Tip for the day

Isn't it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it's weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it's funny. Don't you think it odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does that benefit us? I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense we couldn't react to a lot of life. I can't tell if that's funny or really scary. Calvin

Don’t struggle to change. Struggle strengthens what you are trying to change.
- Cheri Huber

A day without laughter is a day wasted.
- Charlie Chaplin

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Thursday, May 31, 2012


Naturally my dog, Poppy, had to stop and sniff his dog's butt and his dog reciprocated. 

 Barking Mad

While walking Poppy the other day, I met some snobby twit with a pony on his shirt, tassels on his shoes and  a bull dog. His name was probably Thad or Chuffy. Naturally my dog, Poppy, had to stop and sniff his dog's butt and his dog reciprocated. 
You Just Let All These People In

Mr. Twit jerked his dog back around behind him so his dog didn't get Poppy's cooties.

I struck up an inane conversation with him about dogs. His dog's name was Winston. Big surprise there! We hadn't talked too long when the twit casually said his bulldog puppy cost him three thousand dollars, and he had a private dog trainer. 

I pointed out
there was something hanging on Winston's nose. There wasn't, but the twit looked for it a while. From what I could see Winston was being trained at the Three Stooges school of disobedience. He kept jerking on his chain trying to get to a pile of poop, like any other normal dog would do. I think the reason Mr. Twit bought the dog was so he could tell people how much he paid for it. Yuppies will buy artisan tooth paste if it costs more. Before too long all his friends will have seen his three thousand dollar dog. He will become bored with it and sell or give the dog away. I felt sorry for the dog. I liked Winston. Unfortunately it is still a misdemeanor in Colorado to shoot people like Mr. Twit.

Warning: short rant here. Please forgive me.
I read somewhere the average cost of having an animal throughout their lives is ten thousand dollars. I would venture to say the person who wrote this had a Yorkie that lived till he was three. The initial layout with license, exam, rabies, and fixing runs around three hundred to three fifty. Just one of my dogs eats about five thousand dollars of dog food over a thirteen year period, some dogs live till they are eighteen. That does not include, dog bone treats, toys, shoes, or furniture. There are fences, crates, grooming, leashes, combs, stolen sandwiches, and on and on. I pay about fourteen hundred just for maintenance like heart
worm, rabies, distemper, parvo, teeth cleaning, scent gland expressing and then there's mishaps, like eating a bag of birdseed, bladder infections, rattlesnake bites, cuts, attacks from other dogs and allergies (Poppy is allergic to carrots). Many dogs get diabetes or cancer. Every single dog I've ever had has had a bad hip or knee. Vets will offer surgery for around two to five thousand dollars depending on what kind of boat they are planning to buy this year. The cost for health care is much higher in an older dog. These expenses are for a "free" dog. 
Whew! Scared myself there. Almost started typing in capital letters. I need to go to some on and on meetings.

We only have homeless animals. Apparently there is a secret mark or smell written in hobo dog language in front of our house that says "These people are suckers" Sometimes after a particularly poop intensive day, a misplaced hairball or a high vet bill I wish I could find that mark and erase it. Over the course of twenty years, a Weimaraner, three Shelties, a Blue Heeler, a Pitbull, a Basenji, a German shepherd (all mixes except the Shelties and the Basenji.) and about eight cats and a rabbit  have wormed their way into our house and hearts. We currently have two dogs, Poppy and Shaggy and two cats Mika and Bobbette. 

I might add here that we have only ever had tailless Manx cats, because they don't cause most people allergies and I am allergic to cats. If you get one, always get one with a little stump of a tail or they will have spinal problems. Any cat can birth a Manx of any size or color if their father or mother was a Manx.

One time my wife informed me that under no circumstances were we ever going to have a pit bull. Poppy appeared one day while my wife was sitting on the porch. She walked up and laid her head on my wife's lap and informed my wife, in no uncertain terms, that this was her home, not ours. 
When I saw the dog, I informed my wife that she was a pit bull. "Nuh uh!" was her first and last response. Love is blind. 

At first I thought "Man! this is going to be a great guard dog!" Silly me. When she pants (Poppy not my wife.) her open mouth looks like a great white shark's and when she barks pictures fall off the walls but if someone broke into our house to steal something Poppy would drag it to the door for them.  Fortunately she only barks about once every three months, which is how long it takes for the cats to forget what she sounded like last time they took a swipe at her. She will occasionally bark if we leave her outside in the dark. She is a little blind nowadays and can't tell what the shadows are. 

Shaggy's hobby is barking at nothing. Shaggy is Poppy's stunt dog. He does what Poppy can't or won't do, but Poppy is the star. 

As any dog knows, the greatest threat to life is squirrels. I've seen Shaggy try to climb a tree after a squirrel for ten minutes. 
The first thing he does when going outside is check for squirrels or barring that, rabbits. I've seen him go after a rabbit like a bolt of lightening getting closer and closer and wham! He hits the fence the where the rabbit had a hole. No harm done, he absorbs most of the impact with his brain. 

When sleeping, Poppy routinely makes noises that cannot be explained by any known laws of physics. Her legs move like she is running and her eyes remain open. If she wakes, she comes clicking (She has long nails) down the hardwood hallway, up to the bed and licks any limb that happens to be sticking out, probably to reassure herself that she was just having a dream. There's nothing like having a cold nose on your butt around three AM. It's a pretty frequent occurrence because any time that's not meal time is potentially sleep time.

I took Poppy to the vet today to get heart worm medicine. It's only five blocks away, but by the time we got there the dog snot was too thick to see out the window. There were other dogs and some cats in the office. She whined because she wanted to play with them but I kept a firm hold on her leash. Poppy wants to get to know every one and everything. If we take her to pet world everyone wants to pet her and talk to her.  She goes over to them and gives them the look if they don't. They always turn to silly putty and succumb to her charms. She loves the attention and the strange smells so much that she won't leave voluntarily. We have to lure her out with a Slim Jim. It never occurred to her that someone might not want to play with or pet her. Almost everyone does, so it's not much of a problem. At home she waits till I have a hot cup of coffee and will then sneak up behind me and nudge me on my elbow to let me know she needs pets and attention. I started using a cup with a lid. If you habitually drink hot tea or coffee and you have an affectionate dog, never, ever write in your skivvies without a travel mug. You can't type YEEEAAAHHHH! fast enough to not scream. It's also a drag cleaning the ceiling and your computer if it isn't ruined.

Shaggy is a different story. Whenever we bring Shaggy to the vet he goes into full Bozo mode. Shaggy will go in, wiggle his nose, sniff, realize where he is and go flat-out into reverse. It's like when Wiley Coyote is standing on nothing and realizing it scrambles through the air trying to get back to the edge of the cliff. 
Shaggy is quite the spectacle as he gets dragged into the waiting room barking at all the dogs and cats, lunging at them and choking himself. The staff cringes when they see him and send in an extra tech to help subdue him in the examination room. He is not a cowardly dog. I've seen him go after mastiffs but he is the biggest whiny, yipping, baby I've ever seen when they take his temperature. Come to think of it, I'm not too crazy about the rubber glove myself.

Dogs are said to have the intelligence of a two year old human. If my son had been as smart as Poppy  at the age of two he would have had several P.H.D.'s by now. Please keep in mind I said smart, not obedient. Poppy (Who is legally a dog) knows how to get what she wants. She knows when your are engrossed with something and not paying attention. She knows she is not allowed on the couch, but if you are watching a movie, sometime during the course of the movie she materializes on the couch her head on your lap, eying your popcorn. You never see, hear or notice her until she passes gas. She can emit aromas that are strong enough to interfere with the TV signal. All these attacks are S.B.D's (silent but deadly) so it's too late by the time you notice them. No matter how cold it is we jump up and open all the windows so we don't pass out from the fumes. 
It's that bad. I hope she has gas when a burglar is here. He wouldn't stand a chance. At times it can be advantageous to have gassy dogs, like when hon cooks beans for supper.
I've had dogs that blow coat in the spring but Poppy sheds year round. She has very short, coarse,white hair but no matter how much you curry her she still sheds enough hair weekly to create a whole other dog. Our floors looks like a barber shop's. We have a Kirby vacuum and almost can't afford all the bags we use. Most of our clothes and furniture are desert tan so you can't see it unless you are close. I wear black socks but you would never know it. The white hair actually gets embedded in the socks and won't wash out. Those sticky lint rollers are worthless. I had a giant yellow cat, Max, that weighed thirty pounds. His stomach dragged on the floor. He was pretty old but I suspect that he died trying to expel a giant hairball after licking Poppy's hair off his stomach. I have to admit that without Poppy, my life would not be nearly so rich in hair.

 Remember Mikey who wouldn't eat anything? Poppy is nothing like that. I haven't found anything she won't eat including Hon's slippers. We call her Hoover at dinner time. You hear the clank of her tags once on the bowl and the food has vanished but she is licking at the linoleum for ten minutes in case a crumb escaped. That linoleum is getting pretty thin there. I'd better replace it soon. We don't allow her in the kitchen while we're eating, that's the plan anyway. She moves like a soldier crawling under barbed wire getting closer and closer to her objective. You rarely see her move but every time you glance over she is a foot closer to the table. If we catch her and shoo her towards the door, she stops at a water bowl on the way out. She will drink for a long time, hoping we will forget she is in the kitchen. There are other water bowls throughout the house she normally prefers so I know she isn't just thirsty. Her strategy often works and we forget about her. The next time you see her, she is looking up at you from under the table waiting for something to drop. 

The waste basket is both snack storage and toy box for her. After she gets into it so is the rest of the house.

It's hard to discipline her. She looks so pathetic. She has big mournful brown eyes that seem to say I" love you, please don't yell at me." (I almost never do.) For some reason she almost never wags her tail. Sometimes it will wag very slowly. It always stays tucked between her legs unless she is playing and then it sticks straight out. She lays in front of doorways so maybe we stepped on it too often or maybe it's part of her act. Whenever Shaggy wags his tail It's so violent I expect it to come loose and fly across the room.

Poppy is not exactly Rin Tin Tin. I remember a time I was changing a tire. While getting the spare from under the truck it fell on my chest. I was stuck for quite a while. Did she go for help? Noooo! After I got free I had to wring out my shirt from being licked and slobbered on. I've fallen on the ground several times which in dog speak implies, "Come and jump on me." You can easily see she doesn't qualify for hero status. I think Lassie's career is safe.

So why do you have these dogs, you ask. Good question. I'm not really sure. They don't herd cattle.  They don't retrieve ducks or tree coons. They won't track mountain lions. They don't lead blind people. They're mutts so they don't impress anyone. I've never heard a person say "Oh! I want  really ugly dogs like that."  Maybe they are just dumb animals I can give something to. Maybe it's because they need me. Maybe it's their unconditional love. Maybe it's because they won't leave.

Does anyone else have a dog who tucks their tail in?
Shaggy always licks Poppy's ears as foreplay. Whats up with that? Leave me a note if you know.

Poppy has passed on to the land filled with peanut butter stuffed Kongs since I wrote this. It's amazing how much we miss her. I've had many dogs, but none as much a part of the family as that "killer" pit bull. If you know a mean pit bull, it's owner is an asshole or an asshole gangster training the poor thing to fight. Sorry about the language, but that's how strongly I feel. They try to outlaw pit bulls all the time because of them and they are persecuted. The only dog that ever bit me was a miniature dachshund.


  1. I've heard this about pit bulls also, that they can make awesome house pets.
    Wanted to tell you that my daughter's Cocker Spaniel also tries his damnest to climb trees to get to squirrels. He gets farther up the tree than I con imagine.
    But then....we had a Black Lab who once tried to fly with geese. Can't wait to get another dog or two.

    1. The Lab was doing what he was bred to do. They are such awesome dogs.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I totally agree. Hopefully they'll make a new law soon and it will be then possible to perform genital cuffing to the suckers who train pit bulls to fight.

    1. I'm not crazy about what happens to Greyhounds after their careers are over either.

  3. I had to smile as i read through this post! We have also always had dogs, of one kind or another. The best two were a staffie which was a pick-me-up, and who turned out to be the most incredible animal, and a mix foxterrier / pavement spacial. She was probably the best dog we have had.
    Currently, 2 x Labradors - black and white - Captain and Morgan, 2.5 years old. Amazing dogs too. Will do a post on pets soon, like you did. Good idea.
    Chat soon.

    1. If I were younger I would try to find a lab at the shelter but I need a dog I can pick up. I really want a border collie or Australian shepherd, but Hon wants a chihuahua. I guess in the winter you could just pick it up, hold it out the window and squeeze it instead of taking it for a walk, but other than that it's really kind of a useless, yappy dog. People really seem to love them though.

  4. Oh Poppy sounded like such a great dog!

    I was scared of Pit bulls when I first saw one trying to chew the face off another. Then I got Rizla. (he already had the name when he came to us)
    If we ever were to have been burgled, then the thief would have really been in trouble, because jumping up onto someone and licking them to death, is so fierce.

    Louie on the other hand, (part Jack Russel, part Chihuahua) would get you to throw a ball and then run off...and keep running...and running...and running.

    1. Yeah, Shag plays keep away. I've tried every trick in the training books. Poppy just looked at me like "Why would you throw a perfectly good ball away. What an idiot!"

  5. Awww on Poppy. I have only been owned by The Chihuahua. They can be funny little clownish dogs. We had one that would even go stand in the corner when I made one of the kids stand in the corner. I understand doggy gas which is why we no longer feed Pedigree. I have no clue but this food causes gas in Chihuahua's. :) Loved reading your posting.

  6. Great posting. My brother had a PB and the neighbors poisoned him because of the bad rap the breed gets. His PB thought he was a lapdog, and wasn't raised to be mean he wouldn't have hurt a fly. I did want to say I understand doggy gas too, which is why I do not feed my Chihuahua Pedigree. :) RIP to your Poppy.

    1. We always use pro-plan or science diet. Your dogs are a lot healthier. You use a lot less and there is much less poop to pick up. It costs more but you use less so it really not that expensive. Shaggy is 46 lbs. and eats one and a third cup a day of pro-plan (and any cat food he can reach.) Nothing seemed to help with Poppy's gas as she grew older though.

  7. My friend has a pitbull and he considers himself a wee lapdog.

    1. She would have too, if we'd let her.