Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

A Slow Workday

In dogs, Humor on May 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Yesterday, I wrote about a horrible stench outside my family’s house, which was especially noticeable in our yard. I had a few theories about the smell: maybe a neighbor had used pungent fertilizer in her garden; or perhaps the dog we buried in our yard last summer was decomposing. It turns out that neither scenario was correct. The truth was far worse.

Today was a light workday for me. I ran out of things to do mid-afternoon. Since I was working from home, I didn’t have to pretend to be working, so I went outside. It was a beautiful day today: the sun was shining, the temperature was in the 80s, and there was a cool breeze. Except for today and one day last week, the weather has been miserable, so today was a perfect day to be outdoors.

I decided to start the spring clean-up in my yard. Last fall, we raked up all of the leaves in the front of our house and moved them into our fenced backyard. Where they stayed. I rationalized my laziness by saying that they would decompose and add much-needed nutrients to the soil. I have no idea if that’s true. But fast-forwarding to today, I was faced with a backyard and side yards filled with leaves.

I chose to de-leaf our deck first. As I swept, I noticed that the horrible odor was especially bad over on one side of our house. I left the deck and went over to the side yard to see if I could get to the root of the problem. I looked around and saw nothing … except for the neglected side yard, filled with leaves and three lid-less trash cans. We use those trash cans for the sticks and branches that we pick up in our yard. I noticed that the cans smelled funny. I looked a little closer and saw that they were filled with branches and rainwater. Lots of rainwater.

I turned the trash cans onto their sides to drain them. The bad smell increased as the water poured out onto the ground. I suspected that the water had become putrid, which would explain the awful aroma. That is, until I saw a lump of gray fur tumble out of one of the cans onto a pile of dead leaves. It was followed by another gray lump, and another, and another, and another.

I looked closer and saw five long, bloated, pink-bellied squirrel corpses lying on the ground. Oh my God. Not only were they horrible to look at, they stunk like a sewer.

I should have dug five little graves, but instead, I shoveled them up, one by one, and bagged them. Then I bagged the bag. And put them into the trash. Thank God that tomorrow is trash day. I should probably give the sanitation workers masks to wear. And a large tip.

I’m still curious as to how five squirrels drowned in our trash can. All I can figure is that the squirrels, who sit on the top of the lattice surrounding our deck, fell into the trash can that was filled with water and drowned. I don’t know how this happened five times. Maybe they all jumped in to rescue each other.

While I was bagging the squirrels, our dog, Duke, decided to roll around in the mud where the squirrels had lain, and where the carrion flies were still buzzing around. I shooed him off and continued working. After taking out the trash, I poured a gallon of bleach onto the ground and into the trash can where the squirrels had decomposed, and then hosed everything down.

During the decontamination process, Duke noticed that I hadn’t shut the fence’s gate all the way, so he nudged it open and took off. For the next hour, I walked up and down side streets and main streets, covered in mud, leaves, sweat, and squirrel dander, calling, “Duke! Duke!”

Eventually he turned up. A neighbor had found him and followed the sound of my voice until she reunited us. After I thanked her and she left, I told Duke that he was in big trouble. He grinned and wagged his tail. I suspect that English isn’t his first language.

I took Duke home and put him in his crate for the rest of his life. Then I started worrying that he was getting squirrel cooties all over everything, so I sent him to the dog-washing place with my son, who had just gotten home and probably wished he had stayed away longer.

Once they had left, I knew I had to disinfect his crate, so on my way to get cleaning agents, I went out back to grab a Coke from a 12-pack carton that had spent the winter on the deck. I opened a can and it exploded in my face.

What a day. After I cleaned Duke’s crate, bathed, and burned my clothes, I realized that I should have pretended to work after all.

trash can



The Tell-Tale Smell

In Humor on May 2, 2018 at 2:36 am

Oo-oo that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Oo-oo that smell
The smell of death surrounds you.
Lynyrd Skynyrd

There’s a deathly smell in our backyard. It fills my nostrils with its stench and my heart with dread.

Our neighbors on both sides have recently begun landscaping their yards. I’m hoping that the foul odor is emanating from the fertilizer that one of them used. I know better, of course. And the truth is making my heart race and my stomach twist with anxiety.

The fear I’m experiencing is akin to the terror felt by the protagonist in Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Tell-Tale Heart. He killed an old man, dismembered him, and buried him under the floorboards. Even though he knew the old man was dead, he was driven mad by the sound of thumping, which he believed was the beating of the dead man’s heart.

My heart thumps wildly every time I step outside and am assaulted by the pungent aroma of decay, which sends me running back inside.

I know that smell. I’ve smelled that smell. A once-living being is rotting in my family’s yard. It’s only a matter of time until the jig is up.

Many years ago, my husband and I took the subway from Manhattan up to the Bronx to visit his mother. We had to walk several blocks from the subway to her house. As we walked down a short block, we were overcome by a vile aroma. We hurried down the block and soon forgot all about it. Then, the next day, we saw on the news that we had walked past a car that had a dead body in its trunk. The body had been in there for weeks.

Decades later, I still recall the foul air surrounding that car. And now it’s back. In our yard.

My fear is that it’s coming from the grave we dug for our dog, Rudy, last August. He died rapidly and unexpectedly on a Sunday evening as the sun was setting. The grave we dug was about three feet deep. We didn’t have time to dig any deeper. It was getting dark and flies were landing on him. We wrapped him in his vinyl wading pool and buried him before any nocturnal animals or vultures could become curious and pay us a visit.

The next day, the top layer of soil had sunk a bit, so we spent the next few days adding dirt to the top of the grave. No animals disturbed it. No rank aroma arose from the grave for the rest of the summer and fall. Then winter froze the ground and we felt confident that we were out of the woods, and Rudy was part of the earth.

But now, I wonder. Maybe the pool delayed his decomposition. Maybe he thawed out this spring and is just starting to decay. Maybe the vultures are on their way. Maybe the police are on the vultures’ heels.

There’s only one thing to do: buy especially offensive fertilizer and spread it all over the yard. We’ll have to do it every week, until the original stench dissipates. It’s going to be hard to differentiate between the two stinks. I guess we’ll have to fertilize forever.

At least we’ll have a legitimate explanation for the rancid cloud enveloping our home.





Duke’s Dog Fight

In dogs, Humor on April 12, 2018 at 1:28 am

Our dog, Duke, escaped from our yard the other day, got into a dog fight, and was Dukereturned to us by our neighbor. He looked fine when he got home, but it turned out that he wasn’t. In the evening, he brushed against the back door and howled like a stabbed wolf … which was pretty much what he was.

It turned out that he had been bitten. The bite was deep and painful. I don’t think he noticed it until he rubbed against the door, but once he did, he wouldn’t leave the bite alone. In minutes, he was standing in the kitchen in a puddle of blood. When I tried to clean the wound, he tried to bite off my hand.

We got Duke two months ago from the local shelter. Since the day he joined our family, he has been sweet and playful. So it worried us when he snarled, bared his teeth, and tried to bite us when we went anywhere near his injury.

The bite was discovered on Saturday night so we didn’t get him to a vet until Monday, since our vet was closed. Two visits and more than $900 later, we had a bag of pills and a sedated dog. That’s all $900 gets you these days at our vet. But I will save that rant for another day.

Getting the pills into Duke was an adventure. I’d stuff them in cheese or sausage hunks and he’d eat them. Hours later, I’d find the pills all over the house. He ate the meat or cheese, secreted the pills in his cheek, and spit them out when nobody was looking. So, I’d try again, with more meat or cheese, and stand over him until I was sure the pills had been swallowed.

As I said, trying to clean the wound was out of the question, unless we wanted to lose fingers or a limb. So we ignored the blood that had dripped down his side and dried on his fur. He was obsessed with the cut, however, so he opened it up every time a scab formed, either by licking it or scratching it with his leg. He was in a lot of pain for several days, until the antibiotics started working, so we had to be very careful when we tried to make him stop opening the scab.

Our first strategy was to put one of those lampshade collars on his head. That kept him from licking the wound, but he could still reach it with his leg. It also made him think that since he couldn’t move his head, he couldn’t move anything. So he would stand stock still like a statue. This was very inconvenient for us because he’s a wide dog and he always managed to be blocking the doorway we wanted to go through.

Since his imagined paralysis became a hindrance to us, we took off the lampshade and put a T-shirt on him, knotting it on the top so he couldn’t lick the bite. Of course, he could still scratch it with his leg, and he did, which left us with a dog walking around in a bloody T-shirt. I don’t know how we initially got the shirt on him, but there was no chance he was going to let us take it off and put on a clean one. The snarling and the snapping of his giant teeth terrified us.

We began to wonder if we had adopted the Devil’s dog. I hoped not, because I wouldn’t have the guts to return him to the shelter. People who work at shelters have a gift for making you feel like bottom feeders if you return your adopted pet, even if the pet is possessed by demons. Fortunately, he went back to being a sweet dog once he felt better.

But, before then, when he was in agonizing pain, he decided he was dying. From reading about the phenomenon and witnessing it first-hand with our last dog, we knew that when dogs are dying, they separate themselves from their family, find a private place to lie down, and wait to die.

Ever since we had gotten him, we would let Duke into our fenced yard and whistle for him to come in. He always responded immediately and raced to the door. That was until he got bitten. After that, he would go out, find a dark corner of the yard, lie down, and wait. No amount of whistling could get him to come in. Of course this always occurred after dark, usually after midnight, so we couldn’t see him, and we couldn’t yell his name for fear of waking the neighbors. Usually it was up to me to walk around the yard with my iPhone flashlight, looking for him. When I finally found him, I’d hiss at him, “You’re not dying. Get the hell inside.” Then I’d grab his collar and drag him into the house.

Things have calmed down now that the pills are working. He’s still bleeding all over the floor and spitting pills in corners, but he’s playful and happy.

You can’t have everything.

Don’t Eat That, Eat This!

In dogs, Humor on January 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm

IMG_3567We adopted a dog, Duke, from the Connecticut Humane Society last week. We were told that he’s about four years old and a German shepherd mix. He was surrendered by a family who was moving and couldn’t take him with them. That’s all we learned from the shelter.

What we learned directly from him this week is that he is a very happy, sweet, loving dog. He doesn’t know many commands, but he’s housebroken and he comes in from our fenced-in yard when called. We were unable to train our last dog, Rudy, to do this, so we were very glad that he obeyed that command.

Also unlike Rudy, Duke likes his Kong, which is an indestructible plastic toy with a hole in it. You put treats in the hole and the dog spends hours—or minutes, depending on the dog—trying to get the treats out of the Kong.

Being a thrifty person, I decided to make treats to put in Duke’s Kong. So, last night, I put globs of Jif peanut butter on a pizza pan and baked them. The globs spread out into round cookie shapes. They didn’t come off the pan like cookies, however. They broke up and became gravel. I formed the gravelly bits into cylinders that would fit in the Kong’s hole, put them back on the pan, and took them outside to freeze.

Peanut butter doesn’t freeze. I think the oil in it might be the reason. Nevertheless, I gave Duke one of the cylindrical-shaped peanut butter globs and he ate it. I gave him another with the same result. Success! Now I have a container of peanut butter things to use in his Kong.

There’s only one problem. They resemble something else and I don’t want to train him to eat that other thing. I think the solution is to not let him see them again. I’ll fill his toy when he’s not looking.

We’re teaching him to be good, not disgusting.


100% baked Jif Peanut Butter



How Much is that Doggie in the Credenza?

In dogs, Humor on January 10, 2018 at 11:09 pm
Duke 01:08:2017

Photo credit: Luke Porco

We got a new dog, Duke, two days ago. We adopted him from the Connecticut Humane Society in Westport. We were told that he is a German Shepherd mix. He looks more like a Golden Retriever/Husky mix to us. He might have some German Shepherd in him, but he doesn’t have the long pointy face or ears. He actually looks eerily like our Golden Retriever, Rudy, who died this summer, except for his stocky body.

Speaking of Duke’s stocky body, we were told that he is on a weight-loss diet. He had lost nine pounds since arriving at the shelter and we were encouraged to keep the weight loss going. Boy, did he come to the wrong house. I am not a paragon of clean eating by any means. My family has started to work on his weight, however, with exercise and low-calorie food. Duke needs to buckle down and cooperate, though. Yesterday, he ate my slippers and I happen to know that they’re high in saturated fat.

His weight makes him very broad across the back and rear, so I have had to take his girth into consideration while shopping for a crate. We hope to crate-train Duke, once we figure out what that means. We had the same intention for Rudy, but he refused to go anywhere near his crate.

Maybe it was because it looked like a prison. This time around, I decided to get an attractive crate that looks like a piece of furniture. My sister has a beautiful wood and metal crate for her dog. It’s so pretty that I would consider napping in it.

When I went online and searched for “furniture dog crates” and “wood crates,” I found some unexpected designs. Many of the wood crates on the market are actually pieces of furniture that you keep your dog in.

They’re downright odd. Think about it. You go to someone’s house and put your bag down on their credenza (aka buffet) and are greeted by a dog who is staring at you through the bars. Or, you turn on a lamp at a friend’s house and there’s a puppy inside the side table. Imagine working at your corner desk while your pet nips at your ankles.

Take a look at these crate designs and see if you also think that they’re creepy. I’m a big fan of multi-purpose objects, but as the saying goes, “these ain’t them.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 10.29.39 PM.png

I think this design came from an animal cracker box.

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I wouldn’t want to be around when he finally gets out.

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 10.33.00 PM

Yes, he is supposed to hang out in there.

Photos from

Thank You, Rudy

In dogs, Pet Death, pets on August 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Rudy1Our beautiful Golden Retriever, Rudy, died two weeks ago. I didn’t think I’d be able to write about it because of how sad we were, and still are, but I want him to be remembered in writing.

Until you own a pet, you don’t realize how hopelessly intertwined their lives become with yours. Every happy, joyful, thrilling, depressing, sad, dispiriting, and even mundane moment of your family’s life is shared by your pet, who contributes to your responses with joy, compassion, or equal boredom. When that pet is no longer with you, there’s a void in your lives and a gaping hole in your family unit.

My parents had black Labrador Retrievers from my teen years on. I never really noticed them, other than as peripheral beings who would lie around or occasionally swim in our pond. I know that my father considered Sam to be his dog, and my mother considered Chaka to be her dog. I’m not sure who Licorice, our first dog, belonged to. I was a teenager when we got her, and too self-involved to notice what was going on around me.

Rudy5My husband, son, and I have had only had one dog, Rudy. He had a personality as big as the house. He was so joyful that you couldn’t help but laugh at his big, drooly grin. Right up to the day he died, my young-adult son would say, “I love his face! Look at his smile!”

We really should have named him Joy. But he had other sides, too, and some were uncannily human-like. For instance, when I talked to him, he would cock his head sideways, like he was really considering what I was saying. When he saw me drinking wine, he would bark and bark so that my husband would notice. When my husband would say, “She’s allowed to drink,” Rudy would snort in disgust and walk away.

He disapproved of many things, so there was a lot of huffing and puffing from him. He didn’t like when I told him he couldn’t have what I was eating. He especially didn’t like when I stayed up too late, according to his timetable. He would bark and bark, and then my husband would yell, “Shuuuuut Uuuuup!” Then Rudy would snort and throw himself down on the rug at my feet. He would also be sure to give me the side eye while I continued reading or watching TV.

Rudy16Rudy was also very conniving. If he was outside and barked to come in, I would open the back door. Then, he’d just stand there. If I didn’t offer him something he wanted to eat, he refused to come in. However, if I closed the door on him, he’d start barking again to come in. Sometimes, if I got too close to him with whatever food I was bribing him with, he’d grab the food and run off like a burglar. We had to admit that he was clever to make us bribe him to do something he wanted to do, like come in.

We had an inkling from the day we got him, when he was barely eight weeks old, that our lives were going to get interesting. Of course he was terrified. We had just taken him from his six siblings and parents. We understood that. So, we tried not to react when he walked into our house and emptied his bowels on our new dining room rug.


Rudy in his homemade “Thundershirt.”

Our patience was sorely tested over the next year, however. He chewed baseboards, ate whole flip flops, and dug up our new carpets like they were dirt. He was terrified of fireworks, thunderstorms, and even rain. We learned that the hard way. One day, we left him alone and when we came home during a thunderstorm, he was happily sitting among endless curls of our new Berber carpet that he had dug up. When he was afraid, he would dig, no matter where he was.

He was also an escape artist. If the front door was open even a sliver, he’d dash out and run all over the neighborhood, behind houses, across busy streets, and onto lawns. I spent many a midnight running behind our neighbors homes, praying that they wouldn’t wake up and call the police. If it had happened to snow, the game level increased. He’d roll and jump and let me get almost close enough to grab him, and then take off.

Rudy2I remember telling a friend that the first months were exhausting, with all of the chasing and crying. “Why was Rudy crying?” she asked. “He wasn’t,” I said. “I was.” Racing up and down streets in my robe in the middle of the night was harrowing.

Rudy put my son through the same paces on their daytime walks. He learned to slip his collar and take off. No matter what kind of collar we put on him, he’d learn to escape from it. There were so many times that my son came home from walks cursing and sweating and dragging Rudy up the front steps.

But, we were always able to laugh, after the urge to kill wore off. Rudy was just so full of life and joy that it was contagious. We were able to forgive him for anything, even the times he pulled the leash out of our hands and dove into the nearest mud puddle or muddy brook at the park. At least those horrifying incidents made for good pictures. And, he always resignedly accepted his fate of being hauled to the dog-washing place.

Rudy13Rudy got bathed or hosed down a lot in the summer because, like all Retrievers, he loved to swim. He’d swim until the end of time, if we let him. We would take him to the dock of a nearby river, or to a nearby dog park at a lake, and he’d fetch balls in the water with all of the other dogs. Playing fetch combined with swimming was his idea of the best life had to offer, not counting food, of course.

Rudy3Rudy had another side, too. He was compassionate to the bone. If any of us were sick, depressed, or upset, he’d be right by that person’s side for as long as it took. He was so loyal that it touched our hearts. When we were sad, he was sad right along with us. If one of us were depressed, he’d lick and lick and lick our faces, letting us know that he loved us.

The day before he died, he was as lively as ever. He had slowed down a little, but not much. He was nine and would be 10 on Halloween. He and I had gone out back and played fetch, and then he dug and ate grass while I weeded my garden. Then, we went back inside and my husband and I left for the movies at 6:30 p.m. Our son was at work. When we came home, around 10, our son was home. I asked him where Rudy was. He said he had just gotten home and he had called Rudy, with no response. That was odd. Rudy was always waiting for us by the front door. As soon as he heard our car pull up, he would bark his head off.

I looked all around the house, and then went to the basement. Rudy was huddled in the dark. He had been sick. We cleaned him and the floor and then tried to get him to come upstairs. He refused, so my son decided to sleep on the basement couch, next to him.

Rudy18The next morning, we discovered that Rudy had been sick several times. We tried to comfort him and tell him he’d be okay. At one point, he demanded to go out back. We let him out. He never came back in.

Our son had to leave for work in the early afternoon, but before he left, he and I tried to get Rudy to the car to see the emergency vet. It was Sunday, and our regular vet’s office was closed. Rudy was very large and weighed more than 100 lbs. We couldn’t lift him, so we dragged him to a sled and got him on it. We planned to drag the sled to the car. Rudy was very weak, but he mustered his strength, stood up, and went back to where he had been lying. We tried again, with the same results. We decided that he wanted to stay home to recover. Our son left for work.

Rudy glassesMy husband and I took turns sitting with him. We truly thought Rudy was just sick and would recover. We knew that he was really sick, though. He had such little strength that, when he lifted his head to drink from his bowl, he couldn’t get his head out of the bowl.

I will be forever grateful that we kept a vigil with him during his last hours. After I sat with him, and told him that he’d be fine, that he was the most wonderful dog in the world, and that we loved him, I went inside and my husband sat with him. When my son got home from work and rushed out back to see Rudy, Rudy looked at him, convulsed, and died. He was waiting to see us all before he left us.

Rudy in poolThe shock was indescribable. The grief was awful. But we had to focus. Flies were landing on him and we had to do something quickly. We wrapped him in his vinyl blow-up pool, and dug his grave. We read that the grave should be at least three feet deep to keep animals from digging him up.

It was late afternoon and the sun would be setting soon. We dug and dug and, about two feet down, hit solid rock. We could dig no further. The sun was now lower in the sky. We could either find another place to dig or use the grave we had dug. Our yard is not an easy place to dig. We had encountered thick tree roots, vines, and rocks, that had to be cut or dug up, after almost every shovelful of dirt was removed. We didn’t know if our digging would be any easier if we started over someplace else.

We decided to use the shallow grave we had dug. We gently lowered him into the hole and covered him with dirt and rose petals from our rose bush. Our son drove to the hardware store and got topsoil and heavy rectangles of sod. We cried and cried as we covered him with more dirt, and then the sod.

Rudy4When we were finished, I walked across the sod to pat it down and made a horrible discovery. I could feel Rudy’s body under the sod. Oh my God. I was walking on his head.

It was dark by then, though, so we decided to wait until morning to do anything else. We placed the sled on top of him, to deter animals (As if that would work. We obviously weren’t thinking clearly at the time).

The next day, I cautiously approached his burial site. Thank God no animals had moved the sled or tried to dig him up. I lifted the sled. I walked on his grave. I could still feel him. It was a really terrible situation.

Our son went back to the store and bought more dirt and more sod. We piled sod on top of sod, on top of sod. This is not the recommended method for sodding a lawn. We didn’t care. We reasoned that, eventually, the first one or two layers would settle around him and then the top layers would lie flat.

That’s what we’re hoping. Meanwhile, there’s an unexpected mound in the middle of the grass. At least he’s safe.

We love you, Rudy. Thank you for nine wonderful years.



Three Rotting Bananas

In baking, Humor on August 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

I don’t like to cook. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it –– or attain a trance-like state while I chop, slice, and dice, like a friend of mine does.

“Chopping vegetables is so relaxing,” she told me a few years ago. To this day I don’t know if she was being serious, or lying to see my reaction. I just told her she was nuts.

Chopping onions burns my eyes. When I peel carrots, I always wind up peeling the skin off my index finger. Grating cheese always involves grating my fingernail along with the cheese, and then sifting through the pile of cheese to find the nail shavings. I now polish my nails bright colors so they’re easy to spot.

Most of all, I dread having to locate the necessary spices, because when I open the above-my-head spice cabinet, an avalanche of spice bottles roll out and fall into the sink, scaring both me and the dog.

By the time I manage to get whatever I’m making onto the stove or into the oven, the counters are littered with peelings, eggshells, onion skins, meat wrappers, and dirty pots, pans, bowls, and measuring cups. And the dog is underfoot, licking up whatever hit the floor.

As much as I dislike cooking, I thought I liked baking. Tonight’s attempt at making banana bread made me realize that I was thinking of someone else, maybe one of those cake experts on the Cooking Channel.

It all started with three bananas that were so ripe that they were going to liquefy if I didn’t do something with them fast. For as long as I’ve been alive, whenever someone complains that his or her bananas are brown, another person never fails to say in a perky voice, “Make banana bread!”

Up until today, I’ve always thrown out brown bananas (and steered clear of people who make upbeat pronouncements), because baking with putrid fruit never seemed honest. But, tonight, I decided to reconsider the ethical question of disguising rotten fruit as a loaf cake.

I looked up banana bread recipes and they all called for bananas that were well past the eating stage. Some of the recipes even gave instructions for transforming  perfectly nice bananas into sludge. All of the recipes demanded that the bananas be very brown, very soft, and very aromatic.

So, I made banana bread. The process was just as annoying as cooking, and easily as messy. Flour-drenched counters, a sugar-coated Golden Retriever, sticky bowls, and caramelized beaters awaited me once I slid the pan into the oven. It took me three hours to make one loaf pan of banana bread, not including the baking time. I blame the butter.

Who knew it took hours to bring butter down to room temperature? The recipe said to soften it naturally and not expedite the process with the microwave or hot water. Don’t you think that should have been mentioned right under the title, in all capital letters? But no, the author waited until I had mashed the bananas with sour cream and vanilla, mixed the dry ingredients, and tripped over the dog before mentioning that room-temperature butter had to be beaten with sugar.

Oh well. It’s done now. I have no idea if it’s any good. Nor will I ever know. I hate banana bread. I’ll probably freeze it, and one day when I can’t identify what it is, I’ll toss it in the trash.

Next time, I’m throwing out the brown bananas.

banana bread




Ode to July

In Humor, Summer on July 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm





fireworksI wait all year for you to show

And when you do, my heart’s aglow

I wear few clothes, but just enough

To hide the cellulite and stuff.





Your days are long and hot and funbeach

The water’s warm from all the sun

We swim, we picnic, we yell at raccoons

Who knock over our trashcans under the moon.




Rudy and Otto 4

Every day in July is a gift from aboveflip flops

There’s so much to do and so much to love

Swimming, sunbathing, water sports

Baseball, hotdogs, flip-flops, shorts.





Growing a garden, eating outsidesunset

Cutting fresh flowers, avoiding riptides

Biking, ice cream, watching the sunset

Kids, pets, adults … all soaking wet.





ice-cream-cone-1274894_960_720As long as it is, with its 31 days

It still goes by fast, in a sun-drenched haze

So, don’t bitch to me about the heat

Or I’ll kick you with my sunburned feet.





All photos were free/royalty-free from Pixabay.

Dog Justice

In dogs, Humor, pets on July 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If you have a dog (or cat or bird or reptile) or know someone who does, chances are one of you is going to ask a friend or relative to pet-sit while you go away for a few days. It’s a summertime ritual. It’s hard to say no to a friend or relative. It’s damn near impossible when you have a pet of your own. The first thing you think is, “Great! Now I know who to ask when I need a pet-sitter.”

That was our selfish thought last night when we agreed to watch our nephew’s Pit Bull puppy for a few days (after thinking that we wanted to help him out, of course). Otto arrived this afternoon. He is such a sweet dog. I got my lifetime’s allotment of puppy kisses within an hour of meeting him. It’s such a shame that some of these dogs are trained to be vicious. They’re very sweet and affectionate by nature.

Rudy & Otto 3Anyway, Otto and our huge Golden Retriever, Rudy, went crazy when they met each other. At first we thought they were trying to kill each other, but no. They were just over-excited and overjoyed. Once we calmed them down, they followed each other around for hours. When my nephew left, Otto had a moment of sadness. He ran to the window and watched my nephew go. Then he forgot why he was sad and went to find Rudy.

Otto and Rudy explored the whole house and the backyard. They got in Rudy’s pool together. They chased each other around and wrestled. They had treats together. They became buddies.

Then, at some point, Rudy realized that Otto wasn’t leaving. He had had enough of sharing me with another dog. So, Rudy decided to complain at the top of his lungs for hours on end. The barking became unbearable. Our yelling at him to stop barking probably became unbearable to our neighbors. We tried separating them, but they kept crashing through doors to reach each other. Then Rudy would start complaining again.

Otto got the idea that Rudy wanted him gone, so he started whimpering. Then he changed his tactic and decided to hump Rudy when Rudy was lying down. Rudy let out a rebel yell and we had to hold him back so he wouldn’t flatten Otto. Both dogs have been neutered, so the failed attempt at humping was Otto trying to show Rudy who was boss. Unfortunately for Otto, it isn’t him.

Dinnertime rolled around. Both dogs had their own food in their own bowls. Both dogs decided to eat each other’s dinner. Rudy ordinarily refuses to eat any dog food other than his brand. Today, however, Otto’s brand of kibble was the one thing in the entire world that he wanted with all of his heart.

After they ate, they ran out back and jumped in Rudy’s pool. Then they ran inside, rudy and otto 1dripping wet. Then they did it again. And again. The floors became pools themselves. The dogs skidded across the wooden planks as they flew from room to room.

My nephew had told us that Otto needed to be walked three times a day. Rudy loves walks but we have a fenced-in yard, so they’re not absolutely necessary. And Rudy never gets more than one walk a day. When it was time for Otto’s afternoon walk, I was the only person home, and there was no way that I was going to walk them both together. So, I took Otto out by himself. The look of betrayal on Rudy’s face was heartbreaking. When we got back, Rudy decided to make Otto pay. He followed Otto around, barking at him to go home.

I kept telling Rudy to be nice to Otto because Otto missed his daddy. Rudy barked at me and I knew exactly what he was saying, “Well, get him the hell out of here and give him back to his daddy.”

It’s going to be a long weekend. But at least we have a relative who owes us a pet-sitting.



Foul-Weather People

In Humor on September 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Awhile ago, during the anthrax scare—when government officials were receiving anthrax-laced letters—there was a rush on hardware stores for duct tape and plastic sheeting, as well as backorders for gas masks.

My husband and I didn’t buy into the panic, figuring that if chemical gas grenades were dropped into our neighborhood, plastic sheeting around our windows and doors probably wouldn’t keep it out. And we weren’t really sure we wanted to survive. We’re not industrious enough to want to help rebuild our society.

A friend of mine, however, bought everything she could get her hands on, and ordered gas masks for her family. I asked her why she wanted to survive a civilization-ending attack. She asked me why I didn’t. She didn’t have an answer, other than she didn’t want to die. My answer involved my being too lazy to start over. I didn’t state the obvious—that we’re all going to die eventually—for obvious reasons.

Then my friend mentioned that she read that bomb shelters would be built by the government to house people during bombings. I told her that, even if this were true, she and I wouldn’t be among those chosen to live in them.

“Why not?” she demanded, quite affronted.

“Because we don’t have any special talents that a new civilization would need to begin again, and we can’t have children anymore. There is going to be a need for young women who can breed, and we’re not that.”

I think the conversation ended then. What could she say? What I said made sense to both of us; we couldn’t have kids, and a post-apocalyptic world would have little need for IT managers or proofreaders.

Years later, I’m rethinking my argument. I have a very special skill that might be needed. My face predicts the weather. When it’s very humid, the right side of my head explodes in pain. This happens right before the humidity appears, too, so my head could be used to predict storms or something.

I also have Reynaud’s disease, so when it’s very cold and damp, several of my fingers lose all circulation and turn dead-white. But, by the time that happens, it’s already apparent that it’s cold and damp, so I’m waffling on the usefulness of that particular talent.

One concern I have is that there are many people who have steel plates in their heads and others who have arthritis, and they can also predict the weather with some accuracy. Dogs are also great predictors of thunder, lightning, and rain, and they’re cheaper to feed than I am. I’d better start work on my marketing campaign about why my head is a better weather-indicator than joints, steel plates, and dogs.

Then again, like I said before, I don’t want to rebuild. It makes me tired just thinking of all the work that will need to be done.

I think I’ll just stick with my original plan and ignore what’s going on around me. If that leads to the end of me, well, that will be that.

They’ll just have to find somebody else with a barometer face.



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