It Only Seems Fitting . . .

doggie poop bag

The details are not important, but Daughter has berated me into attempting to take up my end of the bargain again and continue to contribute “average” posts to this Blog so that hers, in comparison, seem erudite, hip, and just cool.

If there’s anything I recognize in life, it is my place in it these days.

Plus, she reminded me that the Blog has been in existence for a year now, so in tribute to the two Followers and six Additional Muggles who read my posts, here goes.

It is something of a daily right in our household to not only walk the dog twice a day, but also to determine the state of his intestinal health after the fact.  It is a routine that disgusts Daughter, in particular, which means that her Mother and I enjoy it all the more.  After all, DandyDog is firmly planted in his early elderly years, and we take an abiding interest in everything associated with his health.

Including his poop.  An abiding interest.

So, a typical post-walk debrief might go something like this:

“Did the dog poop?”

“Yes.  Yes, he did.”

“Was it a one-bagger or a two-bagger?”

“Well, he squeezed out an initial perfunctory poop since you (Daughter’s Mom) didn’t come along, but I made him keep walking and he did a second one later on.”

Then the fun starts, because what we’re all really after comes next.

After all, the most important thing next to the quantity of the poop is the quality.

“Was it firm, or was it mushy?”

And, of course, the answer depends on many factors — what Dandy ate for the day; how much cat poop he was able to sneak out of the cat box; whether he raided the kitchen trash can, etc.

But what we’re all after is that which indicates satisfactory canine gastric health:  a firm, well-formed poop.

So it was not without some soul-searching the other night that I began to wonder about dog poop etiquette.

Don’t get me wrong.  The overwhelming majority of dog walkers in our neighborhood are very responsible and conscientious owners.  They walk their charges, armed to the teeth with poop bags, and for the number of dogs that live around here, we have a fairly poop-free environment most of the time.

My own etiquette dilemma concerned just how far into someone’s yard is it acceptable to allow your dog to do his or her business?  I mean, I am going to pick it up anyway but I think the general rule of thumb (for most of the folks around here) is that it’s okay to allow your pooch to use a “leash length” to take care of necessities.

Any more than that seems like some kind of violation of propriety.

It comes as no surprise that our Dog apparently didn’t read the manual, didn’t get the memo, or was otherwise occupied when the information about pooping was passed around amongst his furry pals.

Two nights ago Dandy decided (and I allowed him to) break the rule and scamper up into someone’s yard, well beyond the normally accepted limits.

After a thorough exploration of the smells inhabiting the general vicinity, he decided to deposit his load.

Even though I quickly picked it up and we continued on our way, I couldn’t shake the notion that we had violated a fundamental tenet of Dogdom because we had strayed too far from the sidewalk.

But since it was nighttime, no one else witnessed the transgression.

I suppose it is something I will have to struggle with and eventually come to terms, since I have little else of real substance to occupy my brain these days.

I stopped trying to figure out the String Theory of the Universe years ago.

So it seems only fitting to celebrate one year of TheDailyTripBlog.com by writing about poop.

And if you were wondering, Dandy’s poop in this instance was firm and well-formed — not mushy at all.

- Dad

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They Took the Poop Baskets!

meshtrash

Year in and year out, very little exciting happens in our very mundane suburban neighborhood.

Oh, once in a Blue Moon we experience the odd catastrophe:  car break-ins (Go ahead, take my “James Bond Themes” CD — you must need it more than I do); motorcycle cops setting up speed traps to catch soccer moms driving their trashmobiles minivans to elementary school; wildfire evacuations (“Dad, one of my friends just texted me and the entire block is gone!” [didn't happen]); and numerous posters on a monthly basis regarding lost dogs and cats (maybe not numerous, but the local coyote population uses our subdivision as a pantry, it seems).

But the thing you can always count on around here is, morning and night, there are hordes of dog walkers.

And being escorted by their owners is everything from greyhounds to pit bulls, while our own Dandy Dog stands out as the one and only White German Shepherd for miles around.  In fact, it is not unusual for passers-by and drivers-by who don’t know him to literally stop and/or pull over and gush about him.

They don’t know that he’s a Fancy Boy, but still, it can be sickening because of the fawning attention.  He is usually nonplussed about it all, since the only thing he truly cares about is his Mom.  She is his world.

"I'm so disgusted that I can't even look at your face right now."

“I’m so disgusted that I can’t even look at your face right now.”

Still there is some human jealousy involved on our end, but the kids get even with the dog in the end by dressing him up in stupid outfits or making him wear ridiculous headgear.  It’s our own version of Ralphie wearing the Bunny Suit his aunt made for him in A Christmas Story.  Dandy truly feels like an idiot when so attired.

As mentioned previously, Dandy is one of dozens and dozens of canines who live among us but, interestingly enough, do not use our toilets.

After all, the world is their toilet, and that world is the few blocks among which we inhabit.

Unfortunately, some of our neighbors are morons idiots less than diligent regarding picking up after their pets.

Don’t get me wrong.  The vast majority are fairly good about it.  It’s just that maddening minority that ruins it for everybody.  Not that I’m really keeping an eye out for the perpetrators, but I’ve never actually seen anyone brazenly leaving piles of poop unbagged.  I suspect the transgression is being committed mostly under the cover of darkness  by the sub-population of failed line dancers rumored to be in these parts.

So, it was with a mixture of wonder and awe that a couple of years ago, the local Nazis HOA installed poop baskets at opposite corners of the main drag here.

What a great concept!

Let’s encourage positive behavior from our fellow citizens and make it easy and convenient to both pick up poop and dispose of it properly.

That’s right.

And the pole on which the “waste” basket was mounted also included a plastic bag dispenser.

All of a sudden, it didn’t matter if someone “forgot” to bring a plastic bag along with the dog for the walk, a bag would be provided for you. Don’t like to carry a bag of freshly deposited poop in your pocket?  Just deposit here in the handy receptacle.

It was a lovely arrangement, at least as far as dog poop is concerned.

Then, the inevitable began to happen.

At first, the waste bags were regularly restocked, so much so that a few empty extras could sometimes be seen floating down the street.  Heck, we always tied a couple more than we needed to the leash, just in case.

But over time, the bag restocking activity become less regular.  Maybe the thing would be empty for a day or two before being refilled.  Then it became a week or two.  Then a month.

Then sometime during the last year, “they” stopped refilling the bags altogether.

There was always the hope the restocking activity would begin again, because you could peer into the dispensary slot and spy the lonely cardboard roller inside.

“Maybe they will refill it,” I thought, “if I just think good things and focus on the positive.”

Natch.

Next thing I knew, even the rollers were gone, just leaving a great big empty.

Oh, we dog walkers are a hardy bunch, and we compensated.  Folks started tying up empty plastic bags to the post, and stuffing all manner of other bags into the slots, but even that effort died out after a few months.

But the waste baskets remained.

Until tonight.

Tonight, there was a fresh square of sod planted where the poop basket pole used to be mounted.

The damn thing is just gone now.

Maybe it was taken by aliens, or maybe the evil condo owners made such a stink (sorry, couldn’t resist) about the thing being anchored along their row in their common area that the local Nazis HOA caved.

Although that particular explanation doesn’t really make sense, given the HOA here routinely positions itself somewhere to the right of Josef Goebbels in terms of neighborhood policing decisions.  What I’m saying is that, if they could, I could certainly envision them sanctioning a modern-day Kristallnacht, for crying out loud.

Yep.  They are bad.

I guess that leaves me just about where I started, thirteen years ago when we moved here.  We didn’t have poop baskets then, and we don’t now.

Dandy doesn’t seem to mind, nor do all of his canine pals.

But the question that keeps running through my own Dog Scientist mind is, where the hell are the poles now?  No doubt this entire episode will just become another chapter in the ongoing mystery adventure series, The Daily Trip, starring Brad Pitt, or Tommy Lee Jones.  Whoever is cheaper.

- Dad

Zombie Screams in the Night

zombies

We live in a sickeningly standard suburban subdivision somewhere in Southern California.

Though I am very comfortable here, our older children like to pass judgment on our lifestyle, with quips such as, “So this is what the middle class does on weekend mornings?  Sit around and drink coffee on a terrace with other middle class coffee drinkers?”

Mind you, this criticism spews forth between sips of their own double latte peppermint soy lemon twist, purchased courtesy of Yours Truly.  Somehow the irony escapes them, or it is just conveniently ignored — whichever takes less effort.

“Yes.  Yes, it is, and if it’s the one thing in my life in which I splurge, you’re just going to have to deal with it, because I enjoy sitting in the sun, with the dog, and talking about pretty much nothing at all while I drink my drink.”

After that exchange, everyone usually quiets down and silently munches on the remnants of a blueberry scone.

But if the days are filled with the commonplace pursuits of trying to maintain a 42-year-old wood frame house with cracked stucco, the nights around here can be downright scary.  I’m not talking about the poltergeist frights we experience in our home with almost alarming frequency, I’m referring to the utterances from those of us in the Here and Now who live here.

Let’s start with Dandy Dog.  As I have mentioned previously (somewhere) in this blog, it was several months after adopting him that we even discovered he could bark.  It was a revelation when we realized we had a real dog on our hands and not just some kind of mute Ninja Warrior ready to tear any delivery person limb from limb who dared approach our front door.

Well, he is that, of course, but he can bark with the best of them.  In fact, he has developed a broad range of vocalizations to suit many of the occasions that are important in the life of a dog.  Though I won’t try to recreate the variety here (i.e., bark; ruff; baaaark; baaaruk, ruff/ruff, etc.), he’s got phrases for:  1)  Mom, take me on a walk; 2)  Mom, take me in the car;  3)  Mom, throw a ball for me; 4)  Mom, I’m ready to go on that walk now; 5)  Mom, I’m ready to go in the car now;  6)  Mom, you’d better be taking me in that car, etc.

There are no vocalizations associated with anyone else in the family, of course.

But there’s one not listed that we didn’t even know about until early one morning several years ago.

It was around 2:00 a.m. when I was awakened by what I thought was the howling of the Great Pumpkin.  It was an unearthly, hollow wail that scared the living sh daylights out of me.

“Good, God, what is that?” I sleepily asked my similarly frightened Spouse.

“It’s the Dog.  It must be the Dog!” she cried, and it was the Dog.

He wasn’t so much having a dream, as he was sleepily howling in unison with an emergency vehicle siren off in the distance somewhere.  We didn’t actually figure it out at the time that night, but during several subsequent howling episodes we were able to link the two:  Siren = Howl.  Everything stops until the episode is complete when the siren fades away.

It still freaks me out when it happens at night, but at least now I know some Dark Cloud is not descending to ferry me to Hades.  That, I’m sure, will come later in life.

And when Daughter was just a Little Thing and prone to cutting her own hair, she came running into our bedroom one evening crying bitterly, and clearly frightened out of her gourd.

“What’s the matter, Sweetie?” I asked.

“There’s a terrible sound coming from the room next to me.  I think it’s a monster.”

“What?  Let me go check.”  And I walked three paces down the hall, only to be met by the buzzsaw snoring emanating from the vicinity of the room where my Mother, who was visiting, was sleeping.  “That sounds like a Sherman tank in there,” I thought, “And I don’t even know what a Sherman tank sounds like.”

I returned back to our bedroom with, “Sweetie, that’s just Grandma.  It’s nothing to be frightened of.”  But clearly she was having none of it, and we had an extra visitor in bed that night.  Daugher eventually calmed down and feel asleep, but we turned the bedside fan on “high” to drown out the lumber mill across the way.

However, all of these incidents pale in comparison to the otherworldly, phantasmagoric bellows that are emitted by my own Person during my nightmares.  I couldn’t tell you what I dream about, but it must be bad, if I am to believe the descriptions from fellow family members about the noises I make.

These nightmares are absolutely legendary in our household, and are often a continuing source of jokes and levity.

Apparently everyone loves a good scare,  except for my wife.  It seems that during one of my nighttime bouts, rather than “gently rouse me from my slumber,” she chose to cover my mouth with her hand in a desperate attempt to shut me up.  No doubt whatever nightmare I was having at the time only became worse since it was infused with a sense of being suffocated.

Of course, I eventually woke up, disoriented and out of breath.  I knew enough to realize her hand had been on my face.

“What were you doing?” I wondered.

“Just trying to keep you quiet, dear.  I was gently covering your mouth.”

Hunh?  What was that again?

We relived this entire episode tonight, as Daughter mentioned that she herself heard the Zombie Screams from the Underworld last evening, as I was having another bad episode.

“Dad, it was loud and really weird, and scary.”

“Did you or your Mother try to suffocate me to stop it?” I asked.

My Spouse answered, “I didn’t try to suffocate you that time.  I gently placed my hand over your mouth.”

As I explained to my Lovely Better Half, no one “gently places a hand over someone’s mouth,” just as no one ever “gently kicks someone in the groin” or “gently punches someone in the face.”

But they all had a good laugh about it anyway.

Just wait.  A night will come, I don’t know when, during which the moon, stars, and emergency vehicles of the night will all align, and Dandy Dog and I will howl in a somnambulant chorus, scaring the bejesus out of everyone and proving, once again, that what goes around comes around.

I just hope I don’t wake up from dreaming I ate a marshmallow to find my pillow gone in the morning.

- Dad

Who Needs A 401(k)? Not Me!

financial

“Yep, that looks about right. We’ve lost half our net worth in the last three years. Time to switch to Plan B, or C. One of those. . . . “

 I’ll be the first one to admit I’m no financial genius.  I’m not a multi-millionaire, though I think I could handle the pressure.  Still, hope springs eternal in this household, and we religiously play MegaMillions.  I’m not sure about the odds for winning at our measly investment level, but I know you can’t win if you don’t play. 

So we play; I mean invest; I mean waste our spare cash on lottery tickets. 

I’m also sure we spend more on foo-foo coffee annually than we do on lotto, but I’m not sure how significant either statistic might be.  Neither one would reflect very positively, I’m sure, with most financial advisors.   

Still . . . to give you an idea of the great financial moves I’ve made over the last five years:  I did not buy any Ford stock when it was trading at $1.50 a share, though I meant to for days and days on end.  I didn’t completely miss that F wave in the end, but I caught it very near the shoreline when it wasn’t much of a wave anymore anyway.  I also did not buy Facebook when it was trading at $18 or $19 a share several months ago, even though it seems everyone I know (I literally mean everyone) spends the greater portion of their waking lives using the site (except for me, of course). 

I can go on at great length, not so much about the money I’ve lost (or, rather, haven’t made), but about being prescient enough to recognize when to jump into the “Next Big Thing.” For me, the Next Big Thing usually translates into a swollen body part (mainly ankle-related), that then deteriorates into a debate about why I continue to play basketball at my age. 

Some folks (spouses) just don’t get it, I suppose. 

I am somewhat excited that Daughter possesses a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, but I fear her FaceHelmet (tm) represents misdirected zeal on her part.  On my end, I continually misremember her invention as HeadHelmet or FaceTent (sounds better anyway), but I don’t think Daughter will be making an appearance on Shark Tank any time soon. 

Come on, Daughter, you can come up with something better!  Keep working it.

My greatest money-making idea has been the t-shirt, “I Love Soccer Moms” ™.  Unfortunately, it has a very, very limited audience, and half the potential buying public (Soccer Dads) aren’t necessarily enamored with the idea, especially when the garment is worn by other men. 

Oh, well.  I do have an Ace in the Investment Hole:  DandyDog.

On those rare occasions when I am a solo visitor at our local foo-foo coffee establishment, I sometimes bring Dandy with me out of some sense of pity for him.  You see, I only contemplate him as a semi-willing companion if his Goddess-Mother is not at home, for some reason.  Perhaps he thinks by jumping in the car with me, Mom might be waiting on the other end.  I cannot imagine the kind of Dog Thoughts that permeate his brain, but I’m fairly sure that is one of them in this particular scenario. 

The real magic only begins to happen, however, when we sit outside together on the foo-foo coffee patio.  It turns out that DandyDog is a veritable Babe Magnet Soccer Mom Magnet People Magnet. 

“Oh, can I pet your dog?  He’s so sweet.”

“Oh, he’s so soft.”

“Oh, he looks so sad.”

To which I reply, “He misses his Mom since she passed away she’s at school today.” 

Son has accompanied the broader family on a few of these foo-f00 coffee outings.  His observation:  “So this is what happens in middle-class suburbia on the weekends?  Pretty sad,” as he takes another hit on his $4.50 latte that I just bought for him.

I figure my Plan G or K, or whatever, for the future should I ever be alone (sniff, sniff), will be to sit outside of the local foo-foo caffeine place with Dandy, and watch the potential high-rollers file in.  Hanging there with him is probably better than eHarmony.com and OurTime.com combined, as well as any potential return on MegaMillions ticket purchases and whatever minimal balance I have in my 401(k) by then. 

Then, again, after Mom reads this, my days of coffee visits with Dandy might well be over for good.

Back to the investment drawing board, I guess. 

- Dad

dandy

“Do I look sad? I feel sad, and I don’t like being used as a tool. Where’s Mom?”

 

 

A Sad Day in Dandy Dogdom

 

 

dandy

I’m really a Martian Dog, or maybe from Vulcan. You can only tell in certain light because my eyes turn green!

Now don’t get too excited.  No one dies today.  We just experienced general unhappiness.

Though I haven’t conducted true academic research on the subject, it is my understanding that German Shepherds typically latch onto one particular person in the household pack.  I am not that person. 

It is Mom.

It is also very clear to me that Dandy Dog has a very well-developed sixth sense when it comes to understanding that, somehow, today the daily routine will be disrupted. 

Thusly, so we found ourselves this Saturday.  

Mom had plans to be gone from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  That means Dad has to conduct the morning walk, has to feed Dandy breakfast, and has to endure his forlorn, empty eyes — not staring at me, mind you — but absolutely fixated on the front door for hours on end. 

Let me take you through the routine. 

The Reluctant Walk.  Have you even known a dog, any dog, not excited to grab a leash and head out the door?  Then you haven’t met our dog.  He is only truly interested in walking if it is with his Mom.  With anyone else it is simply a Dog Charade, and it goes something like this.  After much cajoling, he will mope over to whomever is holding his lead, not at all excited about the prospect of leaving the house.  After being dragged outside, he will slowly, very slowly, walk down the hill on our street, pausing at great length at the first convenient bush. 

I don’t mean ten seconds.  More like forty-five or fifty.  I know.  I’ve counted.  And then he’s been known to stop by the second most convenient bush and pretend.  That’s right.  He will pretend to do something.  Like he thinks most of us Muggles are complete idiots and can’t tell.  And after that, he feigns excitement that he has relieved himself and turns tail back to the house. 

And the preceding cinema happens mainly with me.  With any of the kids attempting the same activity, Dandy basically goes on strike.  Oh, he might walk down the hill, but that’s it.  No farther.  He’ll just stand there with a dumb look on his face and refuse to move.  In that way, he is smarter than us Muggles, since he knows the Younger Muggles will simply give up and allow him to lead the way back home. 

The Hunger Strike.  With Mom gone, no eating will take place.  None.  However, if a cat happens to wander by his bowl of Hardened Dog Kibbles, he will position himself strategically between the two so that his stash is guarded.  He will only return to the carcass later in the day, when the pack is reunited. 

The Thousand-Mile Stare.  Dandy’s entire existence is spent by the front door on those days that Mom disappears.  Perhaps he thinks she will never return, but he will sit, lie, and sleep by the door, finely attuned to any sound on the other side that even faintly resembles Mom’s van.  His focus is intense, and can only be bested by sitting on his lead in the front yard, so that he has a commanding view of the road and his Mom’s potential return.  Although if a delivery person happens to wander by, Dandy will be more than happy to try to attack him or her and kill. 

The Walton’s Home for Christmas.  That pretty much describes the scene when Mom returns.  The sun comes out, the Red Sea parts, and John-Boy spreads good holiday cheer throughout the Walton household.  Angels also sing.

How do I feel about it?  Well, the whole deal is really pathetic, when I think about it.  But then again, I’m not the object of Dandy’s affection. 

I had a cat once that was attached to me in much the same way.  He would wait for me to come home from work, would only eat if he was touching some part of me, and followed me around the neighborhood on walks.  It is clear to me that my old cat behaved much like a dog might. 

And Dandy?  He’s somewhere between a cat, a wolf, and a Muggle. 

Mom’s okay with that, and in Dandy’s world, that’s all that matters anyway. 

- Dad

I Be Loved!

 

Well, both Daughter and I (mainly me, actually) have referenced Dandy Dog so many times in this blog, we thought it appropriate to reveal a bit about a day in his typical life around here.  Not all of it is necessarily good, by even a dog’s measure, but it appears to be satisfying to him, nonetheless. 

We begin with Dandy sheepishly situated in the back of Daughter’s oft-maligned VW Cabrio.  Again, even if you are a dog, you have to be comfortable in your “maleness” to been seen riding around in one of these things.  As the photo below demonstrates, clearly he’s not the happiest of campers.  A Happy Camper Dandy would be perched in the back of Mom’s van, or stretched out on the floor of the same vehicle, oblivious to the clouds of white fur that permeate the cabin and everything we own.

dandyvw

Next up is “Naughty Dandy.” When we first adopted him, we experimented for weeks and weeks with trying to find a toy or chew he would like.  We discovered he is not a fan of rawhides, or anything hard, for that matter, so Mom went counterintuitive and picked up some soft toys with “squeakers” hidden inside.

Eureka!  Roughly translated into Dogdom — drool, slobber, and pointy ears.  Dandy loves his “squeakies” almost as much as Mom.  Almost.  He has been known to seek out their hiding place in Mom’s closet when we’re not home, and he scatters the stash throughout the house and yard.  He is even perceptive enough to be able to distinguish the sound of the type of plastic bag from the store where we buy them.  Again, he’s a very smart dog when he wants to be. 

All good things must come to an end, however, and the result is yet another sheepish expression as he surveys the destruction with the understanding, “Well, what did you expect me to do?  I’m a dog, and it’s my toy.  Deal with it.” 

badboy

Of course his favorite activity in the entire world is to head to the beach with Mom.  Dandy is not a swimmer.  He’s more of a wader.  And a runner.  Oftentimes it’s as if all his pent-up energy — I guess two walks a day are not enough — simply explodes in multiple sprints up and down the shoreline.  He’s very happy to run, walk, take a dip in the ocean, and then just hang out for a couple of hours.  He simply plops down in the sand next to Mom, and he surveys what he thinks is his kingdom.

mydomain

After a long day by the seaside, what better activity can there be than to catch up on all those zzzzz’s?  Dandy has several dog cushions strategically placed throughout the house, and he takes full advantage of both couches and, sometimes, even a bed (though it’s hard for him to jump up).  For whatever reason, he has always preferred sleeping with his head below the rest of his body — post-nasal drip, sinus issues, past drug use as a puppy?  It’s hard to tell.  He never stays in one position for long, but he’s always mindful to be in close proximity to Mom, no matter where she is. 

sleeping

Ultimately, it’s a match made in Heaven.  It’s hard to imagine that Dandy didn’t spend the first eight years of his life with us.  We used to wonder what kind of stories he would tell about his past, were he able.  Heck, we didn’t even know he could bark until he’d been with us for almost three months.  He was one shell-shocked rescue dog. 

When Daughter first went off to college, we mailed her a big glob of Dandy’s hair, to remind her of home. 

We don’t do that nowadays.  There’s plenty of his hair woven into every object that we own (and many that we don’t).   

In the end, I think it’s fair to say that we love him as much as he loves us.  We all be loved!

loved

- Dad

The Animal Debate — Not the Scopes Monkey Trial!

buddysleeping

“Yep, I’m sleeping here. I know I’m precious, but why is Daughter so fixated on cats, for crying out loud? All I get from her is those crummy costumes.”

 I guess I was the last one to find out about Daughter’s phantasmagoric focus on cats.  I suppose I just wasn’t paying close enough attention over the last twenty-some odd years while she was growing up, evidently in some kind of cat convent. 

From the photos that populate most of her blogs, it seems she spends about the same amount of time searching out “cute” feline pics on the internet that I do trolling the “Cars For Sale by Owner” section of Craigslist.

Scary, man. 

Our home has always featured some type of animal menagerie, even before our children invaded the scene.  We started off with two cats — one a cast-off from a co-worker and the other a stray who ingratiated himself very cunningly into our tiny apartment.  We were soon joined by a neglected lab who we tried to give away but ultimately couldn’t bear to — especially after “screening” the various miscreants and wackos who answered our adoption ad. 

It turned out that not giving away that dog was one of the best decisions we ever made, and almost, almost made up for not investing in Microsoft stock in 1986.  Of course back then, early in our marriage, investing in anything was what other people did; not us. 

Once our family began to grow, we were joined over the years by fish, birds, more fish, a hamster, cats and more cats, yet more fish, and, finally, another dog.  That would be Dandy Dog, featured in the photo above.

With few exceptions, all of these creatures were loved by all of us.  Even the fish.  My wife had the last fish conditioned to come to her at feeding time.  No kidding. 

We devote our spare time around here for these kinds of endeavors, yet none of our animals are really “trained” in the traditional sense of the word. 

Certainly not the cats.  And since we inherited Dandy Dog from a rescue society, he came to us “pre-trained” in a matter of speaking.  That is to say, he’s very good at mimicking obedience and certain party tricks, if there is a treat on the line.  Otherwise, he tends to do mostly whatever he wants to do. 

His main pursuit, focus, and dedication in life is to my Wife.  His days are spent following her, trying to figure out where she is, camping by the front door wondering if she is ever going to come home, following her (did I already mention that), watching her, and sleeping.  Occasionally he eats.

His routine is only broken by the odd delivery person or anyone who ventures to knock on our front door, at which time he becomes the US Postal Service/UPS/Fedex/Random Knocker’s Worst Nightmare.  

Thus provoked, Dandy transforms into Cerberus, the three-headed Hound guarding the Gates of Hell. 

cerberus

“That smells like a UPS guy. No, wait, it’s Fedex. Definitely Fedex.”

Of course Dandy only has one head, but he sure as shi sounds like he’s got three, especially from the other side of the door. 

Needless to say we do not receive package deliveries to our front door any longer.  We’ve worked out an arrangement with all the delivery guys so that they drop off whatever they have somewhere in the front yard.  My wife has essentially made them feel guilty (bribed them) with Christmas gift cards to ensure we do still benefit from delivery service.   

The USPS guy is made of stouter stuff.  He still puts mail in the box, but we have to be ever-watchful for him, lest he be torn limb from limb by Dandy.  Several prior USPS representatives have, in fact, made a big deal about our vicious dog, but I suppose they are mostly worried about retaining all their limbs.  So, I understand that perspective.

The funny thing is we adopted Dandy specifically for Daughter.  She wanted a dog to run with, to fuss over, to protect her, to dress up in stupid costumes. 

Is it any wonder, then, that he loves the Matriarch around here instead? 

Given these circumstances, and the fact that all the animals in our house can now be solidly classified as “elderly”, we are seriously considering our future options when they all have collectively faded away into (pick ‘em) Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven.

(Both those places do exist, by the way.  Absolutely no doubt in my mind on that one.)

The debate here is the classic “freedom versus anchor” situation. 

While these animals have enriched our lives (and soiled our carpets) beyond our wildest dreams, every activity or trip we plan has to take into account either bringing the dog with us, or having someone take care of him and the cats while we’re gone. 

I’m fairly well sick of traveling, but I am not the driver, so to speak, of this debate. 

If I’m not mistaken, the following activities are planned for some indeterminate time in our future:  cruise to the Bahamas, cruise to Hawaii, cruise to Alaska, river cruise through Europe, cruise throughout the Mediterranean, cruise to South America, multiple Disney visits, African photo safari, etc.

And that’s just the first year. 

Clearly a dog is not part of this particular equation. 

So, what to do?

My sense is that the situation will ultimately take care of itself through one of three ways:

1.  Daughter will adopt a cat/dog/something, develop an allergy to it, and Mom and Dad will just have to take it in;

2.  Son will complete some version of the same scenario, though if it’s a dog, it will be some type of pit bull/rottweiler mix;

3. Dandy, after “high-pawing” a thousand angels, will send another lost canine soul in our direction, because he knows we will devote on that canine the same care and love that we’ve showered on all the animals that have graced our home over the last twenty-seven years. 

I’m just hopeful he will have the sense enough to wait until after the Bahamas cruise before doing so.  Even I’m looking forward to that one.

- Dad 

See Puppy Run, See Seam Run

Clothes-rippers.

Clothes-rippers. Or Jack the Rippers.

My best friends adopted a stray dog because they’re good humans with beating organs that pump blood throughout their respective circulatory systems. Unbeknownst to them, this dog was pregnant and dispensed some puppies like some sort of real-life Pe(t)z dispenser within a few weeks of her adoption. Suddenly, they were the owners of four dogs instead of one.

Words fail me.

Words fail me. *Dies from a-cute heart failure* 

The mother is a mouth-breather who prefers snorting over barking. She bit me on the hand once when I accidentally came too close to her puppies when they had just been born, so I defriended her on Facebook and we’ve been on the outs since. The three puppies, unofficially named PorkButt, Sewer Rat, and Scooter, enjoy luxuries like chewing what they please and peeing where they please. I consider myself the godparent – aka tnerapdog – to these pups and have watched them grow from tiny, furry caterpillars to slightly larger, more dog-like creatures.

When I am around these pups, a part of me knows I should be calm and stoic so as not to upset their delicate dispositions. They are puppies after all: easily excitable. Being me, I do the opposite and flail around like a Jim Henson muppet (?). I make loud noises and wrestle them. The price I pay for this amusement and my lack of self-control around animals is perma-snagged/ripped clothes. There have been times when I have debated cuddling a puppy – knowing that I am wearing a delicate fabric vulnerable to runs or holes – but cuddling always, always wins out. At this point, I consider the runs on my seams and loose strings falling from my clothes like straw from a scarecrow (WHAT SORT OF SIMILE IS THAT?) to be small reminders of the pups’ love for me where I go. They like me better than my dog does.

My dog never puts holes in my clothes or runs in my seams because he can’t even stand to look at me much less get close enough to damage my clothing. Probably because I’m constantly doing things like this to him:

"I'm so disgusted that I can't even look at your face right now."

“I’m so disgusted that I can’t even look at your face right now.”

Whatever, at least I have the puppies. I mean, just look at PorkButt (who is the most corpulent and rotund of the puppies), how can you say no to that face? CONTINUE TO RIP MY CLOTHES, PORKBUTT! I DON’T EVEN CARE.

photo

I can haz run in your seam?

- Daughter

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