Pets


Between the blizzard and being stretched pretty thin personally and professionally, I’ve been walking around in quit a fog over the last couple of weeks. But the sun is shining, it’s Friday, and I’m shaking the cobwebs out of my noggin.

I found a SUPERB blog this week, one that lessens the shame I feel about being overweight, while teaching ways to develop a healthy relationship with food, no matter what one chooses to eat. I give you, The Fat Nutritionist.  Once again, it’s a blog that’s been around for awhile, with many followers, and I’m rather late to the game. But Michelle over there is all about removing any sort of moral judgment from the fact of one’s weight, or what one eats.  And I *love* that.

Anyway, we are 16 days post blizzard, and virtually all the snow is gone.  It was well into the 50s here yesterday.  And all you big dog owners know what this means.  It means Big Dog goes out back, and comes back inside with mud caked up in between his toes and under his claws, and his undercarriage gets all splattered with God only knows what, mixed with mud.

We have hardwood floors in our little house, and with a newly mobile baby (crawling like a champ, if I do say so myself), I confess to being super-anal about how clean Big Dog’s paws have to be before I will let him roam in the living room.  So I dug out an old pitcher, and have taken to filling it with water and washing Big Dog’s paws, one at a time, when he comes in from the mud.  That’s right.  Big Dog gets a Doggie Foot Spa Bath several times a day.

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Jesus H. Christ, yesterday was day 3(!) of my blogging adventure and I ALREADY forgot to link to a favorite blog as promised in my very first blog post ever.  So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen here is Laurie, aka Crazy Aunt Purl.  I taught myself how to knit two years ago, and still fall squarely on the novice end of the spectrum.  But I stumbled across her blog while looking for a pattern for a simple hat, and her blog is so much more than knitting.  So…check her out.

Now that we’ve dispensed with business, let me share more with you about our household.  Not only do we include me, my husband, and the three kidlets, we have two dogs who are most certainly a part of the family.  My husband and I each brought a dog into our relationship when we reconnected a few years ago (THAT’S a story for another entry).  His dog is Mucho Grande, and mine is teeny (but NOT a purse dog, I would like to vehemently and stridently clarify).  Of course, there are both now “our” dogs.

Big Dog weighs over 80 pounds, and Little Dog weighs about 8.  They are different breeds (duh), but they have the same coloring and markings, which makes for some amusing photo ops (Big Dog and Little Dog, standing next to each other, heads cocked in the exact same way, for example).

While I bought Little Dog from a friend and former co-worker who very occasionally breeds her dogs, my husband adopted Big Dog from a rescue organization.  And oh, Big Dog’s story is filled with woe.  We can’t be sure how old he is; at this point, somewhere between 5 and 9 is our best guess (Little Dog is 5).  His prior owner was a woman a few states away, and one day her boyfriend decided he didn’t like Big Dog.  So he beat him.  Nearly to death.  With a baseball bat.

Before my husband adopted Big Dog, the rescue group handled all the vet care and follow-up, including skull x-rays and a doggie brain scan to determine if he suffered any brain damage (if you look at him closely, you can still see that his head is somewhat misshapen from where his skull was fractured).  Mercifully, Big Dog recovered fully from his injuries.

Big Dog and my husband lived together, two badass bachelors, for about a year before I came (back) into the picture.  Soon after my husband and I got back in touch, I went to visit him without Little Dog.  I still remember Big Dog running in the back yard of my husband’s house.  Quite understandably, Big Dog is very, very wary of strangers (less so of strange women, but still wary).  My husband introduced me to Big Dog in the back yard, so Big Dog would have lots of space to run, and not feel cornered.  Big Dog ran and frolicked, and appeared nervous but not ridiculously scared.  After a few minutes, he walked up to me, sort of half-licked my hand, and then ran away.  From that point on, Big Dog and I have been great friends.

Next up was introducing Big Dog to Little Dog.  We were both nervous: after all, Big Dog is so…big, and Little Dog is very little (but sassy, I tell you!).  We needn’t have worried.  Big Dog and Little Dog got along like gangbusters from the get go.  Big Dog is a neutered male, and Little Dog is a spayed female.  Nevertheless, during that first weekend together, Little Dog got all up on Big Dog and humped away.  It was one of those rare moments when something incredibly hilarious happens, and BOTH of us were actually there to see it happen.  We took video of it on my camera (which we still have, and watch, and laugh at).  All in all, dog introduction was a huge success.

Our last hurdle was introducing Big Dog to my daughters, D1 and D2.  D1 and D2 both LOVE dogs, but at that point were very limited in terms of large dog experience.  And then there was the whole issue of Big Dog’s abuse history, and our uncertainty over how he would react to kids (particularly boisterous D2).  We never once worried that Big Dog would be aggressive toward the kids.  We were more concerned that the kids would stress him out in some way.

Once again, our concerns were unfounded.  Big Dog took to the girls immediately.  They lay on him and snuggle with him and play with him and give him treats and take unrestrained pleasure in telling him to sit (Little Dog, I’m afraid, does not sit on command).  When they come home from school, their first greeting is always for Big Dog (not for the babysitter, or for their new baby brother, or for their lame old mom if I’m fortunate to have the day off).

I can’t imagine life without the dogs.  Even if I do have to give Big Dog fancy spa foot baths (read: wash his paws in a pitcher of water) on muddy days after he’s been outside.