Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Good day to you all. This will be the last entry in the series of my freakish pet posts. It was a good run, but really I just need to get some new material. Enjoy...

Champ was the most recent and goofiest dog we had. He was the happiest dog I knew, and loved jumping on people and chasing things. He always seemed to have a grin on his face, if you can imagine a grinning dog.

Like I said, Champ liked to jump on people and chase things. He was also fond of riding in our golf cart, which we had at our house for yard work purposes. His love of people, chasing things, and golf carts did not mix well with the golf course that was near our house.

We received numerous angry phone calls thoughout the years from the golf course management. Champ was chasing down golf balls and jumping onto people's golf carts as they zoomed by.

Apparently, the golfers were pissed. They were losing track of their golf balls and acquiring unexpected guests in their carts. In my opinion, it just made their golf game more interesting.

Champ also loved to swim in our pool…especially with people. We tried to keep him away from the pool, because dog hair isn’t good for pool filters, but he always managed to wiggle in the pool gate when some poor unsuspecting fool walked in. I had several pool party incidents that involved him jumping on top of my friends while they were swimming. Champ thought it was the bomb. I think we stuck him on a raft one time, which he enjoyed immensely.

My favorite story about Champ involves one of my high school band practices (yeah, I was a band nerd, represent). My mother was in the process of having a new house built very close to my high school. While it was being built, she would visit it periodically to make sure everything was going ok.

One evening, while I was at band practice on the football field next to our high school, a dog came tearing through the fence barking like mad at all the glorious music we were making and our flashing instruments. “Hm,” I thought to myself. “That kind of looks like my dog. But we haven’t moved yet, so that couldn’t be him.”

The dog continued to bark and run through the marching band. Everyone had stopped playing and marching mid-song, laughing hysterically at the silly dog chasing everyone around. Our director was furious. Suddenly, I looked across the field to see my mother, running toward the band, clutching Champ’s leash, calling out "Champ! Champ!"

“Oh my gosh!” I cried out. “That’s MY dog!!!”

Apparently my mother decided to bring Champ along with her that day to visit the house. He heard the band playing and ran to see what was going on. That was the best band practice ever.

Pet series: fin.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Inbred Cats and Rabbits, Oh My!

So yeah its been a while. Get over it.

Also, let me preface this post by saying that our family took very good care of our pets. They were all given enormous amounts of love and attention, regular veterinarian visits, shots, good food, and good times. I mean, sometimes you just forget to spay and neuter, no big deal.

Circa 1994, Sistah girl and I happened to get two baby kittens, who we immediately dubbed Simba and Nala. At the time we thought the Lion King was the most incredible movie ever made. Unfortunately we did not realize that Simba and Nala would eventually live up to their movie character names and “do the dirty”. Even more unfortunate, we never took Bob Barker’s advice. That’s right. Simba and Nala – spaying/neutering = kittens.

All the kittens in the litter were healthy and happy…except one, who we named Alfalfa. Alfalfa was developmentally challenged. His head was too large for his body, he was unable to walk straight, and always had a look of panic on his face, like the world was just too much for a little kitten like him. Alfalfa’s favorite haunt was our laundry room. He rarely emerged from the laundry room, but when he did, he did it with gusto. He would launch himself at top speed through the hallway into the kitchen, at which point he would be amazed by his bravery, panic, then sprint at top speed back into the laundry room, inevitably slamming into the wall because, well, he was an inbred kitten and had coordination problems.

And then, good lord, the rabbits. I honestly couldn’t even tell you how many friggin’ rabbits and baby rabbits we had. I truly understand the term “doing it like rabbits” because you know what? I lived it.

It all started with a cute Easter idea our parents had. “Oh let’s get the girls bunnies and shove them in Easter baskets for them to find on Easter morning!” Which is exactly what they did. Sistah girl and I were beside ourselves with excitement. Real live white bunnies! It was a dream come true!

More like a friggin’ inbred rabbit nightmare.

Now, its really hard to tell the sex of a rabbit when it is a baby. Which is what happened to us. We thought we had two same sex rabbits who were sister and sister. But no. We actually had two opposite sex rabbits who were sister and brother.

Unfortunately this information did not come to light until one day when my mother went out to feed the rabbits. What did she find? Sister and “Sister” rabbit had “did it like rabbits” and now we had A WHOLE FRIGGIN’ LITTER OF RABBITS. We panicked a bit and tried to get rid of them to friends and family. They seemed healthy, so we assumed all was well and separated the leftovers into separate areas…one area for the boy rabbits, and one area for the girl rabbits…OR SO WE THOUGHT.

A little while later, my older sister goes out to feed the rabbits, and what does she find. ANOTHER FRIGGIN’ LITTER OF RABBITS. So now we were dealing with super inbred rabbits, and something had to be done. These rabbits were not so lucky in the health department. Some of them passed away, and the others, well, the others had teeth and eye issues. And by teeth and eye issues I mean their teeth were jacked up and grew weirdly out of their mouth and their eyes were crossed.

Let me just finish this blog by saying NEVER GET RABBITS. And, as Bob Barker always says “Please, spay and neuter your pets.”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hot Diggity Dogs

And now let’s break into some stories about a few of the dogs I grew up with. Throughout the years we had approximately six dogs…not all at the same time, of course. A few of them managed to contract strange diseases and ailments.

We’ll start with Diamond, a German Shorthair Pointer that went hunting with my dad. He was a playful dog, and always seemed to quiver with excitement. He got a disease called polyradiculoneuritis or “coonhound paralysis” that is contracted by a raccoon bite. The poor creature was paralyzed from the neck down for about 8 weeks and had to be fed and bathed on a daily basis by my mother. He couldn’t move to go to the bathroom so he went on himself, and he couldn’t lift his head enough to eat…poor dog. I was always embarrassed when my friends came over…

They would be like, “Why is your dog just laying there in that pen filled with hay.”

I would say, “Oh, um, he’s just tired. No big deal. Let’s go jump on the trampoline.”

Eventually they would ask more questions and I would have to explain about the coonhound paralysis. What a freak disease.

With proper care he made it through, though. He was just as quivery and excited as ever.

And then there was Molly, a black lab I had since she was a puppy. Molly contracted some sort of flesh eating disease, that is apparently common with labs. She was very, very old when she got it, but it just another embarrassing ailment I would have to explain to my friends…

“Why is there no skin on your dog’s leg?” they would ask.

I could think of no good cover-up, so I would just flat out tell them “Flesh eating disease…don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”

Unfortunately she had to have her leg amputated. She was still a positive, sweet dog.

[Side Note: This is not the only 3-legged pet we had…but we’ll get into that in another post.]

At one point we had a dog named Precious that we had rescued from the side of the road. That dog was friggin’ evil. She was a little miniature mix of poodle and something else, and would snap at everything and anyone. She was the kind of dog that would terrorize the mailman. Her only problem was that she was a real bitch.

Chunk, another black lab, ate something weird he rummaged up from the farm next door and passed away from food poisoning. My older sister was devastated, and demanded that he be given a proper burial on our property. We got a coffin and everything. Which started the trend of burying animals on our property.

Animals Buried on Our Property:

Approximately 4 hamsters
1 gerbil
3 dogs
Honeybee, our beloved first pony (yes, a horse is buried in our pasture)
A couple hermit crabs (damn Ocean City boardwalk shops)
The ashes of 1 cat

It’s a friggin’ pet cemetery. We never told the people who live there now. Oops.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Trials and Tribulations of Champagne

So before I get into the main theme of my post, I am going to give a short account of my current situation.

I am traveling for work, and will be in the Boston area for the next week. Actually, its about an hour outside of Boston...a.k.a. Nowhere, Massachusettes. When you travel for work a lot, you get bored in the hotel rooms. I mean, there is literally nothing in this town...nothing to do. I've been trying to think of things to spice up my stay, so any suggestions are much appreciated. My initial thought was to rearrage all the furniture in the hotel room to freak out the cleaning ladies. I would really like to make a super elaborate fort out of all the furniture and bedding and put a little sign on it that says something like "Fort Awesome" or "Area 52...much more mysterious than Area 51".

In any case, on to the main theme of the cat Champagne, may he rest in peace.

Champagne was a quirky kind of cat. I would describe him as kind of a doofus. He was georgous, with fluffy fur the color of champagne, which is how he got his name. He always seemed to be somewhat confused and wandered about our house with no real agenda.

Champagne was both an indoor and outdoor cat, but he really preferred to be inside. Which is probably why he climbed into our boat.

Our boat, a 24-footer proudly named the "Horny Toad" by my father (if you are curious as him), was sitting out in the drive by our barn. We had just pulled it out of Lake Erie and were going to take it to be winterized at our local boat maintenance place. Champagne, left outside in the cold for the night, crawled into the boat for shelter. The next day my father went out to the boat, slapped on the cover, and hauled it to the boat repair place. The brave Champagne managed to survive in the bottom of that boat for several weeks while it sat at the maintenance place. The guys at the shop ripped open the cover to find a terrified Champagne, who had lived off the sitting water in the bottom of the boat. I'll never forget the phone call we received, "Um, we think we found your cat in your boat." We raced over to the boat place to retrieve our miserable looking cat. We always checked the boat after that.

Champagne lived a peaceful life for the next few years, until I got into high school and developed a weird sense of humor.

One day, I decided it would be the most FABULOUS idea to shave Champagne like a lion.

I mean, who doesn't want a cat that looks like a lion? With the help of a little dremamine to calm him down (we checked with a medical professional on this), a few friends, and an electric razor, we attempted to shave Champagne like a lion. Here is the result:

Obviously, he looks NOTHING like a lion. His hair was so friggin' thick that we couldn't shave him all the way, and we didn't want to hurt him. So he walked around like this for a few months. No big deal.

About a year after the Lion adventure, our beloved Champagne went missing for a few days. Since he was an indoor and outdoor cat, we didn't worry much. Around the same time, my bedroom started to smell funny. I washed all my clothes and all my sheets, wondering how I could smell so bad and stink up my room. I finally complained to my mother. She immediately knew what must have happened. Very sadly, Champagne had decided to spend his last hours in his favorite napping spot, the corner of my room, behind my armoire. I was devastated. I did not sleep in my room for the next few months. Seriously. I slept on the couch downstairs.