breaking news, from our foreign correspondent

September 2014

Doesn’t it feel like Summer came to a full stop?  The humidity broke, the crazy thunderstorms have retreated and denim jackets are on parade!

To bring you additional clues on the changing of seasons, I’m happy to present this guest post, written by Erika (my mom), and featuring Athena.  Why is Athena in residence as Chez Mums?  That’s another story for another day.  Basically it comes down to this: better food and she has cable.

But I digress


From your “foreign” (Maryland) correspondent

Signs you know summer is over:

1. You can’t get up in the morning cause it’s still too dark. Even at 6am (ugh).

2. The smells of outdoor grilling are replaced by wood burning.

3. Farmer’s markets are gone

4. New activity: Raking fallen leaves now substitutes for pulling weeds.

5. Halloween costumes line the shelves.

6. Christmas candy gets mixed in with Halloween candy. (What’s with that? And what happened to Thanksgiving treats?)

7. Air conditioner stays off and light blanket comes on.

8. Athena comes out from the shadows underneath the bed. Briefly, to reclaim her corner.

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9. Then, to burrow and hibernate.

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Happy Fall 2014!

NEW FRIENDS!

November 12, 2013

We are so excited to have new blog-friends!  Jan’s Funny Farm has honored us with a Tuesday Meet & Greet, a weekly feature on her blog where she introduces her readers to new blogs she’s discovered.

Stop over to her site to see our furbabies chatting themselves up, and check out the Funny Farmers and their blog friends.  Make sure you tell them MJ & Zozo sent you!

Wordless Wednesday: The Eyes of TJ Eckelkitty

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Unmotivated

June 2011

If there’s one phrase you hear in our household on a daily basis, it’s “I could eat.”

It’s 4:30, any chance you’re ready for dinner?  I could eat.

Wanna meet friends for second lunch? I could eat.

Let’s try the new fro-yo place around the corner. ICE.

Zozo embraced this homespun practice, never begging but enthusiastically accepting meals, treats and nibbles.  His favorites?  Turkey & Giblets cat food (much to Athena’s chagrin), carrots, apple chunks, peanut butter, Cheerios, pancakes, pizza crust, burnt french fries, ice cubes… you get it.  He’s not picky.

The Little Girl, on the other paw, is not interested in food.  There have been too many mornings when James and I switch off getting ready for work, with sitting on the floor feeding MJ her breakfast– by hand– one kibble at a time.

We’re big believers in treat-training and rewarding her good behavior (successful potty trips, a tush touchdown of “sit,” etc.).  The problem is, she just doesn’t care.  We break out the highest of high-value treats: boiled chicken rolled in bacon grease, hot dogs, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch.  Food?  Whatever.

     “MJ, sit.”

     “No thanks, Mama.  I’m gonna goat this grass and ignore you.” (NOTE: if you can imagine hearing GWTW’s Scarlett or Steel Magnolias‘ Shelby, you’ve got MJ’s voice. Yes, I’m serious.)

-or-

     “Come!… Noooooo, come!” James calls.

     “Oh look, fox poo!  Let’s roll in it, Doodle!”

     “I’ve got hot dogs and belly rubs, Miss!”

     “I’m busy, daddy!”

Our training progress with MJ is, predictably, slow.  Zozo, however, is putting on some padding because he responds to our training cues like a champ.  Because, like his parents, he could eat.

Internet chat boards aren’t much help.  The vet is convinced MJ will come around.  Or not.  “She might just be one of those dogs.”

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And so, dear readers, how have you enticed a puppy who is utterly indifferent to yummies?

 

Can you handle my truth? by Zozo

April 2011

i didn’t like the little girl the first time i met her. mom and dad had to bring me for a meet-n-sniff at the rescue place.   it smelled weird and there were a lot of barkings and new peoples.  mom and dad usually don’t make me go into those “environments” (their word) because it doesn’t “set me up for success” (Trainer Tim’s words).

i’m sniffing around a big room, and all of a sudden this little puppy runs under my tail and through my legs.  she’s beneath my belly and i can’t see her.  i get nervous and i do something i never do: i growl.  that makes mom and dad unhappy (Uh-Uh!), and the little puppy has an accident.  i tuck my tail and trot away.

dad comes over to see if i’m ok.  “hey doodle, it’s ok.  are you ok, bud? she doesn’t know her manners and we need you to try to be patient with her.”

mom is helping wipe up the accident, and i feel bad that the little girl embarrassed herself.  rookie mistake.

we try again, and this time we have a tiny milkbone treat side-by-side and i let her sniff me while mom has me sit.  dad jogs around the room and we both follow him, but the little dog is slow and her feet don’t move right.  i guess things are ok, because the little girl comes home with us.

they’re calling her mj.  i don’t even know what kind of a name that is.  it’s certainly not as regal as zozo.  she’s fuzzy and pink.

let me make one thing clear: being a big brother is hard work.  the little girl doesn’t know how to play ball or sit.  she tries to chase the cat, which is a big no-no. she doesn’t understand that sitting on the couch is a reward if you’ve been a very good boy or if you’re not feeling well.  she doesn’t even run right because her back legs work faster than her front ones. her brakes don’t work.  she snores louder than dad.  she has a lot to learn.

 oh, and dad and i are officially out-numbered by girls.  gross.

Introducing…

April 5, 2011

It’s a typical Tuesday night.  We’re all curled up in our respective corners making a dent in our DVR’d shows.

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I’m noodling around on my laptop, and I happen to start scrolling through the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s (AWLA) adoptable dogs site.  How does this happen?  Not sure, although it probably went something like: Facebook, ModCloth, Netflix, LinkedIn, AWLA.  (All roads pretty much lead to “dog” at this point.)

I scroll through the adorable mugs of dogs available for rescue and adoption, and I almost drop the computer.  There’s a picture of a small, round puppy that’s mostly pink snout.  Her ears are tucked back against her head and she’s looking with blue (are they blue?) eyes at the camera in true doggy-fishbowl fashion.  We take a look at her profile, but there’s not much there.

Her name is MJ.  Her dad’s a red-nosed Pit Bull and her mom’s a Catahoula Leopard Hound (go ahead and click that link; I’ve never heard of it either).  She’s from a litter of 11, 8 of which were dropped off for rescue.  She’s been at AWLA for over a week, which is odd since puppies don’t really hang around much.

It can’t hurt to file an application, right?  Get to the head of the line, since it looks like she’s just been cleared for adoption…

We submit our app, and then we promptly rearrange our work schedules in order to stop by AWLA to meet MJ first thing in the morning.  We’re giggly.  We ask Doodle and the Diva what they’d think about having a little sister.  Just like when we were waiting for Zo, it’s an anxious, restless night.

April 6, 2011

We’re up with the sun, which isn’t super-abnormal considering both pets get nibble-y around 6.  Everyone’s working from home until we can head over to the League at noon, and it’s the longest. 6. Hours. Ever.

We’re by the front desk the moment the adoption area opens for the day, and we proudly say “We’re here for MJ.”  I, apparently, shout it, because the woman behind the desk remarks on our (my) enthusiasm.

A volunteer takes us back to a puppy room, which is a small play room with a drain in the middle of the floor and toys safe for baby teeth.  She says she’ll be back, and we sit on the bench and fidget.  We don’t talk.

The volunteer returns with a small, pale cannonball of a puppy, who is pulling at the leash so she can come say hello.  Doing that funny Pit Bull “I can’t bend my elbows” strut.  She winds between our legs like a cat, licking our shins and hands and anything her tongue can reach. James pulls a toy from a tub and they start to play tug.  I sit on the floor, and MJ leaves the toy and wiggles over to me.  Her rump is the perfect size to nook in my crossed legs.  She touches her nose to mine (her eyes are most definitely blue), she sniffs, and then pees all over my jeans.

I’ve been marked.  James laughs and the volunteer apologizes.  It doesn’t matter.  There is no way we’re not bringing this girl home with us.  She’s mine now.

Ours.  I mean ours.

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Itchy

January- April 2011

One cat. Two humans.  One dog.  We’re sort of back to where we started, aren’t we?

Athena has gotten over her litter box misfires and is back to judging people from the tops of furniture.  Zozo is completely on-program and in a good routine.  They’re both cool when things get out of hand and we’re late in serving them dinner, or when we drop them at camp for a last-minute weekend getaway, or if we over-sleep on a rare nothing-to-do Saturday.

Things are good.What? Am I drooling?

…But we’ve got this big yard.  And Doodle prefers when there are other pups from which he can take his cues.  We’ve got plenty of love and space on the couch.

Thus the conversations begin.  A joke at first, the musings become more serious:

Where would we put the crate?

Are we ready to introduce chaos into what’s now an easy pattern?

But then we’ll have more furbabies than humans.  Won’t we be outnumbered?

Answers slowly followed:

Probably beside the other one.  But maybe we don’t need two?

A little chaos never hurt anyone.

Yes.  Yes, we will always be outnumbered.

We started casually visiting rescue websites.  Maybe a Frenchie?  What about a lab?  Should we find an entirely white dog to be Ivory to Zo’s ebony?  Let’s get a Shetland Pony.  Pigs are pretty popular right now.

Maybe we weren’t ready.  Maybe we shouldn’t ruin our “good thing.”

Turns out, a little ruin was exactly what we needed.

A picture, instead of a thousand words

June 2010

Like any respectable, young professionals accustomed to dorm-then-apartment living, we’ve decided to move again.  However, like any respectable, young married couple, we’re liquidating our meager savings and buying a house.

No more city living– or near-city living– for us.  No!  We’re moving to the suburban (read: unfashionable) end of a cool NoVA city with a big fenced yard and not a lot of commercial traffic.

And so, while we question why we have so many books and we fight over who is going to get the walk-in closet, I bring you a small photo-spread of Pupper and Athena as they begin to settle into their new digs.

Athena can matrix herself up onto any surface.  It’s not unusual to see her peering down from the fridge, the top of a bookcase or from behind the television.  But once she’s spotted, she either makes a break for it:

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or plays the “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” game:

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Zozo, on the other hand, has found his way onto the couch, which is his new command center while we bustle around with boxes.  From here, he can see everyone.  Everything.

Don't let this picture fool you.  He may look compact, but Zo's tucked his 75lbs into a little, furry ball.

Don’t let this picture fool you. He may look compact, but Zo’s tucked his 75lbs into a little, furry ball.

 

Or nap.  Mostly nap.    rest