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Aug 16, 2010

Puggle

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.

Aug 13, 2010

Craig's List Pets Section

You know how you see those bored housewife type characters in t.v. shows, and they're always reading trashy romance novels or watching soap operas?

That's me, except that instead of soaps or romance novels, I faithfully read the Craig's List pet section every day, several times a day.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I already have two cats and a dog.  Getting another dog would effectively reduce the chance of my ever getting married to about .5% while raising my chances of becoming a dog soccer mom to 99.9%.

While occasionally I do come across some awesome Australian Shepherd dogs, I have found that most people breeding dogs and selling the pups have awesome creative writing skills.  This leads to some fabulous ads, of which I will now share the highlights. (Please go to the bottom if you cannot decode these.*)

Gotti Line Blue Baby Pet Bulls: $400.  Excellent with kids, dogs, and other animals.  Very playful.


Purebred Sharpies: $250.  Super cute and love to be held.



Mini Datsun: I must rehome my mini datsun.  He makes too much noise and I can't have him in my small apartment.


Miniture Pitcher:  Rehoming my 8 week old miniture pitcher.  $300 obo to good home only.



Sherman Shepherds: AKC registered, father is from working line, $500

While the ad itself is not that hilarious, you'd think if you were selling AKC anything from excellent lines, you'd know how to correctly write the name of the breed.

Baby Shiatsu: Baby shiatsus are now available.


( shiatsu = forceful, deep tissue massage. Therefore, baby shiatsus = bad idea)

Rock Waller:  I need to rehome my two year old Rock.  He is black and tan very muscular and very pertective.  He his too big for my apartment now and needs a backyard.


(This one did take me a while to figure out, by the way.)

Labor Doddle: Great with kids, cute face, 65 lbs.
 (I thought and thought, but I had no idea how to illustrate this one.  It's hilarious, but it's hard to pinpoint why.  It just is.  Trust me.)

Then, we have a host of ads for a family of small dogs.  We have chigugas, tea-cup chigwagwas, chihuhas, chiwawas, apple-head chiguhas, etc.  I think these dogs are all related...


The saddest thing on Craig's List, though, is the large amount of lost dogs listed there.  These dogs are always found "wondering around" and are always very "skiddish."  If I had to guess, I would think they are probably wondering why they keep skidding so much.  That just can't be comfortable.



* blue pit bulls, purebred shar pei, miniature dachshunds, miniature pinschers, German Shepherds, baby shih tzus, rottweiler, labradoodle, chihuahuas, wandering, skittish

Aug 1, 2010

The End of Innocence (or how I got an education from Barbie)

When I was in second grade, I had a friend I'll call Jack.  We girls all thought Jack was pretty super cool because he didn't think we were gross and also, he liked to play Barbies with us instead of playing basketball with the boys.  Nothing is cooler when you're seven than a boy who will play Barbies with you.

Jack and I became good friends because of my awesome collection of Barbies, comprising several of my mom's old dolls from the 60s.  I also had some pretty sweet Barbie furniture, including a swell potty-chair for the baby Barbies, so Jack and I became inseparable.


 When I look back on this, I feel a bit used.

Nevertheless, Jack would come over regularly, and my mom would even let us play Barbies in my room.

I will never forget the day Things Changed.  I was in the midst of dressing Ken in his pastel blue shirt and matching pink tie, when Jack, who was busily undressing Barbie, gave me a conspiratorial look.

"Do you know where babies come from?"  he asked.  I looked around, confused at the sudden turn of events, and trying to hide the fact that I, in fact, did not know where babies come from, although my mom had given me a brief explanation, including seeds and eggs and stuff, that left a lot to be desired and made me think babies actually came from omelets.


Jack closed the bedroom door.  He was really years beyond his biological age in terms of smoothness.

"Look," he said, and proceeded to remove Ken's pastel shirt and leaving him in nothing but his molded plastic Hanes shorts, "Ken needs to be naked."

My eyes bulged out of my head.  I hadn't thought that omelets called for nudity.

"And Barbie, too."  He removed Barbie's wedding gown that she happened to be wearing to take the kids to the park.

At this point, I felt that if my mom walked in, I might get in trouble, though I wasn't sure why because Jack and I dressed and undressed Barbies all the time, except with the door open.

"Babies happen like this," Jack explained.  Holding Nudist-Colony Barbie and Ken about two feet from each other, Jack proceeded to make noises that sounded a lot like the sounds the Transformers and Autobots made when shooting each other in after-school cartoons.


I sat there, both perplexed and horrified, trying to decipher how this could possibly make babies.

"This stuff flies out of Ken, and into Barbie," Jack clarified, "It's called sp....."

I would never know what it was called, because my mom walked in at that exact moment, with the echoes of Ken's torpedo noises still reverberating off my pink gingham walls, and Jack holding naked Ken and naked Barbie up in the air with a very guilty look on his face.

"What are you doing?" Mom asked, in a tone that suggested that she knew what we were doing.

At this point, I started weeping, and made a full confession involving something about omelets and babies and Transformers and bridal gowns that I'm sure confused my mom so much that she was probably sorry she'd asked.


Jack was never allowed to come over and play Barbies anymore.

It was the end of an era.  The end of my innocence.

The end of my childhood.

Jul 29, 2010

On Owning a Herding Breed Dog (or Why I Have Been Losing My Sanity)

When I got my dog off Craig's List two years ago, I was told he was some kind of German Shepherd Lab Mix, maybe-and-we-can't-remember?  Apparently, every dog on Craig's List and in every dog shelter is a German Shepherd mixed with something.  Those German Shepherds... watch out for them.  Lock away your pretty girl dogs!  Here comes a German Shepherd and he looks like a player...


I digress (again, are you shocked?).  I figured that this pup was the perfect dog for me because a) I like Labs, and b) I like German Shepherds, and also c) our family had owned both and I knew their energy levels and felt I could cope with them.

HAHAH!  That's funny!  You know what else is funny?  My dog isn't a German Shepherd Lab Mix.  He's mostly English Shepherd.  And lastly, the most hilarious part about all of this is that his energy level is just like that of a German Shepherd Lab Mix, if that German Shepherd Lab Mix happened to be on speed.



By now, if you are a seasoned dog owner, you may be thinking that "a tired dog is a happy dog," and all that crap, and that I should walk this dog more and all my problems would be solved.  HAHAH!  Silly you!

Every day, I get up at the crack of dawn so I can walk for an hour or so, with my dog running off the leash in circles.  Then, every afternoon, we go to the dog park and walk around another hour or more.  I walk 5 miles a day, roughly, and the dog runs about 15-20, more or less.  In the evening, we practice tricks and mental stimulation games.  Food bills have increased for both of us, since I walk about 1,500 miles a year, and he runs...ummm... math....4,500 or more.  My social life must be worked around dog walking times or I pay the consequences later that evening:


Two vets and a dog trainer told me at separate times, "Wow... it's so great that you kept him.  Because...hmm... well, you know most people can't keep up with a dog like this one. And a lot of times these dogs end up in shelters."  Then I started crying and begged the vets for dog tranquilizers and they didn't give them to me.

The dog park people know me as the "Ready...Ready...Go!" girl.  If you have ever had a herding breed dog, you will know that RRG can quickly become a favorite sport, if not a complete OCD problem.  In this game, the dog comes up to you, stares at you with crazy-eyes and his tongue hanging out, and walks backward while stepping on your toes and sometimes your shins.


This is your cue to say, "Ready...ready....GO!"  as if this were the most suspenseful and eventful moment of your life.  The dog tears off, bounds through the grass like an antelope, makes a huge loop, and returns, panting hysterically, and in my dog's case usually with a strand of saliva lying across his nose.

Then, you must repeat this eleventy billion more times.

You think you can take a break from this? HAHAH!  WRONG!  You must continue.  And, if you perhaps do this in a place where there is nowhere to tear off into the bushes, or your voice inflection is wrong, or the planets are not aligned correctly, the dog will latch on to your arm and remind you that you are Incorrect.

The other fabulous thing about having a hyper-neurotic dog is that they develop phobias.  (Disclaimer: I have been to the vet and he told me this was normal... I am not a bad dog owner.)  My dog, for example, has developed a phobia of the neighbors upstairs running their shower.  This might not seem like such a huge problem, except that the neighbors have a teenage son who apparently needs to shower eighteen times a day, which means that my dog spends a lot of his day hiding under a desk and staring at the ceiling in abject terror.



His latest phobia is that of the storm drains outside my patio.  He has started approaching it very cautiously, as if Stephen King's It Clown might pull him down at any moment as he returns from his pees.


Neighbor: What is your dog doing?
Me: Oh you know...he's just terrified of the storm drain.
Neighbor: Um.  Haven't you had him here for two years now?
Me: Uh... yes, yes I have.
Neighbor:  I see... Well...um...why is he suddenly scared of the storm drain?
Me:  Oh... you know... he's umm.... well... really  I have no idea.
(awkward silence...)

Now, if you follow those tv shows about dog training, you will often see the dog trainer suggesting that dogs develop phobias if owners secretly have these phobias, or if perhaps the owner reinforces the dog's phobia by soothing it when it is frightened.

I am here to declare that I am secretly afraid of neither storm drains nor running shower water.  And I generally ignore my dog when he goes nuts, except that I may sometimes occasionally roll my eyes.

So maybe, just maybe, the dog is just neurotic on his own, of his own volition.

God, I love that dog.

Jul 28, 2010

Bloody Chinese Weapons and Other Dating Hazards

For some reason I can't understand, things don't happen to me like they do to everybody else.  I'm the one who, when everyone orders soup, gets the bowl with, say, someone's severed digit in it or something.



Dating then, has been intriguing for me, and has never "just happened" like it does to normal people.

As an example, we will slide back in time to my pre-knee-surgery days, when my Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings were spent in two-hour kung-fu classes held on top of the university parking garage.

My brother's friend, whom we shall call Ernesto (although that is certainly not his real name but I doubt he'd want me to reveal his true identity 11 years later), would bum a ride with me to class because he lived Far Away From Class, which is also where I lived.  The ride took a total of 45 minutes each way.

Ernesto and I had secret crushes on each other, but could not possibly admit our love because my brother was his best friend.  So we sat in the car in agonizing and awkward silence, dressed in our kung-fu outfits and contemplating the meaning of love.



At some point Ernesto must have decided that angsty, emo-like silences were not going to be enough to drive me mad with desire and he instead devised a fail-proof plan to impress me.

Ernesto had an unholy obsession with Jackie Chan.


He'd spent many a late and anti-social night practicing his mad kung-fu skills and stunts.  A particular favorite of his included running straight at, and then up, a wall, pushing off, doing an aerial kick and maybe a flip (but that could be part of my warped memories) and then landing on his feet.  It was super cool, yo.

Of course, we were on the top level of a parking garage and there were no walls, so Ernesto decided to try this trick on a light post.

At this point, you might be thinking, "Haha, that Ernesto, what a moron!" but really this was not such a bad idea in and of itself.  The bad part was that there was a large, jagged shard of metal sticking out of the light post that caught on Ernesto's bicep, and somehow also between his fingers, on the way down and cut him all the way down to the bone.

And, as crying like a little girl while bleeding profusely is not a good way to make women fall madly for you, Ernesto decided to hide his shame.  Carefully covering his bicep wound with his mangled hand, he edged over to my brother and asked if my brother had something to soak up and staunch the blood, like, say, a car-sized Sham-wow for example.

My brother looked in the trunk of the car, and pulled out his kwan-dao, a 6' tall bladed Chinese weapon, which was covered with a pouch my brother had expertly crafted out of a towel and some duct tape.

The next few moments happened in slow-motion, though probably only in my head.  My kung-fu instructor walked in at the exact moment that my brother handed Ernesto the towel to staunch Ernesto's now gaping-maw of a wound, while my brother stood there with a bladed weapon made of over ten pounds of galvanized stainless steel in his hand.  It looked like this:


My instructor put two and two together and figured that the previous scene must have gone a bit like this:


I, being a romantic sap, leaped to the defense of Ernesto's innocence and in a moment of romantic heroism and loyalty, offered to drive him to the local hospital in case stitches were necessary.  Apparently, at that moment nothing was hotter than a wounded, mangled boy so trying to impress me that he'd shed his very own blood.  My brother volunteered to come along, which was useful but kinda ruined this exquisitely romantic tableau.

The local hospital was in a cornfield, because actually the whole town was in a cornfield.  But this hospital really, really was in a cornfield.


My brother, who apparently had not learned from Ernesto's mistakes, decided to try to get Ernesto's mind off his pain by doing some stunts in the waiting room.

When we finally got put into an exam room, Ernesto sat down on a chair, and my brother and I walked helpfully around the chair for a while till the nurse came in.  Now, I am not making this up.  The nurse was a middle-aged man with missing teeth and a skullet.  For those of you who are not aware of what a skullet is, it's when you have a mullet, except middle age kind of took everything except the "party in the back."

Nurse Skullet started the conversation with some friendly banter with Ernesto.

 

At this point, my brother decided to add some levity to the moment by doing another handstand and he and I got kicked out of the exam room.

Ernesto got his stitches, and we went on to date for four years.

What a beautiful story.

Jul 25, 2010

The Catfish Rescue Society (Or How I Saved Two Lives Before Breakfast)

It rained a lot yesterday here in my area.  The creek behind my house flooded its banks and took over the whole park.  Even the footbridge was completely submerged.

When I took the HyperHund for his morning walk today, he stopped abruptly with his nose in a puddle and jumped back several feet.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed a foot-long catfish under his nose, in all of one inch of water, its back out of the water and its gills flailing to try to absorb whatever it is fish need to get from puddle water.

The whole back area of the park was covered in dead catfish from the river overflowing.  They were actually harder to see than you'd think, because they were not moving, were roughly the color of mud, and mostly because they were dead-but-not-yet-stinky.

In this small puddle that was slowly drying up, though, were two live, roughly 5 lb. fish (I could tell they were alive because they were right side up) and one dead roughly 5 lb. fish.

Now, I am not some poor unrealistic sap who thinks she can save the world, one animal at a time.  I stare reality in the face.  When I see a half-squished-but-still-twitching animal on the road, I bravely squash it all the way with my car, albeit not happily.  And when my dog and I get out of the car afterwards and he rushes to the tires and starts licking all those leftover flavorful morsels off them, I smile bravely through my tears and sing songs from the Lion King to soothe my guilty conscience.


But, watching an animal die slowly while it is fighting so tenaciously to stay alive is hard to stomach.

I needed to Rescue The Catfish.

The creek was 1/4 mile away, and all I had with me were my leash, two plastic Ultra Foods bags (for picking up poo), one with a hole in it and one not.  I also had a dog and my keys.  I figured my best bet were the plastic bags.  I filled the non-holey bag with a bit of puddle water and attempted to use the other one to guide the more lethargic of the two fish in there.  Not pleased with my attempt at rescue and tough-love-for-living-creatures, he slapped me with his tail, did a few back flips with the last remains of his strength and flopped around threateningly.  My dog was intrigued.  I shoved the bag over the fish's head and trapped him.  He settled down remarkably quickly.

Fish number two was far more feisty, being that he was still more upright and breathing-ish than Sleepy the Tail Slapper.  He was also clearly disgruntled at being shoved into a tiny plastic bag with Someone He Didn't Know Well and a centimeter of stagnant puddle water.  After an epic showdown including slime, tail-slapping, and writhing, Feisty was forcibly cuddled up to Sleepy.  The struggle died down.


At this point, I figured I'd better haul-tail to the water (1/4 mile, remember).  I was wearing flip-flops, had the dog with me, and was carrying a bag that I really hoped wouldn't break, with ten pounds of angry fish inside.  In order to get to the creek, I had to cross a soggy field of puddle at least 2 inches deep in some places.

I began to run.  It was truly epic.  My flip-flops kept sticking in the ground, and then when they'd come up, muddy water would spray all the way up my back, leaving a brownish splatter on the back of my shorts and shirt and getting into my hair.

Feisty became disgruntled and began to honk.  No, I am not making this up, and I had no idea that a catfish could honk.  It sounded like I had a flat, wet, surly Canadian goose trapped in my bag.  He got louder and more irate as the bag swung faster.

I felt quite noble and heroic, like maybe I was some piscean form of Braveheart, but I assume in reality it would probably have looked something like this:


Luckily, there were no hot-shirtless-guys-playing-frisbee in the park at 7 a.m.  Luckily, the only person in the park was crazy, fish-saving, mud-spray girl running in slow motion to the creek.

Luckily for Honky and Sleepy, I got to the creek in time and released them and they swam away.

They didn't even turn around to say thanks.

(Edit: When I first wrote this post, I was under the mistaken impression these fish were carp.  I changed the text once I was told by my father that they were probably catfish, as catfish do in fact honk.  Had I know they were catfish, I would not have picked them up because apparently they can slice your fingers, and have a horrible painful bite that involves puncture wounds. Thankfully, I used the Ultra Foods bag with holes in it to protect my hand.)

Jul 24, 2010

Reasons A Zombie Apocalypse Would Not Be Fun (At Least Not For Me)

I am friends with several guys in their 30s who mistakenly believe that a Zombie Apocalypse would be Flippin' Cool.  These guys are also looking forward to 2012 with a vengeance, settling for an apocalypse without zombies but secretly hoping that somewhere along the way the zombies will become involved.

Of course, in this fantasy, these guys are the strong, the survivors.  They are the ones shooting zombies left and right with enhanced, double-barrel potato guns and post-apocalyptic slingshots.  They are are not the ones who, as soon as the zombies come out of the ground, are the first to have their brains slurped down like a 7-Eleven Slurpee in the middle of a group of prepubescent baseball players on a 90 degree day because they accidentally tripped on a rock in front of the first zombie to un-die.



In reality, a zombie apocalypse would be Darwinism at its finest.  Only the very strongest would survive.  You get migraines?  While you're suffering because of the light, the zombies will eat you.  Bad knee?  Zombie will catch you faster.  Blood-clotting disorder?  You're practically a zombie soda-fountain.

One major reason I do not look forward to a Zombie Apocalypse is I know that I would be the first to go.  Let's be reasonable.  My cunning and intellect are not going to save me here .

First of all, I have a bum knee and I wear very strong prescription contacts.  The bum knee will slow me down.  Also, I am aware that contact lenses will be very hard to come by in a Zombie Apocalypse.  Basically, after the scorched earth moment, I will not be able to see unless I hoard all contact lenses in the near vicinity from Lens Crafters and pray that some of them fit me.  Of course, I need contact solution, too.  Otherwise, I'll get an eye infection, and the smell will lead the Zombies straight to my nest of contact lenses.



Secondly, I have had my thyroid gland removed and am on daily medication to keep my thyroid hormones steady.  A thyroid is the major metabolic gland in the body.  So, I have a metabolism that is entirely artificially controlled by pills.  No... don't say it.  It makes me angry...


Anyway, there are two possible outcomes in this Zombie-thyroid scenario, neither of which are particularly savory.

a) I have no medicine.  Slowly, over time, I will gain eleventy billion pounds until I can barely move.  I will be hungry all the time and my mental faculties will slow down.  In fact, I have no doubt that my speech, too, would become slow and garbled, and in effect, I would become a creature reminiscent of Jabba the Hut, except less dangerous and possibly more hideous.  This would effectively turn me into a buffet for zombies.  Eating me would be like taking candy from a baby.


In fact, it would be easier, because I probably wouldn't be able to see because I couldn't replace my contacts.


b)  In the other scenario, I could possibly survive, especially if there were large herds of swine in the vicinity, but I guess any mammal could potentially suffice.

See, back before I got thyroid surgery, I was concerned about whether or not I could survive thyroidless in a post-apocalyptic world.  Research led me to the fact that prior to civilized times, people used to eat animal thyroids if their own didn't function.  Specifically, slices of pig thyroids eaten on toast points.

Now, I don't think that realistically I will be making toast points in a post-apocalyptic world.  In all likelihood, it would be more like this:



which really would put me only a few steps above the zombies on a scale of classiness.

Suffice it to say that I am not looking forward to a Zombie Apocalypse.  I just don't think I would make it.  And becoming a pig-thyroid-vampire does not appeal to me either.