Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Grandpa and Pup...or pilot and plane.

Grandpa and Pup…or pilot and plane.

When I was four, my father was nearly decapitated by a flying dog.

Pup was an Eskimo Spitz and as far as I know that was the only time he ever flew. Seconds before take-off, he was crouched on the driveway next to me, his bloody chin inches from mine. Then he was airborne, launched by Grandpa over his shoulder, on a collision course with my unsuspecting father’s head. Dad threw up his arms, awkwardly catching the 30-pound furry missile and setting him on the ground. After which Pup ran to his doghouse and hid.

It wasn’t the dog’s fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, really, just a natural reaction by Grandpa to what he saw. Crying child + bloody dog = animal attack.

Except that’s not what it was. I’d fallen on the gravel and cut my lip open, the kind of wound that bleeds like a son-of-a-bitch, and I was crying because it hurt and Pup was bloody because he was licking my face to comfort me. I knew that, he knew that. The only ones not up to speed were the adults. When the truth finally came out, Pup was coaxed from his doghouse and I spent the rest of the day looking at my fat lip in the mirror.
Pup didn’t attack me. He would never attack me because family pets don’t do that.

Apparently, some of them do. Just over a week ago on our end of town, three pit bulls mauled another dog that was in his own yard. All four were family pets; the three attackers belonged to one family, the victim to another. According to the reports, the little boy whose family owns the pit bulls saw it happen but couldn’t stop it. The owner of the other dog heard the commotion and did.

What followed was an impressive outpouring of support for Badger, the wounded dog, and an interesting discussion over who was at fault: the pit bulls which attacked him or the owners who didn’t train them not to. Pit bulls are a violent, dangerous breed and should be banned, said one camp. It’s the responsibility of the owners to train their dogs correctly, regardless of their breed, said the other.

It’s ironic that this incident happened just weeks after South Dakota passed a law prohibiting local governments from enacting ordinances discriminating against specific breeds and just over a month after some friends of ours officially adopted Ray, one of the abused pit bulls from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, after the dog underwent extensive training and therapy.

What happened to Badger was horrific enough but what happened next may be even worse. Because nothing happened. The pitbulls who attacked him were still running around the neighborhood a week later and if Facebook posts and police scanner reports are to be believed, this past weekend one of them bit a child.

My two dogs are not the best trained animals in the world but we’ve taken what steps we can to ensure that they don’t harm others. That’s our responsibility as pet owners as surely as it’s our commitment to our dogs to protect them from other animals and people who might do them harm. It doesn’t matter what breed they are; when you bring that animal home, you become responsible for them. Period. And if you can’t handle that, you don’t deserve one.

In this endlessly sweltering summer, Man cannot live on ice cream alone. Woman can, because we’re adaptable under pressure and understand that ice cream comes in more flavors than just chocolate chip. But when Man today asked for fresh veggies for supper, I headed to our local Farmer’s Market.

I hadn’t been to the recently resurrected Market before. I was a frequent visitor to the original version in the early 1990’s in large part because it was the pet project of my friend, Nancy. Nancy is a Pacific Northwesterner whose green thumb extends all the way to her shoulder. She could grow kohlrabi on the surface of the moon if she had a way to get up there and a plot of planet to plow; she’s that good. When she moved, the market gradually folded and I got my veggie fix elsewhere.

The Farmer’s Market I strolled into this morning was nothing like what I remembered. For one thing, there was the suspicious absence of, well, farmers. Between the blistering temperatures and scarcity of rain, crops and gardens aren’t producing their normal bounties. There was one booth of home-grown vegetables with only a small pile of potatoes left. No pyramids of long curved cucumbers, baskets of Beefy Boy tomatoes, or bunches of ruffled lettuce leaves.

Made from the milk of fainting not farting goats.

Determined that my trip not be wasted, I meandered amidst the booths in search of must-haves. Joining the line of scent sniffing patrons at the homemade goat milk soap booth, I bought two bars in the intriguing aromas of Black Cherry Oatmeal and White Ginger Tea with Apricot. This despite the fact that at first glance, I misread the vendor’s website ( as something to do with flatulent livestock.

I bypassed the painted bricks booth (I like mine naked), the artisan bread maker (only two Jamaica Berry Banana muffins left!), and the vendor selling handmade children’s clothes, including colorful hand-knit stocking caps by Grandma Somebody.

Made at a Barkery…what else?

At the last booth, I picked the boys up two bags of Bab’s Bites ‘N Bones gourmet dog treats, cleverly packaged as a “barker’s dozen”. I politely refused the free sample, even after the seller assured me that lots of people sample their dog’s food. I don’t. As long as they’re not hacking it up on my living room rug, I assume they like what they’re eating.

Farmer’s Market mission accomplished, I was turning into our alley when I realized I forgot to get what I was after to begin with – Man’s vegetables. I sped to Rillings’ Produce, hometown staple for almost 30 years. You have to appreciate a place built to look like a red barn that uses straw bales as decorator pieces (and sells them so you can do the same), and displays its wares in baskets and bins. Depending on the season, they have cherries, muskmelon, watermelon, onions, sweet corn, snap beans, cukes, squash – you name it.

This morning’s take included cucumbers, summer squash and cottage bacon, which sells out as quickly as they can toss it in the freezer. I got free cooking tips with my purchase as well, another plus of shopping there. This evening’s dinner was sliced summer squash, tomatoes and onions drizzled with a touch of olive oil and lightly sautéed. I considered a photo but by the time I got the camera, my plate was empty. In my defense, it was REALLY good. Not ice cream, but a pretty close second.

Do you shop at a Farmer’s Market? What’s your must-have purchase?

Hey, get up, yous!

Silhouettes against the dim light from the hallway, one heavy, one lean, they perch menacingly on opposite sides of the bed. Their weight holds the covers tight and I thrash in my panic. Through bleary eyes, I see the smaller one lean toward me and for one crazy second I feel like I’m the guy in the trunk in “Goodfellas” and Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta are getting ready to slam the lid down. Suddenly I realize one of two things is happening: Benny the Shark is tired of waiting and has sent his muscle to collect, or I’ve hit the snooze button one time too many and the dogs have to pee.

It’s the dogs. I’m square with Benny.

This is my morning ritual. I’ve always been an early riser, more by habit than choice. Up by 5:00 a.m. all days but Saturday when my feet hit the floor at 3:45 to be at the radio station for my show by 4:30. My alarm clock is my cell phone because I can kill the average timepiece in three months or less. Because my cell phone still thinks it’s just a phone, it maintains its will to live. For an event that seems on the surface no more organized than a stampede, our routine is surprisingly well orchestrated.

4:30 a.m. Phone plays cheery tune appropriately titled “Morning Splendor”. I twist as far out of my 2 by 4 foot sleeping space as the dogs will let me, and grope blindly for it, sweeping my glasses and water bottle to the floor. I find snooze and the three of us snore for another ten minutes.

4:40 a.m. I slap the phone open to check the time. The 3,000 watt backlight assures me it’s still early and in the glare, the snooze button takes another hit. Indie snorts and rolls over but Owen starts to get happy feet.

4:50 a.m. “Morning Splendor” peals again and I knuckle my eyes to make sure they still open. Indie sits up, poised for his Pesci moment while Owen does warm-ups for his morning gymnastics. The snooze button says, “Do that to me one more time” and I comply.

5:00 a.m. It’s GO time. Both dogs are in their “Goodfellas” positions, awaiting their cue. I roll up in the blankets for maximum thrashability and squeeze my eyes shut against the inevitable. At 5:00 straight up, the orchestra begins. My eyelids snap open and I shoot up to a sitting position with the precision of a coffined vampire getting staked. Pesci butts me in the shoulder with his head while Liotta goes with the full cold wet nose to the ear. We are officially awake. With the exception of my husband who was smart enough to fall asleep in the recliner in the living room.

A “Goodfellas” good morning probably isn’t for everyone but it works for me. Most days, I’m just happy to still be on the top side of the trunk lid. Ciao!

I’ll teach you to ignore me, Buddy thought. Grasping the rolled-up newspaper, he smacked Chuck smartly on the leg, causing him to yelp and jump.

Buddy glanced towards the kitchen and Chuck trotted obediently through the doorway, returning a moment later with a shiny metal food bowl which he laid on the floor at Buddy’s feet. His master murmured approvingly, once and then again, when Chuck returned a second time with the fraying rope toy they used to play tug-of-war.

Buddy dropped the newspaper on the rug and rolled over on his back. Rubbing the old dog’s belly, Chuck said, “Sorry, buddy, didn’t mean to forget you. Won’t happen again.”

You bet it won’t, Buddy said to himself. Because I’m top dog in this house.

The Owenator

(PIERRE, SD) – A Pierre couple received a pleasant surprise when they returned home from a weekend camping trip – a clean kitchen, courtesy of their nine-month-old Lab puppy.
The pup, named Owen, spent 15 hours barricaded in the kitchen of his owners’ Polk Street home without supervision. Jeremy and Kelly Thompson decided to leave the animal inside when exterior temperatures hovered around 105 over the weekend. Because the pup had never been left in the house alone for an extended period of time before, Mrs. Thompson took elaborate steps to minimize any potential damage.
“It was pretty simple really. I removed anything breakable within his reach, barricaded the door, blocked things off with furniture. And I made sure he had the things he needed most – his blankie, his chewie and his food,” she said. “Any woman could have come up with an idea that brilliant.”
A potential escape was not their only concern. The couple has been working on getting Owen to use a regular potty schedule, taking him outside every few hours to do his “business”. So did 15 consecutive hours without a break leave them with some new patterns on their kitchen floor?
“Not a drop or a pile anywhere,” declared Mr. Thompson. “But when we got home and took him outside, that first pee took five minutes, easy.”
When asked if his wife’s preparation was key to the dog’s success, Mr. Thompson grudgingly admitted, “Yeah, she did all right.”
Now that Owen has survived his first overnighter on his own, will it become a regular practice at the Thompson home?
“I don’t think we’re at that point yet. We’ll try him at home alone for short periods a few more times, see how it goes. But you’re sure a smart puppy, aren’t you, Owen? Yes you are…you’re poppa’s good puppy, aren’t you? You betcha,” Mr. Thompson replied, scratching the Lab’s ears.
The Thompsons are also parents to another dog, three-year-old Indie, a Black Lab/Brittany Spaniel mix. Unnamed sources report Indie’s comment on Owen’s success as “Friggin’ kiss-ass.”