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.

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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.”

“Weight?”

“32lbs”

“Breed?”

“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. 

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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.

 

 

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?

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  • 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?

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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.

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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.

 

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?

 

Throwback Thursday: baby MJ

Things are a little hectic this week, but I couldn’t leave you without a helping of PB&Cheese!  Please enjoy this oldie-but-goodie, taken April 13, 2011. 

At the time this picture was taken, MJ had been with us for all of one week.  It feels like she’d doubled in size since she came home.  She’s very much a puppy… but more on that later!

I will sit still for 6 seconds.  After that, I make no promises.

I will sit still for 6 seconds. After that, I make no promises.