Category Archives: Critters

Goodbye, Crazy.

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14 years ago, we got a call from a friend about a dog. He had adopted a sweet puppy, but couldn’t keep her because she was just a little too high energy for him. I had met her a few times and there was no way that sweet yellow lab puppy was going back to the pound, so the Hubs and I (mainly me) decided to take her. I mean, look at that face…

Abby_Puppy

We brought that ill mannered smooshy face home the week after Christmas and discovered two things very quickly:

  1. She wasn’t very bright. At all.
  2. She was allergic to a lot of food.

We discovered the first thing when we realized that the name she came with sounded way too close to the word “No” for her to be able to tell the difference and the second by cleaning up some seriously disgusting messes. So we renamed our pup Abby, enrolled her in training and quickly found a diet that worked.

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All went along as swimmingly as life can with a yellow lab puppy until Abby was 2. That is when her thunder phobia set in. She made the dog in Marley and Me look like an amateur – this crazy dog tried to chew off door knobs, eat her way through dry wall, hide on your shoulders and once even managed to knock herself out by tipping over a shelf on her head in her frenzy to escape the thunder. We tried thunder capes, desensitizing her to the sound, and watching Rambo movies really loudly during storm. We lived and died by the weather forecast and lost so.much.sleep. staying up with this pup- most of the time with her panting and draped your neck.

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Things got so bad that the summer the Bean was born, I tried to rehome her. I was exhausted from having a 2 year old and new born and I was at my limit. Oddly enough, no one else wanted a crazy dog, so she stayed part of our clan. Finally our vet recommended that we take Abbers to the major veterinary hospital within driving distance and see a psychologist.

We were desperate so we did. That is how my 6 year old lab ended on daily Prozac and Xanax during storms. We were officially as crazy as our dog. But it worked and we all got some peace back.

Through it all, Abbers was the sweetest dog. She loved my kids wildly, thought the snow was the best thing ever and tolerated our kitties. She loved meat, but bread (her other love) gave her ear infections. Walks with the Bean were the best thing ever up until about  a week ago. She was pampered and loved each and every day.

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She never learned how to do any fancy tricks and would beg shamelessly for your food. She had the most soulful eyes and the sweetest disposition. Her ears were silky soft and her tail never stopped wagging when she had your attention. Nothing made her happier than being touched- a pat on the head or an absent minded rub of your foot when watching TV.

Abbers started to get sick a little over a year ago when she was 14. We knew she had cancer of some sort, but we all agreed that putting a 14 year old dog through invasive tests was cruel, so we concentrated on keeping her comfortable. And we did a great job of that until about a week ago. Everyone had always told me that I’d know when Abbey’s time was up, and we did. She stopped wanting to eat or go outside. Walks didn’t make her happy and treats were often left uneaten.

So we gave Abbers a week- a week where she got unlimited chicken and other treats. A week where we loved on her and said a million silent goodbyes. We warned the kids and had talked all week about how little time Abby had, but last night we told them flat out what was happening today. There were tears and questions and hugs- but ultimately understanding that it is our job to make sure Abby doesn’t suffer and that sometimes that means making really hard decision.

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The kids said their last goodbye’s this morning and we all cried on their way to school. Shortly there after, the Hubs and I took Abby to the vet where she passed away with cookies in her belly and people who loved her dearly around her.

Goodbye, my crazy girl – thank you for loving us with your whole heart.

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The Good, The Bad & and the Spotted

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The Good
The Bean is feeling about 70% better. She can actually walk, eat and talk and has enough energy to annoy the hell out of her brother.

The Bad
She missed this whole week of school (it was only 3 days long due to Spring break), which means she missed 9 days of school in March total.

The Spotted
Girlfriend’s arms, legs, hands, feet and face are COVERED in a spotted rash. According to the doctor, it’s all part of the stomach virus she had and is not contagious. It doesn’t seem to bother her too much, although her hands and feet are itchy as heck, but it looks terrible.  Not that I tell her that, but I cringe in sympathy/horror every time I look at her.

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The Good
I put ketchup in Scorch’s toothpaste this morning as an April Fool’s joke- just a tiny squirt at the top of the bottle- and it was hysterical. His reaction was picture perfect and I’ll pull the video out every time I need a laugh.

The Bad
By the time we got to school 30 minutes later, Scorch didn’t find mine or the Bean’s continued laughter at his expense funny and proceeded to have a meltdown that included a 5 minute recap of all the horrible ways we tease him. That list included this prank and that fact that we bring up the time Belle kissed him at Disney World when he was 5 over and over. Bottom line, according to my kid, I’m the worst.

The Good
Every time my dog farts or wags her tail vigorously, it smells like gingerbread.

The Bad
It sells like gingerbread because Crazy had infected, impacted internal anal glands – a fact we discovered 6+ weeks ago and are still working weekly to fix at the vet. Every time the vet does their thing (I’ll spare you the details), they spray her down to help with the smell. It doesn’t help. The scent of Gingerbread now makes me feel sick.

The Bottomline
Kids are sensitive souls with wacky immune systems and elderly dogs have issues that no one ever warned me about because if they had, I would have stuck with cats.

 

Winter Wonderland

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We got our first major snow storm earlier this week. It’s still early enough into winter that I find the snow charming and gorgeous. Don’t worry, Mother Nature will suck that joy out of me soon enough. But for now, it’s picturesque and I love rolling around in it with my kids. Have I mentioned how much fun 6 and 8 year old kids are? Because they are. They are funny, quick and really enjoyable to be around. Too bad I can’t freeze them at this age because I totally would if I could.

SnowLandscapeThe only down side to this weather (you know, outside of the treacherous roads, shoveling and car doors being frozen shut) is Crazy, our dog. She’s 12 years old and refuses to spend longer then 2 minutes outside when it’s 60 and sunny. But give her 28 and snow and she’s a puppy again. That’s her to the left of the Bean in the picture above after a long winter’s romp through the yard.

So my day has been spent today trying to distract the damn dog from wanting to go out over and over and over.  Most of the time I failed because when you’re trying to work from home, a barking dog isn’t exactly a boon to productivity and professionalism.

Feeling Crabby

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Remember how in my last post I said how sad I was to send the kids back to school after such a great break? That was true…until they’ve had snow days 3 out of the past 4 school days. We’ve now officially tipped into the “too much of a good thing” territory and we all desperately need our routine back. When Scorch asked me what we were going to do tomorrow if there wasn’t any school due to the cold, I told him I was going to cry. And I was only partially joking.

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This morning when I was refusing to get out of my warm, comfy bed, Scorch did something he knows he’s not supposed to. He went on Google. *sigh*  Thankfully he was Googling hermit-crab related things and didn’t stumble across anything he shouldn’t have. But he did learn that 1) hermit crabs can fight and hurt each other and 2) they can live 5-15 years (are you kidding me?!).

Scorch is now the proud owner for 3 hermit crabs- Seamus, Davis & George- and he’s spent approximately 75% of the day today freaking out over his crabs fighting. Which they have never done.  The other 25% of the day has been spent trying to figure out how to make their home perfect so they’ll live 40 years- the longest length of time any hermit crab in captivity has lived. His spouse is going to *love* what he brings to a marriage should he succeed.

 

Winter Ramblings

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Last night I had the craziest anxiety dream- I was studying to be a baker and I had to create a new breakfast pastry combining a croissant and donuts. While snakes were biting me and my pants were falling down because they were too big and I didn’t have a belt.  All this because I haven’t wrapped a single gift yet- so forgive me if this post is disjointed.

First- meet David/Davis. He is Scorch’s newest Hermit Crab that he bought with his own money on Monday.

Davis

Too bad I’m 99% David/Davis is dead as he hasn’t come out of shell once that we’ve seen since Tuesday. Awesome. Merry Christmas kid, let’s talk about the Circle of Life.

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The kids had a snow day on Tuesday.  It was freezing out with a -12 with the windchill in the morning, so I made the kids wait until the afternoon and then we went out to sled!  (I dread the day my kids won’t let me dress them in goofy winter hats.)

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Only it wasn’t sledding snow- we just sunk right to the ground.  So we decided to follow the dog and take a hike instead.

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I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again- I don’t know how people who don’t live in the country do it. Between our 2 acres, our creek and the woods around us, my kids would stay outside all day, every day if I let them.  We hiked until the kids were freezing and tired (just how I like ’em) and then I set them up with some hot chocolate and Good Luck Charlie on Netflix and worked for a few hours until it was time to play a few cut-throat rounds of Old Maid.  Not a bad way to spend the day!

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After finishing the first 3 books in the Harry Potter series, we’ve been struggling to find a book that captured all our attention again. We read the 3 Stink Moody books and we enjoyed them- but they didn’t suck us in like a really good book does. We were recently given the first 3 books of the How to Train Your Dragon series as a Christmas gift so we decided to start the first one. Both Scorch and I were reluctant because we’ve seen the movie and we figured it would be the same exact thing.  So glad to say we were wrong- the book, thus far, is great! We are absolutely loving it- Scorch loves the story and I love the story telling. Two huge thumbs up from us!

Seriously? Today Stunk.

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I had a big blog post planned out in my head about my recent birthday. It was a good one- I promise. But then, today happened.

Freaking Mondays.

First, we had to take our car into the shop for the state inspection and an oil change. The mechanic’s have wi-fi so I figured I’d sit there for an hour, work and come out only about $50 poorer for my troubles.  Yeah- not quite. On the way to the mechanic’s I rolled down all 4 windows and when I tried to roll them back up, only three made it- the 4th was stuck.  So my quick and cheap visit to the mechanic ended up taking 2.5 hours and costing me almost $300.

But, you know what? Things happen- what can  you do? We didn’t have a choice but to fix the window and better it happen today when the garage had the parts. We were supposed to get rain tonight and I didn’t want to have to jury-rig some redneck window cover to tide us over, so fine- we can deal.

Sure enough, this afternoon it started to rain on my way to get the kids from school. Then, very quickly, the rain turned into a wicked storm with huge thunder boomers, lightening, winds and torrential rains. I had drugged our dog, Crazy, before I left (she’s storm-phobic) and let her out to pee. I was going to be gone 30 minutes tops, so I figured she couldn’t get into too much trouble.

I’m an idiot.

This is what we came home to (along with a lake of dog pee & a huge pile of vomit that went down our heating vent- didn’t take a picture of that. You’re welcome):

Those are scratch marks in my door jam and wall taken by light of the flashlight because we lost power.

Those are scratch marks in my door jam and wall taken by light of the flashlight because we lost power.

The poor dog had gotten herself stuck in the bathroom and completely lost her damn mind. It was something out of a horror flix.  I had to close the door of our bathroom and clean up the entire mess in the hot, damp room by the light of the flashlight.  Seriously people, I didn’t sign up for this when we got this mutt.

But damn it, I’m an optimist. It could have been worst- all the damage is repairable. The vent and floors can be easily cleaned and at least it was limited to this one area of the house. Yes, I wanted to vomit now myself (but couldn’t because no power = no running water, so I couldn’t flush the toilet).  Yes, I needed a full shower after stepping in unmentionable things (but couldn’t take one because of the no running water situation).  Yes, it was hotter then hell inside our tiny, windowless bathroom and I was sweating like a pig while breathing through my mouth.  But things could have been worse.

They got worse.

This is what I saw when I went to let the dog out after cleaning the mess from hell:

Yes, that is my patio table smashed to a million pieces.

Yes, that is my patio table smashed to a million pieces.

 

I freaking, fracking give up. I’m DONE with this day. D-O-N-E. Done.  The wind picked the table up, literally flipped it over and this is what’s on my back porch now. So after I got done cleaning up the dog pee and puke, I got to deal with this.  At this point at least the Hubs was home to help out.  I wish I could say that we handled all this with grace, as a unified couple- us against the world style. But, let’s be real here.  All we did was bitch at each other, biting each others head’s off, sniping over the whole freaking mess all the while yelling at the kids to STAY OFF THE DECK so they didn’t step on any glass. All of which caused Scorch to have a mini-panic attacked worried that he was either going to catch his sisters cold, get sick from the smell of the dog puke or end up with glass in his foot.  Which, at least that didn’t happen. No child, parent or dog ended up in the ER today, although one of us may have threatened to tie the dog deep in the woods tonight and leave her.**

So- how was your Monday?

**And no- we would never hurt our dog. We may fantasize about it on days like today, but if we haven’t sent her over the Rainbow Bridge yet, I think she’s safe from us.

Looking My Age

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I swear I had a coherent post in mind last night full of funny things my kids did and said. Like how Scorch learned the word “nuts” in relation to his private area and every.freaking.time he says it after I yell at him, I have to walk away so I can giggle like I’m 10.  Or how when the Bean plays pretend, she’s never a princess or fairy- she’s now a Power Ranger or Princess Leia- something that I think is just a little bit awesome. I don’t know how to deal with girlie girls- they scare me- so I’m happy to see her trying to kick butt instead of waiting for her prince to get her.

But…then last night happened. My girlfriends took me out to celebrate my birthday last night- which was awesome. But it also involved one drink too many (that would be a total of two drinks for those keeping track at home)- which made me a very happy camper who desperately needed her bed last night.  But, instead of my bed, I got to bond with my dog at 12 am, 2 am and 5 am during some thunderstorms (don’t worry- the Hubs pulled his shifts too).  The upside was getting to watch True Blood and Falling Skies, the down side is the zombie like appearance I am sporting today.

Thank goodness for the bounce house we rented for the Bean’s big birthday party celebration this past weekend.  That sucker was worth every penny we paid for the hours of entertainment it brought the kids while I cat napped in the sun.

Is That a Ribbon?!

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There are a ton of awesome things that happen when you’re a pet owner. But you want to know what’s not awesome? Realizing at 9:30 pm, after finally getting home after a day of work, an evening of soccer practice, dinner out, Family Reading Night for your kindergartener and putting the kids to bed (only 1 successfully thus far) that you haven’t seen one of your very social cats in over 10 hours. Boo, the cat in question, loves people and loves being fed so when I poured her food in her bowl that night and she didn’t come running, I got nervous. She was acting a little funny- hyper and jumpy- earlier in the day but I didn’t pay that much attention.

I pulled out the big guns and opened a can of tuna.  She still didn’t come. Normally Boo would cut you for tuna, so I was more then a little freaked so I got the Hubs.   We then tear about the house (all the while trying to get the Bean to go to sleep already!), trying to find said cat. We finally located her under Scorch’s bed- the one bed that the one sleeping kid in our house in it. Because where else would she be?? I’m shining a very weak flashlight under the bed (because there is no way I’m turning on the lights and chance waking up Scorch) and I couldn’t tell if she was breathing so I panicked a little bit and worked frantically to get the crap out from under the bed to see the cat better all while not waking my kid.  I finally saw that Boo was breathing, but she’s wasn’t coming out. Thankfully I’m married to man with freakishly long arms and the stealth of a ninja and he was able to pull the damn cat out by the scruff of her neck to see what’s going on.

We carried Boo to the kitchen only to see that she has a big old piece of poop with a ribbon from a balloon in it is hanging out of her butt. I don’t know much about cat health, but I do know you’re NOT supposed to pull the ribbon- so we call the emergency vet to figure out what the heck to do. Boo is eating the tuna, but not letting us hold her or pet her and the Hubs is started to flip out a little. After much discussion with the emergency vets, they say to bring the cat in. At 10 pm. Keep in mind, Boo 1) hasn’t ridden in car in NINE YEARS because she’s such a freak show and 2) has to be sedated to be seen by our vet that comes to our house because she won’t let the vet examine her otherwise. It’s been so long since she’s ridden in a car that we don’t even own a cat carrier. So the poor Hubs has to run to Wal-mart to get one all while I sob because I CLEARLY suck as a cat mom.

The Hubs got home within 20 minutes with this cheap-o made-of-recycled plastic carrier that doesn’t shut right that we slap together and throw the cat in. Boo doesn’t even make a SOUND, so I know she’s dying. I gave her a kiss while trying not to smell her stinky ass and sent her on her way with the Hubs.

I can’t sleep, but I got into bed anyhow and stared at my cell phone willing it to ring with an update. 15 minutes after the Hubs left (not enough time to get to the vets), I get a text message that simply says “Am covered with mud, coursing with adrenaline.” I freak out, wondering what the holy heck is happening, trying to figure out what’s going on. The only thing I could imagine was that the cat got sick in the carrier and escaped into the night while the Hubs was trying to clean her up.

Nope…cat was fine. Turned out, a car traveling opposite the Hubs flipped over 3 times in front of the Hubs and landed in a ditch. The Hubs immediately stopped to help. After getting the driver (who was thankfully largely unhurt) out of his totaled car, calling 911 and talking to the Sheriff, the Hubs was a muddy, wet mess who still had to take his sick cat to the vet. 

By the time they got to the vets, it was after 11 and no one else was in the emergency room.  The Vets rushed Boo right back in to be looked at, but not 5 minutes after they left, an elderly gentleman came running into the vet ER screaming for a gurney. One of the vets helped the guy get a gurney and went out to help him get his animal inside. The Hubs assumed the guy had to have a big animal with him- otherwise why wouldn’t he carry the animal in himself? Nope- the gentleman had a cat he was bringing in, only the cat was in an oxygen tent. The poor man was babbling about how the cat arrested twice on the 2.5 hour ride to the animal hospital but he was able to get him going again (how? the Hubs didn’t ask). The cat was 18 and lived in an oxygen tank but the man wanted the vets to do whatever they could to keep the kitty going. Never underestimate the love of a cat owner, people.

Finally, almost an hour after the Hubs got there, Boo was finally seen. I’ll skip over the gross parts- Boo was ultimately fine and got home with the Hubs around 2 am that morning.  We were supposed to be checking on her every 30 minutes the following day, but that cat was pissed at all the indignities from night before- the car ride, the carrier, being seen by a vet, being sedated- that she hid from us for the next 24 hours.  Thankfully she managed to get over herself long enough to come out when tuna was offered, so I know she’s on the mend.

The moral of the story: 1) balloons are the devil’s toy and 2) don’t forget about your cat for 10 hours, nothing good will come of it.

 

Crazy’s All Nighter

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Last night was a horrible night for bedtime at our house. A combination of a lot of things I won’t bore you with resulted in us starting the kid’s bedtime routine at 6:45 last night in the (vain) hope that the kids would go to bed quickly and easily.  Yeah- not so much.  The Bean was wonderful, but Scorch was freaking out over everything.

The Hubs monitored the situation for the first hour, then he tagged me in to take over before he lost his mind.  While he was downstairs, he fed and watered all our animals and (unbeknownst to me)  put Crazy, our dog, out to go to the bathroom one last time. While Crazy was outside, I asked the Hubs to come back up to help me.

After another 45 minutes of fighting with Scorch, he finally fell asleep and the Hubs and I went to bed shortly there after.

Fast forward to 6:30 this morning when Scorch was up for the day.  I brought him downstairs into our basement so we could watch TV. Normally Crazy greets us as soon as we get down there, but this morning, no Crazy.  She’s almost 10 and losing her hearing, so I figured she was just sleeping.  Nope. The dog isn’t anywhere in our basement. I know she’s not upstairs anywhere, so I proceed to lose my mind and yell bloody murder for the Hubs to get out of bed and downstairs NOW.

He confirms that I’m not nuts and that the dog is, in fact, missing- so I asked him if he brought the dog in last night.  That is when he got the universally recognized “Oh Shit” look on this face and we both ran to the door.  After a few minutes of us yelling (thank goodness we live in the country),  Crazy finally came to the door.

I have no idea where she spent the night, but she came back happy, dry and completely unhurt.  That is a minor miracle considering we got 3 inches of snow last night.  She bounded into the house as frisky as a puppy and wanted to play for another hour before crashing.  My heart rate finally returned to normal around noon today and Crazy spent the day sleeping on the couch.

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In completely unrelated news, I finished Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I really enjoyed it! Parts of it were a little wooden, but I flew through it and had a very hard time putting it down.  I also finished Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. I loved, loved, loved 90% of this book. The description of friendships had and lost was wonderful. The end felt a little rushed to me, but I’d highly recommend it!

Wishing & Hoping

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This weekend the Hubs had to work most of Saturday and he had a honey-do list a mile long on Sunday, so I decided to take the kids and head to my mother-in-law’s house for the weekend.  We’ve been wanting to visit for a while now and us getting out of town made the Hubs feel less guilty about working, so off we went.

The weekend wasn’t without it’s share of glitches, like the two new tires I had to purchase on our way out of town Friday night when I ran over something and sliced my tire right up, but we had a great time never the less!  We played hard at the Please Touch Museum in Philly on Saturday, then continued to play hard at my mother-in-law’s Saturday night and Sunday morning thanks to all the sports equipment she keeps stocked at her house!  Prior to the trip, Scorch didn’t sleep for 2 nights because he was so excited about seeing his Mimi & Grandpa.  He slept great while we were gone, but today the lack of sleep caught up with him.

Mother Nature heard my pleas and Spring seems to finally have arrived so we capitalized on it and hit the park the minute I got out of work. All was well until Scorch saw a group of older kids (10 and older) playing a fun kickball/dodge ball game and wanted to join in the fun. The kids were nice enough, but they basically told him that he couldn’t play- he was too little.  As I was trying to steer him away from the older kids, it started to rain.  The kids telling him no, plus my insistence that was time to go before the heavens really opened up was just too much for Scorch and he started sobbing. I understood his disappointment and sympathized with him a bit, but he was just primed and ready for a full meltdown, so that is what he did.

> First it was over the kids not letting him play and it was so NOT FAIR that he wasn’t older. Why didn’t I have him sooner?

> Then it was NOT FAIR that it was raining and why did it always rain?!

> It was NOT FAIR that I wouldn’t let him pet a strange dog at the park.

> It was really NOT FAIR that I wouldn’t let him have a puppy. Why wouldn’t I let him have a puppy? He really wants a pupppppppppppy!

All I could think about is a puppy?? Seriously- you want a puppy, kid?!  The dog we do have is home drugged to the gills because we have thunderstorms in the forecast and knowing my luck, I’ll be up with her all night to ensure she doesn’t eat her way through our door to get out and you want a PUPPY!?  I would honestly rather give myself a root canal at home then get another dog at this point.

Next time when he melts down, he might as well ask for a unicorn that vomits out rainbows because that is as likely to happen as a new puppy.