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?


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!

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.

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.



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,


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.

I’m a rule follower.

When owning pets, it’s very important to set and enforce certain ground rules. These are mandatory when owning dogs that are bigger than you. Being a gal of exceptional willpower, I like to make sure everyone in the house adheres to “the rules.”

  •  Save your furniture and keep animals off!

    Don’t bother me, Mom. I need a nap.

    definitely don’t them hang out on top of the couch

    I can watch the door better this way.
  • no dogs on the bed

    I know I take up half a king size bed, but you really need to clean your room, Mom. Don’t change the subject!
  • No playing ball in the house.

    Throw it, Mom! I want to play catch!
  • No people food–especially snack foods

    This is what Haas used as training treats for class this week. The rye chips are Mom’s, though.
  • No bones–they stink!

    What? It’s tasty, Mom.

Oh, who am I kidding? The rules don’t apply to me.

Getting emotional on the eve of 40

Tomorrow is a big day. My kids start taking their state mandated End of Course Exams: a standardized test for my non-standardized kids. I dislike them tremendously. They disrupt our learning, frustrate the kids, and bore me to tears. Did I mention there are two days just for my subject? Some of my students will take a total of 3 tests that pull them out of class for 5 days total.

Contemplating those tests makes me think about what teaching teenagers and training dogs have in common. Besides using treats to get desired behavior, they are both discouraging at times. For both, this fades as I learn the individual quirks, motivations, and what we need to do to form 14a bond with one another. Then, it clicks and the positives outweigh the hard parts. I’ve been thinking about this since Haas’s training on Saturday and then today as I was reminded that I only have 5 weeks left with my kids. I’m not counting down the days and I am grabbing extra tissues.

Some days I look at the lunch break chaos and get annoyed. Today I get weepy that it won’t be here for long.

The first weeks of training Percy were disheartening. I watched other handlers moving effortlessly around the room with a loose leash and stopping with an attentive pup immediately sitting and gazing at the handler in adoration. Percy didn’t do that. Check out this old post for more detail. Now we are a walking (or rather “heeling” heh) testimonial to our training classes. Percy is wonderful both on leash and off. Haas has his own challenges and eventually we will get it and life will be fine.

My kids are at the Percy’s-current-level-of-training phase. They don’t need me anymore and now I just have to show them. The majority have shown so much growth and development in the their reading and writing. I don’t care if someone else deems their progress acceptable; it is acceptable to me. They didn’t all grow at the same rate or even in the same amount as each other, but they grew!

Here’s where dog training and teen teaching differ. I get to keep my dogs for life. I have to let my kids go in 5 weeks. They’ll move up to the next level and I will see them in the halls laughing, crying, engaging in periodic impolite language and they will pass by without a thought and move forward with their lives. I’ll miss them but I will have to focus on my new set of kids. I will love them, too, and will let them go when it is time. I’ll keep watching those who connect on social media after they graduate and celebrate the births, mourn their heartaches, and adore their pet photos. Maybe I do get to keep them for life, in a way.

My kids –if you found this, I still love you and I don’t care or remember what you go on your MAP, ACT, or EOC. I remember YOU.

P.S. Tomorrow is my birthday and I have to give a standardized test. This is just added to my extensive list of why I hate standardized tests.