Tag Archives: animals

Criminal Minds – Canine Edition

I’ve been getting some requests for an update on that DOG my family brought home without my knowledge, blessing or input.  (Okay,  maybe nobody asked – but tough, I’m going to report it anyway.) His name is no longer “Murphy”.  We discovered that he’s a bit challenged intellectually, and he likes to run and run and run … so then he became “Forrest”, as in Gump.  But that’s where the similarity ends. We’ve had him for three months, and he’s got a rap sheet a mile long.

 Top 10 Crimes over the past three months:

  1. Vandalism – Ate ½ of nice black leash as rebellion against having to stay in the porch because he was wet, and smelled like – you guessed it – a wet dog.
  2. Theft and destruction of property – within the course of ten minutes and (while in full view of hubby who did not notice either deed) he both:
    • Dug up/pruned with his teeth, my only surviving,  non-holey Hosta
    • Stole black bra from clothesline and paraded it about the property like he was at a Victoria Secret fashion show
  3. Destruction of more property – Over the course of a couple of days, systematically, knowingly, and sneakily chewed the little leather piece that goes between your toes from THREE separate pairs of #1 daughter’s flip-flops. To add insult to injury, the shoes looked normal until she went to put them on, and they became anklets.
  4. Vagrant-like behaviour – Rolled in something disgusting, requiring an immediate bath, even though it was nighttime and hubby was home alone with a migraine and had to perform the bathing all by himself.
  5. Repeat vagrancy offense – Morning after emergency bath, rolled in cat poo and presented himself at the door to be let in with full turd still intact behind one ear.
  6. Trespassing – he decided to accompany a group of Mennonite children home from their bus stop as they walked past our house.  By the time hubby noticed he was gone, he had been absent for a while.  Had to jump in the car and drive down our side road to their farm, where the one-canine crime spree was gleefully chasing their horses around the paddock, barking like a lunatic.
  7. Indecent exposure and lewd, inappropriate behavior, unbecoming a dog –  Whilst wrestling on the kitchen floor with the girls, he knowingly or unknowingly released what they call the “red rocket” and one of them full-on grasped it by accident.  There was much screaming and hysteria, and then talk about being a “pet-o-file” and then finally,  “show me on your doll where the bad lady touched you.”  None of us will be recovering from that anytime soon.
  8. Terrorism – Singlehandedly banished our beloved the cats into exile.  He eats their food, and poses menacingly in the doorway.  My three little feline friends are officially feral now.  Sometimes they sit in the window when he’s in another room and stare in at me with tearful yet wild eyes, one paw held up against the window pane, longing for the days when they ran the house.
  9. Grossness – Self induced bulimic behaviour whilst traveling in the vehicle, so not only can we not leave him alone, we can’t take him anywhere unless we want to end up on the side of the road scraping warm, half-digested piles of puppy chow flecked with pieces of wood off the upholstery.
  10. Conspiracy leading to slander – He’s running with the wrong crowd. At precisely bedtime on a Monday night when he was let out for one final bio-break, he purposefully had a secret rendezvous with the stinkingest skunk in the county.  Of course it was 11:00 p.m. , and we had to wait until morning to get him cleaned up. He had to sleep outside, tied up like the common criminal that he is quickly becoming.

The good news is that having worked at veterinary offices for many years, I know that a foolproof remedy to remove skunk scent from a dog is a good soaking in a feminine hygiene douche product.  That’s right – Summer’s Eve.  Massengill – that sort of douche.  The bad news is that this is a small town and it doesn’t go unnoticed when your husband is waiting at the door in the morning for the drug store to open, and hastily purchases as many douche products as he can carry. 

However, he is still technically a puppy and we are trying to keep in mind that we didn’t give up any of the children during their youthful escapades (almost doesn’t count).  Plus,he’s also skilled at one other thing that means we’ll probably keep him around – occasionally he does a convincing impersonation of a good dog.

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Filed under Animal Stories, Family, Humor

A Golden Plan

Some dramatic developments in the household since my last post. It all started when I came home from golf on Tuesday night, and there was nobody home. Should have been 2 daughters and one spouse, and nobody was in sight. First of all it was upsetting, because who was going to lift those clubs out of the trunk of the car? I don’t want to have to deal with that in the morning. Of course they left a note. It said: “Back soon”. That was helpful. With it now being after 10:00pm on a work night, this was a mystery indeed and needed solving.

My first clue was that there was an open jar of salsa, clearly marked “refrigerate after opening” sitting on the counter. This led me to believe that there must have been some sort of medical emergency, and they all had to race out to the car because time was of the essence. They were probably deliberately vague so as not to worry me until the patient was all stitched up, or in the event of a cardiac event, at least had a preliminary diagnosis. (Mental note – put one of those CSI black light things that can detect blood on my Christmas list next year.) I immediately texted # 2 daughter with the probing question “Where u at?” (Even in a crisis, I try to remain hip at all costs. I did leave out though my usual “Peace out.”) My plan to get my PJs on was put on hold, in case I had to head out for a medical consult.

There was no text response, which then led me to another train of thought that was even more disturbing than the medical emergency scenario. The only time I’ve seen her turn off her phone is at the movies … what if they went to the movies WITHOUT ME? They KNOW how badly I’ve wanted to see the movie “Bridesmaids“. (It’s a very cultural, educational documentary with subtitles from what I understand.) Our schedules just haven’t lined up because I have so many pressing engagements, like golf for instance – what if they just up and went without me? I then had to hold back tears as I started spiralling to a very dark emotional place where I used to reside in high school, on occasions when people who were supposed to be my friends went ahead and had fun without me. So that’s how it’s going to be huh? Well that’s just fine. I prepared my plan to ignore them and their dietary preferences and laundry going forward.

I then got a response to my text. It was, “On a road trip. Be home in 15.”  What? A road trip on a Tuesday? This can’t be good. Sometimes when left unattended, my husband buys stuff. He may have just taken the girls along as hostages, so that when he gets home he doesn’t have to face me alone. Or worse, what if he bought yet another vehicle and he needed driver(s)! That’s even worse. There is no room in our driveway as it is … and our monthly auto insurance bill is starting to resemble the national debt. Maybe I should go to the office and pull out the monthly budget and highlight all the auto related expenses, just to make my point …

I heard them pull into the driveway (thankfully, with just one vehicle). I went upstairs to determine just how this one needed to be handled, plus to play hard to get and aloof, appropriate for almost all of the scenarios. Hubby came upstairs tentatively. I heard the girls come in. I did a quick scan of him – no bandages.

“Where HAVE YOU BEEN? Thanks for leaving the most useless note EVER! I was riding a roller coaster of emotion!!”

He said nothing, as he has learned that sometimes the best response is no response. He seemed to be trying to lead me downstairs . I cooperated, however had by now abandoned the hard-to-get routine for the ever-popular “bitch non-stop” approach.

“How was I supposed to know where you were? If the kids left us a note like that you would be worried too! You need a haircut. I don’t know where you were, but I can’t believe you wore THAT shirt”…and so on. (We only have 12 stairs, so it was impressive I got all that in.)

I stopped dead at the bottom of the stairs though. In the kitchen, the girls were staring at me anxiously – and they were holding a large, very gangly yet handsome male golden retriever (who was EXTREMELY happy to see me). It seems that they were on a secret mission to a far away town to view this dog, and it was urgent because another prospective buyer was coming to see him in the morning. They convinced their dad to take them “just to see” him, but of course having done so , there was no leaving him behind. They bought him on the spot, loaded him into the car and that was it. They were now having a classic case of “unpredictable Mom”- induced buyers remorse”, terrified that I was going to be mad.

Little did they know, this was perfect. We have been dogless since Christmas time when we lost our old retriever, and we have missed having a dog. But we have enjoyed being able to come and go as we please. Now, not only do we have the cutest dog in the world – I had no part in the decision! If it goes badly, I get play the “Well, you’re the one who went and got another dog” card. It’s awesome! It’s even better than the “Told you so” song. If it works out well and he’s a model pet, then we all win. If not, I get to be the one on the sidelines, shaking my head knowingly, and bitching non-stop to my heart’s content. It’s almost too perfect.

We had a little trouble with naming him. He came with a name that we didn’t like, so we had to come up with something. The only name 3 out of 4 of us could agree on is “Murphy”. I thought of “Murphy”, because it’s cute and practical – foreseeing the instances when he’s bad, we can just drop a “Jesus” in front of it. My husband is the only one who doesn’t like the name, but that’s ok, because so far everything points to him consistently addressing this guy by our dearly departed Riley’s name anyway. (I think I know why Don Cherry named all of his dogs “Blue”.)

Anyway my plan is working like a charm. I have somebody (albeit a 4 legged somebody) who’s thrilled when I come home, and is quite willing to accompany me on my early morning walks. Last night we experimented with not crating him at bedtime, and this morning I awoke hubby by standing over him shaking my head, holding his favourite hat, covered in slobber and now in two pieces. ..

“Well, I hope you didn’t care about this hat.” (He did – some would say excessively) .  “Jesus Murphy.

I sauntered off, smiling into my coffee cup.Golden Boy

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The Powers of Austin

Driving to work these days, I keep seeing a lot of newborn baby animals in the field.  It always gets me thinking of a certain little calf that had a pretty rocky start at our place.

My husband always says, “If you’ve got live stock, you’ve got dead stock.”  That particular spring we had a tragic incident of a cow that died while giving birth.  The thing was,  on top of having to deal with the trauma of the scary dead stock truck coming, there was  still a little matter of a newborn calf to contend with.  In a previous life I had worked a vet office for almost a decade, and I knew that there was virtually no chance of us hand raising the little guy.  I tried to break it to the kids, who at that time were about 6, 8 and 10.  The little calf, while cute as heck, had very little chance of survival, unless we found him a surrogate mother, which seemed unlikely within our usual social circles.

My 10 year old son was totally accepting and matter of fact about the calf’s impending demise.  In true male form, if it wasn’t going to affect him in a negative way, he was fine with it.  (This is the same boy who, when he thought his little friend Zach who was over for a playdate had been completely swallowed up and met his end in the “quicksand” near our pond, stated simply “Well, guess I’ve got no more friend to play with.”)  His sisters however, are caring nurturers (just like their mom), and they were staunch in their determination to save the little orphan.   My husband humoured them by going to the Co-op and buying a big bottle with a nipple on it, (which for some reason my son found hilarious)  and something called “calf starter”, which sounded appropriate.

I came home from work the next night and here was this calf (now named “Austin” – as in Powers) casually lounging, tied to the tree in our front yard.  The girls were taking turns mixing up his formula, and feeding it to him in his big giant bottle.  I was very surprised to see that he was looking quite perky, and certainly seemed to be loving all the fussing and petting he was getting.   He really gave that bottle a workout over the next few days – the nipple got longer (and funnier) every day.

The girls continued their TLC, and Austin never looked back.  He grew stronger every day.  The only issue that he developed was an identity crisis.  He had no idea he was a cow.  He hung around the house and the yard, like the dog and the cats.  In fact, if you threw the Frisbee for the dog, he would run alongside the dog to get it.  If he arrived at the Frisbee first, he had no idea what to do with it  — but I think he may have derived satisfaction from humiliating Riley by making him come in second to a cow in a footrace .  It was a classic case of  bullying. (Sorry ... couldn’t resist)

Once it became evident that Austin may in fact survive, we attempted to initiate him into the herd of cows.  He trailed along behind us wherever we went, so we would walk out to the field where the cows and their calves were, and we would stand there quietly and wait until he became interested in grazing alongside them.  Then we would sneakily tiptoe away and then run toward the house.  Without fail, he would race past us on his way back to the house with a terrified look on his face that seemed to say “HOLY CRAP – WAIT UP YOU GUYS –  you almost left me out there with those COWS!!”

Sometimes my husband would be out barbequing steaks, and the dog always hung around the BBQ, but now Austin joined too and  it was super awkward. We always felt the need to apologize, and assure him that these delectable cuts on our plate were no relation to him …or  that they “had it coming”, or that this one “ was quite sick anyway and we just had to put it out of its misery .” He seemed unconvinced.

I knew things were completely out of hand one day though, when I was out on the lawn talking to the kids, with the dog and calf sprawled nearby.  The phone rang, and I ran into the house to get it.  Austin liked to chase anything that ran…. and I made the mistake of leaving the door open behind me.  I grabbed the phone, and then I heard the distinctive sound of the pitter patter of hooves on my kitchen floor. Who knew that cows could run up steps?  I’m sure that the insurance lady on the phone thought I’d lost it.  I screamed, and then muttered something incoherent about having to call her back because I had to get the “stupid cow” out of my house . (Probably thought I was just having a Coronation Street style brawl with a crazy female acquaintance.)

But happily, one day out of the blue, Austin became a petty thief, and our days of having to bottle feed him ended.  For no apparent reason, he simply one day decided to join the rest of the bovines out in the field.  He strolled out, ducked underneath the electric fence, like he’d been doing it his whole life.  He waited in the shadows until one of the calves was nursing beside its mother, and then he casually walked up behind her and without so much as a “how do you do” he proceeded to start nursing on her other teat from behind, sticking his head between her back legs.  She couldn’t really kick him away because if she did she would kick away her own baby too.

It was a most successful venture.  So began his life of crime as a milk stealer.  He wasn’t particular about which cow-mom he stole milk from, whoever was handy.  He became part of the “cool calf” gang in the field, and forgot about his brief stint as a Golden Retriever wannabe.  He was lucky he had little calf friends with MILMs – or “Mom’s I’d like to Milk”, and he grew fat and strong,  and like most adolescents, forgot all the civilized manners we taught him and began acting like he’d been born in a barn.

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Hell Cats

On my weekly to do list for the past 6 months, has been “take cats to the vet for shots and checkups.”  This week I made that dream a reality.

Typical Pet Ride

It sounds easy enough, like you just “pop” them into the car and they cooperatively buckle up in the backseat and purr, whilst appreciating the drive and pointing out things to each other that have changed since their last car trip; and then on arrival, file into the vets office holding onto a rope in an orderly fashion, but surprisingly … it’s nothing like that.   It’s akin to … well…. herding cats.  It’s a covert operation that takes at a minimum of two people about 20 hours of preparation and planning.

11:00 pm. Gather all 3 cats into house for easy access tomorrow.  Everybody is acting antsy.  It’s like they know.  It’s quiet.  Almost too quiet. Their already shifty eyes have a more pronounced “shift”.

9:00 a.m.  Thankfully, all cats present and accounted for.  Nobody is allowed outside.  I announce firmly to hubby and daughter than even though it’s a lovely day, under no circumstances is any of the cat population of our house allowed outside, even though our appointment isn’t until 4:30. I want everyone easily accessible.

9:01. Crazed group meowing ensues.  I ignore, while conscientiously working in my office, (also known as the kitchen table).  Cats alternate between meowing and sulky, stink-eye glaring at me.

9:02  Meowing louder now. Cats commence hurling selves at door. I can’t even hear Regis and Kelly.

9:06  I fling door open to outside world,  but not without a few profanities and a scathing comment about ingrates and the rare privilege of healthcare.  The cats race out past me into the yard, with the sting of my reprimands ringing in their pointed ears.

9:07 I become absorbed in my work, conveniently forgetting about anything else.

3:00. Begin to wonder … where is the pet carrier thing we have that will hold two cats?  I will have to MacGyver something for the other odd man out,  or risk driving down the highway with a feline either wound up in the steering wheel or hiding underneath the brake pedal … but in the meantime, got to find that pet carrier.

3:10 Check the shed.  WOW there’s a lot of stuff in there.  But apparently no cat carrier.

3:15 Check the other shed.   Nope

3:30 Check the other, other shed.  No sign of it.  And I have to leave in half an hour.

3:40  Check the barn.  No, but there are some grocery bins that might work, if we lash them together with string. (Why AM I always buying grocery bags?)

3:45. Plus, where are the cats?

3:50  All cats now retrieved, once again locked in the house. Used the age-old “shake the cat treat bag at the door” trick. (I thought cats were supposed to be smart.)

3:55 Check the first shed again for the cat carrier.  Found it in a corner covered in mud and some strange sticky orange oily liquid.  It’s way smaller than I thought.  Will only carry one cat.

4:00  Wash cat carrier and also grocery bins, just for good measure.

4:05   Grocery bins not workable as pet carrier.  Find 2 large laundry baskets.  Think carefully about what two cats will tolerate riding together, and then place them into laundry basket with other laundry basket firmly attached by way of locking twist tie, very secure and requiring scissors to remove. Place scissors in purse for use at vet clinic.

4:12  Put other single cat into actual cat carrier, which is free from mud but still somewhat sticky.

4:15  Full-blown UFC style cage fight breaks out in laundry basket.  Fur is flying through small slats.  Can’t remember where I put scissors.    Daughter finally finds them, removing the technical knock-out loser of that round.  All possible pairing variations are considered, and we finally decide that they each must have their own ride, so we’re finally ready to go with a total of 3 laundry baskets and one actual (albeit sticky) cat carrier.  Numerous attempts are required to get single cat  inserted into her into pet carrier, as she demonstrates her best starfish impression.

4:20 Finally everyone under secure twist tie lockdown.  Deafening 20 minute car ride follows. (We’re going to a new clinic this time, because the old one was getting too pricey.)

4:40 Arrive at clinic.    I meet the young lady doctor, and by young I mean that when my oldest cat was born, she would have been about 10 years old.  She  graduated approximately yesterday. Checkups get underway.  Cats behave perfectly. Everybody gets vaccinated, toenails clipped.  Our oldest cat gets skin scraped to see why it’s so itchy.  We’re sent to the waiting room to get the bill.  It takes forever. Daughter and I amuse each other by guessing how much it’s going to be.  She guesses  $200.  I guess $250.  Finally the bill is ready – $386.  I feel faint and a little nauseous, and can hardly hear the child-vet telling me that she read the skin scraping thing and to combat the itching our old cat will require numerous visits and treatments. She can barely contain her excitement.  They just don’t see this every day.  She will email me a “schedule” of treatments and “special order” in the medicine.

5:45  Cats are quiet and smug as we place them back in the car.  I can read their cat thoughts. .. “Happy now?”

6:15 Ears may be playing tricks on me, but return trip meowing sounds a bit  like evil “Muwhahaha” laughter.

6:30  Arrive home.  Initiate plans to fake someone’s death to avoid the upcoming treatments.  Can’t decide if it will be mine or the cat’s.

Unpimped pet rides

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