Aug 6, 2013

When cries from within the litterbox call

In case you don't remember because I hardly ever write here, I have one Good Cat and one Bad Cat.  You may remember Bad Cat from this episode.  You can rest easy knowing that I accidentally switched back to the brand of deodorant he prefers, and I am once again peeling him daily from his attachment to my armpits.

I digress.

This is actually a very short post.

I have learned over time to psychically predict when Bad Cat is about to pee because he starts to yowl several minutes ahead of time.  Lest you decide my cat has a urinary tract infection and start getting all judgy, I will preemptively tell you that you are wrong so that you don't embarrass yourself later.  He's fine.  My hordes of friends all know about my cat's weird habits.  In fact, when we're in the restaurant and one of my friends has to pee, she will meow loudly in my ear so I exit the booth and let her pass.  Or, alternatively, she will meyowl softly in my ear, which is almost not disturbing at all.

Anyway, Bad Cat had just spent a good half hour working up bladder pressure by antagonizing and violating Good Cat after an unfortunate exposure to catnip.  When Good Cat smells catnip, he's mellow and craves White Castle. When Bad Cat smells catnip, he gets violent, angry, and amorously lascivious, all at once.

He disappeared to the litter box, and within seconds, I heard the screeching meows beginning.  However, unlike in his normal potty excursions, the meowing did not soon stop.  Oh no... it increased in both volume and duration.  It was soon followed by loud thumping sounds, and then... the meowing became muffled.

Concerned, I decided to go take a look.  I came face to face with this disturbing spectacle.

Round and round Bad Cat spun, face buried deeply in his soiled, disintegrated Feline Pine litter pellets.  Like a little kitty cat-litter-face-plow, he plunged his head, eyes open, into the piles, the meows a screeching crescendo from the top of his lungs.

There is no deep ending or moral to this story.  In fact, I have no flipping clue what he was doing or why he thought it was a good idea.  In fact, I may actually have said, "What the...?" and then dropped the F-bomb. In other fact, his eyes may not even have been bloodshot, for all I know, but I think they were.

Because of the catnip.

Feb 5, 2013

Dances With Coyotes: A Public Service Announcement

I won't waste your time telling you why I haven't written in a million years.  No one really cares.  So, moving on...

HyperHund and I spend our evening walks in the hunting training grounds located nearby.  This is basically a tundra with no windbreaks but plenty of coyotes.  This is really fun for us, especially when the sun starts to set and it gets dark and the ice on the lake is cracking and the coyotes are howling from around us in a circular yet invisible formation, and it's all very reminiscent of Simba wandering into the elephant graveyard, except with more coyotes, fewer hyenas, and remarkably few dead elephants.

Our area has been having a minor "coyote problem," with "minor" meaning unprovoked attacks on humans, random eatings of common household creatures, and coyotes trying to break through glass patio doors to reach the aforementioned household creatures.

And yet, tonight, at the hunting training grounds, I saw several cars lined up on the street side, coyotes circling around them, while some random ding-dongs attempted to whistle the coyotes over close to try to lure them to eat delicious snacks from their hands.

I am not sure why they thought this was a good idea.  Coyote need to stay afraid of humans.  No good can come of luring them over with hot dogs.  This reminds me of a story my dad told me in which he saw a family attempting to lure alligators out of the Florida Everglades with pieces of hot dogs held by children.  Also not a good idea, if I ever heard one.

Nevertheless.... not a good plan. I imagine one of several things was going on in these people's heads.

a) They fancied themselves in a Disney movie of sorts, perhaps where all the animals were dancing together in harmony, ribbons inexplicably flying through the air, and everyone singing.  In this fanciful moment, the coyotes would be prancing along in unbridled glee.

(Yes, I realize the lyrics are incorrect. Focus on the prancing coyote.  Cute, huh?)

b) Perhaps they believe that, in feeding the coyotes, they are bonding with them... connecting nature to human... truly bridging the language gap and using almost mystical powers to turn these feral creatures into familiars or totem animals.

I do not want to be the bearer of bad news.  I will be, though, because the truth is that the first sentence in this paragraph is actually a lie.  I'm fine with breaking the bad news. The fact is, the coyote does not love you, care for you, or want you to domesticate it.  Ribbons will not fall from the sky, birds will not help you make your prom dress, no one will sing like Pocahontas. 

No.  The coyote sees you and your hot dog as one thing, and one thing only:

Don't fool yourself.  If the coyote could unhinge his jaw, he would eat you like an egg snake swallows that egg.  He might lure you into a sense of security by prancing with you and singing a Disney song first, but make no mistake... you are not his friend.  Or maybe you are, but in the same way that bacon is my friend.  Incidentally, this should not be reassuring.

Befriending coyotes can only lead to several ends...

The coyote is no longer afraid of people.  Then, he will either get shot, get moved, or you'll notice your furry household friends no longer showing up for din-dins...

This has been a public service announcement.  Please do not feed or befriend the coyotes.  You are not Pocahontas or Dances With Coyotes.  No good can come of this.  Leave the wildlife alone, and keep your processed meat products to yourself.  Thank you for your concern.

Aug 19, 2011

Dog peeing in mayo and frothing blood

Sometimes, for fun and enjoyment, I look in my blogger stats and find out what search keywords led people to my blog.  I have come across some interesting ones, such as "dogs that look like sheep," "funny puggle stories and nicknames," etc.  But hands down the most disturbing one so far has been... wait for it...

"dog peeing in mayo."

What? WHY?  And in case you are lulled into some sense of security thinking that maybe this was some sort of crazy typo someone made, let me inform you that this search string led not one, but two different people to my blog.

This leads me to wonder if there is some subset of people that enjoys watching dogs pee in mayonnaise.  That's actually pretty specific, and trying to watch it happen must be pretty un-fulfilling seeing as, oh, it probably hardly ever happens.  I suppose it could be carefully staged to happen, but still.  Why? (In case you were wondering, I am not going to draw a picture of this, because then whoever was searching for this would actually have found what they were looking for on this blog.  Then everyone would come here just to look at a picture of a dog peeing in a jar, or maybe a plate, of mayonnaise.)

Anyway, on a completely related note, I have been walking every morning with my dog and a group of other people, and they all have bully breeds (one also has a particularly ornery pekingese, but that dog mostly stays out of the fray).  My dog is the sole shepherd in a group of a boxer, a boxer-mastiff, and a pit bull with a head the size of one of those little school buses.  This means that while the bullies are all running around jawing each other and body-slamming, HH is running around them in a circle, helpfully keeping them close together, herding them and barking in a totally-not-annoying way.

You'd think with a group like this in the park, most people would be the least scared of the fuzzy shepherd dog and maybe the most scared of the bus-head pit bull.  And they are... at first.

Sadly, my dog does not make a very good first impression.

First of all, he has repeatedly gotten into burr bushes, which led me to shave him and hack out large chunks of tail hair, which then led him to look more like a mange-ridden coyote than an English Shepherd.

Secondly, my little HH has an almost manic obsession with a certain empty field behind the park, so much so, in fact, that my fellow dog walkers have named it his "Field of Dreams."  I have to leash him as we walk toward it so he doesn't get there 20 minutes before I do.  Then, he pulls on his leash, gagging and grunting in a pathetically valiant effort to get there as soon as possible.

Something about running through the tall grass in a specific field  causes him to go into an absolute frenzy.  He tears through this field with no apparent purpose, mouth snapping wildly as he rips out long blades of grass, with Bus-Head running behind him, not having a clue why this is fun but suspecting that if HH is doing it, maybe he should be, too.

And then, HH comes out of the field, drenched in dew, eyes bulging from his head, jaws open, tongue out, and mouth frothing with.... blood.  Yes.  Blood.  While Bus-Head, Boxer, and Mastiff Mix are being cute in a giant-cranium, thuggish sort of way, my dog is frothing blood.

You might be thinking at this point that I am a horrible dog owner, but really, the Field of Dreams is to blame. The grass is quite sharp or maybe serrated even, and when HH runs through it, tearing it out as he runs, apparently this lacerates his tongue.  Combined with the wet, wild-eyed, mangy coyote look, this really ties the look together in a combination that causes most people to back away from him and straight into a pile of rough-housing bullies.

Who can really blame them?  Those dogs just seem safer, at this point.

Aug 4, 2011

Adventures in veterinary visits

So, I have realized several things here.  One of these is that drawing pictures for this blog takes so long that I would rather completely avoid posting than having to draw pictures and then edit them and then stick them in this blog.  I know that's terrible, because, as you can probably tell, I am a Gifted Artist.  That being said, I will probably not put so many pictures up (like maybe one or two per post, or maybe, like, none), and you can make pictures in your head until I feel like drawing.  The second thing I have realized is that if you have animals, they will inevitably make you broke with vet bills.

My first recent veterinarian visit occurred about a week ago and involved a dog tongue-laceration.  Now, I previously have led you down the road to believing that my dog, though neurotic, is rather intelligent.  Apparently, this intelligence does not encompass the knowledge to avoid running around at high velocities with a pointy stick pointing pointily toward, say, the back of one's gullet.  In this case, my highly intelligent shepherd dog's gullet.  To the untrained eye, this activity may, in fact, seem funtastalicious, but the reality is a bit different.

I realized something was wrong with my dog when he stopped mid-wrestle with the stick, looked at it balefully and backed away from it, then switching the baleful look to me and rolling over to expose his soft underbelly in a motion meant to evoke pity and to psychically imbue me with a feeling that something was very wrong with him.  After he refused to play with Squeaky Toy and eat his breakfast, I took him to the vet.

The vet decided to get a good view in Hyperhund's mouth by somehow grabbing his tongue and his nose at the same time, while simultaneously attempting to shove a flashlight into the depths of his maw.  After a few attempts, mostly resulting in loud dog gagging sounds followed by trails of drool, the nice doctor suggested she sedate him to get a better look.  I reluctantly agreed, though I secretly felt maybe a little happy because that meant I would not have to take HH on his hour walk in the afternoon.

Two hours later, the kindly doctor explained that the dog had a 3" laceration under his tongue, which technically should have required stitches but it was in a bleedy place, so poking needles in there just would not do.  I was told to bring HH home and give him antibiotics.  Because of all the poking of the tongue, he also now had a tongue water blister so he also got a pain-killer.

All was good.  He walked to the car, got in, got back out when we got home, walked in the direction of his bathroom area like he was on a mission to pee, and then kind of stood there, blinking as if trying to decipher what exactly this particular area meant to him.  We moseyed back to the house, mission unaccomplished.

I left him there for ten minutes... ten, I swear... alone, while I went to put the neighbor's puggle outside.  When I came back, the HH has ensconced himself in his happy place, the tiny space under the coffee table behind which all the tv cables lie.  He likes to hide amongst the cables.  Perhaps they evoke memories of wilderness and vines; I really don't know.  Nevertheless, when I came back, he was ensconced.  The problem was not just the aforementioned ensconcement, but also the fact that he was still as loopy as a kid who'd gotten one too many swigs of Nyquil and then been sent for a downhill tricycle ride.  Not pretty.

I could not get him out.

I tried coaxing, pulling his front end, shoving his paws through loops of cables, but no.  Ensconced he remained, glassy-eyed and confused.  Lest you wonder why I am so feeble-minded as to not think about unplugging the flipping cables, I would like to tell you that the cables go behind bookshelves, around corners, and have all sorts of other technical difficulties.

And lest you don't believe me, I would like to include this incredibly pathetic photograph, which I think truly captures the moment well, better than I could even draw it:

See? How much more pathetic can you get than that?  That's so sad I almost didn't post it.  Note the doped-up face and the cables around his body.  So tragic.

You'll be happy to know that I did eventually get him out unscathed (both of us).

I was going to write about my cats' vet visit in this post, too, but I feel too emotionally vulnerable from the sadness of the above picture.  I'll probably post that in another year or so if I remember it.

Jan 25, 2011

Following Directions, Part 2: Bunny-Petting

For those of you who have read this blog before, you may have been wondering why a) I haven't been writing, and b) why there was a blog in July entitled "Following Directions, part 1," and there has  been no part two.  In reference to question a) the grade schoolers are sucking the very life from my veins, and in reference to question 2) here you go.  HA!  Caught you!  Pay attention!  That was supposed to be b), not 2).

Now, being Foreign, my family has always had a strange relationship with our pets, such as eating them in a stew, for example, as was the case with our pet bunnies when I was a wee lass back in the old country.  Needless to say, it was quite devastating and I have spent years trying to make up for this by being a Friend to Rabbits.

You may remember the epic beginning of my relationship with Ernesto.  I'm sad to say things did not improve from there on out.  After our hot date to a hospital in a cornfield, we decided to stick to a hee-haw theme by going to the County Fair, which is just about my favorite place in the world because I can eat funnel cakes, pat pigs, and go feed baby goats (who usually end up trying to eat my hair) all in one afternoon.

Ernesto and I wanted a romantic afternoon of gazing into each others' eyes and patting cute farmland mammals while whispering sweet nothings into each others' ears over the dull roar of large people in spandex and denim combinations shoving food into their mouths and buying cowboy boots to look more westernish.  It was going to be awesome.

Okay.  This is actually a very short story that I am dragging out because teaching grade school has changed my idea of what is funny from actually funny stuff to fart jokes.  Nevertheless, what is coming up is not a fart joke.

Ernesto and I walked into the rabbit and goose tent, where I was instantly drawn to the rabbits.  I have always felt a sense of kinship with the rabbits, since, you know, I ate my rabbit half-brothers and essentially made them part of me.  Ew.  I raced around between the cages, making cooing noises which are supposed to lead guys I am dating to believe that I have kind maternal instincts and am not the type to, say, eat my pets.

We arrived in front of the cage of a particularly handsome specimen of rabbit, which had a silky gray coat and very soft, velvety-looking ears.  He looked at me through the bars, communicating with me with his liquid brown eyes.

I felt as though I were a Wabbit Whisperer.  I knew his soul.  I knew that I must reach between those bars and give him the love he so richly deserved.

Well.  Clearly this was an unfortunate and unexpected turn of events, but I was not one to let obstacles stand between me and my rabbit-kin.

I surreptitiously stuck my fingers between the bars and buried them deeply into my rabbit-hermanito's coat, mentally changing my name to "Dances With Rabbits," and thumping my hind leg in a sort of bonding ritualistic dance.

Yeah.  Let me tell you something about rabbits.  Apparently, someone neglected to tell me that when they are frightened and unneutered, as, incidentally, this one was, they are well-equipped with a self-defense mechanism.

They can apparently power-blast their urine.

No, I am not making this up.  And on this 95 degree afternoon, while wearing a thin white shirt, I became the victim of rabbit urine-blasting.  My brother-rabbit turned around in a tight circle, aimed his rear end at me, and sprayed me with so much pee that I one could logically assume I'd been the victim of a drive-by horse power-peeing instead.

The next moments were unbearably pathetic.  I shudder to recount them, even now ten years later.  I burst into tears, standing there in a dripping yellowed shirt, shoulders heaving. 

The guys who owned the rabbits simultaneously burst into hysterical laughter, and one of them kindly procured a 4" by 4" wet wipe, which he handed to me and laughed even more loudly as I tried to use it to wipe down my shirt front.  Stupid 4-H kids.  Pillars of the community, future farmers of America, my rear end.  

Those kids are bad eggs.

Bring on the stewpot.

Sep 13, 2010

Why I will never have friends after now

So, this summer, I was transferred from teaching middle school to teaching elementary school.  I heard things from well-meaning people, such as, "It's really not much of a difference in attitude.  Those late elementary school kids act pretty much the same way as middle-schoolers."

Let me tell you something: middle-schoolers and elementary-schoolers are about as similar as chocolate and ground glass.  Which, incidentally, is not  very.

In middle school teaching, I became very skilled at avoiding the following words in conversation: jugs, balls, screws, sac, hung, jerked, blow, suck, whacked, and anything remotely related to beds.  In fact, I could have entire conversations with friends and never use any of these words.

In elementary school, only poop and farts are funny.

Anyway, since teaching elementary school, I have come to the realization that I will not be able to a) make new friends, b) keep old friends, or c) date anyone ever again.  Why? you may be asking yourself...

It turns out that whereas middle-schoolers would answer and talk mostly in monosyllabic grunts, including such classics as "Duh.", "Huh?", "Yeah." "No." "Loser." or, in cases of extreme excitement, "Yay.", elementary school kids believe that the more words you can shove into a ten second time span, the better off you are.

Unfortunately, our educational system has accidentally developed a method for allowing children to ramble inanely for hours and call it a part of the curriculum.  The kids have managed this little trick with an important piece of curricular vocabulary: "text-to-self connection."

I'll be discussing something of curricular importance when a kid will raise his hand, look at me with a glint of hope in his eye, and says, "I have a connection."  Then I die a little inside.  "A connection" is basically any excuse to talk about whatever unrelated topic pops into your mind.


Me: So, in the story, the boy and the girl were trapped in a basement by the earthquake..." (hand shoots up)
  Yes, Billy?

Billy: I have a connection.

Me: (insides withering) Go ahead...

Billy: When I was little, I had this hamster, and his cage was in a basement.  It was in the basement because his wheel made a ton of noise and I couldn't sleep if his cage was in my room.  His name was Fluffy Monkey, because he was fluffy and he could climb on his cage around like a monkey.  He even liked bananas!  Well, one day, in the basement..."

Me:  Does this story have anything to do with earthquakes or trapped children?

Billy: No... it's a connection.  It was in a basement...

Clearly, the system has failed me.

Elementary school kids also become ecstatic at connections they may feel with their teachers.  While middle- schoolers pretty much only think you're cool if you tell them you're not and that you think children are vile, elementary school kids think everything you may have in common is just simply the most awesome thing in the world.

Joey: Miss M, are you eating a banana for snack today!?

Me: Umm, yes. Yes I am.  Hooray!  I see you have a banana, too.

Joey:  Yes! I'm eating a banana!  So is Sam!  So is Amy!  We all have bananas

Me:  Yes.  Maybe we should start a banana club.

Joey: YES!  A banana club!  Hooray!  I'm in a banana club!  I'm gonna bring a banana every day!  Will you eat a banana every day, Miss M?!"

At this point, I'm seriously considering never eating a banana ever again.  In fact, burning down rain forests to completely halt the natural production of bananas is seeming pretty good right now.

All this talking means that by the time 3:30 rolls around, my ear drums are bleeding and I am ready to poke them out with toothpicks in order to stop the pain. I do not want to hear any more amusing anecdotes about kittens, stories about poop, or fart jokes.  Ever. Again.  There is no silence here.  Never.

When I go home, all I want to do is sit in a padded room, in silence, with no stimulation whatsoever.  I do not want to talk to friends, listen to anyone's problems, or bond over produce.

I do not want to listen to any potential boyfriends tell me how cool or special I am.

After all, I already know that. I started the Banana Club.

Aug 16, 2010


Most nights of the week, I take care of my neighbor's puggle.  It's a nice arrangement: I take out the puggle when neighbor's at work, neighbor takes out the HyperHund while I'm at work.  We have a deep and meaningful relationship.

If you are not familiar with puggles, you are missing out.  Puggles are touted as expensive "hybrid" dogs, which makes them sound like they run on bio-fuel (which, if you count goose poop as bio-fuel, they do), but it really means they are mixes of two dogs who should never ever be allowed to suggestively bat their eyelashes at each other.

Don't get me wrong... the puggle is great.  But a puggle is the result of a carefully-thought out planned mating between a dog whose main goal in life is to sit on laps, snort and eat (pug) to a dog whose main goal in life is to sniff things and then see if they fit in his mouth (beagle).  The result is a cute, floppy eared dog that sometimes snores, spends a lot of its time obsessively trying to ingest various substances left lying around the house, and has a marked propensity toward gaining weight.

For the sake of this puggle's anonymity, I shall call him Raffles.  Actually, the real reason for this is that Raffles is a really outstanding name, especially for a puggle, and if I owned a puggle, which I will actually not probably ever do, I would totally have to name him Raffles.

Raffles knows a really large amount of cool tricks, if a really large amount equals two.  He is extremely gifted at sitting on command.  If he happens to be running across a field, one could cry out "Sit, Raffles, SIT!" and he would drop into an insta-sit, with his mouth slightly open in case "sit" actually meant "sit and I will give you a microscopic piece of edible or possibly inedible but still stinky something as a reward."

Raffles's owner also taught him to shake hands to the command "paw paw."  In order to obtain a treat, Raffles must sit and give paw-paw.  He is really REALLY good at giving paw-paw.

The problem with this is that Raffles has applied the paw-paw method to every single occasion at which he suspects a piece of  food may be directed toward his mouth.  If, say, I haven't washed all hints of dinner smells off my hands with Lysol and Clorox and I lean down over Raffles to put on his leash, he deduces that I may perhaps be contemplating the idea of giving him a little edible something and he commences paw-pawing.

By this, I mean he starts to windmill his paw repeatedly in some kind of hyperspeed high-five action that doesn't stop until food enters his mouth.  When my brother was a kid, he had this action figure where you flicked a lever on its back up and down and the arm whacked up and down in a punching mechanism; this is Raffles.  But really... with the action figure, it stops when you stop flicking.  Raffles does not stop.

Once, when I was still under the mistaken impression that I could train some understanding into Raffles, I reached down to put on his collar, and he began to paw-paw with great vigor.  I decided to open my hand and leave it there, waiting for Raffles to eventually stop when it dawned on him that I had nothing and was not going to move until he was Calm and Submissive.

You may be thinking how similar I am to the Dog Whisperer.

Haha!  Two minutes later, I had scratches up and down my arm that needed to be washed with peroxide.  Raffles was still flailing in  the ecstatic throes of paw-paw and was neither Calm nor Submissive.  Now, you may be thinking, wow, that Raffles sure isn't bright, or you might also be thinking, wow that Mo sure is a hamburger short of a Happy Meal to leave her hand there for that long...what a fool.

You would be correct on the latter.

Raffles and the HyperHund have a uniquely disturbing way of playing together.  There is a very specific pattern they follow every time they play together.

First, bigger HH will coyly sidle up to little Raffles, and invitingly place his PG13 parts in Raffles's face in a friendly sort of play invitation.  Raffles instantly becomes intrigued and starts sniffing this new and wonderful offering as if it had never been presented thusly to him before.

Fired up with the intensity of the game, the two will race around the room, with HH barking loudly in a high pitched, non-manly way.  The more excited he gets by the game, the higher his voice gets, until eventually it cracks like that of an adolescent boy, if that adolescent boy were going to, for some inexplicable reason, start barking.

Then, in a disturbing but inevitable turn of events, Raffles will latch on to HH's face and...well... start doing stuff I really can't describe without blushing.  He will do this for minutes at a time, and HH just stands there, blinking his assailed eyeballs and looking kind of confused, but not really trying to escape.

Eventually, HH feels distracted and runs forward, at which point Raffles kind of turns while still latched on to HH's head and begins running sideways on his back legs.  This is followed by more pre-pubescent barking noises.

Then, the whole process repeats itself, sometimes ten or fifteen times in a row.

Apparently, this never gets boring for them.

Puggle = Awesome.