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?

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.

Guest Author: Student Files

This blog started because my students and I participate in something called “Genius Hour” where we design our own projects and learn about one of our passions. My passion when this started was training Percy. I still love talking about him, so I am still posting.

This year, one of my sweet babies is working on building confidence in her writing. She is making a guest appearance today with a poem inspired by some of her photography. This is a big step for her in sharing her work and I hope you enjoy it! From here on out for this post, it is all Wonderful Student. If you have some love to share, drop WS a comment and I’ll make sure she sees it. See you next time!


Each day brings something new
A new outlook on life.
We all move closer to the end as we age,
But some things seem untouched by time.

The rising sun does not initially appear.
The sky lightens slowly.
A soft orange and yellow breaks out across the horizon and stretch onward,
Melting into a delicate, new blue everywhere it can reach.

The scattered light falls upon clouds,
Bathing them in oranges, baby pinks, and infant purples.
They stretch farther than life,
Taking displaying their hues.

The dawn allows itself to be captured,
In small ponds close and nearby,
To see its own reflection
Before it steadily breaks to day.

The rest of the world holds a breath,
Appearing black as night against the lit up heavens
To highlight their glory
And capture the moment.

We all change and grow older
So does the sky.
While it seems the same every day,
Each moment is unique and breathtaking.

Each day brings new hues.
New clothes pass and take their spot in the sky
Or leave open a wide, endless blue
That fades in and out.

The sun changes slightly
Scattering her beautiful rays in different ways
Reaching new and same spots
Creating art in the sky.

A picture can capture one in a million moments
As the earth spins on
As no moment will be the same
Just as we are all unique.

Floating on Four Fins

The youngest offspring has a few things to say this evening…I was supposed to include all of the parentheticals and keep it as close to what she wrote as possible.

Hi! I’m the daughter of the owner of this blog. I love her blog [Ed./mom note: I’m just typing what the kid wrote]. Anyways, this is a special page! Today I’m talking about what I think the fan favourite [Kid watches too much Doctor Who, apparently]fish do when we’re at school. My fish, Sky (the pretty boy), most likely sleeps a lot. When he’s awake, I think he patrols his territory. Since he’s managed to cut his fins up a little, I think he might play by himself.

Now Poltergeist (not my fish), I think he tries to break the tank. Poltergeist is ragged. He likes to slam himself into the wall.

Yeah…Anyways, on the wonderful, stress-free snow day Monday, Sky slept. A lot. When he was awake he just stared me down. I told him sleeping near the filter was a bad idea. Sorry, mom. I didn’t know children were that rebellious [mom note: kid is 11, so she has no idea]. Let’s just say he slept by the filter. That covers Sky.

Now, I don’t own Poltergeist, so I’m not sure about him. I think he (Poltergeist) sleeps, too. After probably hurting himself, he is calmed down as far as I’ve seen. Maybe he sleeps, maybe he parties. Poltergeist is, well, interesting. He is, or was, a good boy. I think. He has grown up a bit and he’s been in the house longer than Percy. I think other pages or the description says otherwise, but we got Poltergeist a week before Percy. Poltergeist is purple with red and blue. Sky is light blue. Both are torn up. Sky isn’t as torn up. I’ve accidentally fallen into the dresser (where his tank sits) and literally shaken Sky up. He fish glares at me. Poltergeist though. He’s, according to his owner, “very aggressive.” I think that’s all. Betta fish are the best fish. Goodbye!

Celebrate good times (and carrots!)

This weekend the boys celebrated their adoption when Haas threw a party in his crate. Everyone was there and, when they try really hard, a 100 pound dog, and 80 pound dog, and a 40 pound dog will all fit in a 48 inch crate. All they needed was techno music and a disco ball.

The neighbors (Dad, primarily) weren’t thrilled about all of the floor rattling, couch shaking and various thumping noises so he shut it down pretty quickly. There was some disappointment but the cops (Mom) weren’t called. After such a fun-filled day, the terrors went to bed easily, for the most part. Drake tried to sneak in to Haas’s crate for a sleepover but Mom was afraid the party would resume and make him go back to his place.

If we’re quiet, maybe no one will notice in the dark.

Then on Sunday Percy experienced the heartache he had inflicted in his pickpocket days. Percy was robbed twice in two minutes.

One of Percy’s favorite treats is a raw carrot. They make him wiggle and fuss as much as any commercial treat. For a Sunday treat, I gave him a carrot with the intention of giving Haas and Drake bananas, which they prefer and Percy isn’t interested in.

Percy was being so good and sitting even though he wanted the orange crunchy thing. His huge face lit up when we handed him the carrot but Haas snatched it out of Percy’s mouth before he could stand up from an impatient sit and Haas disappeared. Haas doesn’t like carrots but he was not giving it back.

I grabbed another, slightly larger, carrot to ease Percy’s disappointment. Once again he sat, received his treat, and this time was able to take about three running steps when, just as he passed Drake, the carrot was stolen again! Percy was halfway to the couch before he realized carrot number two was with Drake in his crate.

My poor pathetic pooch sat despondently by his bed and it took several calls to get Percy to come for another carrot. This one he was able to enjoy in peace. Life is hard when you are spoiled rotten.

Let’s make it Facebook official

Haas and Drake are formally part of the family. We couldn’t resist those adorably funny faces and canine cuddles.

The last few days have been a blessing and a challenge. Fortunately, we had some snow days that allowed us to be home and help our boys get settled in. These rambunctious dogs have created quite the mess. Two of them have decided that the snow and mud are the best toys ever. It is time to get rid of the carpet.

Percy has been less of a pain since his new brothers arrived. Sometimes (bed time), he is even the best behaved of the bunch. Percy goes right to his kennel, asks for a good night kiss, and goes to bed. He has this whole routine down.

The biggest boy, Haas, tries to call my bluff. He knows what I want him to do but won’t actually go to bed without an escort. I like to think he wants to be tucked in.

Then there is Drake. Oh, Drake. Drake is also crate trained and during daylight hours will cooperate beautifully. He goes in his crate when needed and even when he just wants to hang out. Then there is bedtime. At bedtime, Drake loses his ability to hear and make eye contact (much like my oldest human child). Drake sometimes doesn’t even recognize his own name after 8:30, just in case you might want him to go to bed. The only word he knows is “treat”.

The joke is on Drake, though. Because he is a stinker, he only gets part of a treat and not a whole one. One of us has this training thing down.

Mess made. Our job is complete. Let’s have a nap!

Three times the fun!

I have to confess. Saturday, I was weak. I looked at two dogs. I brought home two dogs for a week’s trial. Fortunately, they are calmer, for the most part, than Percy the Pain. They are also adorable and may be here forever.

They do not, however, make the existing two less terrible. Meri, the furious feline, still hates everyone and, because of the of weather, is staying inside. The curious canines can’t seem to comprehend that she wishes they didn’t exist. This had led to one lightly scratched nose, followed by intense barking and a sympathetic nose licking from another. Everyone is now fine and the boys have bonded over poor treatment from the evil queen.

We have had a few challenges but I think the boys are getting along and it looks like the trial may be a success!

Our big boy, Haas, is an Irish Wolfhound mix and is about 90 pounds already. He is very tall and a gentle giant.  He is currently loving the snowy weather and wants to be out all of the time.

Our littler boy, Drake, is a lab mix and should only be about 50 pounds when fully filled out. He is incredibly sweet. He isn’t so fond of the snow and would rather snuggle with the youngest human than roll around in that cold, wet stuff outside.

They all play together but even when the new two are tuckered out, Percy wants to keep going. I guess they won’t wear him out. On the bright side, there has been no pick-pocketing lately and the only destruction has been to the new toys.

Haas and Drake
Haas and Drake

I am hoping that the original terrible two on four feet don’t lead the new boys astray. If they do, I’m moving out to the shed.

Someone here may be a little dramatic.

Today has been 800 years long. One of the hardest types of days for a teacher is an early release due to weather. The hardest is waiting for a new puppy (at least for this teacher).

We are all set with the rescue: paperwork completed, home visit done, pictures scrutinized, videos obsessively watched…

The next two days will bring TWO puppies! One might come home with us. Both might come home with us. I might have a problem.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I get to go see a giant dog and Saturday I get to see a smaller lab mix. Percy needs both of them. They will keep him busy and wear him out so that he doesn’t turn into a doggy criminal.

Lately, Percy has been stealing items that he doesn’t need. He picked Dad’s pockets and ate the contents. I noticed another blanket missing that turned up in his crate, and the biggest theft came from the Christmas tree. (Don’t judge me! I’m waiting for a legit snow day.) Percy stole K-9 (from Doctor Who). It’s a sign.  We are meant to be a multiple dog family again. He needs a sibling right away!

Percy is currently in trouble so I guess I could go clean something to make the time go by or I could watch the video sent by a dog’s foster mom. Want to bet which one wins?

pocket lint

This is why we can’t have nice things…

Yesterday, we went to an adoption event for a wonderful rescue organization in Springfield. It had to be a family affair because certain members of the family were afraid that Percy would go from an only puppy to one of a large pack. I believe that I have enough self control that it would have only been 2 or 3, but whatever.

We met the sweetest boy that the youngest kid and I absolutely adored but I don’t know that he would have found Percy to be as loveable as we do or enjoy such a long car ride with us as he has a bit of a difficult history with vehicles.

Instead, we brought our giant baby some toys.  Percy loves toys. They generally last about an hour before they are reduced to a pile of fluff. He also got a bed yesterday. It’s been a few months since the last one was destroyed so I was optimistic.  Percy would be able to enjoy a nice comfy place to sleep.

Today, he was left unsupervised for about 15 minutes.  This was the aftermath.

On the bright side, his new pig is still in one piece.  I give it another 45 minutes.

The first of the terrible two

The search is on! Percy needs a sibling…or at least one who likes him. (The cat isn’t crazy about him or anyone else.)

Percy will be 10 months old in a few days and is already weighing in at a solid 78 pounds of loveable mischief.

I have been obsessively stalking rescue websites to find his perfect sister. As I read about all of those precious pups, it is so hard to find just one. I almost wish I could send a personal ad to several and see which one picks Percy. I would imagine it would go something like this…

Mom thinks I’m special!

Charming young labrador/chesapeake mix seeks playmate and running buddy. Must love “the floor is lava” and standing on the back of the couch. Bonus points if you appreciate carrots and slippers as snacks.

In the meantime, I am going back to those rescue sites. Send “paws”itive thoughts our way!