Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category


26 Aug

This is Rocco.  He joined our family last Saturday at 12 weeks old.  I picked him up just outside of Austin and drove home with him through some pretty torrential downpours.  What should have been a 3.5 hour return trip turned into 5 hour drive with massive traffic.  Blech.

Kaelin has been begging for a pet for several months now, but even though we had committed to get Rocco several weeks ago, the kids knew nothing of our new companion until they walked into the bedroom and he was there (we told them to come downstairs because they had some laundry to put up.

I have since been told multiple times that I am the BEST! MOM! in the WHOLE! UNIVERSE! – and I have the video recordings to prove it should they change their minds in the future.

Once we got home, he adjusted pretty quickly.  He was pretty worn out from his big day, and immediately found a nice place to nest on my pillow.

Later that evening, he curled up behind me and fell asleep on his back while grooming himself.

He’s a super cuddle bug and his motor starts running the second you touch him – even if he’s mad at you for not letting him explore the closet.  He loves to play and will chase just about anything – including the pants you’re trying to put on in the morning or your feet under the covers even when you’re CERTAIN you haven’t moved.

I’ll have more pictures and videos to post of him in the near future I’m sure.  Kittens have a way of hijacking your focus, even when they aren’t actually doing anything.


Trip with Aana

24 Oct

Koren got to go on a 3-day trip to Kansas last week with his grandma.  He was very excited and probably would have left without even giving us a goodbye if we had let him get away with it.

Kaelin, on the other hand, has some trouble with goodbyes, and cried for 20 minutes after he left.  We found her in her room sobbing, curled up in her rocker and clutching a picture of Koren to her chest.

Oh, the Drama.

Despite the fact that she had spent the previous several days trying to shoo him away so she could play with her new birthday gifts by herself, she was convinced that the world would end if she didn’t have her playmate for a few days.

“I don’t want Koren to go!  He’s going to go have fun and I won’t have any fun here because I can’t play with him!”
“You’ll be plenty busy with school and your birthday party until he gets back.”
“But when he comes back he won’t want to play with me anymore!”
“Kaelin he’s only gone for 3 days.  He’s not going to turn into a different person by Saturday.”

I told Koren how much I was going to miss him and that he had to call me while he was gone.  I got a call about 10 minutes later.  Apparently he told Aana that he had to call Mama RIGHT NOW the minute they drove out of the neighborhood.

They had a great time and Koren turned out to be a very good little traveler, except for his uncanny tendency to sleep through all the areas that have rest stops, while needing to go potty at every point where there is no rest stop for miles.  They got to Kansas at about 2am and finally into bed at about 3:00 – at which point Koren suddenly announced that it was time to TALK.  Apparently he had a couple of (made up) stories that he wanted to get off his chest.  And then he was up bright and early at 7am the next morning.  I’m told Aana consumed quite a bit of coffee on this trip.

Kaelin eventually recovered and had a fine weekend, though we went through another set of sobs and wails when she had to say goodbye to the dog, who was spending the weekend at the “puppy hotel.”

I hear that girls get more emotional when they hit puberty.  Lord help us.


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Posted in Here We Go Again, Kaelin, Kid Quotes, Koren, Pets, Photos, Travel


Merry Christmas, Y’all!

25 Dec

I don’t have a scintillating Christmas post prepared.  I’m not very good at the sentimental stuff.  But after a long and cold (at one point it hit -24°F) drive to Anchorage beginning at 5am this morning, my husband finally returned with my parents, who will be visiting us for the next week.

My parents received a royal greeting from the kids, who went into hyper overdrive from their excitement at seeing them. They were smothered with loud affection and given the “tour” of the house as though they’d never been here before.

Out guest, Bear the Guinea Pig has been returned to his “cage” for the evening to decompress from a full day of near-constant attention. Speaking of Bear, a note to any parent who volunteers to take home the class pet for the holidays:  it is, apparently, foolish to assume said pet will come with an actual CAGE.  Bear was handed to us in a cardboard box, which he would have chewed through in approximately 3 minutes.  Fortunately for everyone, we happen to have a dog kennel, which is serving as his temporary quarters.

The fire is going (it’s a balmy 5° outside). Cookies have been baked and set out for Santa.  Our Christmas Eve Present tradition has been executed, and the kids were both thrilled with the one present they opted to open.  The holiday music is playing, and my parents are doing some last minute wrapping while I prepare to fill some stockings and enjoy some of Santa’s milk & cookies.  I have a feeling Bear will be thrilled with the “reindeer’s” carrots.

Wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you all.  I know this year is harder than years past for some of you, but regardless of your circumstances, I hope that it remains an event that brings warm memories for years to come.

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Posted in Holidays, Pets


How We Roll

22 Dec

Happy Solstice!

Well, the shortest day of the year has come and gone.  From here on out, the sun should stick around a few minutes longer every day.

We got to see the lunar eclipse last night too, which was something I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen before. It seems like lunar eclipse nights are always cloudy, but last night we had a clear view of the red moon.  Apparently it was the first total eclipse on a Solstice in 600 years or something.

Jens is celebrating the Solstice by spending it in the ER.  Again.

It’s official.  His immune system just can’t handle Alaska.  We’ve all been hit this year.  Between Jens’ bouts of strep, broken limbs, multiple colds, and Koren’s Dragon Croup and other illnesses… they ought to offer us a frequent customer discount at the ER.  I’m pretty sure our family accounts for at least 10% of their business.

Even I’ve had 3 colds since we moved here 8 months ago, and that’s about 6x my normal frequency for such things.  I just got over one a few days ago and was afraid Jens was coming down with what I had… but it seems he has invented his own strain of … whatever it is.

He’s been fighting a fever today and has some pretty severe oral ulcers.  There’s a spot on his tongue that looks like he bit a chunk out of it and his tongue is swollen to the point that he can’t talk without sounding like he has a bad speech impediment.  He’s been cold all day and a pretty decent dose of ibuprofen and Tylenol a couple of hours ago did nothing to lower the fever.

Kaelin remains the only one of us able to avoid all things infectious, it seems.

Speaking of Kaelin, I’m not quite sure what I’ve gotten myself into, but I’ve agreed to bring the class pet home to spend the holidays with us.

Kaelin’s teacher called today to voice the need for someone to care for Bear the Guinea Pig over Christmas break.  She knew how much joy Kaelin would get out of such an assignment, and was sure that Kaelin would be VERY ATTENTIVE to Bear’s needs.  (If you recall, this is the same 5 year old that ignored the Easter Bunny, Egg Hunts, Pony Rides and playground at her farewell party, so that she could stand around and hold a pet mouse for two hours.  She is borderline obsessive about small rodents.)

Jens is afraid the dog will eat the guinea pig.  Theoretically, that would only happen if my children set the guinea pig loose in the house when nobody’s watching, which surely…

Oh dear, what have I done.

Fortunately for Bear, my parents will be here too, so there will be two extra sets of eyes around.  Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t spend Christmas tearing the house apart and looking for poop trails in a desperate attempt to track down an over-sized rodent.


Pet This

02 Nov

Kaelin is forever begging me to get her a new pet.  A puppy, or perhaps a kitten.  We already have a dog, but she doesn’t seem to think that having a pet counts unless it is HER pet.

Unfortunately for a certain 5-year-old, she’s probably going to be out of luck for some time.  We JUST got down to having one pet.  One shedding, toy-destroying, carpet-puking, door-escaping, food-stealing, playroom-pooping pet.

We used to have a cat, who as you may recall had some irritable bowel issues and quit using the litterbox.  He’s living in Seattle now and is apparently loving life as an indoor/outdoor cat.  His litterbox issues have all but disappeared.  I’m happy for him, and even more happy for me that I will no longer be stepping over poop in the laundry room each time I try to leave the house.

But Kaelin thought of him as HER cat.  She loves him.  She misses him.  She wants to replace him as soon as possible.

And sometimes I think, maybe having a new cat around wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  At least they usually come potty trained.

But then I start to think about the accessories that come with owning a pet.  The food, the pet carriers, pet beds, pet toys – oh, and don’t forget THE LITTER BOX.  I think I’d be ok if I never saw another litterbox as long as I lived.  Much less had to clean one.

And then the added vet costs and boarding costs each time we want to go out of town.

Sometimes I think maybe Kaelin could start small, like a hamster or guinnea pig.  But then I have visions of smelly cages and rodent droppings on my carpet, and tears from getting bitten, and missing rodents in my house, and OMG THE DOG ATE THE HAMSTER HOW AM I GOING TO EXPLAIN THIS TO HER?

So no new pets for now.  I’m hoping she’ll be satisfied with the robotic kind for a while.

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Don't Be a Moron

13 Oct

Ok, can we just talk about something that is slowly but surely moving past the point of “pet peeve” and into the realm of “makes me stabby?”

Irresponsible dog owners.

I have spent the past 7 years living in two states where it seems like everybody, including myself, owns a dog. And during that time it has become all too clear that there is a prevalence of a certain breed, if you will, of dog owners that borders on reckless. Folks in this category are either too stupid to realize or too inconsiderate to care that their pets are a menace.

And I for one, am tired of encountering them and fending off their beasts.

I hope you’re not one of these people, but in case you’re worried about it, let’s go though a few litmus tests:

If you think the “All Dogs Must Be On a Leash” rule at the park doesn’t apply to your dog, you are a moron.

That’s great that your dog can walk by your side without a leash on. It doesn’t mean he will continue to walk by your side once he passes MY dog – who can’t escape because he IS on a leash.  And if you’re on a bicycle, it’s going to take you entirely too long to assess the situation, turn around, get off your bike, and intervene.  Meanwhile, your dog has already swallowed half my dog’s head.

Also, I don’t care how well trained you think your enormous brute is.  If you let him roam freely around the park because he gets more exercise that way, don’t act surprised when he makes a beeline for my dog and clobbers him.  And I don’t care if you’re 80 years old, I will scream at you for letting it happen.  Especially the second time.  I go the park to exercise, not to stand still, holding my dog in my arms until you get your ass over there to call off Bruno.

If you think your dog knows where your property line ends, you are a moron.

Look, if you want a ferocious guard dog to keep your property safe, that’s your deal.  But if you think for a MINUTE that he’s going to keep his ferociousness within your unfenced boundary, you’re just kidding yourself and putting other people in danger.  I know not to run from dogs, but when I’m jogging by your house – on the OTHER side of the street – with my headphones on, I’m not going to notice that your 100-lb German shepherd is trying to chase me down until he has a hold of my ankle.

If you think your large, aggressive/protective dog has any business being off-leash, you are a moron.

Kaelin and I were taking Hastings for a walk this week.  Our driveway is long and passes a neighbor’s property.  We could see the large dog on the porch 100 feet away (200 feet? I can’t judge distance to save my life), barking his head off like he was fully prepared to rip us to bits.  “I hope he’s on a leash,” I muttered to Kaelin as we continued on our way.  Suddenly, the dog quit barking and disappeared.

Guess who was waiting for us at the end of our driveway.  Our walk was cut short as we turned around and headed back.

I have enough to worry about with keeping my dog and children safe from moose and bears.  I don’t need to be trapped in my own driveway by your stupid dog.

If you think that just because your dog is generally benign, he should roam free and unsupervised, you are a moron.

Ok, aside from the obvious issue of him getting hit by a car or attacked by another dog or wild animal…

There’s a dog on our road that is old and probably half deaf and spends most of his day sitting by the road watching the cars go by.  Nice dog, not aggressive.  But curious.  So when I passed this house with my dog, while walking the mile to the mailboxes, he came bounding toward us.

I have a shiba inu.  He’s fast, and a bit on the hyper side when he gets excited.  His quick, jerky movements are sometimes interpreted by other dogs as aggressive behavior or an invitation to body slam.  Also, he tends to distrust other dogs and is quick to snap when he feels cornered because he’s on a leash.  So even the nicest dogs can get the signals crossed and the next thing I know, I’m by myself trying to break up a row between two frustrated animals with sharp teeth.

People, please don’t be morons.  Leash and fence your dogs.  If not for others’ sake, do it to spare your dog from the pain of my pepper spray.

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Posted in Don't Make Me Cut You, Pets, Stupid People


Anybody want a cat?

08 Jun

I love my cat.  He’s awesome.  He’s totally tolerant and lovey and sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

But if he doesn’t stop pissing on my carpet I’m going to kick him curbside.

It started sometime after we moved into this new house… but I can’t place my finger on when because for a long time we didn’t even know he was doing it.

I do not know what has possessed him.  It has to be psychological, but I truly can’t figure it out.  He outright refuses to use the litter box.  We can tell he needs to go, so we’ll place him in the (sparkling clean) litter box and close the laundry room door.  He’ll jump out, cry at the door for 20 minutes, and when he finally gets let out he sneaks over to the corner and pees on the carpet.

Aren’t cats supposed to PREFER the litter box???

And this is the cat who, a year ago, would religiously use the box regardless of its condition, and despite the fact that another cat (who we no longer have) was peeing all over the place.

NOW, when he has to poop, he’ll walk into the laundry room, jump over the gate that keeps the dog away from his litter box, and poop… right NEXT to the litter box.  Why go to all that effort if you’re not going to make it in the box?

I do not want to get rid of this cat.  But I cannot handle chronic cat pee on my carpet.  Especially when it defies all reason and nothing we seem to be doing is helping.

And I’m tired of seeing “you may need to train your cat again” on forums and such.  Dude.  Who can possibly observe their cat 24 hours a day and be available to rush him to the litter box every time he takes a squat?  I don’t know anyone with that kind of non-schedule.

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Posted in Peaves, Pets



23 Mar

The day we moved to Texas in 2003, we had just driven 5 days from Seattle with our puppy, Japp. We were hanging out in my parents’ back yard when Japp slipped through the fence and took off for the wide open spaces of the golf course. It’s a breed thing – shiba inus are prone to run away and it’s virtually impossible to train them to do otherwise when given the opportunity. And shibas are fast. Ridiculously fast.

Unfortunately, Japp didn’t make it to the golf course haven. As he darted across the street, was hit by a speeding car. He died in J’s arms. And took a chunk of my heart with him. At the time we had no children and thought of that puppy as our baby. He went everywhere with us and J even took him to work every day.

At the encouragement of my uncle, we ended up getting another dog. We looked at other breeds but decided to get another shiba. We named him Hastings and have been overprotective to the point of paranoid when it comes to making sure he hasn’t had the opportunity to escape.

A couple of days ago, he did.

Kaelin and I were exiting the front door for a walk and as we were getting her doll’s stroller through the door, Hastings leaped over the stroller and darted out. As I grabbed at him and he slipped through my hands, flashbacks of Japp hit – with the sudden realization that there was a good chance I would not see this dog alive again.

He took off down the street like a lightening bolt. Then he stopped at the end and changed directions, running past our house and down to the opposite end of the street. By the time I grabbed the leash he was nowhere to be seen.

I swear, if I ever get another dog – shiba or not, I’m going to look for one with a bad leg.

Not knowing what else to do, I started walking down the street with Kaelin in tow, hoping we would at least see him and be able to track where he was going. And hoping that if he got hit by a car that Kaelin wouldn’t see it.

And then he came back. I was looking in the direction he had taken off in, when I hear Kaelin say “Hastings! There he is!”

And sure enough, here he comes trotting down some random side street. He had made a full loop around (told you shibas were fast) and apparently decided his three minute tour of the neighborhood was over. He came right up to us and let me put the leash on.

Which I did. And then I cried.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Did you notice this post has been mis-titled? That the word “prodigal” makes very little sense in conjunction with this story? Did you also know that my entire life I thought “prodigal” applied to someone who ran away and then came back? Yeah, that’s what I get from learning vocabulary from Bible stories.

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Posted in Pets