Let’s talk about this guy

February 1, 2016


When we moved into our house so many years ago, we worried that Zozo was lonely.  That he needed company when we were out of the house.  We thought he could use a companion’s example to follow when his social anxiety acts up.  And so, we brought MJ home.

When we let MJ go in late December, we again worried that Zozo would be lonely.  That his behavioral challenges would become exacerbated in her absence.  We had no idea how we would manage his grief along with ours.

For the first few days, he would look around for her: at meal times, in the yard, when he hopped on the couch for some snuggles.  The house is quiet and still.  It’s cold without the constant pittie shadow-slash-lap-blanket.

Long story very short: Zozo is amazing.  Yes, he’s anxious on-leash without her example.  Yes, he still barks at noises outside tgat we cannot see. He’s also silly and chatty and affectionate.  He’s enjoying the one-on-one with the humans.  He hops on our bed for pre-lights out snoozing.  His goofy personality is on display.  We’re dressing him in his jaunty kerchiefs and bow ties (ok, I’m dressing him).  It’s as if he’s coming out of his shell again.


It’s helped our mourning to laugh at him… with him; to enjoy being just us three.  He asks about her.  He sleeps with her crate towel.  We’re finding a new routine, the three of us.

The bundle in the top left corner is her crate towel.

Day Dreaming

August 2014

Sometimes, I catch myself gazing wistfully at the pups. I rewind the ticker-tape of my brain and pick up the most astounding threads of half-thinking. They usually go something like this…

Don’t you look so peaceful when you’re sleeping. Except when you kick my leg when you’re doing that grumbly, twitchy thing. What are you seeing? Are you dreaming? Are you reliving a memory?

IMG_0027.JPGI know you’ve been gazing at the corner of the room, watching something intently and mouthing off at it. I don’t see anything there. Are there ghosts I should be worried about?

photo 1

Why don’t you bark when we come home to you instead of barking at the outside when we’re in the house? Are you trying to protect us? You don’t have to. Except when I’m sleeping. You may bark to alert me then.

Taking turns licking the bottom of my right foot is making me uncomfortable. Switching to my left one isn’t any better.

Do you realize you’re flirting with your own reflection?

Is it weird to be jealous of your turnout? Because I am. No amount of stretching will help me; I know because I’ve tried.



Daddy doesn’t appreciate the gifts you leave in his shoes.  Especially when you freak out because you can’t find the toy you’ve left behind just moments after you left it… I’m not criticizing.  Out loud.



I don’t know when you became part cat and decided to drape yourself over the back of the couch.  I think it’s hysterical.  Don’t tell dad.



How about you all?  Any whimsical puzzles or observations cross your mind as you look at your furbabies?


April 2012

MJ’s annual vet check-ups and boosters occur in April. It’s sort of a big deal for her: she sits up front in the car, looking out the window, jamming along to the radio. She wiggles her way through the parking lot, charming all of the macho-men with their neon sneakers and mesh shorts as they strut to and from the Gold’s Gym next door.

The Vet Techs know Miss is coming, and they’re ready to pounce with snuggles and squees and cameras and treats. She gladly rolls to her back to proudly display her tummy for rubs, giving kisses to anyone her tongue can reach. Thwap thwap thwap goes her tail on the floor, against the legs of the waiting room chairs, the corner of the exam table, and the shins of doctors, techs and other patients. She’s happily in her element.

Little does she know that in 15 minutes, after she’s poked and prodded and injected and rewarded, she going to have her nails trimmed. It will take three vet techs to hold her down. She wails and fights, but wiggles her tail the entire time. Weirdo.

During this struggle, the tip of her whip-of-a-tail splits open, splattering red along the walls, the floor, my jeans, the vet. As she’s released from her veterinary hug, she bounds about the exam room, tail flapping, banging on every surface as she leaves a crime scene behind her. This has never happened before. She needs to be sedated in order for the vet to clean up her tail and survey the damage.

I’m sent next door to a diner for a snack, where I send James a text message with this picture:


45 minutes later I pick up my groggy girl. She’s wearing a plastic test tube stuffed with gauze on her tail to provide some protection, and it clicks as she weakly thumps it when she sees me. Anti-inflammatories and pain killers and cleaning instructions are distributed.

I carry her to the car. She curls up on the passenger side floor, whimpering the entire ride home.


Once home, she neatly tucks into a chair and sulks woozily.

Thus begins our year of Happy Tail.


To be continued….


February 27, 2014

I’ve had the opportunity to work from home recently, due to illness and snow-tastrophies and general boss-omeness (that’s “boss+awesome” for those of you who don’t fluently speak Kari).

It’s a privilege to work in my pjs, with snacks and coffee and couches in easy reach.  And puppy snuggles.

Yes, during those days when the living room/kitchen counter/office/hammock becomes my command center, our furbabies are  (mostly) ideal coworkers.

Zo typically camps out, moving between napping (The Dorothy Intervention of daylight hours) IMG_1171

and participating in conference calls.  That is, he’s a snoring, adorable mound until I unmute the phone to participate in a meeting, at which time he growls, grumbles, and provides a rousing soundtrack to my conversation.  He’s also great at interrupting people who drone on and on…What can I say?  He’s got mad skillz.

MJ takes advantage of the human-at-home-which-means-no-crate time by lounging on her puppy-approved end of the couch.


She also pops over to my workspace, to sit and stare.  And judge me.  After which she gives a big, huffy sigh and wiggles away.

She sat on the floor in that exact stop and started at me for 10 minutes straight.

She sat on the floor in that exact spot and stared at me for 10 minutes straight.

Inevitably, something adorable like this happens, which I only discover when I try to stand up and ruin the sibling-love moment by falling over them.


Helpers to the end!

Cabin Fever

January 2014

Well, it’s cold.  It’s winter and there’s snow and ice and salt and it’s cold.  Other than Zozo, no one is particularly interested in romping around outside in the bitter, biting air.

Unfortunately, between the chill and renovations in the house, there’s not a lot of room for the dogs to burn off energy.  Poor timing on our part.  Oops.

Sure, we’re getting our investment’s worth in our toys, including ones they’re usually not interested in, because now they’re new and exciting and something to do.  (This must be how my parents felt when my sister and I became restless during snow days:  Let’s play Risk!  Why not watch “Bedknobs and Broomsticks“? But I digress.)  MJ, though, will hoard them, leaving Zozo to retreat to one of his favorite flopping spots to sulk.

Mama, the little girl won't share!

Mama, the little girl won’t share!

We’re playing exploring games like “Go find the treat,” in which we hide biscuits and let the dogs hunt for them (“Find It!”). Sometimes we hide them in treat toys, but the pups tend to get too aggressive in their pursuit of the yummies.


We’re working on refreshing our trainings: SIT!

"Lady's first, Doodle," says MJ as she physically pushes Zo to the back of the treat line.

“Ladies first, Doodle,” says MJ as she physically pushes Zo to the back of the treat line.


We’re finding new ways to burn off steam, sort of.

We may or may not be tolerant and/or cooperative about snuggling to keep extra warm.

IMG_1074 IMG_1073


And no matter what, we’ve got two extra shadows stalking around behind us.

Whachoo doin' Mama?  Makin' a snack?

Whachoo doin’ Mama? Makin’ a snack?


-We like snacks very much Mama. Don’t forget about house rules!

But let’s be real.  We’re going stir-crazy.  We need something new.  Anyone have suggestions?

Sweet dreams!

Two lumps, two rumps. Apparently, everyone is ready for bed tonight.



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.