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.

Revenge is a female dog. And that Female is named MJ

Y’all, I jus’ happen to think it was in poor taste for Mama to put up that terrible post last week. I mean… she got two puppies. Obviously they’s dogs, so I don’t know what that “16 Reasons” mess was all about.

So, as a result, Doodle and me has been particularly naughty this week.  No sharin’.  Ruff-housin’ and the like.  Mama tries to sit on the couch, no couch for Mama.

photo (4)

Mama wants to go to sleep.  No bed space for (3)

In general, this is how I feel about Mama, even when I’m gettin’ my beauty (2)

So there.


July 2013

There’s a heat wave on, folks. And as you all know, heat waves kill outdoor adventures and motivation. In our little abode, there’s a lot of moving from one comfy, cool, dark corner to another. There’s also much skittering of ice cubes and furbabies across the floor.

But most importantly, there’s a lot of this action:



Stay hydrated and safe, furrriends!


Warts and All

October 2009

Zozo’s got this thing on his paw. We thought maybe he had, like, a hang nail or a torn cuticle or something. Dogs get those, right? It didn’t seem to bother him, so we let it be.

Then it grew. And got scaly. And looked sort of like a horn sticking out the side of his pinky. It’s gross. And no, there are no pictures. Because it’s gross.

Like every weird medical predicament we experience with Zo, we give it one more day and then take him to the vet. Googling his symptoms (horn growth thing on dog paw no fever doesn’t hurt him) yields some fairly interesting and… educational… results, but nothing canine- or veterinary-related.

The vet’s awesome, as usual. They take his temperature. They take some blood. They take a peek and poke (doctorally, of course). Diagnosis: canine papilloma virus. In English? It’s a wart. Prognosis: good. Unless it starts to bother him, or if he starts to gnaw at it, let it be.

Next day, there are tiny little blood specks across the floor. We follow the trail, and it leads to Zo. Gnawing at the horn. James calls the vet, and we schedule a surgical appointment.

Our furrst child is heading under the knife. We fast him for a night and pick up his water when we turn in. We’re up with the dawn and waiting in the car for the vet’s office to open. As you may guess, I’m borderline hysterical.  He struts his way in, gives his winningest smile to the techs (“Helloooo Ladies!”), and doesn’t look back.

6 hours later, the vet’s office calls. He did well and they’re sending the appendage to be biopsied. He’s still super groggy from anesthesia. They’ll call us when Doodle’s ready to be picked up.

Another 5 hours, and we haven’t heard from the vet. I call, and they said we can pick him up, but he’s basically a big, drunk mess. I drive over, and he’s wobbly and unable to walk out by himself. I move my car to the door. I drop down the backseat, and a vet tech carries our 70lb goober to the car. Giggling and chatty, we made the drive home. He asks for Taco Bell.  I ask that he settles down.

James received a “you’ll never guess what’s going on” text, and he meets us outside since Zo’s too big for me to lift and carry into the house. Safely deposited on his dog bed, Zo spends the next 3 hours in and out of sleep, silly and loopy and smelly. We’re able to get some chicken and rice into his system, which helps start to sober him up. We help him outside for a potty break, and then it’s back to the couch.

The next morning, he’s a bit more himself but the giggle-fest of last night has disappeared. He whimpers. He itches at his bandages. I stay home from work and James comes home early and we hunker down together. Even Athena is nicer to Zo than usual, sharing her favorite spot on the couch (my lap).

Two days later, the bandages and e-collar don’t hold him back. He’s ripping paint from the wall and tripping up the stairs.

Three days post-surgery our wound check goes well and the biopsy came back as expected. Warts.

“You’re lucky,” says the vet tech. “A lot of dogs get these on their faces. You know, their lips. Eye.”

“Is it likely he’ll get another growth?”

“Oh. Maybe.”

“Great. I’m sure we’ll be back.”

Fast forward to spring 2013… look very closely: see anything on his beautiful (upper) eyelid?


Stubbornness, a family trait

July 2011

Apparently, after three months of puppy bliss, MJ has decided two things:

1. She will not walk on leash beyond the end of the driveway.

2. We’re not allowed to touch her feet.


The foot thing we can deal with easily: a quick swipe of a towel disguised as belly rubs when she comes indoors from a damp walk.


For nail trims, we hustle her over to the vet, where it takes three techs plus Mom and/or Dad to hold her down, where she struggles until she pukes. It’s more traumatic for us, though, because she’s wagging her tail and trying to give kisses the entire time. At least, that’s what the professionals tell us.

The walking thing is an entirely other matter. We ply her with her cheese. We speak to her excitedly. We’re fun. We’re silly. She peers at us with pity. She knows exactly what we’re up to, and she’s not having it. Zozo, on the other paw, is psyched and ready for action.

Unlike Zo, MJ didn’t arrive to us with anxiety about the world. Nothing phases her. And also unlike Zo, there was never an incident we could blame for her decision to dig in and pull back. One day, she just won’t budge. We trot happily through the gate, past the cars, down the driveway. The moment we veer left, she plops her rump down. We try going right, and she’s all, “what did I just say?”

Our furbaby cannot opt-out of walking on leash. We keep trying, switching up handlers and times of day and high value treats. She hunkers down at the edge of the driveway. “Your move, humans.”

We had definitely been considering sending the Miss to Olde Towne School for Dogs (OTSD), like we did with Zozo when his nerves got the better of him. I call and request an evaluation for MJ with our previous Trainer, Tim. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how that went. OTSD was a huge part of our lives with Zo, and we are thrilled that they LOVE all breeds and are able to fit us in pretty much right away.

We are referred to Kathleen, who turns out to be exactly what MJ needs. Kathleen allows MJ to be her goofy, adorable self, but she won’t take any of her crap. We tried to be stern, but really… sometimes you just have to call in a professional. She’s firm and fair and generous with liver treats and belly pats. She toughens up our little love bug. Kathleen also happens to be a pretty cool chick.

Thus begins the daily shuttling of the puppy to and from school. Our evenings are filled with homework and exhausted, snore-filled naps (not necessarily from the puppy).


MJ is whip-smart. She struggles with sitting “like a dog” instead of lounging like a queen on a settee. She’ll down-stay, but she’d rather lean the back of her head against your knee so you can scratch under her chin. It turns out that she’s super-suspicious of large, potted plants. Random.

She and Zozo learn how to walk on leash beside one another and, if MJ’s on the outside, Doodle can walk for miles without freaking out at the noises and distractions of city life. That’s a huge improvement for him. If Zo gets ahead of her, MJ will pull and strain to catch up with him; we’re working on that.

But the best news is that we can get beyond the driveway and out into the neighborhood again. Two dogs. Two leashes. Combined, they outweigh me. Maybe we won’t run into any small woodland creatures.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

July 2011

Our little girl is coming along nicely.  Yes, she’s bull-headed and pushy and choosy with her crate-training.  Yes, she can leap clear over the top of her baby gate and make herself comfortable on the couch.  But she’s sweet and loves to snuggle.  She barrels into closed doors at the right speed and oomph to pop them open so she can investigate the happenings on the other side.  She wags her entire body.

And Zozo is amazing.  He’s patient and kind and ignores the little girl until she needs to be yapped into line.  He shows off his cues and proves to be a great big brother and occassional alpha.

Individually, they’re wonderful.  Together, they’re their own little wolf pack.  It’s delightful.

photo (2)

We’re excited to introduce MJ to the people and places we love to take Zo.  We call to schedule her for a bath.

“How old is she?”

“Oh, almost 8 months.”




“Catahoula/Pit mix.”

“…Hold on…. (hold muzaq).. I’m sorry, we don’t groom Pits.”

“Oh, but she’s very sweet and has never shown any signs of aggression.  She loves kids-“

“Sorry, no Pit Bulls.”  Click.

This happens with the daycare we like to take Zozo to.  The Yappy Hour.  I begin noticing people avoiding our pink bully as we puppy-lurch down the road (our leash skills could use some work).  MJ doesn’t understand; she just wants to shimmy and play and give kisses.

I find myself shying away from admitting she’s Pit-mixed.  “She’s Catahoula with some kind of American breed– boxer maybe.”  It’s a lie no one falls for.  She may be gloriously speckled, but her snout is all Pit. 

photo (2)

And I feel like a coward for betraying her heritage.

Gradually, when I call to make plans for spa days, daycare, boarding and training, I start the conversation off with the following phrase:

Do you have breed restrictions?

The question becomes part of our vernacular.  The answer? Unsurprising: can’t, no pit bulls. 

We became one of those families.  We’re young, living in the suburbs.  We have two rescue dogs.  One is a Pit Bull.  Obviously we’re dangerous drug dealers or thugs and criminals, and she’s vicious. 

And that’s when I get mad.



Why MJ is the best puppygirl in the world. By MJ. Naturally.

Y’all: Mama said I could use this as an opportunity for y’all to get to know me. She spends way too much time focusing on Doodle and not enough time on MJ. And I say it’s about time for me.

Here am I, Southern belle and one tough cookie. I’m part leopard, part bull, part puppy and all internet sensation. That’s a lot of awesome. Here’s my selfie:

It's ok.  You can tell me how cute I am.

Mama and Daddy say it’s a good thing I’m so cute, because I’m a menace. What do I menace? Thank you for asking: squirrels, birds, Mama, Doodle, Daddy, the cat.

I also steal the blankets (allegedly):379897_2749150640878_72146328_n

Let’s see… my absolute favorite things in the world are Kraft American Cheese slices, giving kisses, wiggling, chasing squirrels and running in circles around the tree, being stinky, and sleeping on squishy human things (beds and couches… now, now, I’m a lady). I may or may not have a tattoo on my belly.


Oh, I also love running zoomies and biting Doodle’s rear right leg. And Direwolves. I luv me some Direwolves.

I’m a good girl. I’m a sweet girl. I’m a pibble ambassapup.



Things I Never Expected to Say

Furparenthood can be challenging.  You work on manners and good behavior.  You reinforce.  You spend a small fortune on treats and toys (which you know will be destroyed in minutes).  You adjust routines and plans and coordinate a fleet of people who can serve as willing back-ups when things get crazy.  You read and you listen and you attend training classes and vet appointments.  You go to play groups.  You make play dates. You think you’re prepared.

And then one evening over a very grown-up dinner of a brie wedge and leftover birthday cake, you hear yourself utter the following words:

“Stop licking your brother’s butt.”

And it’s all over.  In those five little words, you have humbled away years of acquired dignity in rescue-dog companionship.

You’re an educated person.  You like to learn from your mis-steps.  Perhaps you and your spouse can use this as an opportunity to reflect on some of the more outlandish things that have escaped your lips.  And so, we proudly bring you,

Stuff we say to our pups, or where have we gone wrong?

  • Stop humping your sister’s head.
  • Don’t eat his ear.
  • That’s not your food.  I’m not even sure what that is.
  • Thank you for burping in my face.  Twice.
  • The cat is not a chew toy.
  • Why are you green?
  • Stay.  Please, sit still for 15 seconds.
  • Your impression of a Dinosaur screaming is charming. 
  • I cannot feed you faster if you step on my feet.
  • Is that snot on your face, or were you licking your nose?
  • How in the world is that comfortable?


  • Why does your breath smell like poop?
  • Why do you smell like skunk?
  • Drop it. Dropitdropitdropit.
  • Don’t step on Dad’s squishy bits.
  • Don’t kick Mommy’s boob.
  • Armpits are not gourmet treats.
  • Must you race me up the stairs?
  • Must you race me down the stairs?
  • You’re barking at your own reflection.
  • You wouldn’t like it if I sneezed in your open mouth.
  • May I have some room on the couch, please?


Have you caught yourself saying anything “strange” to your furbabies?


I could eat.

July 2011

On a particularly lazy Sunday, we huddle in the house waiting out a summer storm. James makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich, and he’s been begged into submission and is shuffling around the kitchen making our lunch. Pans clang, burners ignite.  Out comes the bread loaf, cheese slices and butter.  The commotion draws Doodle’s attention, and he becomes the instant helper by standing right behind James while he works.

Helper= trip hazard

MJ snores on the couch, indifferent to the activity in the next room.

mj is not interested.

mj is not interested.

James peels open the Kraft American Cheese Singles slice.  MJ bolts into the kitchen. There’s something about that plastic noise that has her unsettled.

“Hey Miss, what’s up?  We’re making lunch,” James chats.

Zo shifts his settled position into the middle of the kitchen, and MJ begins duckling-stalking behind James as he moves from counter to cook-top.  She steps on/over Doodle.  Ears pert, eyes open, sniffing the air.

Without thinking about it, James takes a small corner of cheese and offers it to Zo.  MJ erupts in her Brontosaurus whine.  How dare she be overlooked and unoffered.  She screams for her fair share.

“Ok, Miss.  Hold on.”  He tears a piece of cheese.  “Sit.”

From the other room, I can hear her butt hit hard on the floor.  She slurps the cheese down.

“Good girl!  Stay.”  James walks a few steps away.  She’s twitchy but working very hard to stay put.  “COME!”

From the couch, I hear the jingles of the furbaby stampede.  “Sit.”  Two dog rumps thwap the ground.


Ladies and Gentlemen: we have a winner.

This Girl will do anything for Kraft singles.  It’s her Klondike bar; her holy grail.  Within a week, she’s mastering her cues for a tiny nibble of cheese.

We replenish our stock, but this time with the white singles slices (which I prefer).  MJ won’t take them.  She turns her snoot up and sulks away.  Back to the store we go.

Only the yellow slices for this princess.



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.)


     “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.”


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