My Four-legged Migraines

I love my dogs.

I really do.

But . . .

They dig holes in the yard, chew my pillows, pencils and pens and everything in between. They pee and poop on the floor. Run around the house like a couple of chimpanzees, and now this! A whole loaf of bread gone!

Just like that!

I’m going to the dog pound, lock myself in a cage, and pray some nice family will come along and adopt me!

We never owned two dogs at one time before. We never owned females before, either.

Double trouble!

Bella, our greyhound mix was finally potty trained after six months. We’ve had Pepper, our dachshund lab mix for nearly two years and she still squats whenever and wherever she pleases. Our carpet is a roadmap of pee stains throughout the entire house.

Pepper’s a little scavenger, too, jumping on the kitchen counters and dining room table looking for something to get into. I think Bella puts her up to it, though.

One day, Pepper dragged a jalapeno pepper under the dining room table. Needless to say, it was still intact.

Just yesterday, she snatched a slice of bread off the counter. Luckily there was one slice left to complete my grilled cheese sandwich.

Little brat!

Some days I want to ship the pair of them to another planet, but my nagging conscience won’t let me . . . Who would take care of them? Who would play with them? Who would whisper silly stuff in their floppy ears? Who would tuck them in every night and tell them a bedtime story? Who would love them? Feed them? Rush them to the doctor when they get sick?

Besides, I’d be jealous that someone else was getting all their slobbery kisses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A House Without a Dog is Not a Home

When Rascal, our handsome, Australian Shepard mix of eight years died, he took part of us with him. The grief was so unbearable that I never wanted another dog to wrap my heart around only to have it ripped apart.

But hubby couldn’t stop grieving and I couldn’t stand seeing him suffer. So, for his birthday, we paid a visit to the animal shelter, and there she was, curled up in a big cage on a skimpy blanket on that cold cement floor frightened and all alone.

Hubby fell in love.

I didn’t. She wasn’t Rascal.

So we kept looking.

No Rascal anywhere.

But hubby wasn’t looking for Rascal and kept dragging me back to that pitiful, scrawny, long-legged Greyhound mix curled up in that dreary cage. I guess I’m a sucker for pitiful, so we adopted her.

That was three years ago. Yep! Three years of wanting to wring her neck for chewing up her bed, and my pillows, and my couch; things Rascal NEVER did. Three years of her hyperactive personality, her jumping and jerking around when we tried petting her. Three years of trying to stop comparing her to Rascal.

Then a year ago Pepper came into our lives. Sweet, dainty, loving little Pepper. She was more dead than alive after being abandoned along with fifteen other dogs. She was so skinny I could barely feel her when she jumped on my lap. Then she licked my face, pierced my soul with those big brown eyes, and that did it. We bundled her up and took her home, hoping and praying Bella would approve.

It was love at first sight. Kindred spirits.

Having two dogs at one time in the house is more than challenging. It’s insane! Pepper loves jumping on the table, and countertops. Heck, she just loves jumping! The higher the better. Now Bella thinks she can jump that high, too. And Pepper is a chewer. Bella stopped until Pepper came along. And she was potty trained till Pepper came along. She was getting more settled till Pepper came along. We had to potty train her all over again. And Bella poops and pees like a cow. So yeah. I was tempted to haul them both off to the animal shelter. But, you already know what a sucker I am for pitiful.

In spite of all their frustrating antics, they are beautiful, loving dogs. They love each other and can hardly stand to be apart. And they love us and children and whoever comes to visit. Most of all, they bring us joy and happiness and a ton of laughter. And when I think where they might be today had we not rescued them, I want to cry

Three Baby Skunks and a Birthday Party

I smelled it as soon as I walked through the front door. That one-of-a-kind-forget-me-not smell. That worse than the worse ever smell that fumigates your car nearly chokes you to death and lingers for miles and miles down the road. So, yeah. I knew there was a skunk in the house.

Like a bloodhound, I searched for the culprit. And there, sitting on the couch giggling like two mischievous imps were my brothers playing with, not one but three, bushy-tailed baby skunks.

I like wild animals; even wanted a raccoon once. But never a skunk! But they were so cute. So, after much whining and pleading my parents said we could keep them for a little while in a box outside.

Oh, the plans that we made for our baby critters. We’d name them and care for them and show them to our friends. We’d be the envy of the neighborhood. The talk of the town. The kids with the baby skunks.

The next day, however, the charm of owning a skunk soon wore off. So I decided to give mine to my best friend, Florence who was older and more experienced at caring for animals. After all, she took in every stray dog in the neighborhood. And besides, it was her birthday.

But, for some odd reason, Florence wasn’t as thrilled about receiving the cute little guy as I was giving it to her. And her mother was even less thrilled. I could tell by the way the house shook and the windows rattled when she yelled, “Get that thing out of my house!”

Mrs. Morgenstern served four years in the Waves, had tattoos on both of her muscular arms, and was as intimidating as a Grizzly Bear. Not even the Godfather would have had the guts to question her authority.

“I just wanted to give it to Florence for her birthday,” I whimpered. “Besides, he doesn’t have a stink bag yet.”

“GET THAT THING OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

She must have scared the little guy cause on the way home, he bit me.

Then he bit me again.

And again.

This time, he wasn’t fooling. I jerked my hand away and landing safely on all fours he raised his bushy tail and fired!

Suddenly, like a mud-wallowing pig, I was saturated from head to toe with an indescribable, eye-watering, breathtaking stench of awful that I never want to smell up close again!

A normal kid would have left it there.

But I wasn’t a normal kid.

Covering my mouth and nose with one hand and grabbing the back of the skunk’s neck with the other, I ran home. No, I flew home!

Confused and nearly blinded by the ghastly fumes, I staggered into the kitchen where my dad sat eating a bowl of cereal.

He was a Clint Eastwood kinda guy; fearless, quiet and reserved. Even now, standing before him, feeling like an idiot smelling worse than a cesspool with a baby skunk dangling from my hand, he never flinched. Barely batted an eye. Motionless as a corpse. And as if he needed the slightest explanation, I whimpered, “He sprayed me, daddy.”

Calmly, he took a bite of cereal and said, “You need to take it outside.”

Mom stripped me down and nearly threw me into the tub of hot, soapy water where I scrubbed and sniffed till my skin was blood-red and my nose was burning. But like a tick on a dog, the stink had latched on and was there to stay for who knows how long.

That evening I went to Florence’s birthday party.

Everyone kept their distance but was nice enough not to tell me I stunk like a skunk.

I was back in Mrs. Morgenstern’s graces and never took another skunk to her house again.

My brothers and I set the skunks free.

And if someone ever tells you baby skunks don’t have a stink bag . . . don’t believe it!

~ Sandi

Our Fur Babies

Meet Pepper, our dachshund lab mix. She’s cute and lovable and charming. When people come to the house they want to take her home with them. And some days I’m tempted to let them.

She’s a jumper; a straight-up, five-foot jumper! I’m not kidding, she can jump as high as my head and I’m 5’3”. I swear she has springs for legs. She’s hilarious and entertaining for our company but a real pain in the neck for me at times. When I let her out of her crate in the mornings she jumps up and down beside me, behind me and all over my feet to her food bowl, to the back door when I let her out, and when I let her back in. I can’t move without her jumping sky-high like a crazed kangaroo.

Now she’s learned she can jump on the dining room table. And if that’s not bad enough, I caught her on top of the counter the other night eating Bojangles’ biscuits we were saving for later. So much for that! I ran her off and put her in her crate, thinking that would teach her not to do it again.

Well, she’s a slow learner, too. After a few minutes of letting her back out of her crate, I heard a thump. I snuck into the kitchen and found her walking and sniffing on top of the stove! Never had a dog that did that. Never even knew dogs would do that.

Good grief! I have a cute little dog with a neck like a giraffe, that jumps like a kangaroo, eats like a pig and thinks she’s a cat.

Meet Bella, our greyhound mix. She’s tough as pig iron and just as hard-headed. When she’s focused on something, especially a squirrel or a bug, she becomes stone-deaf. You can yell your head off to come here and she won’t hear you.

She’s sweet and loving but on her own terms. Where Pepper is all over people when they come into the house, Bella barks and sniffs them to death before she’s half-way sure she wants them on her turf. She doesn’t bite, but she wants people to think she will. So I tell our guests to ignore her and let her make up to them on her own. And when she finally does, she suddenly becomes a clumsy, overgrown lap dog.

When we first adopted Bella she was skin and bones and preferred her crate to being with people. She was so timid and skittish that We felt she had been abused. I wasn’t sure she would ever learn to trust her new home and the people in it. But after a few months of gentle coaxing and giving her space, she became less jumpy when we tried to pet her. Now we can say, “Let’s cuddle,” and she’ll back up against us or between our legs to be hugged and petted.

And something new we learned about Bella a few weeks ago. She is extremely protective of babies. When kids, as well as adults, got too close to our one-year-old great-grandson, she began barking and herding everyone away; even his mother!

Both dogs are a joy; they love us and they love each other. And although they get on my nerves at times, I’m so glad we rescued them from who knows what and are willing and able to give the love and protection they need.

Animals always give back far more than they get. They are loyal and devoted and quick to forgive. They fill the void of loneliness. they are more entertaining than a sitcom. And in their own language, they tell us how much they love us and how thrilled they are to spend the rest of their lives making us happy.

So no. You can’t take Pepper or Bella home with you, no matter how much you beg.

 

 

 

 

One Week Down

My Four-Legged Babies

It’s 2:10 pm and hubby and both dogs are still sound asleep. I thought of waking them, but it’s so peaceful and quiet that I changed my mind.

Bella and Pepper have been driving me nuts! For three years, Bella was the only child; potty trained, and over her chewing the furniture and pillows stage. But, after rescuing Pepper a year ago, our house hasn’t been the same. Oh, the couple loves each other, that’s for sure. But, even as sweet and gentle and dainty and loving as Pepper is, she brings out the worst in Bella; our hyperactive-tough-as-pig iron problem child. She’s more hyper, more mouthy, and has reverted back to peeing and pooping on the floor as if to say, “Pepper does it, so I can too!” Oh, and Bella’s a digger. She’s dug holes she can stick her big head into all over the backyard! And she thinks she’s a lap dog, now. A lap dog that takes up three and a half laps to sprawl on. I feel like I’m raising two kids instead of two dogs.

Well, Pepper and Bella are separated for now. Pepper was spayed Tuesday and hubby brought her home yesterday saying she has to be kept quiet for two weeks. That means two weeks of no jumping up and down like a kangaroo, and wrestling Bella to the floor and taking off with her chew toy. Two weeks of no racing Bella to their food bowl, and dancing around like a ballerina. She’s either in her crate or Bella’s in hers.

And I have to say, It’s the calmest and least frustrated I have felt in months. Hubby has a ton of tolerance, I have NONE! So yeah. I’m letting them all sleep as long as they want to today . . . and maybe tomorrow and the next day as well!

My Four-legged Girls

We’re sitting on the back porch, Bella pressing her regal nose against the screen watching the squirrels and Pepper curled contentedly on my lap sniffing the air.

Bella’s eyes are like those of an Egyptian Princess; only hers are naturally and perfectly lined in black, melting my heart with her wide-eyed expressions of love every time she looks at me.

Pepper is jet black, except for the white on her chest and dainty paws. Looking up at me, rolling her big brown eyes, it’s as if she’s looking straight into my soul. I press her head against my chest and whisper how beautiful and precious she is to me.

That’s when I got to thinking.

My girls don’t need to take thousands of selfies to prove to the world how beautiful they are. They don’t have to wear the latest fashions, walk with a strut, talk like the Queen, or become members of a Country Club to prove their self-worth. They don’t need hundreds of fans on Facebook or thousands of likes and comments on WordPress to boost and encourage their ego.

My girls don’t need to be painted up, jewelled up or prettied up in any fashion to be dazzling to the eyes and pleasing to the soul.

My girls are lovely and gracious, loving and forgiving, fun and playful. My girls take life as it comes and remain beautiful in spite of the bad things that have happened to them. My girls are strong and loyal and truly excited to see me when I get up in the mornings or come in from being outside for a few minutes. My girls treat me like I’m the most important thing in their lives.

And that’s why I love them. They don’t try to be anything. They don’t try to prove anything. They just are.

Our Fur Babies

We rescued Bella from the Animal Shelter over a year ago. One dog has always been enough for us to handle at a time. But, this summer, when we rescued hubby’s sister after being abandoned for three days without food or water or electricity, we couldn’t resist rescuing the puppy as well.

She was light as a feather. Skin pulled over bones. More dead than alive. How could anyone be so cruel? There were other dogs, too. Thirteen in all. But we could only rescue this little one. We called Animal Control for the others.

It was love at first sight for Bella and Pepper. The two are inseparable as if they know they share a common bond of being abandoned and left to die. We love them both and are so glad we made room for them in our hearts and home.

Till Death do us Part

I didn’t want another pet

Not that I don’t love animals

I do

As a tender-hearted kid

I rescued a skunk once

And wanted to keep it

Till it sprayed me

Then there were the two baby squirrels

That in spite of all my efforts to save them

They died

And I will never forget the huge tomcat

 With a nub for a tail

That completely stole my heart

He went on the prowl one night

And never returned

And there were puppies and kittens

And hamsters and guinea pigs

And a talking parakeet

All mysteriously went missing

Except for the parakeet

That got sick and died

Then

Not that long ago

Fate delivered to my doorstep

A rambunctious homeless mongrel

That wriggled his way into my heart

And broke it to pieces when he died

 That’s why I didn’t want another pet

You love them then they go missing or they die

Yet

Here I stand gazing into the dingy cage

Tears streaming down my face

Falling in love

With a floppy-eared

Skinny

Long-legged

Thirty-pound mutt

Her wet nose pressed against the heartless cage

Her soulful eyes pleading

Her tail wagging ferociously

And in spite of all the what if’s and’s and but’s

That stormed across my mind

My heart told me I couldn’t leave her

In this stinking noisy prison

Where her beautiful life

May soon be put to an ugly end

So I brought her home with me

To care for her

To play with her

To protect her

To stretch my patience to the outer limits

Through all the chewing

And pooping

And peeing on the floor

And the frenzied running and jumping

And boisterous demands

And to promise to love her

Till death do us part