The Dog Blog

She is cute...

She is cute…

 

Four months ago my neighbor walked up my drive. I was outside working in the yard.

“Danny.”

“Yep?”

“This is our new puppy, Penny. She’s just a couple of weeks old. You wanna dog share?”

As we talked, I realized he and his children had purchased the dog without full permission from his wife. He was trying to save his marriage.

“It’s an interesting concept,” I admitted. If I was ever going to have a dog, split custody would be the way to go. You’d have built-in care when you went out-of-town, and you could split the expenses.

I briefly wondered if there was someone who might want to do the same with my kids.

I’ve always felt I was sort of robbing my girls of one of a child’s most precious experiences by not allowing them to have a pet, well save the Hermit crab. Perhaps this was a way to give them what they desperately wanted with only half the pain for me.

We decided that my neighbor would potty train the dog and that we would keep it when they went on vacation in several months. That would be our test drive.

It’s several months, we’re on day 7 of 9, and we’re failing the test.

I have spent the last week of my life arranging my schedule around Penny’s bowel movements. There is only one being on this earth that I’m willing to make adjustments to my schedule for bowel reasons:  ME. I do not like this.

I wake up at 6 AM so Penny can pee. She then eats. My neighbor told me that exactly ten minutes after she eats, we must take her outside because she WILL be pooping soon. The one thing he had wrong is “exactly” ten minutes. It could be less. It could be 9 or eight. Just ask my dining room carpet.

Oh, and just because she poops ten minutes later does not necessarily mean she ain’t gonna poo 20 or 30 minutes after that. Just ask the rug in my living room.

And guess what? I’m out of plastic Harris Teeter bags. Wanna know why? Because when I take Penny out to do her business, I then have to PICK HER BUSINESS UP and CARRY IT WITH ME for the rest of our walk. Yes, I have to pick up her dung, it’s a law in Raleigh. On Tuesday I happened to have an itchy nose. I had the leash in my left hand and bag of her brownies in my right hand, although I sort of forgot. When I reached up to scratch my nose, I realized I had %$#& about an eighth of an inch from my left nostril. I gagged.

At work I was telling a buddy of mine this story and he said, as if he had pondered this on several occasions, “You know Danny, you never see white dog poop anymore.” He then walked out of my office.

He’s right! When I was a kid, there was petrified white dog poop all over our neighborhood. When I’d mow the lawn it would fly out from under the blades.

Never, ever do I see that anymore.  I miss it.

You know why we don’t see it anymore?  It’s because we PICK UP OUR DOG’S FECES! That’s not right. We shouldn’t do that.  It should stay in nature where it belongs.

Although Penny is extremely sweet, and I have enjoyed her, this week has taught me that the Tanner family will not EVER be getting a pet, not even a fish. I don’t want to go outside at 11 PM waiting on a dog to decide which blade of grass to pee on. Twice I went myself in the yard while waiting. I thought that perhaps my example might spur her on; plus it was one less thing I’d have to do once I finally got back in the house.

The beautiful thing about the week is that I don’t think any of my kids will ever ask me if we can have a pet again. They’re as exhausted as I am!

I think I’ll keep my kids full-time. I think I’ll keep Penny on the occasional weekend. That will be plenty for all.

 

 

 

 

Piggy Pressure

Posted by Danny

The pig pressure is mounting.  Be strong – be strong.

The week before Christmas I had a sitter in for the girls.  I thought the sitter was my friend – we go to church together.  She is not –

Apparently when I called her to stay with the girls, she began thinking about a way to entertain them while I was out.  She reads our blog and had talked with DJ about the girls’ desire for an animal – specifically their preoccupation with a swine.

Rather than watch a nice G rated movie or play Monopoly, this calculating caregiver devised a plan that would both entertain the girls and support their oinkish objectives.

They spent the first hour of their time together drawing and cutting out pigs – there had to be fifty of them.  And on the back of each one, a message was written that would endorse the adoption of a sow.

The first piggy cut out I found was under the milk jug in the fridge.  The cute pink head, complete with snout, stuck to the bottom shelf.  I picked it up with curiosity – turned it over and found this inscription: We will help! 

I didn’t think much of it, besides, it was 1 am and I was hungry.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that there were pigs strewn about the house from my soap dish, to the mailbox, to my favorite pair of boxer shorts.  I even discovered one the following morning tucked under the windshield wiper, flapping in the wind as we drove down Capital Boulevard to church.

I’ll have to admit, the marketing campaign was compelling.  Their well thought out angle was clearly crafted by this woman who heads the communications department for a local nonprofit. 

  • Pigs teach responsibility.
  • They’re good for the environment.
  • Dads + Pigs = Love.
  • No extra vaccuming needed (hairless).
  • Coolest pet ever.
  • Jesse will build the fence.
  • Great blog posts.
  • We’ll buy him a bowtie collar.

All well and good, but I think the icing on the cake came when I opened my stocking on Christmas morning.  In the very top was a note in cursive:

Dear Danny, get the pig.  Santa

If I took creativity into account when considering the purchase of a family pet, we would already have one. 

I love my nutty kids but can’t figure out where they get that trait.

NO PIGS ALLOWED!

Posted by Danny

We are not getting a doggone pig!

I can’t believe I told the girls that my friend got a pet pig for her birthday.  They’ve been hounding me for an animal for years.  I need a pig like I need a gaping head wound.

I did NOT change my i phone background to a photo of a pig as DJ contends.  When I turned it on yesterday (in a business meeting), there it was –  a swine staring me in my face.  I was startled!  I almost snorted.

DJ has it all figured out.  She knows exactly where it will live, what it eats and how much the food will cost.  She even reminded me that female pigs have periods – NOT a selling point!  Can you imagine?  How do you handle that?

She claims they are very smart and can be trained to use a litter box – but the idea of a box of hog poo sitting in the corner of the den is also not a selling point.  Nasty; just nasty.

I will say, however, that if I was going to get an animal, it would be a pig.  How cool would it be to walk one of those around the block?  Lisa started collecting pigs years ago – we have them throughout our house.  We also have fifty or so pig Christmas ornaments.  If she were alive and found out a pig was a viable pet, there is no doubt in my mind we’d have one.

I wonder if we could try one out?  Unlike a dog, if it didn’t work, we could always just serve it up for breakfast.  I probably have a sausage maker in my utensil cabinet but just can’t identify it.

No!  We’re not going there!  I can barely take care of myself – much less three kids and a sow.

(Posted by DJ:  Broke into Dad’s blog account…we ARE getting a pig!)

Pigs A Plenty

Dad's i phone background picture - you know he wants one

Posted by DJ

We are getting a pig.

Yes – this is legal in Raleigh, if it weighs less than 100 lbs and is shorter than 22 inches in height. I’ve done my research.

It’s Dad’s fault.  He came home and told all three of his daughters about how his friend had recently gotten a pig for her birthday.  Then he admitted he really wanted one.

Normally when we bring up pets, specifically dogs, he just screams “NO!” and the conversation is over.  I know he really wants a pig because he brought it up and does not completely refute the idea when it is discussed.

Jesse and I have it all planned out.  It will stay in a crate in the backyard playhouse with a chicken wire fence surrounding it, built by Uncle Jesse.  In the winter it will stay in the basement hallway, out of the way of house guests.

Dad asks, “Who will take care of it when we are out-of-town?”

Jesse  responded, “Seriously? I would feel bad for asking anyone if they would take care of my huge dog for the next week.  But a pig?  People would gladly volunteer to take care of your pig because that just doesn’t happen everyday.”

Jesse also decided when we got a pig it would have to be pink.  “None of those brown or black pigs,” he said.  I thought that was pretty funny; he’s not usually the type to care.

Dad may say we are not getting a pig, but we totally are.  It will happen, and when it does we will need plenty of volunteer babysitters.  Leave a comment if you are in favor of this notion or if you will pig sit for us.  After all it’s not a childhood without a pet.

The Jungle That Is Stephanie’s Bedroom

Posted by Jesse

Most of the times I’m flying solo with the girls, I pride myself on being fairly entertaining. Not tonight. I was a tad weary from a long day and a late-breaking sports story that had me phone-watching for much of the evening. Working in sports, I hesitate to refer to anything I have to work on as “big” or “important”, but…people do like to talk sports and these people several means to communicate and, well, a lot of people used those means to ask me tonight what the hell happened to Butch Davis. If you have no idea who Butch Davis is, I currently envy you a great deal.

 So when a crisis broke out, I knew I had to spring into action with twice the usual exuberance to make up for my lackluster performance the rest of the night. After going upstairs to change into pajamas right before bedtime, Stephanie returned in tears. This itself was not the crisis, expecially considering earlier in the evening Steph had admitted that fake crying was a skill she traded on. (DJ, who may miss this post because she’s at camp, will be happy to learn this: remember the time you hit Steph with your dance bag and suspected she was embellishing the injury a bit? She was.)

Apparently the source of the tears was an animal on the looose. Not a stuffed animal mind you (though lose track of her stuffed moose and I guarantee you there will be tears, REAL tears, and lots of them), but a real, live animal. The missing creature? You guessed it, one of the vaunted Decapod Crustaceans that came back from Myrtle Beach.

My first move was to assess the tears.

“Are you crying because you’re worried your hermit crab is gone, or are you worried it’s running around your room?”

As suspected, it was most certainly the latter. And in fact, that’s not an unjustified paranoia. As has probably been chronicled on the blog before, Stephanie once had a hamster get out of its cage and bite her on the nose while she slept. Her room is where animals go to party. And bite people. That’s how we ended up with a hamster cage under a blanket behind a couch under lock and key in the unifinished, unvisited part of the basement. Poor Steph.

“I don’t care if my hermit crab is dead I just don’t want it crawling around my room!”

“I don’t see how that thing could have gotten out,” I said, examining the empty shells in the glass cage, doing my best Lenny Brisco impersonation and trying to determine if this nimble crab really could have scaled a glass bowl.

“Oh yeah, they definitely can,” offered Michelle. “My friend Kimmy had one and it got out and they found it a week later crawling on the stairs.” Glad she’s here.

I offered the sleeping downstairs option (no sweat off my back since “downstairs” means “Danny’s room”), but with uncaged animals and little girls, it is most definitely a “once bitten, twice shy” situation. Stephanie was not convinced that the hermit crab would not seek her out for retribution for being taken from his friend in Myrtle Beach. The crab had to be found.

It was about this time Stephanie recalled that she had been playing with her pet with a friend and, perhaps, could have left him outside the bowl. I confirmed this was highly likely, but the point remained: we had to find the monster crab that was threatening to terrorize the night’s sleep. And I needed a night’s sleep.

So I got down on hands and knees and after an extensive, exhausting 11-second search, was able to locate Priscilla swimming in the dust ruffle. Problem solved. Night saved. But just to be safe, everyone’s sleeping downstairs tonight.

Did something just move in the corner?

Our Decapod Crustacean

Posted by Danny

We’ve avoided animals like the plague in our family.  Lisa grew up with a dog that had bad gas.  I with a cat named Bunny who had an identity crisis.  And one day when I was in about 9th grade, I got to see my first X rated event when Reagan, our neighbors tom cat, raped Bunny in our driveway.  I did all I could but I just couldn’t stop him.  She never was the same.

One trick Lisa discovered was to give a kid a token pet to appease them.  Two started out with fish.  Our second phase was to give them something they could hold – a hermit crab.  We didn’t really have a phase 3.

DJ got her first when she was about six or seven.  Stephanie followed several years later.  This year, when shopping near Myrtle Beach, Michelle spotted an enormous cage filled with the nasty boogers.  I bet there were 150 of them – climbing all over the place.  One of them changing his shell so you could see his entire body – something I’d never encountered in my years as a crab owner.

I quickly acquiesced to her request hopeful that this would put off the dog conversation for another six to eight months. 

All three girls decided they had to have one – but I was only bankrolling Michelle’s crustacean.  The other two were on their own.

They stood and stared at the choices.  It was overwhelming, like having to pick out your baby from a lineup of cribs.

These days, the store owners have folks paint the crab shells to make them more appealing to the prospective owners.  Which to choose?  They all seemed perfect in their own little way.

The one with a flower on its shell?  How about Superman?  The fuchsia with neon green stripes looks like a winner.  Personally I liked Goliath – the largest one in the cage.  His legs sprawling down the one limb that spanned the axis of the cage. 

“That ones too big dad.  His pinchers could really hurt.”

I went to the counter to ask who would open the container and fish out our choices.

The stout, grandmotherly checkout clerk informed me that the cage was not locked.  “YOU get it out sir.”  The implication was I ain’t sticking MY hand in there.  I’ve seen what can happen.

“So I just open it and get the ones I want?”

“Yup.”

They decided on their pick:  for Stephanie the bright pink, DJ wanted Spiderman, and Michelle the one with the dainty pink flower.  I mustered up my courage and wound my arm through the hole – watching Goliath with one eye and my own prey with the other.

Stephanie’s was wild – a poor choice she thought.  “I’ve changed my mind daddy.  I want a calmer one.” 

“Me too,” DJ echoed.  “Spiderman looks angry!”

“I don’t like mine either – I think he’s dead.  Look, he’s just sitting there.”

I go in again.  “Are you sure this is it?”  The decision were made.

“They need extra  shells, a sponge and plenty of food” my checkout friend informed.

Yeah, you’re all about helping now aren’t you?  Clearly grandma was working on commission.

On the way out the door, each one made a last-minute swap.  My patience and bravery were about to expire.

In the car Stephanie informed me that her crab and DJ’s were cuddling…or mating.

“Do they really…” DJ didn’t finish her sentence.

I was glad.  I didn’t need to have that conversation with the grandparents in the car.

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