You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, Part II

This is a big week for us.  This week, PB&Cheese proudly publishes its 50th post.  We are so thankful for our readers, our sharers and our cheerleaders.

For weeks, I’ve bent James’ ear, trying to figure out what to write about since this is sort of a big deal (to me).  What story haven’t I told?  What story needs to be told?

Last night, I was in the middle of writing a post about Zozo when a pal called.  She was upset.  People close to her had said mean, hurtful things about her wonderful furbaby.  We talked, commiserating about ignorance and intolerance against our girls.  After we got off the phone, my brain continued the conversation.

Instead of a sentimental rhapsody about a morning ritual that Zo and I have, you instead get this: a mini rant.  No cute pictures of dogs napping or romping or playing.  Sorry (not sorry).

In our almost 6 years of dog ownership, I have “learned” the following:

1.  big dogs are terrifying to people (we have one big dog).

2.  pit bulls are the Worst Breed Ever (we have one pit bull).

3.  people who own big dogs and pit bulls are horrible people (that’s us).

4.  pit bulls are un-trainable and mean-spirited.

5.  both dogs will maim us given the opportunity.

6. dogs will destroy your home.

People, and I know you’re mostly the choir here… but people.  Please.  None of these things are true.  You want the truth?

Dogs are loving.  They are loyal.  They know when they’re safe and they know when they’re scared and they will do anything for praise and affection.  Pit Bulls are smart and silly and fiercely protective of the people who protect them.  Big dogs are exuberant and they don’t always know their own size, and they like to lean and give hugs and bound up to you to say “Hi” and give kisses.

They want to learn and they want to please.  They crave a job to do, and they work so hard to do it well.  They would never hurt anyone unless that person was hurting them (or me or James).  Sure, neither is particularly gentle with squirrels, but that’s a different argument for a different day.  We love our dogs.  We care for them like they’re our children.  They’re messy and sticky and occasionally one of them dents the drywall (by the way, you know what else exhibits this behavior?  Toddlers.  Let’s lock them up next to the scary demon dogs).  We have been through the ringer with them.  Neither will turn on us because we all need each other   They know that.  We know that.

You know what does leave a mark?  Dirty looks, rude comments and an obstinate mind.  We wouldn’t be out if our dogs were a menace.  We wouldn’t go on adventures if we weren’t certain they’d come when called or greet other humans with respect and patience. We wouldn’t have people over if we didn’t think the dogs could behave themselves socially.  They can’t understand when you don’t want to play or accept kisses, but they can read that look in your eyes and the change in your posture, and they feel they’ve done something wrong. They don’t know what, but something has gone afoul.  They hurt.

So think about that when you run your mouth to someone with a “dangerous” dog.  You’re criticizing their pet.  A member of their family.  You’re insulting that person.  That to me is more mean-spirited than anything I have ever witnessed an animal do.

[dismounting soap box]


On this rainy, dismal day, please enjoy this video of MJ licking a sugar-free popsicle.



Y’all, Doodle an’ I just wanted to let y’all know that we are available for adventures


or snuggles an’ naptimes


or even playin’ dress-up


durin’ the furrrlough.  Or maybe you jes want kisses-n-hugs?




SO: if y’all’s bored with the shutdown, have your people contact my humans.  We’ll help you pass the time.  Especially if you gots hot dogs.

Bedtime Routines

We usually don’t allow the dogs to sleep on the bed with us.  James is very tall and he requires a lot of elbow room, and I tend to travel around in my sleep.  Overnight, the bed is for humans, only.

Due to work schedules, I typically turn in before the husband.  I grab my book and tuck myself in to unwind before I fall asleep, light on with the Kindle keys pressing into my cheek.  But while I’m settling in, I have company.

Because you see, until all of the lights go out, the dogs are allowed snuggle time on the bed (GASP!  I know.  I know.  I’m not proud).  Comfort queen that she is, MJ bounds onto the bed and rearranges the blankets to her approval, burrowing until she’s a lump curled against my leg. Typically, Zozo flops down and low-crawls under the bed to his preferred sleeping space.  I call this arrangement “The Dorothy Intervention”.

Zozo prefers to sleep with his head under the bed.

But some nights, when the wind is blustering or he’s not feeling altogether himself– or he’s feeling like a big goofball– Zo hops up on the bed.  He stomps around.  He circles to find the best nesting space.

wheres mjAnd then he picks up on something.

“Mama, where’s the little girl?  Is she here?”

Sniff.  photo 3

“I can smell her, I think…” under here

Rudely interrupted with light and a cold snout invading her cave, MJ nips a warning.  Completely freaked out, Zozo backs up and falls off the bed, thudding to the floor and scampering to the door in surprise.

“Is everyone OK up there?” James calls.

“Yep, Pupper just fell off the bed again.”

MJ always feigns innocence when I lift up the blankets to scold her:

“No nipping!  That’s not nice!”

“I didn’t do nothin’!  Doodle musta just fell.”

here she is

Within minutes, Zozo is back up on the bed, circling and sniffing and running for his life.  This cycles through three or four times over the course of a half-hour.  After the second time, I frustratingly shoo everyone to their respective, separate floor spaces and quietly resume my reading.

[I know what you’re thinking: send them out of the room!  Close the door behind them!  Funny story:  MJ can take a running start and hit the door at such a speed and angle that she pops the pin and opens the door.  If the head-butting method doesn’t work, they paw at the rug and whimper, like cats.  It’s really just easier (sigh) to let them in.]

One after the other, they sneak back onto the bed.  Shenanigans ensue.

When you see me at work the next day, and I look like I’ve gotten less than, oh, 6 hours sleep, you now know why.

And then this happened…

We’re having lovely fall weather here. Temperatures beg for sweaters (or my coveted denim jacket), long walks in the earlier-every-day twilight, and the air smells of spiced lattes.

This is my favorite time of year.

I love the sense of festivity that comes as the first maple leaves yellow and plummet to the lawn. Pumpkins grimace, turkeys run for their lives, and winter holiday decorations begin to encroach on my mellow sensibilities.

For Zozo’s first Halloween, I dressed him in my purple, glittery fairy wings before James could return home from work and talk me out of it. The doorbell rang, and a little girl dressed as Tinkerbell (with the same wings, mind you) freaked him out so much that the wings and his tolerance for the doorbell were forever ruined before I could get a picture. You’ll have to trust me. He looked glorious.

We’re usually out and about during trick-or-treating, or hiding in the basement around a laptop watching Netflix on-demand when the kids would come knocking. Yes, we’re that house. Please don’t egg us.

This year, a friend sent us a picture of a pittie wearing a costume. If we’re Facebook friends, you can see the picture. If we’re not friends: shame on you. Here. From the first moment I snorted, I knew it had to be mine– the costume, not the pup. The pup seemed to be in fairly good hands.

A Google search led me to an eBay auction, and my wonderful husband bid on what will surely be the greatest source of entertainment in our household for-ever.

And so, folks, here’s an early All Hallow’s gift for you. MJ’s costume.



For the full fashion show:

I’m also considering having MJ wear this over her sweatshirt as her snow suit. So, a promise of ridiculousness to come, it seems…

It’s time for Kari’s favorite, seasonal game…

… Am I getting sick, or is this allergies?


As you know from a previous post, Zozo is quite the caregiver. He’s attentive.  He shares his comfort toys.  He gives kisses on your nose, which I take to be a way for him to gauge temperature and monitor sick-smell.

MJ can be an attention hound.  She wiggles, she smiles, she insinuates.  If there’s a nook into which she can fold herself, you can bet you’re getting a paw-punch to the gut.  However, to our unending surprise, The Bug is an incredible nursemaid.

She’s attentive, quiet and gentle.  She won’t leave your side.


She’s big on naps and snuggles, and she’s happy to guard the human who needs the most love.  If you go to bed alone, you wake up under her watchful, worried gaze.

nurse mj

Our pups are awesome.  We’re so lucky they take such good care of us.


We have a problem.

An issue?

A challenge?

No, this really feels like a problem. And I’m putting it out to you, dear readers, for help.

Zozo, who is scared of his own shadow, has started speaking up. Not just speaking up, yelling.

FedEx truck pulls up?

A kid rides by on a bicycle?
“There is human puppy driving a contraption! GO AWAY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHAT ARE YOU RIDING? WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!”

A doorbell rings on TV, and he loses it at the door (note: we don’t have a doorbell. We have a knocker. Let’s not even talk about that.) A car door slams and he can see it’s me or James, he wigs. MJ chortles in her sleep; WOOF WOOF.

We’re tried a terse “No.” We’ve tried an abrupt “Uh Uh.” We’ve tried to redirect his attention or focus on completing a cue (Place. Sit. Down.) Dulcet, calming tones. We’ve tried.

Barks abound.

I’ve read around, but…. Who has suggestions? Have you tempered your barker?

Selfie, Part 2

Last post, MJ and Zozo introduced you to some of their pals. When we put out a call to furriends about sending along selfies, a few gals sent us short biographies, too.

We’re excited to share their pictures and stories with you! Enjoy!!




Hello! My name is Hunny but mom and dad call me badger. I am a 2 1/2 year old boxer mix. I enjoy mischief, long walks in the woods and snuggling with my mom. I also enjoy shoes on occasion but apparently that is frowned upon in this establishment. A year ago, mom and dad rescued me and I have been the happiest pupper fluff ever since. They give me lots of toys and a super comfy bed to sleep in. They sometimes make me do things like sit and lay but I look at them with my puppy eyes which pretty much gets me out of trouble. But they super love me more than anything. If you meet me on the street, I will wiggle my butt right up to you and give Hunny hugs.. Everyone needs a little love!


My name is Beatrice. My mom and dad call me “Beatrice the Brave”. I’m from North Carolina. I was abused once — it made me scared of people because I thought they would hurt me. I was afraid of other dogs — in fact, I didn’t know how to be a dog, like wag my tail or play with toys. I used to shut down emotionally, whenever I got scared. But a shelter volunteer posted me on Facebook, and that’s how my new mommy and daddy in DC found me. They decided to save me and give me a good home… a few weeks later I was transported up I-95 via the Freedom Ride. My new parents picked me up in the middle of a parking lot at 2:30am. I wouldn’t leave my crate for a few months — they set up paper next to my crate so I could go to the bathroom. After talking with the vet and doggie behaviorist, they started me on medicine to help take the edge off my fear reaction. And they would come and sit near me, and talk to me, every day. They showed me what a toy is. They slowly taught me that a human hand can pet and not hurt. They started to put a leash on me and gently guide me a little further every day towards the back door to the yard. But they did the best thing in the world for me…. they adopted my sister, Stella, to help me. She showed me how to be a dog. I’m still getting better, but I am brave now — I’m going for walks, and I like to be kissed and cuddled with. I play with toys, and I paw at visitors when I want attention. I’m a brave girl.




My name is Stella. My mom and dad usually yell my name. I’m from Georgia. I am “Simple Stella” to some people — I have a big heart and a little brain. But I love EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. That is why my mommy and daddy adopted me — because they needed a confident, happy-go-lucky girl like me to be an “ambassador” to my scared sister, Beatrice. A shelter volunteer posted me on Facebook, like my sister. And my mom and dad saw me that way — they called the shelter and said they needed a “happy” girl to help their dog. The shelter staff said “Stella’s your girl.” Up I came on the Freedom Ride — I am such a happy girl that I bounded off the van and ran over to my new mommy and daddy, showering them in kisses. It took awhile for my sister Beatrice to like me — whenever I would bring her a toy, she would try to bite at me to keep away. But I never take “No” for an answer! Every time she would nip at me, I would pick up the toy and put it closer to her. Closer. Closer. Until finally, after a few weeks, she started to smell the toy… and then finally pick up the toy. Now, one year later, she plays tug o’ war with me and our toys! So I did something right! I’m a happy girl…. My favorite thing to do is to be upside down. I love it. I also love talking to myself LOUDLY. And I’m fairly convinced that demons live in my butt. I like to look at myself in the mirror, eat things I’m not supposed to, and lay in the sunshine outside. Most of the time my parents are yelling my name because I’m ignoring them and am being naughty. But I’m a happy girl. Just simple. I want to meet you and cover you in kisses!!






My name is Annie. My foster mom and dad call me “Little Orphan Annie”. They get a little sad when they talk about me. A few years ago, when I was a puppy, I had no home but the street. I was sick and hungry, and very cold. One day I saw a nice man walking near me. I immediately knew he would help me, so I followed him all the way to his home. He and his wife took me in; they made me warm, got me medicine and gave me good food. I got better and healthier. They let me hang out with their friends and other dogs — I loved everyone and just wanted to play. Then they found a nice home for me on a lake — they met the family and everything seemed great. I loved my new family — especially the little girl. We were best friends. Except, some problems started happening that I didn’t really understand. The mom and dad slept in separate rooms. My family stopped taking me places, so I was only ever at the house. They wouldn’t take me for walks to meet other people and doggies. They would have parties and would stick me a crate so I didn’t meet anyone. I started to get scared of other people. And scared of other dogs. One day they decided they didn’t want me anymore, and called my foster mom and dad to take me back or I would be killed. I’m so glad my foster mom and dad immediately took me back! I didn’t want to die. I just wanted a family. I admit, when I first saw my foster mom and dad again, I was scared — it had been a long time and I hadn’t been around other people much for 1 1/2 years. But they were patient with me, and went very slowly (over several weeks) to introduce me to their two dogs. I so wanted to meet them, but my foster sister Beatrice was afraid of me and my foster sister Stella was a little TOO excited for me to be around yet. Then one day I escaped my gated room and foster mom found me playing with my foster sisters — I had a GREAT time! Especially with Stella — she and I are best friends. “Two peas in a pod” — that’s what they call us. We run around and jump on the beds and play with toys. At night, I curl up in a ball next to my foster parents’ heads and fall asleep. I love my foster parents. I just want to please them and make them proud of me. I am very smart and listen to what I am told. I am still learning how to meet new people and new dogs, but I’m doing VERY well, considering what I went through at the other home. I guess not everyone should have a dog. I hope that someday I find a real forever home with a family that will love me, and keep me socialized and active and trained. I just want to please! But for now, I’m happy with my foster family who love me so very much. I’m such a good little girl.

Kari note: if you know someone who can provide a safe, active and loving home for Miss Annie, send me a message and I’ll put you in contact with her foster mom!

Kari’s second note, October 2013: a most wonderful thing has happened.  Annie’s foster parents have failed, and they’ve officially adopted her.  HOORAY!!

Selfie, Part 1

Y’all:  Mama and Daddy is sad cuz the summer is endin’ and they wish there was more vacation time and more couch time and more nappin’ time in the hammock.

I’m jes excited because when the weather cools down, we get to go play more outside. My delicate nature means I can overheat if I’s not careful.  So I thought it’d be neat to introduce you to some of our friends (real and from the book of faces) who we’s lookin’ forward to seein’ out-n-about this fall.

This is postin’s part one, because some of our friends sent us little stories about themselves,  so we gonna post them too, but in what Mama is callin’ “longer form.”


I'm people went on vacation... AAARRROOOOOOOOO!

I’m Badger…my people went on vacation… AAARRROOOOOOOOO!

Note from MJ: Mama says this looks like Badger’s mug-shot.  I don’t know what that is, but he does look like he been caught bein’ up to no goods.


Zozo's betrothed, Chloe

Zozo’s betrothed, Chloe

Note from MJ: I ain’t ever met this lady, but Zozo is just gaga for her.  So.  I guess she’s cool.

Note from Zozo: MJ, stop it.  Be nice.  She’s my soul mate.




Note from MJ: doesn’t it look like he be photo-bombed?!




Note from MJ: I can totally get behind the sleeps.

Note from Zozo: PatrickSwayze

MJ: Doodle, that don’t make no sense.

Zozo: Yes-huh.  PatrickSwayze says that word in that movie that Mama loves that starts with a D and I can’t ever remember it, but I remember the Swayze.

MJ: …Movin’ on…




Note from MJ: Harper can climb trees to catch squirrels.  I like her style.


This is Riley.  He's a Chow Mix, and his daddy is super impressed he was able to take this picture himself.

This is Riley. He’s a Chow Mix, and his daddy is super impressed he was able to take this picture himself.

Note from Zozo: I’m impressed, too.  That’s a good picture, Riley!


Zozo: Simmer down.




Note from Zozo: I don’t like looking into the camera, either.  I feel it gives me a more mysteriousness.

MJ: Hey I gots pink on my snout, too!




Note from MJ: Zoey and I didn’t get along when we met when she was a puppy, but our Mamas say that we’s gonna try again because we should be besties because we’re both rough-n-tumbly and smart and silly.


This is part one.  Part two is comin’ soon, with four of our favorite rescue girls (one of which is looking for a furever home)!  We gots lots more friends where these came from and we’re always happy to meet new people and new doggies.


As the summer starts to wind down, we’re busy planning for the fall.  So, I have to keep things brief this week.

Several years ago, when we took Zozo to the Outerbanks for the first time, we discovered he was quite the water dog.  So, we’ve looked for opportunities around the house for him to continue to work on his swimming technique.

Lucky for us, Olde Towne Pet Resort is like Disneyland for dogs (more on them later), and they have a fantastic indoor lap pool.  And Zo visits to use the pool.

We call them Zozo’s swim lessons, because we’re (I’m) those kind of people.  Strapped into a life vest and with a personal lifeguard paddling alongside, Zozo spends a half hour getting fantastic exercise.



As do we, since we walk beside the pool as he laps.

(Please note the way he sheepishly glances at the camera, as though I’m embarrassing-slash-annoying his pool time.  Your spot’s been blown, buddy.)