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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Little Doggie Valium, Please

Everyone who comes to visit our house for the first time asks what kind of dog we have. We don’t know exactly - she’s a rescue dog – but we suspect she’s part coonhound and Doberman with a huge dose of Woody Allen tossed into the mix. She’s neurotic as hell and always looks guilty when you walk into a room.

In fact, when we first got her and she’d hang her head in shame while peeking at us from the corner of her eye, we’d say in our sternest voices, “What did you doooo?” Chew up shoes? Rip the furniture? Wet on the rug? Nothing. Seriously, we’d search the whole upstairs, and there would be nothing out of place. The worst thing she ever destroyed was used Kleenex, which is really a weird behavior if you think about it.

Well, this morning I have to take Dani to see the vet, and I’m dreading it. Not only does she have a guilt complex, she has what the vet terms “nervous drooling”. Copious amounts of nervous drooling. In my car. Thirty minutes there and thirty minutes back. That doesn’t seem long, but in dog years… Needless to say, I’ll have to find the tarp.

We used to go to a vet much closer to home, but they were more whackadoo than my dog. (Actually, our current vet is a little odd too. He’s the only person I’ve ever heard use the word troubadour in a sentence. But hey, I can deal with an advanced vocabulary.) I remember the last time I took my dog to the old vet. Dr. Rainbow Bright raised her eyebrows and said, “Tell me what your dog enjoys doing?” as if I might say something really interesting like, “She has a passion for Anton Chekhov, parasailing and getting caught in the rain.” Um, she gallops like a horse, stands in the middle of my dining room table to see out the window and tap dances while sneezing when she wants us to feed her. (Those I didn’t make up.)

But the kicker came when I checked out and the receptionist handed me a small plastic container that looked like a compact and a Popsicle stick then told me I could bring in my dog’s fecal sample later. Now, I really thought I was doing them a favor and helping them save a little money when I said, “Yeah, I’m not going to do that, so you can have this back.” From the outraged glare she gave me, you would have thought I’d said I was going to shoot my dog in their parking lot. First of all, it was subzero weather and secondly, ew!

Some days, I feel she’s lucky to have a roof over her head, expensive dog food and medical care at all. She’s a thief, pure and simple. One day I pulled a leftover NY strip steak out of the refrigerator for my lunch, the phone rang, I answered it and when I came back, the whole thing was gone. In one minute, she inhaled my steak! Another time, I cooked a chicken breast for lunch, left it to cool on the stove and she snarfed it while it was still steaming hot. Now if I have to walk away from my food for even a second, I hurl threats at her first. “You touch my food and you’re so out of this house!” And I think she understands, because she doesn’t even go for it, as long as I threaten her.

Yet, despite her thieving ways, she’s my buddy. She naps in whatever room I choose for writing and moves with me when I need a change of scenery. Some days I even appreciate her neurosis. No solicitors stand a chance of selling me anything because there is no way Dani is letting them in the house. In fact, I can’t even hear their sales pitch over her obnoxious barking, so I don’t even try. I’ve even yelled, “I’m sorry, I can’t open the door because my dog will attack you.” I don’t think that’s true, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her and it works great at getting rid of pests.

So, tell me, what does your pet enjoy doing? ;)


  1. LOL, aren't pets great? And each one is so unique. I've got two cats.

    Nikki has chosen me as her one human, and I have to say, I think she actually enjoys hissing and growling at the other humans who dare to come near her. She also loves to kill feather toys and hides from thunder beneath the kitchen sink. Her favorite thing to do, though, is to play fetch with her mouse toys. She actually taught me to play fetch. And yes, she is a cat, not a dog.

    My younger cat, Kiki, is an absolute nut. About twice a day she gets a bout of the crazies and runs full tilt through the house, pausing occasionally to leap at the wall, bounce all four paws off of it, and do a flip in mid-air before streaking off again. She can spend hours playing soccer with her balls, and recently has also started playing fetch with them--but only after she's dunked them in the water dish. Oh yeah, and NOTHING is more exciting to Kiki than watching the toilet flush. I'm just thankful that she hasn't learned how to do it herself.

  2. Catherine,
    LOL on watching the toilet flush! Pets do have their own individual personalities for sure. Thanks for sharing your stories about Kiki and Nikki. :)

  3. I'm not sure fish count. I have a guppy and I swear that thing has emotions. He dragged around after his companion died so I got him another fish to keep him company. And he's so happy, he practically dances around the tank. Yes, I feel silly saying it, but my guppy is very emotional.

  4. Ah, that's sweet. I'm glad he has a friend now.

  5. It sounds like that guilty look on Dani's face is "pre-emptive guilt" -- she KNOWS she's gonna eat your food so she's trying to warn you ahead of time. LOL

    I don't have any pets now, but if I did, it would be a dog. I'm not a big fan of cats and they always sense that, which is why they head straight for ME when they walk into a room. LOL (I gave a sizable role to a cat in my book that's on submission -- hope she finds a cat-loving editor! LOL)

  6. LOL I have a black and white shi'tzu and while he's a puntable dog, his bark sounds ferocious. I swear anyone on the other side of the door will have a heart attack but he stands all of a foot tall and wieghs less than fifteen lbs. He's adorable and fierce. I'm a dog person through and through. Great post, Samatha!

  7. Donna,

    I'd never considered pre-emptive guilt. LOL. I love it! Is the cat in your story evil or good? I'm just curious since you aren't a cat person.


    I'm imagining a tiny dog with a booming bark. Adorable and protective. Could you ask for anything more?

  8. Samantha, let's just say Serena the cat has a character arc in this book. LOL I am actually quite fond of her--probably because she's fictional!

  9. Clarissa, I totally believe that your fish was grieving. When my first cat died, Nikki went into a grief period. She was pretty young, only about 2 and a half, but she completely stopped playing. She looked for him and called for him for about a week. And then all she would do was sit on my lap. That was a lot of the reason that we wound up getting Kiki. I wanted someone for Nikki to play with again. I took a while. I think she wasn't quite ready for a replacement when Kiki came to live with us. But they're pretty close now.

  10. Samantha,

    I love your stories!!! They always have me LOLing :) And I would love to meet your Woody Allen dog...that's just too funny!

    Our kitty is a real life 'fraidy cat! He's super shy and rarely comes out when we have visitors. Only if they are regulars like the nanny or Eric's employee, but otherwise, most people have never seen him. But he's just about the sweetest cat you'll ever meet...if you ever meet him! Ha! He's been sleeping at my feet for the last 11 years. We've been through a lot together, and I love him like a real child. I call him my FURst born :)

  11. Are you sure hubby wasn't stealing your food? ;)
    My three pooches keep me on my toes. Maggie, our black lab mix, used to want to be in whatever room we *weren't* in, which kinda tweeked the old ego, lol. Now, she is the best cuddle partner on the planet, and I always have to watch where I put my feet before I stand up because I know she'll be there and I don't want to step on her.

    Sadie is our 'first born,' and has a special love for plush toys. Before we got our newest pup, Sadie would gently carry one around for a year or more. Unfortunately, little Darcy has thrown a wrench in that habit due to *her* particular love of destroying said plush toys :)

    Regardless of how crazy our pets are, we can't help but love em :) Oh, and my breath caught when I saw the pic of your pooch - she looks A LOT like my childhood dog Belle *sniff*

  12. Donna,
    I'm intrigued by a character arc for your fictional cat.

    Your cat sounds like the kitty my sister-in-law used to have. For five years, I never saw that cat. I swore she didn't really exist.

    I would totally blame my husband for stealing the food except he had a good alibi. He was at work. :) I can't even imagine having three dogs. I'm sure they do keep you on your toes, but also give you lots of laughs and love.

  13. Hilarious Samantha!

    My dog will not come in the house if the guys are here to do the lawn. He takes a certain amount of pride in defending the yard. He won't listen to me even and I feed him! (That has set me off more times than once.)

    Then one time I told him what a bad dog he was being and he hung his head in shame and slunk in through the dog door. Guilt worked! I was so excited.

    Of course the next time the guys came to the yard, guilt didn't work. I was standing outside, talking low and guilting in my very best manner. Then I saw the yard guys peek around the corner. They were howling with laughter!

    I can just imagine the conversation those men had on the way home. "Did you hear that crazy woman talking to that dog like that?"

  14. Lydia,

    That's hilarious! I would have loved to have been around the corner with the lawn guys to hear that conversation.

  15. Okay, this is the first blog I've ever responded to--Yea! I'm catching up with technology. Not. Bogart our rescued miniature schnauzer has a 'man cave' under the dining table where he takes all his snacks, and keeps his toys. He's also really tuned to our habits; when I put a plastic poop bag in my pocket (walk) he gets excited, when I get the leash out he goes berserk. The funniest thing he did tho was when we were going to bed one night. TV didn't interest us, so we turned it off early and headed to the bedroom. He made a B-Line for the bed as usual (he sleeps with us of course). However, our living room light is on a timer and so it was still on. Well, we all snuggled in for the night when suddenly Bogart jumped up and ran into the living room. When the light snapped off at 9:58 p.m., he came back to bed. Talk about Pavlovian!
    PS: our last pet was a cat we had for over 15 years--we were very bonded!

  16. LOL. Judy, that is so cute! Bogart sounds like a blast. Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I'm honored that this is your first time to leave a comment, and it couldn't be a better one. Love the stories!

  17. Oh wow. I love your dog. I am, however, going to have you escort me to your front door when I come to visit. :o)

    My cat's weirdest thing ... he drops like a stone at my feet. His bones hit the hardwood floor and you hear it. I always wonder if it hurts.

  18. My dog will love you once she sees you're a friend. It doesn't usually take her that long to figure it out. :)

    I'm guessing it must not hurt your cat if he keeps doing it, but what an odd sound that must be.