Sep 30, 2009

A Mother's Fears

When Griffin was a little boy I often would have bad dreams that he had been abducted or had gone missing and would wake shaken and frantic. I'm sure every mother has those dreams, but I find that every now and then I have them about my dogs. And when I read a post on the local town forum about a dog that is missing or has been stolen my heart skips many beats, like yesterdays plea to help find a missing nine month old chihuahua puppy. Now that Griffin is all grown up, my boys are now my children. I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to them. And if I were to think too hard on this, I'd be up all night too upset to sleep.

Sep 29, 2009

A Squirrel and a Goat From My Past

The other day I was out driving and the car in front of me narrowly avoided hitting a squirrel. As I watched the poor little thing stop on the side of road to catch its breath and probably wait for the tiny heart attack it surely thought it was going to have, I was instantly brought back to David's and my honeymoon long, long ago in 1987.

While we were out and about one afternoon in our rental car, David hit a squirrel though he had tried mighty hard to avoid it. Looking in the rear view mirror, he said the squirrel hadn't been killed but appeared to have run into the woods and he thought the little guy was going to be okay. I became very upset and insisted that David stop the car so I could get out and see if the poor thing really was okay, and wanting to please his new bride, he did just that. In fact, he got out with me and together we both found the squirrel: me in the bushes and him on the car. My half of the squirrel was alive and well, though now bob-tailed and shell-shocked and David's half of the squirrel consisted of the entire length of a bushy gray tail caught up in the wheel well. The squirrel was barely bleeding and quite feisty after it recovered from the initial surprise of having his entire back end torn off and so we figured he'd be just fine. We got back into the car and were back on our way once again.

A few days later we decided to go horseback riding at a farm we were told was near to our hotel. The horse farm turned out to be, in reality, much farther away and after a very long ride through the woods and up a mountain, we arrived to find the place inexplicably closed. No signs, no notices. Just closed when they should have been open for business. While David was searching for some signs of life, I wandered down to the barn, eager to see the horses. When I was about half way between our car and the barn, a teeny tiny little pygmy goat came rushing out of the stables and straight over to me. He jumped up and down on my legs and insisted on being petted and picked up just like a little puppy, which of course of I was more than happy to do. David came to tell me that he hadn't found a soul and suggested we find something else to do, so I said goodbye to my new friend and set him down and headed back to the car with David. When I opened my car door, the little goat jumped into the front seat and sat down, ready to leave with us. David removed him but he kept leaping back in, over and over again. I wanted to take the goat with us, but David said 'no way' and after several attempts, managed to get us both into the car while keeping the little goat out. As we drove away, I looked back to see the little goat all alone watching us leave. He was my favorite topic of conversation for days on end.

And now that I think about it, in the 22 years since, David really shouldn't ever be surprised when I talk about rescuing an animal or buying a new dog from a breeder or even donating money to an animal charity, yet he always is. He should know better, given the fact that within the first three days of our married life together, I crawled through the brush after an injured squirrel and contemplated stealing a goat from an unattended farm. Now, honestly, what the hell else did he expect from a life with me?

Photo courtesy of WV Fan on Flickr.

Sep 25, 2009

Painted Kitties

I wish I had the time and the inclination to do this to Maia Louise, but since I doubt I'll ever have enough free time to invest in a project of this scope that involves my cat (and anyways, I'd be lucky to have a face after she went claw-happy on me if I tried this), I'll have to be satisfied with gawking at other people's painted cats. My personal favorite is the topmost picture. Who wouldn't love to have a cat with a full color portrait of Charlie Chaplin painted on its ass?

Sep 18, 2009

Pet Snapshot 2

When she was much younger, Maia Louise used to love to go for walks and she figured out very quickly that if she wanted to go walkies with Cordelia, she needed to learn to walk nicely on a leash and so that's exactly what she did. And as a result, she frequently stopped traffic when she was jigging along down the sidewalk on her own little harness and leash next to a big black dog.

She also, just like a dog, loved to go for car rides. After all, if Cordelia got to go, then why shouldn't she? We'd all pile into the car and Maia would be right there standing on her hind legs looking out the windows. She was always moving about, from one side to the other, to be sure to not miss a thing we passed.

One evening we went to the train station to pick up David and naturally, along with a very young Griffin, Maia and Cordelia came too. On the way home, as I was heading towards a busy intersection and a red light, I horrifyingly discovered that we had no brakes. I was pumping the pedal and nothing was happening. Instant panic descended on me and I yelled to David that the brake pedal was stuck and I couldn't even slow down, let alone stop. He bent forward, looked down and yelled back at me, "The fucking cat is under it!" As we rushed towards the intersection, he leaned over, grabbed the cat by her tail and ripped her out from beneath the brakes, just in time. With adrenaline coursing through everyone in the car: human, dog and cat, David loudly announced, "Don't you ever bring that damn cat for a ride in the car again!"

And ten years later, she has never gone for even a single joy ride. And trust me, it's been great.

Sep 16, 2009

Top Secret Livestock

For the last few weeks, while lazing in bed in the morning, I have been hearing what I thought was our next door neighbor's baby making cooing sounds over in their back yard. It's periodically gotten my boys to barking and getting themselves all worked up, running up and down our bed in a doggie frenzy. Then last weekend, while David and I were out in our own yard, we both heard it. I looked at David and said very loudly, "That's no human baby- that's a lamb!" He said that that was what he had been thinking, as he had heard it repeatedly throughout the afternoon while he worked outside. But considering we aren't zoned for livestock in our neighborhood, which of our neighbors has one (or more as I now think I'm hearing multiple baby baa-baas)?

I think I've narrowed it down to who it is, and that the lamb(s) are being housed behind a small outbuilding and a fenced garden that was planted last season. The trouble is, every time I go over there to catch a glimpse of the tiny babies, they appear to be whisked away to some place where they won't be seen or heard by the authorities. Despite the fact that I was upset that this same person had a small flock of ducks two summers ago that were left out in an unprotected pen and either flew off to greener pastures or were rich duck dinners for one of the many predators who inhabit our neck of the woods, I wouldn't turn him in.

For several years I owned a rooster, in spite of them being illegal in our town. He was a special needs little guy and I didn't have the heart to not keep him here with us and give him the best life he could have, knowing that he'd be culled anyplace else. As a result, when the town came out for their annual health inspection of my property, he would be scooped up and snuck into my house where he would hang out in the kitchen until the coast was clear. Due to his health issues he seldom crowed, but that didn't stop me from holding my breath until the inspectors were well away from my property.

So, my neighbor has baby sheep and I am dying to see them, pet them and feed them, but he is obviously as savvy as I was in hiding what he isn't supposed to have. Besides my wish to finally have the chance to enjoy the contraband little ones, I have only two other wishes: that they're pets and not for eating (I could never eat a baby lamb!) and that he takes far better care of them than he did his ducks.

Photo courtesy of (I wish I had a photo of the new neighborhood lambs!)

Sep 7, 2009

One Dead Cat!

Maia Louise is damn lucky to be alive tonight after David got up this morning to find she had in the night smashed a valuable Rookwood vase that's more than a century old. Maia never gets up onto the top of the tall bookcase in the living room where she obviously felt compelled to go at some point during the wee hours while the humans (and their two tiny chihuahuas) blissfully slept on in the big bed together while carnage ensued below. When I got up, David told me in a very sad voice that I needed to come and see something downstairs and when I followed him, he came to me holding the remnants of one of our beautiful art pottery vases in his palms. How she even got up to that height is a mystery as she is getting up there in years and even very low jumps are proving more difficult for her (and often the simple act of climbing the stairs is tricky as well), but that is neither here nor there. Get up there she did somehow, and then clearly pushed and pushed until the lovely vase took a long, long fall to the floor, which now has a nasty crater in the hardwood. The bookcase was covered in cat fur, should anyone think poor innocent Maia has been framed for an act she had no part of. I am still so sad and angry that I have been keeping my distance from that damn cat all day long. Better to ignore her than be mean to her for something she clearly has no memory of doing.

Even though the vase is now worth absolutely nothing, David has been gluing the pieces back together throughout the day so I will at least still have my vase, even if it does have giant ugly Frankenstein scars all around it. It's going to take longer though to get over my anger with Maia than the time it will take him to cobble my vase back together.

Sep 4, 2009

The High and Low Notes of Dog Ass

If our dogs have such a refined palate and are this good at detecting the more subtle notes of a fine wine (or in this case, another dog's ass, at any rate) then why can't we train them to pick out a really good bottle of shiraz to go with the filet mignon we're serving at our dinner party Saturday night? It seems like such a waste if you ask me.

Artwork courtesy of Clayboys, 2008.

Sep 2, 2009

A Very Bad Man

The other day I was asked what I thought of Michael Vick being able to play football again and I had to pause before I answered because I'm really not sure how I feel. No, that's not entirely true. I know how I feel, I'm just not sure what I feel is fair and putting it all into words is difficult, especially without sounding like a monster myself.

What that man did to all those beautiful dogs is beyond reprehensible. It's unspeakable, he deserved to be punished and he was. The man served his time for his crime and that should be the end of it, right? So why is there a niggling part of me that keeps saying eighteen months wasn't nearly enough for all those lives, for all that pain? If he were an accountant or a house painter and he did what he did, when he was freed from jail and went back to making a living with a pencil or a paintbrush, would I be as upset? Yes, I would. But the man has a right to earn a wage, no matter what his job is and this is where I'm not being fair because I don't want him to have it so easy. I don't want him to be adored by fans again because in my opinion he's a very horrible person. But that isn't for me to decide, is it?

My heart frequently speaks too loudly when it comes to defenseless animals, but only slightly less loudly when it comes to humans who should certainly know better. I'm trying to have some compassion for Michael Vick, not for what he did and whether he has any remorse for his heinous actions (because that deserves no compassion and having remorse doesn't make it all go away), but for the fact that he has a right to live his life as best as he can now. I just can't help thinking about all those dogs whose lives were destroyed by him.

So do I think it's right that he's back playing football? Yes. No. Maybe. I just don't know.
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