Posted in Making It Up As I Go

The One with the Exploding Dog Bed

Grace has settled into life in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. How do I know? Dog beds have started exploding.

At least “it exploded” was the excuse Grace gave for the tufts of brown stuffing all over the floor and her dog bed in tatters. She said that I had to believe her because she was the only witness (Sam was hanging with my dad at the time). Besides, she would never, ever, ever chew her bed. Lady Grace of Louisiana is much too good of a dog for that.

Posted in Doggies, Making It Up As I Go

The One with the Red Fox

Grace does dumb things (like eating rocks), but she’s done pretty well landing on her own four paws (with lots of help from some amazing vets & vet techs). She also doesn’t think twice about going nose to nose with her 90lb brother. She’s a scrappy little mutt.

And it didn’t surprise me one bit when she charged to the end of the leash one day when I was back in Massachusetts. The fur on her back puffed up to the size of a softball, and she threw all 38lbs of herself against the leash.

My gaze traveled across the patchy green and brown expanse of the front lawn, expecting to land on a furry gray ball of rabbit. But it didn’t. Instead, I saw a fox. A beautiful fox with orange fur and dainty black legs.

My first thought was: Is that really a fox? It looks big enough to be a coyote. Then: Oh shit, is that thing going to come after Grace? Does it have rabies?

Grace didn’t share my momentary panic. She launched herself against the end of the leash again and barked her head off.

Grace: That’s my yard, you weird dog! Get out of my yard!

Fox: F#$% this!

The fox bolted around the side of the house and into the swamp beyond. Grace–naturally–tried to follow.

Grace: That’s it, you better run! Punk! And don’t you ever think about comin’ in my yard again!

It took a lot of encouragement and reminding Grace that she hadn’t had breakfast yet, to get her back inside. But even once we got into the kitchen, she still ran for the sliding doors and the porch beyond (with its view of the backyard). That was where I left her when I took Sampson outside for his morning walk.

I figured that was the end of it. The fox had disappeared into the woods, Grace was stationed in the kitchen, and Sampson was (thankfully) oblivious. I’d even gotten a pretty decent photo of the fox with my camera, which was a bonus.

Then came barking from the front window, and I damn near jumped out of my shoes. Grace had positioned herself in the bay window at the front of the house, barking up a storm.

Grace: Hey, you! I told you to get out of my yard!

Fox: F#$%!

For some reason that must’ve made sense in its brain, the fox had doubled back and stood in the side-yard. It froze when it heard Grace barking and then spotted Sampson with me in the driveway. The fox turned into an orange blur as it bolted back to the swamp behind the house.

Sampson: What was that?

Me: Nothing, dude. Let’s just get your walk done, so I can feed you and Grace.

Sampson: O-k. I wanna eat.

Grace was obviously very pleased with herself when we got back inside and tried to convince me that she deserved some of Sampson’s breakfast because she defended the house. I told her no.

Posted in Making It Up As I Go

The National Monument to the Forefathers

Adventure should be my middle name. There’s nothing that makes me happier than hitting the open road for someplace entirely new or a corner of town that I’ve never seen.

Grace and I did a bit of exploration in Plymouth, Massachusetts this spring. I’d never been to the National Monument to the Forefathers which is tucked away, down a side street not far from Plymouth Harbor and the Mayflower II. So we took a trip.

It’s a peaceful little spot with a beautiful view of the Harbor if you look east (behind the camera in the picture). Grace had a blast sniffing every blade of grass while I tried to coax her into taking cute pictures.

 

Posted in Doggies, Making It Up As I Go, Personal

The One with the F#%@ing Mouse (Part 2)

When I left off, Orville the f#%@ing mouse decided it was a good idea to make a break for the upstairs instead of outside the night before Mom and Dad left for their cruise.

Mom and Dad had just gone to bed, and I was upstairs with Sampson and Grace when Grace suddenly zoomed over to the top of the stairs.

Grace: Orville? Buddy? I wanna hunt you!

Me: Gracie… what the f#%@ are you hunting?

Grace: Orville! Orville’s here, S.E.!

Me: F#%@.

Orville: F#%@!

While Orville scurried into and through the kitchen, I shooed Grace to her bed and convinced myself that Grace had been seeing things. Or was hunting a bug that she’d named Orville. The last thing I wanted to believe was that the damn mouse was upstairs.

Then about ten minutes later, Orville decided be stupid for the second time that night.

Orville: I gotta find a way out. Maybe if I sneak by that dog, then I’ll be able to get back downstairs and go out the way I came in. I gotta just make a run for it.

From the corner of my eye, I spotted a gray fuzz dart along the wall before disappearing behind the TV stand. I knew exactly who the furry little bastard was without even a good look. So I did exactly what any grown, badass woman would do: I called Dad’s cell phone and begged him to come upstairs and catch the mouse.

Orville took off underneath the loveseat and then the couch as soon as he saw Mom and Dad coming up the stairs. He managed to disappear for a few minutes before hiding beneath the corner of Sampson’s bed. I grabbed both dogs, and Dad cornered him. He tossed a towel over the gray fuzzball.

Orville: F#%@ing, f#%@!

Me: You got it!

Grace: Let him go! I wanna hunt Orville!

Sampson: Wh-huh? What’s agoing on?

Orville: Okay, hold yourself together. Wait for him to make a mistake. Then make a break for it.

And Dad did make a mistake. He scooped up the towel to get it underneath Orville, and the f#%@ing mouse bolted.

Orville: FREEDOM!!!

Grace: Run, Orville! Run!

Sampson: What’s agoing on?

Me: Annnd shiiiittttt.

I sent Grace after Orville before poking into every corner I could find with the flashlight beam. But no one could find him. There were just too many places for him to hide, whether behind a dresser or underneath a bed or crouched behind cardboard boxes.

That night, I slept on the living room couch because there was a very good chance Orville was in my bedroom. And there was no way in hell I was sleeping in the same room as him.

As for Orville, he was never seen again. I’ve persuaded myself that he escaped through an open door the next day. Maybe it was true. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it was the only way that I could go to sleep at night.

Posted in Doggies, Making It Up As I Go, Personal

The One with the F#%@ing Mouse (Part 1)

I recently got home from Massachusetts after spending a month in my hometown. Since I was between jobs when my parents were going on a three-week cruise, I found myself house-sitting and dog-sitting. It’s nothing to complain about: spending a month writing and playing with dogs and hanging with friends.

There was just one hiccup. A f#%@ing mouse named Orville.

Let me backup a bit.

My parents’ house sits between suburbia and wooded wetlands, settled deep enough among trees that you can pretend to be off in the wilderness when the trees are full of leaves in summer. Privacy is great. But the wildlife that lives in the wetlands don’t think twice about encroaching into our space, though Sampson and Grace do a pretty good job of keeping them away.

Well, except for Orville. He arrived a couple days before I returned to Massachusetts.

Orville scurried into the garage for some mousey reason or another, probably following his nose to the crumbs of dog food. He met up with his buddy, Mercury, before descending the stairs to the first floor.

Mercury: Dude, there are f#%@ing dogs in here.

Orville: Shit, you’re right! Big ones.

Mercury: Hurry up and get the food.

Orville: Okay, I’m hurryin’.

Mercury: F#%@! Dog!

Grace: What’re youuu?

Grace happened to be downstairs at the time with Mom when she saw Mercury and Orville. Her muscles went all stiff in stillness yet flexed in a fluid motion when she moved. Her eyes sighted-in on Orville and Mercury with laser focus.

Mercury & Orville: F#%@!

Grace: I’m gonna hunt you.

At that point, Mom shouted for Dad, and he managed to toss a towel of Mercury and catch him. Mercury cursed the whole time as Dad carried him out to the backyard. Orville took the opportunity to bury himself into a shadowy corner, and there he stayed while Dad put out mouse traps.

Days went by. Dad checked the traps. Orville bypassed the tempting smell of bait in favor of the crumbs that collect in the corners of rugs no matter how many times they’re vacuumed.

Then the night before Mom and Dad had to be up and ready for their ride to the airport at 5 AM, Orville decided to make a break for it. But he didn’t do the logical thing, oh no. He didn’t run for the back door when Mom or Dad left it open for a few minutes. He ran the f#%@ upstairs.

To be continued…

Posted in Doggies, Personal

The One with the Teleporting Mutt

“I can’t wait to live you you again, S.E.”

Why is that, Grace?

“Because you let me sleep on the couch. Dad doesn’t. He tells me NO whenever I try to jump on it.”

Mom and Dad did just put in a new window and windowsill, and you do always end up in the windowsill. Your nails are going to scratch it up, so I have to side with them.  

“Sorry I’m not tall like Sampson and can’t see out the window from the floor.”

At that point in the conversation, she took a quick look around the living room to make sure Dad was still downstairs. There was a smirk on her face when she turned back to me.

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The couch before Dad goes downstairs….

“Dad isn’t as smart as he thinks he his. Listen to this. He doesn’t trust me not to get on the couch when he goes downstairs-”

Rightly so.

“-so he puts the black gates in front of the couch. Well, remember how you taught me to get onto the couch by jumping over the side?”

Shit, seriously?

“I get off when I hear him coming up the stairs, and I’m back on my bed right away. But somehow he still knows that I was up there. Of course, I don’t admit it.”

He knows because you mess up the pillows and blanket on the couch.

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The couch when Dad comes back upstairs….

“That might be it. Maybe. But anyway, he hasn’t figured out how I do it. He thinks I’m jumping over the black gates–which I could totally do if I wanted to–and keeps piling stuff in front of them. Now I just have to make sure that Sampson doesn’t turn into a tattletale.”

Gracie, I don’t think Sam cares. 

“That’s true. He usually follows Dad downstairs anyway, even though he doesn’t get any attention. Who does that?”

Not everyone is an attention hound like you.

“Well they should be. Actually, no. I want all the attention for myself.”

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Posted in Doggies, Personal

The One with the Snow Dog

A blizzard hit Massachusetts last week, and I figured that I’d hear all about it from the dogs. Grace was more than a little excited when she called me after the storm.

“S.E., S.E.,” she said. “It snowed!”

I heard, GracieDad told me that there was a blizzard.

“There was snow everywhere, and Dad took me outside to play in it!”

Did you have fun?

“I had so much fun. Dad doesn’t let me dig in the backyard because he says I can’t fill it in afterwards, but he let me dig in the snow. It was so soft compared to the rocks in my kennel–”

You mean the kennel.

“It’s mine. Not Sampson’s, mine,” she said. “Dad brought out my Wubba and threw it. He made me bring it back to him even though I just wanted to do a victory lap around the yard. But I got him good. Whenever I brought it back, I would pretend not to hear him and ate snow instead.”

Gray-girl, you shouldn’t be eating snow. It just makes you cold.

“Nu-uh.”

Gracie.

“You sound just like Dad. He made me go inside and put on my sweater before he’d let me play anymore.”

It’s for your own good.

“It’s ugly.”

I know. That’s kind of the point. 

“You’re mean.”

Flying into snowbanks 

And you’re warm. You’re welcome.