Category Archives: Animals

Runaway Dog

Today when the Simon Delivers man came with our groceries both dogs bounded out the door. Speak actually stopped to jump all over the Simon man, but Mazie noticed the gate was open and bound down the driveway towards the street and freedom.

When my calls didn’t even phase her I rushed back into the house, leaving the Simon man holding Speak, grabbed the entire treat jar in the kitchen and booked out the front door to cut Mazie off.

I came out the door to see her chasing some poor girl on rollerblades and my sharp cry of “Mazie!” actually made her turn around, though I imagine it was the sound of the treat jar I was shaking that made her come back.

I scooped her up in my arms and rushed her back inside, amazed that she didn’t wriggle free, all while the rollerblade girl laughed. I set Mazie and the treat jar down, not together, noticed that Speak was already calmly back in the kitchen despite the fact that the back door was still wide open, and went outside to get my groceries, firmly shutting both dogs inside.

The Simon man didn’t even register the high drama that just took place. I hate to imagine what could have happened. Is this what being a parent is going to be like, only ten times worse?

The really funny thing is that whenever Mazie escapes the confines of the backyard unleashed (it’s happened once before) she makes a mad dash for anything and everything. She’s like a rocket missing a fin, whizzing about in every direction. The few times I remember Speak escaping he just strolled along the driveway in no hurry to get nowhere in particular.

My Cross-Dressing Dog

Our dog Speak made another appearance in the Target ads. And yes, he’s a well-paid cross-dresser.

I actually took him to this photo shoot, and it was pretty interesting. What you can’t really tell in the picture is that he’s also wearing a lovely pink fur coat with rhinestones. At this point there’s no living this down, so you might as well roll with it.

I think he managed to look a little less miserable in this picture. He still doesn’t look happy, but he doesn’t have the tortured look he had last time.

Stray Cat

As if my day wasn’t already exciting, we came home to find a cat in the backyard. It took off when we got out of the car, but it later showed up on the deck. Eager to check it out and scare it off before releasing the dogs, I went outside to say hello. It wasn’t at all skittish and kept rubbing up against my legs. Not at all like previous stray cats, though I doubt this one was a stray. It looked like somebody had been feeding it well.

The cat randomally hissed a couple of times at nothing in particular, but kept rubbing up against my leg and let me scratch its head. I walked off the deck and started thinking about getting the cat out of there when suddenly it turned and lunged for me. I did nothing to provoke it. The damn cat just decided to bite me. It struck at my leg with the speed and ferocity of a snake and scared the crap out of me. It hurt, too, but I was more surprised at the sudden assault. Luckily it’s been cold today and I was wearing jeans.

So more ‘nice kitty’ in my yard. From now on we release the hounds.

My Dog Makes More Money Than You

Speak's Target Ad DebutMy dog, Speak, has made his professional debut. You can check him out in this week’s Target ad. It’s a small picture on the bottom of the second to last page. And yes, he is wearing a pink dress and pearls. You’d be surprised what someone will do if you paid them enough.

Though he looks awfully depressed in the picture. I’m surprised Target even used that picture. The picture was taken the first few days we had Mazie, and he had swallowed a greenie practically whole, so he wasn’t exactly feeling well. OK, I guess that was a different shoot. But it was really hot in the studio and he just wanted to lie down. But then you couldn’t see his pretty dress. That and he’s wearing pink. What a trooper.

Dog Crap

I just spent a solid half hour picking up poop. Let me tell you, two dogs equals a lot more crap. When I finished scouring the yard with a garden trowel I had a bag weighing at least half Speak’s body weight. That’s a lot of poop.

The whole venture made me think that somewhere somehow there had to be an economic use for all that poop. Someone should pay for dog poop by the pound. It’d be like the refund on pop cans and kids could collect poop from the neighborhood and cash in.

Maybe it’d be some sort of fertilizer manufacturer who would want it, but we could find a better use than tossing it in the trash. Sometimes Mazie short circuits that path and just does her business in the garden. Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.

Update: Apparently I’m not the only one dreaming of a crap-powered world.

Mazie the Puppy Update

We’ve had our new dog Mazie for less than four days, and all things considered it’s going pretty well. She’s an 11-week-old rat terrier and pretty much all puppy. There hasn’t been much in the way of training yet (we’ve been busy every night this week), but surprisingly that hasn’t been a problem.

She’s pretty shy (the shyest and smallest of the litter), but still comes running when you call her name. Though it’s more like loping. She’s squat and round and pudgy, kind of like a tank. When you reach to pick her up she drops to the floor (don’t worry, there’s not much ground clearance anyway) and starts to back up. So we’ll have to work on that.

She also chews on everything. I guess that’s what dogs do, espcecially puppies. We were pretty spoiled with Speak who never seems to chew on stuff he’s not supposed to (though don’t leave a stray kleenex within reach or it’s shred-city). The chewing is combated with lots of chewable toys and keeping an eye on her. She actually responds pretty well when I tell her no, which seems surprising. I think it took Speak longer.

Continue reading Mazie the Puppy Update

Say Hello to Mazie

This is Mazie. She’s an 11-week old rat terrier we picked up today from a rescue in Wisconsin. My wife is now officially a dog freak (though the dogs are technically mine as well, my role is to sit back and roll my eyes–but that doesn’t last long). We came up with the name Mazie because the town near the rescue was called Mazomanie. That and she just wasn’t a Carmelita. Susan was also tempting (“Now you’re doing it on purpose!”).

Mazie was the smallest of the four remaining brothers and sisters from her litter. Someone had dropped off the mother and six puppies at the rescue in a Tupperware container. It’s pretty sad, but the puppies are finding good homes now. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, I highly recommend looking into a rescue. You need to be a little more careful about what kind of issues the dogs might have, but you’re giving a home to a poor abandoned dog, as opposed to feeding the puppy mill system.

Speak isn’t too sure what to think about his new little sister. He got to play with the whole litter, and I think he was getting exasperated. He’s also feeling neglected at home, though I don’t know what his problem is. He gets all the attention and all the good nicknames.

Speak and Mazie did have some fun in the backyard when Speak would chase her off and then stand around all victorious like. I think he’s enjoying his dominance.

Well, that’s our two puppy household. I’m not sure how I got roped into this, but so far I love it. Talk to me tomorrow when I have to adjust Mazie’s potty-training to a new home while being productive at the same time.

Pigeons Rumble in the Bronx

It's a pigeon.One day when I was a little kid a construction crew showed up in our yard and started building something. I hadn’t heard my parents talking about it and had no idea what was going on. Several days later a building the size of long, skinny garage appeared on the northwest side of our house. It was a pigeon house.

My dad has raised pigeons on and off for most of his life, something I’ve never understood. The pigeon house was emptied of pigeons more than ten years ago to make way for a 1968 Fairlane, and the building was sold along with our house earlier this year. But my dad is eyeing the playhouse on their new property in Kansas as an ideal pigeon house. It’s only a matter of time before the dust flies again.

But as weird as my dad’s hobby is, he’s not alone. Apparently the skies above New York are a constant battleground for pigeon fanatics. The Brooklyn Pigeon Wars chronicles the story of pigeon owners in New York who release their pigeons and hope to score birds from other flocks. The birds innate homing sense grapples with their flock mentality. As the flocks mix birds return home with other flocks, racking up wins and loses for their owners.

It’s a bizarre and somehow cool take on a hobby that’s always been dust and genetics in my mind (take a look at the picture gallery for a glimpse of feathers, poop and dust — as well as some graceful flying). If my dad does succeed in converting the playhouse, I think he should start the Great Bend Pigeon Wars. Even if there aren’t any other pigeons in Great Bend, his flock could battle the wild birds at Cheyenne Bottoms.

There’s nary an animal alive that can outrun a greased Scotsman

The stray cat visited again tonight, and she’s a beast. We were sitting on the deck with Speak and there she was in the middle of the yard. While hunched down her back end looked twice as wide as her front end. But it wasn’t fat. As she approached we could tell she was lean, just enormous. She had the build of a bobcat, and I wonder if that’s just coincidence, or if this is really a hardened stray cat. She wasn’t afraid of us, and definitely wasn’t afraid of Speak. Speak was going nuts.

The cat wandered around the yard for a while, climbed under the deck and explored the garage. We didn’t exactly shoo the cat away, but we didn’t really encourage her either. At one point I tried to pet the cat, and she arched her back, trying to push herself into my hand. Then she stood up on her back legs, half jumping into the air, trying to get me to pet her. I’ve never seen a cat do that.

After some more wandering, the cat left the way she came.