I don’t like giving my dogs human food because they have sensitive stomachs, but every once in a while I am curious to see if they would actually eat what they’re begging for.

So I was eating an apple last week and tested Mireille. She turned her nose up at it.

Then Scrappy came around. She took a couple of licks and then went crazy on it, eating everything but the stem. It’s the funniest thing because I had no idea a dog would eat that.

And enjoy the hell out of it.

We all think it’s funny.


Meet Scrappy and Mireille

Both of my dogs are terriers which means they never outgrow the puppy phase. They are about five years old and they still fight over toys and chase and nip at each other.

Here is a little video I got of them a couple of days ago while they were fighting over a tiny rubber chicken. The very end is the best part, that’s when Scrappy (the smaller dog) runs so fast in front of the screen you barely see her. You can hear her feet galloping. Fast.

Oh, and that was laundry day, so, excuse the house.

When Dogs Fly

Every once in a while Blane asks me if it’s true that I saw our dog fly. First of all it’s hard enough to believe our well-behaved Mireille would steal food off the counter. Secondly, she’s just not tall enough to reach the counter-top with her mouth.

But I saw her steal that pork chop. Barely. It happened so fast, all I saw was a white blur, two back paws, and then an empty plate. I heard her jaw snap. Next, she went into self exile in the washroom. Proof of her guilt. Proof that pork chop didn’t disappear into thin air. She couldn’t even look me in the eye.

Blane claims I told him it happened in slow-mo, her long white ears like airplane wings, gliding through the air. I’m thinking his imagination added that to the story.

Spanky says I told her too that it was in slow-mo, that Mireille looked just like Scar attacking Simba in “The Lion King.” I couldn’t have told her that because I know I saw back legs, not the dog coming at me head on. That dog would never be able to fly through the air while looking dead at me and steal. Not Mireille. I think Spanky’s imagination added to that story, too.

Blane and Spanky believe everything I tell them. They just ask me if it’s true because they want to hear the story again. They believe Mireille flew for that pork chop.

She did. There was no slight of paw involved. She flew. That’s how we saw it.

Wrong and Wronger

What Blane did to my dog was wrong, wrong, wrong. Mireille was shedding and he’d had enough. Got out the shears and mowed her down. This was his first time, it’s obvious by the results, notice the unnatural looking square bald spots.

Poor Mireille.

I took her out for a walk with her new “do” and I could swear she was embarrassed when she saw other dogs at the park.

I had to fix this. Put some flair in it, make it look like it was done on purpose.

Leopard spots.

Now I think my dog looks cool. Bohemian.

Why is it that the kids won’t stop laughing? Why?

We’ll have to go out for another walk to the park this afternoon, wait a week, then see if anyone tries to copy Mireille’s style.

The Other Spanky (and Coburn)

Part I: The Other Spanky

There’s another Spanky in the family, Blane and Angela’s dog. She’s a mutt Angela got about five years ago. Someone brought her in to the vet’s where she works. The pup was just 1 day old and the owner wanted to put it to sleep because it was born with a cleft palate.

Now Blane used to make jokes about the vet’s. About how they put more animals to sleep there than they saved. And Angela had just been saying how some new girl at the office wouldn’t cut it in this business because she cried every time they had to put down an animal.

I don’t know how it all went down that day, why Angela didn’t put that dog down. Maybe she didn’t want to do it while the new (sensitive) girl was around. She kept the pup in her pocket at work all day and by the time 5 O’clock rolled around, Angela couldn’t manage to put down the doggie.

I mean, could you?

She got some feeding tubes, puppy formula, and made a commitment to save her. A month or two later a vet friend of hers sewed up Spanky’s palate and she became sort of a normal dog.

Spanky the dog had cowlicks all over her body, eyes that went in two different directions, perpetually bloodshot. She also walked as if she was drunk. We called her “troll dog” because she had this wicked growl with that screwed up palate. She was possesive, too, a bit jealous of Blane, especially when he and Angela moved in together. When it was time for Spanky to go in her crate at night, she’d try to hide. She often stuck just her head under the bed, the rest of her body in full view, but to Spanky, she was deep cover.

She had OCD too, had to make a figure eight in the yard before she did her business.

A couple of days ago she came down with something, got really sick and passed on. Nobody knows what it was.

Part II: Coburn

Liv’s dog Coburn was the biggest German Shepherd I’d ever met. The thing about this dog was he seemed to read minds. You could just look at him a certain way and he’d sit. We’ve been knowing him for a good ten years, visiting just a few days at a time through the years. He never forgot us, even though every year my girls had grown and changed a lot, he never did bark at them as if they were strangers.

On one trip we’d told Liv and Coburn bye for the year, we were going to another place 3 hours away and would continue on with our travels. All evening he was restless. He panted and waited by the door for us to return. It worried Liv. Turns out, we couldn’t find a hotel where we went and had to return to her place. We got back at about 3 AM. Somehow that dog knew we were in a bit of trouble.

In the summer of 2006, when we were telling Coburn goodbye, he whimpered. He’d never done that before. I remember going back one more time and giving him another bear hug. About a month later, he was diagnosed with cancer and given about a month to live. Maybe he knew that would be the last time we’d see him?
Liv had her son dig a deep hole in her backyard in advance. She has a bad back and wanted to make sure he had a proper resting place in case Klaus wasn’t around when the Time came.

Next summer rolls around, we go back and see Coburn again. He doesn’t even look sick.

See? So I’m thinking that dog was misdiagnosed. He looked healthy, a little slow, but hell, he was 12 years old.

The next day, however that dog barely moved. I don’t know where he got all that energy to pretend he wasn’t sick that first day we got there, but it was all gone. A couple of months later, Coburn, too was gone.

Part III: Why I Am Writing About This Depressing Stuff

Well, obviously because these two pets passes away recently. It’s really sad that there are no memorial events for pets. People hurt deeply when they go. I haven’t seen any cards in the sympathy section of the greeting card aisle that are specifically for those kinds of best friends. Maybe they do have them somewhere. But I haven’t seen them.

What about dog angel stories? Ghost dog stories? You ever heard one?

Not until now. Call me crazy if you want (I will revel in it anyway), but I got one for ya.

This last trip to Liv’s? Coburn had been gone for a couple of weeks. I went out and paid my respects to his spot in the backyard. I can’t tell you how empty it felt in that house without him. I think it was the second day at Liv’s, while at her computer, I felt something nudge me in the lower back. I thought for a second, Coburn. Looked around. No one there. And then I thought…

So if you have any kind words to help heal the hearts of Blane and Angela and Liv, feel free to say them here. If you have any pet stories to share, go on ahead. I’m listening.