Maybe we’ll play catch with carrots and I will give him a new blanket to shred. Maybe I’ll make the boys a bowl of popcorn and throw it up in the air and they can eat the “snow” in the living room.  Then, as a treat to myself, I’ll make the teenager and preteen clean up any leftover mess (not likely to be much of one with these bottomless pits).

Maybe tomorrow I will take a page out of Percy’s book and not be normal. I’m too old to sit on my head like he does, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. I’m done whining now. If you stuck around to read this mess, thank you for your patience. If you didn’t, I still think you are awesome but you just won’t know it.

Percy sits on his head
Percy is a smart boy but he can’t seem to figure out how to use a sofa. This is how he sits when he wants a snuggle


Sometimes the hard thing is the right thing.

Today, I keep thinking about something I have regularly seen on social media and I may have miscommunicated myself in my post about Drake. I don’t believe that all people who give up their pets are horrible people. Sometimes, giving up your pet is the best thing for both the pet and the family. Sometimes it is necessary and sometimes it isn’t.

I have known people who had to give up a pet because of illness, financial struggles, aggression issues, or just because it isn’t a good fit for the family and the animal. In no way am I advocating just dumping an animal or disposing of it like trash. Most of those people I have known who have had to rehome an animal made sure that it went somewhere that it was a better fit and the animal would be well cared for and loved.

Sometimes a shelter or rescue is the right move. It allows the animal to be safe and cared for and the opportunity to experience love and kindness. This decision is never one that should be made lightly. There are certainly reasons that I tend to judge as frivolous for getting rid of a pet. Of course, my judgement doesn’t mean anything in the long run. How I feel really doesn’t matter. What I do, I hope, does matter.

I will support shelters and rescues as much as I can. I can donate a bag of food regularly, support fundraisers, and volunteer when I am not in school. I can listen before I make someone feel bad when they believe that they have done all they can and need to find someone else to love and care for their furry friend.

My pets help me love more (even the cat who is probably a demon in disguise). I have a lot more to learn from them and I will try to always do what is best for them. I hope when people are at the right point in their lives, they get to experience the same wonderful feelings I have felt from my pets. In the past, I haven’t always been the best pet parent I could be and I am still not there but I am more conscious about trying to be better. Now that I am older, and I hope a little wiser, I want to keep improving and trying to be better than I was the day before.

I will love you, forever; I will like you most of the time.

Drake and Haas come from a wonderful rescue. It is entirely foster based and they do a really good job making sure the dogs are healthy and go to the families where the dogs will be happiest. We actually drove an hour one way to meet Drake because I believe in this group so much.

All we knew about Drake was that he was about 8 months old and had survived parvo. I don’t know much else about Drake’s background, and I really don’t think I want to know, based on his behavior. I think it must have been pretty unpleasant.

When we feed Drake, he sometimes has to be escorted to the dish and told that it is okay for him to eat. If the other boys are nearby, he won’t go without an escort. We were feeding him before the others but now we can generally just tell him he has permission. Otherwise, he flinches any time someone comes near him.

For the first few months, any time the big boys would come to snuggle, Drake would find a spot on the other couch to watch and look sad.  He would sit in our spots when we got up, but it has only been recently that he would hop up to sit next to me for some love.

Recently, the Mayor of Angstville spent the night with friends in another town and needed a lift back home in time for that most exciting 6 month dental cleaning. Since it is about a 30 minute drive, I decided to take one of the boys for a car ride. Haas is Oldest Child’s favorite so I was tempted to take him. He loves car rides. Percy tends to be my baby so I thought about taking him. He loves car rides. But…Youngest Child (who is supposed to be Drake’s person) had been gone a lot so I thought I would take Drake. Drake doesn’t love car rides. I wanted him to see that car rides aren’t always to no fun places like the vet and the groomer.

Drake drooped as soon as we got in the car. He sat in the front seat but not restfully. Then, he put a paw on my shoulder. Drake whined a little and I gave him a scratch behind the ear.  For 20 miles, Drake kept his paw on my shoulder and I wondered if he thought he was going to be given away again.

Since Oldest Child and I tend to have our best conversations about life, musicals, school, and the future in the car, I figured maybe I should have a talk with Drake.

I told him:

“I love you, bud. We aren’t getting rid of you. You are ours now and you will be ours forever. We won’t let you go. We aren’t sending you away. We love you.”

I know he doesn’t really understand what I said to him. I think he got the tone of voice and somehow I think he got the meaning. On the way back, he sat in the backseat and settled into a resting position. He still looked out the windows but I don’t remember any whining.

In the last few days, Drake has been sitting with me more and more. Since he has put on some height, I sometimes have to check to see if it is Percy or Drake. Most of the time it is easy because Drake sits like a normal dog and Percy sits on his head with his butt up in the air.

As I was writing about my pig boy, Youngest Child came out of her bedroom because Drake flopped down on her head and broke the child’s glasses. I still love him and I even still like him.

I am officially THAT dog owner.

These terrors on four feet have had quite the weekend. Between a doggy birthday party, a charity dog walk, training class, two new crates, and today’s grooming session, we are starting off Spring Break with a bang.

Percy turned 1 on Friday so I gave in to temptation and may have gone overboard on a doggy birthday party. Since we tend to adopt rescues, it is rare that we know when the dog is born. (Drake and Haas will have an adoption day party in February so they don’t feel left out)

Peanut butter and carrot pupcakes with bacon sprinkles and some dog safe ice cream.

Oldest Child baked pupcakes and decorated them with peanut butter frosting and bacon sprinkles. Youngest Child picked out dog ice cream and Mom bought party hats and streamers. We even invited one set of grandparents who possibly humored us because there was dinner first. (The rest of the grandparents live too far away and think I may be a trifle puppy obsessed.)

520E92BB-9733-40BA-9F17-4726CB25DD0CPercy loved it! I loved it! The kids laughed. Dad sighed but said the pupcakes weren’t bad. The hats didn’t last but Percy thought they were good fun to carry around.

Then, on Saturday, Percy and I went to a dog walk set up by one of the seniors where I teach. We have this super amazing teacher who set up senior projects that students design to benefit the community, the school, or themselves. This year, one of the students decided to raise money for a local dog rescue. This was Percy’s first venture out into public where many dogs would be present. He was a bit vocal at first but quickly settled down. We were both excited to meet some of the other dogs from my department even if Percy was a little intimidating.


Lavender and Ingrid with Percy wondering why they don’t love him.

Percy thought the best part was when he got to hang out with the girls’ soccer team. They were on their way to a jamboree and were a captive audience to my attention hog. He was shameless. Percy played up the big eyes and held court with about 6 young ladies until it was time for training class.

In class, the excitement caught up with poor Percy’s stomach. Now, in two out of three class periods, they have had to get the mop out for both ends of Percy. I sure hope we keep getting to go back…

On Sunday, Haas and Drake got new crates. Well, to be fair, Haas got a new and bigger crate and Drake got Haas’s hand-me-down crate.  Now my living room looks like the animals broke out of the zoo. The crates take up an entire wall. When the doors are standing wide open, I suspect guests wonder what kind of creatures require cages that large. I try to get the guests out of the way before the stampede toward the food bowls happen. I haven’t lost a guest yet.  Of course, I am a bit of an introvert so there aren’t many guests, but I still stand by my perfect record!

We are starting the week with clean and good smelling boys. My groomer is a super hero and willing to take all three boys at once.  I really don’t tip her enough for making my boys so handsome.

Drake was a bit tired after his first trip to the groomer. 

We wish you a wonderful week with lots of puppy love from our family to yours!

My, what big teeth you have!

We love rescue dogs. Almost all of our dogs are or have been rescues and mutts are our favorites. Our first family dogs were a schnauzer/basset mix that we picked up at the local shelter. They were adorable little fluff balls who grew into rather homely (if not regularly groomed) dogs. They were awesome though. We loved their sweetness and personality.

Since we know where Percy comes from, we are pretty sure about his lineage. Percy is a Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix. He has webbed toes.  It’s kinda cool. He is also a very handsome boy who is obsessed with playing in the rain. Percy adores all water that doesn’t come with dog shampoo.

I am sitting nicely and I am all dry. Can I please go back out in the rain?

Drake is a little different. When we adopted him, he was listed as a lab mix. I could believe part of it. From his build and bark, I imagine that he is also part hound of some sort. The other parts (I know are not scientifically possible but I teach lit so I can suspend disbelief) I think some science fiction mad scientist or fantasy magician created. He appears to be part pig and part shark.

Evidence (that wouldn’t stand up in court):

  1. Drake constantly makes a snorting/snuffling noise like a small pig. He has no known sinus issues.
  2. Drake roots around in the ground and constantly has a line of dirt on his nose that make it resemble a pig snout.
  3. Drake eats everything, animal, vegetable, mineral, and fabric.
  4. Drake has incredibly sharp teeth and they often show.
  5. Drake shreds every (stuffed) animal he comes across, especially if it is losing innards.
Drake smells something tasty!

I speculate that Haas is mixed with horse. I know his breeds are big (from appearance, we believe Irish Wolfhound and Bernese Mountain Dog), but he was as big or bigger than the miniature horses that lived next door to his foster family. He also likes to rear up on the hind legs and try to nuzzle our faces for affection.  His weird feature is extra toes. I have no idea where they come from.

Teenager is smaller than Haas. Their attitudes are about the same size, though.

In reality, it wouldn’t matter if those mixtures were actually true and not just Monday-and-I-don’t-feel-well musings. I love my boys. They drive me nuts and make a huge mess. They are stubborn and take forever to train and feed. They also give the best snuggles and the happiest greetings, even when Mom comes home in a bad/sickly mood.

I am sure purebred dogs are just as wonderful and have amazing traits that my boys would never have. I think everyone who can and wants to have a dog should have that perfect fit. For us, that perfect fit is the horse dog, the webbed toed rain dancer, and the pig dog.  They are all terrible and amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for even a luck dragon.