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.

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,


Percy is no longer the most obnoxious dog in the house.

If Drake was human, he’d be a 3 year old. I am not figuring “dog years.” I am judging this based on behavior. Lately he has been hitting a new high of obnoxiousness. I still love him, but oh, my!

Partially due to training and partially due to just age, my giant pain who is Percy is calming down. Drake, however, is ramping up the terrible. He is currently declaring his annoyance at not being allowed to go outside. It’s noisy in here.

Someone is accessing our backyard so Drake has to spend a whole hour not getting to do what he wants when he wants. It starts with soft, high-pitched whines that morph into a strange howl/bark at the door. This dog is never quiet. When Drake is left alone for a whole ten minutes without attention from man or beast, he climbs up on the couch, flops down with his head on the arm and sighs his distress. Then, he groans a long drawn out moan like someone told the boys cheese was no longer a thing. 

Drake doesn’t even sleep quietly. Unlike Percy, Drake enjoys his naps. Often we hear barks, yips, yelps, and something that rather resembles the eventual draining of a clogged bathtub.

Life is dark and meaningless when you can’t do what you want.

Then, there’s the slapping. I’ve never had a dog who slapped people and other canines when he was miffed. I’ve experienced that behavior with cats, but not dogs. I can’t even blame the evil Meri for that bad habit because she avoids the boys without fail. Earlier, Drake and I were having a discussion about appropriate behavior. He had his sweet face on and was draped upside down over my lap. (For some reason, he prefers to spend most of his downtime on his back.) I explained that slapping and hitting wasn’t okay and he needed to stop. Haas walked up to investigate and Drake whacked him across the face mid-lecture. Obviously, this dog listens well. When I threatened to ground him, he smacked my arm. Drake is currently in his crate to calm down.

This is a radical change from the independent, nonviolent, slightly stand-offish boy we brought home 10 months ago. I am telling myself he is just now comfortably settling in but I will be glad when this toddler phase passes.

Drake in nicer days.


Could this be why the dogs smell?

Some people in my family are under the impression that our boys are spoiled rotten. Since I don’t have essays to grade, let’s examine the support for this claim.

  1. They have the run of most of the living room furniture, except when Mom and Dad are in their respective “spots”. Most people have giant dogs who lie across the back of the furniture and confiscate throw pillows, right? Hmm… I may have to give them this one.
  2. Their food costs more than our food. However, in my defense, the gas when they don’t get probiotic food is gag-inducing. I once had a group of students who had a “contest” in my room to be the smelliest. Haas and Percy could beat them paws down. This justifies their food bill and I can get rid of my mini Starbucks and massive Taco Bell habits for this.
  3. They have a pool and I don’t. Granted, theirs was a whole $8 and about 24 inches across, but it is still a dog dedicated pool. Percy loves water and playing in the hose. He loves it so much that it was hard for Dad to fill a baby pool without being blocked by 85 pounds of hyperactive labrador. Haas just sees it as a water dish. It always takes Drake a while to warm up but I bet he will learn to love it, too. Since the dogs are not outdoors all of the time, I suppose I have to give this to the spoiled side.

2-1, my dogs are spoiled.

Is it a sign your dog is spoiled when he makes a nest and, even though 3 of the 4 blankets aren’t his, he gets to keep them until bed time?

BUT — I don’t care. I figure the warm fuzzies I get when I have puppy snuggles and horse dog hugs make it worth it. We’ll keep working on the obedience training and learning to not jump or bark at the neighbor chickens or neighbor kids who have a much larger pool. Someday, they’ll be old and lazy and I might miss hauling in dog food shipments every 3 weeks.

I figure these boys are like milk that is one day past the sell-by date. For some,  unpalatable, for others, it is just fine.

There’s a new super villain in town.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The sun is shining, the temperature is perfect for airing out the living room. The dogs are cuddly.

While I sat in the sun with Percy at my side, I contemplated the beautiful weather and nice boys. Happily, I patted my boy and dust rose in clouds from his back. Gross.

Maybe that was a sign that I needed to vacuum. The boys were outside so the timing was perfect. There was even a commercial on tv so it was meant to be.I fired up the designed-for-pet-households vacuum and my canine superheroes rushed in to save the day! Major Percival the Pain sprinted to my side to investigate while Captain Haas staged a frontal assault on the growling beast. He retreated at the counter attack and fled, barking, to the back yard.

As soon as Major Pain’s favorite spot was relieved of dog hair and dust, he decided enough was enough. With much snarling and bared teeth, Percy lunged for the hand tool. Alas, he was no match for his sworn foe and it managed to swipe his sides until he also retreated to the back yard having suffered the loss of his protective dust jacket.

I swear I heard Drake laughing from the couch.

Is this the end of my fierce protectors? Will the evil vacuum return?

Have I been watching too many comic book movies? Will I make it through the last 14.5 days of school? (There are no bonus scenes after the credits, so you can find a different blog now. Have a nice day!)

Things I have learned from my dogs

I love lists. That is actually an understatement. I love them as much as my dogs. Lists rule my life. If there is a “listicle,” I will read it. It doesn’t matter if I know anything about the subject matter or not, I will probably read that list. If it can be put into a list, I am on it faster than Percy can gobble an unattended cake.

On any given day, I have four different lists on my work desk. They are short term lists, long term lists, things accomplished, and grocery lists that will never make it to the store. Some of my lists have sub-lists.

I like those “Things You Can Learn from a Dog” or “Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten” type lists. They are almost always happy and good for a laugh or smile. The things I learn are seldom that fun, though.  They often earn a sigh and occasional profanity.

Here’s what I have learned from my dogs (and demon cat). Your results may vary.

  1. Flower pots can be shattered and then double as chewing gum when mom won’t let you have the real thing. (No backyard container garden for me this year.)
  2. There’s always room for treats and eating slippers. (Apparently, the more expensive the slipper, the better it tastes.)
  3. Flossing is great, especially when you use an iPhone charging cord.
  4. Someone will fall for sad, puppy-dog eyes. You just have to find the person who wasn’t in the room when you got in trouble.
  5. The more you yowl and stir up the dogs, the faster someone will scoop out cat food.
  6. You are never too heavy, or have too bony of a butt, to be a lapdog.
  7. 100 pounds can sit on the back of my sofa without tipping it over. 120 pounds is too much.
  8. A closed dog mouth is a suspicious dog mouth.
  9. Anti-gas dog treats exist and are a nose-saver. I recommend them for daily use.
  10. (My personal favorite) Dogs will love you and still want to snuggle when you come home sick from work on a Monday and look like a zombie.

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.

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’ll have what he’s having.

Percy seems to have finally realized his new friends aren’t leaving. The constant urge to play seems to be dwindling and he doesn’t seem so happy to be sharing his toys and person.

No one else, according to Percy, is allowed to sit next to Mom on the couch. Interlopers must be squeezed out. Should the trespassers be too large to evict, i.e. Haas or Dad, then Percy feels he can reassert his claim by sitting on Mom’s lap. This makes any recreational activity such as reading, watching tv, or breathing a bit of a challenge.

Percy has had to share humans before as our old man dog, Stump, had a prior claim.

This was my Stump. He was the best boy and I miss him every day.

We lost Stump just before Christmas and Percy had been a bit spoiled in terms of attention. He will eventually accept that he isn’t the most important being in the world.


But, the toys. Oh, the toys! Stump was never interested in toys, so Percy has never had to share. The stuffed animal type toys cause the giant, hairy goofball to transform into Gollum with his “precious”. The eyes get huge, the head sinks into the shoulders, and I would swear I can hear Percy plotting violence and ruin on anyone who dares take his toy away. They must be stopped by any means necessary.

Percy and what started out as a rhino

Drake is one who dares. With his superior speed and agility, stuffed animals are snatched from Percy’s jaws and then passed off to Haas so Drake can pursue his personal passion: gnawing on a bigger dog’s hind leg.

This is when chaos reigns. It snows stuffed toy guts, dogs are snarling and tumbling end over end, and humans are yelling for this to be taken outside. Percy quickly forgets about the toys and is happy to play Doggie Demolition Derby. It sounds horrible and I expect blood. There’s never blood. They love it and then take a nap.  This makes Mom jealous.  Naps are precious.

This was an elephant at one time. Now it is just sad.