Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog - I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Pets Page 1 of 3

Shelley the Wonderdog

Shelley would have been 20 years old this August – a little Yorkie Poo, about six pounds. What a life she had! We got her in October, 2000 while my husband was on his annual two-week guys’ boating trip. He didn’t want a dog, so the kids and I had to get her while he was gone.

My son was 11 and my daughter 6 when we drove with two of his friends for an hour to Albany, Oregon to meet a woman who had Yorkie Poo puppies for sale. The puppies, the woman told me on the phone, were supposed to be full-bred Yorkshire Terriers, but a rogue poodle down the street had an intimate encounter with her Yorkie, so the puppies were misfits in the woman’s eyes. In ours, they were the cutest things on earth.

Three black puppies were in a large cage in the back of her SUV, one was eager and came right over to us, one hung back in the corner. The third one eased over to us after a little while. My daughter and I wanted them all. My son said, “Let’s take the middle one. He’s not shy but he’s not aggressive either.” He turned out to be a she, which was perfect.

Resting after being chased.
Resting after being chased.

On the trip home we debated about a name, most of which ended in an “e” sound: Blackie, Yorkie, Lovey. After a couple thousand names were thrown out, Matt, one of the friends, said Shelley. We all got quiet. Hmmmm. Shelley. It seemed like an odd name for a dog, but it had potential. For a few minutes we compared it to other names, but Shelley fit her.

She ended up being my dog, though the kids played with her constantly when they were home, and fought over whose bed she’d sleep in. My daughter carried her to bed first, then my son came in and stole her a little later when he went to bed. If my daughter wasn’t asleep yet I’d hear, “Mo-om, Chris is taking Shelley. Make him stop.” I’d go in to referee and find them with all four hands on the dog, tugging her in each other’s direction.

Shelley trying to get Scott's attention.
Shelley trying to get Scott’s attention. My husband grew to love her too.

A Fish Tale for Mother’s Day

This goldfish will be 15 years old next month (June, 2020), if he lives that long…

Have I got a fish tale to tell you. Friday morning I got up around 7 and found our 14 year old goldfish at the bottom of the tank, his fins clamped close, his eyes cloudy, his tail ragged – all very bad omens for a fish. I turned his light on and sprinkled food in the water like I always do. The flakes swirled around him like snow but he didn’t move. Didn’t even twitch. In almost 15 years of life, this fish has always wiggled and splashed and opened his mouth wide to snatch at the food – it’s actually kind of cute the way he carries on. I knew something was seriously wrong. The fish is like me – it lives to eat.

I went to Google right away and of course everyone said the problem was dirty tank water. Goldfish eat a lot and excrete a lot, and ammonia builds up, and nitrites and nitrates. It’s what causes most goldfish to go belly up a few days after your daughter brings one home in a little plastic bag all excited crying, “Look what I won, Mommy, look what I won!” Which is how we ended up with this fish in 2005. 

DIY Projects (or Am I Crazy?)

Like many of you, I’ve been passing the time doing projects I’ve put off for a long time. The video shows what I’ve done. The narrative below reveals the challenges (screw-ups) that befell me doing them.

Projects I’ve been working on

I get inspired to do most of my “Do It Yourself” projects because I’m cheap.  I wanted to update our guest room comforter but couldn’t find anything I liked. I guess that’s not strictly true. I found things I like, but to afford them I would have to sell one, and maybe two, of my vital internal organs. 

Being fond of my kidneys and such, and what with extra time on my hands, and since the fabric store is about the only thing open, I decided to make the comforter. Theoretically, it’s pretty easy to do. It’s basically like making a sandwich. You take a top hunk of fabric and a bottom hunk of fabric (the bread), and you put some batting in between (the cheese). Sew them together and wallah, you’ve got a tasty comforter!

Like any recipe the problem comes in the execution. How big a hunk of fabric? How thick should that batting be? Too thick and it’ll be hard to get in my mouth.

Did I go too far with the sandwich analogy? I’m trying to say, in a clever way, that when I sew it’s always a recipe for misery. After much searching I finally found a nice cotton fabric at Joann’s I liked but they only had one yard left. It takes five to six yards to make a comforter with 45” wide fabric. I bought their one yard and ordered more online and, because I lack the most basic measuring skills, I didn’t order enough. When I went online to order more, it was sold out. From a financial standpoint, I was into this fabric too deep to scrap it and look for something else – I didn’t even get it on sale! So I pieced fragments together to make the back of the comforter – it’s the Frankenstein side.  

Fighting Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are fighting at my feeder again. They fight all day long. I’ve discovered that there’s always a bully, and his sole purpose in life is to keep others from taking a drink from his feeder. If another hummingbird zips up and tries to get just a drop of liquid sugar, the bully swoops in, attacks, and chases him back to where he came from, and sometimes chases him all over the place. Selfish little buggers. 

Sometimes while the bully is driving another one off, a third hummingbird zooms in and gulps a sip. Instantaneously the bully knows and darts back to defend his feeder, chasing the third one off. Then they all leave for a few minutes, until it starts over again. Aggressive little brats.

Hummingbirds snatching a drink outside my kitchen window

I have the feeder outside the kitchen window, about six feet from my front door. I can see the bully lying in wait in a bush a few feet away. He’s on the alert, policing his territory. Sometimes when I go outside it feels like he’s attacking me. For something so small, his wings make a lot of disturbing noise, especially when they’re right by my head. The sound is something like a freight train coming straight at me, with the volume turned down slightly. I worry he’ll drive that long, pointed beak right into my temple. I have to crouch when I walk by the front of my house. I know good and well he’s doing it on purpose. Spiteful little creatures.

Pepper Goes to Camp

Dogs coming home from camp on a mini-busToday when I went walking with my friend at the park, we saw a mini yellow school bus with several moms hovering around. The driver backed down the steps in the doorway of the bus. He was holding two leashes.

“Whoa,” I said to my friend. “Isn’t that, uh, politically incorrect to put kids on a lease?”

“Cha-yeah,” Laurie snorted. Then the noses of two dogs appeared at the end of the leashes. We stopped to gawk.

“Here you go,” the driver said to a woman who stepped forward. “They both did very well, but you know Pepper cheats at poker.”

“Oh, I know,” she said, laughing. “Whenever he and the other dogs play, he usually ends up with all their dog biscuits.” The other moms chuckled and nodded.

My Crazy Little Dog

I have to tell you what my little dog does with the goodies she wants to save until later. Normal dogs take the treat outside and dig a hole in the dirt, drop the treat in, and push dirt over the treat to cover.

NOTE: This process involves dirt from start to finish.

My dog, a black, nine-pound Yorkie Poo, had never been outside, according to the breeder. She’d been in the house with her mom and siblings until we got her at twelve weeks.

Our dog Shelley the day we got her

My kids (on each end) and their friends the day we got Shelley

We started giving her treats like pieces of cheese when she was a little older, and we’d later find the un-eaten parts under clothes in the kids’ rooms. It took awhile, but finally we observed her dropping the cheese beside a sweater on the floor of my daughter’s room. She nudged the cheese under it, and then scuffed her nose against the carpet in all directions around the cheese as if she were pushing dirt over it to bury it.

In my opinion, this is instinctual behavior without the filter of common sense.

I told the kids to let her “bury” her stuff in peace because she needed to feel like a real dog and we should respect that. When one of them found the treat later, they’d yell, “Mo-om, I found Shelley’s gross old cheese under my skirt!” I’d dispose of it, and the dog never seemed to miss it.

Once Shelley got full size, we tried to teach her to bury a bone outside. We found a nice, loose spot in a flowerbed and started digging with our hands, but she wasn’t tracking. So I squatted over her and moved her paws in a digging motion. The light went on and she started to get the hang of it. Finally, she had a hole deep enough to cover a good portion of the bone, We encouraged her to pick the bone up, “Pick up the bone, Shelley, pick it up!” which she eventually did, but we had to pull it back out of her mouth to drop it into the hole. We pushed a little dirt over the bone, and she immediately joined us, using her little black snout to move dirt over it exactly the way she scuffed the carpet around the cheese in the house.

“SHE’S GOT IT!” we exclaimed.

The next time we gave her a bone in the backyard, she picked it up and trotted around to the front of the house and laid it on top of a Euonymus shrub. We watched through the window as she enthusiastically moved her nose forward and backward without actually coving the bone with anything. When she was done, she trotted around to the back of the house again so she could go back in the door she’d gone out – no doubt a sneaky maneuver to cover her tracks – content with the safety of that bone for the future, even though it was lying out in the open for any varmint to steal.

Gradually she ceased bothering to  hide the treats she buried in the house. We now find cheese blatantly lying in corners nowhere near sweaters. In fact, this morning there was a yellow cube of cheese in my bathroom. She went over to it and started moving her head, scuffing her nose on the rough tile – right in front of me. I said to her, “Honey, you’re not really burying anything. Just let it go.” But she kept brushing her nose against the tile, circling from every angle until she’d pushed enough invisible dirt over it to suit her.

This crazy little pooch, with her nose rubbed raw by carpet and rough tile, probably thinks that instinct stinks.

A Dog’s Best Friend

I went to Tennessee to visit relatives a few weeks ago, and at my cousin Nancy’s house in Memphis, we sat in her family room to catch up. I stretched my legs out on the ottoman and threw a throw over them, and within seconds Nancy’s two dogs were hovering at my feet begging with their big brown eyes to get on my lap. I invited Sweet Tater up – she’s the one looking at the camera. She’s named Sweet Tater because she’s so fat she looks like a sweet potato with four toothpicks stuck in the bottom.

The other dog, who’s still a puppy, couldn’t stand that he wasn’t part of the party, so he jumped up too. They took a couple of minutes to position themselves just so, and then both pretended to go to sleep.

My cousin's 2 dogs curled up in my lap

My cousin took this photo of her two dogs curled up in my lap – she obviously didn’t care if I was in the picture – it was all about the dogs

I am a great friend of almost all dogs. I like to think it’s because they sense that I am a warm and kind person, but most likely it’s because I know exactly how they like to be scratched.

The dogs I’ve met love to have their ears scratched – but not the ear itself – the part under the ear. No, not in the ear. I guess you’d call it the side of their head under the ear. Massage that area and they will groan their pleasure like a starving Italian man eating pasta.

They also like to be scratched between their front legs and will lie feet up on jagged rocks for hours as long as you continue to scratch them. You have to move your hand around, though. You can’t absent-mindedly scratch a hole in their chests. I’ve seen people do this – not a real hole, but just rhythmically moving the fingers while they’re preoccupied with something else. The dog won’t want them to quit, but will inch itself forward or back to present a new area that’s not rubbed raw.

The other place a dog likes to be scratched is right above the tail. They’ll contort themselves, hunching up and twisting toward the side of the tail you’re scratching while cocking their heads sideways. They look miserable all corkskrewed like that, but they’ll stay there until you get bored so it must feel pretty good.

I actually think it’s an honor that dogs are attracted to me, and that I know how to make them happy. A dog is easy to please and so forgiving when your don’t get things just so. I wish it were that way with people.

The Miracle of My Dog’s Teeth Cleaning

I got my dog’s teeth cleaned!!!!!!!!!

You may be saying to yourself, “So fricking what?”

I can understand how you might not be as thrilled about this as I am. You may very well live a much more exciting live than I do, and have exotic adventures and lots of important people you meet at wonderful places. Getting a dog’s teeth cleaned may be at the very bottom of your list of interesting ways to spend your time.

However, it may pique your interest to know that I got my dog’s teeth clean without anesthesia.

“So fricking what?” you ask again. Is that all you know how to say? If you’ll quit interrupting, I’ll explain.

Have you ever heard of “bad breath in dogs?” It’s a medical condition brought about because dogs will eat anything – and the more deceased, the better. Woo-wee! But they also get bad breath because they won’t brush their teeth. The are physically lacking a way to hold the toothbrush, but even if they had digits, they would not use them for brushing their teeth, they’d use them to lift other dogs’ tails for easier sniffing. Or to reach up on your dining room table and grab the Thanksgiving turkey by the leg and fly off down the hallway with it to their lair.

Furthermore, they will fight your attempts to brush their teeth for them. They would prefer that you take that doggie toothbrush and shove it up your….. I know this because my dog gives me that “you know where you can put that toothbrush” look every time I’ve tried to brush her teeth.

Over time, the stuff on a dog’s teeth, called tartar, hardens and bonds to its pearly whites to form a brown cement. Here in Portland, Oregon, vets charge you $350 to chisel that stuff off, and they want to put the dog under general anesthesia to do it because that’s the only way a dog will put up with it.

But a few days ago I discovered a place that cleans teeth without putting the dog to sleep. Apparently they accomplish this by laying the dog in their lap as they sit on the floor. Then they put a towel over the dog, which they told me soothes the pooch and keeps it still.

Don’t ask me how it works, but when that dog was done in one hour, she had white teeth and I had an extra $200 in my pocket. I highly recommend this for your dog or cat – Apollo Pet Care did my dog’s teeth – 1-800-285-6204. They are in Washington and Oregon.

This is not a shameless commercial but a recommendation for people who, in my opinion, granted me a miracle. It’s one less thing I have to worry and fret about.

And you’re wrong to assume I have a boring life. I got her teeth done on Friday just before we left town, and it that was the highlight of my very fun weekend, which included going to Seattle and watching the Ducks beat the Huskies at the last game ever to be played in the Huskies old stadium before they tear it down, going out for Sushi at Umi’s, watching U Dub’s crew team glide through misty water under the salmon glow of early morning, eating an amazing lava cake at the Tap House Grill, walking around Bellevue before sunrise with my husband, and staying with our dear friends for two nights at the Oakwood (great deal there, by the way, on a 2 bedroom condo) – none of these things came even CLOSE to how exhilarated I was about finally getting that dog’s teeth cleaned. It’s something I will cherish always.

My Dog’s Frito Feet

My little dog’s feet smell like Fritos. She’s lying beside me as I type on my laptop on the sofa, and she just changed positions. The smell of Fritos wafted into the air like incense.

My family thinks the dog’s feet smell pleasant. Fritos is a pleasant odor. On the other hand, our personal human feet are disgusting, especially when they’ve been in sweaty shoes. Perhaps that’s the problem. If we did not wear footwear for hours on end, would we also have pleasant smelling feet?

This is for future pondering because we want to focus on the dog’s feet right now and ask the question, how on earth did a dog’s feet come to smell like a packaged corn chip?

A corn chip is made of corn and salt all smashed together, baked until it has that perfect crunch, and sealed in a bag that is impossible for humans to penetrate without a sharp object or very, very strong teeth. It used to be that you’d get a guy to open a lid for you, but now you have to find a guy to get into a bag of chips. Sometimes, if there’s no guy handy, I’ve had to tear at these bags with my teeth like a savage jackal, over and over, getting a small bit of bag each time, spitting it out and tearing some more until I gnaw a hole big enough to plunge my fist through.

So the grains and salts and other things that go into a corn chip – the chemical composition as it were – and the baking, which alters or at least dehydrates the chemicals – and the packaging which protects the baked chip until the year 4010 because air doesn’t have the teeth to penetrate the seal – how in the universe can THAT smell like my dog’s feet?

My dog’s feet always smell like Fritos except just after a bath. Within a day, the Frito feet are back – all four of them. The rest of the dog may be foul from rolling in dead rodent to try to get the clean shampoo smell off, but those feet are pleasant.

It’s a mystery someone needs to solve, because there is something very, very sick about smelling a dog’s feet and immediately craving Fritos and cream cheese.

If you’ve never tried it, take a normal Frito – not the big ones – and scrape it through a container of Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s quite tasty. Don’t go in too deep or the Frito will break off. BEWARE – you will go through a whole container of cream cheese pretty quick and become a big fat lard because you won’t have the willpower to stop eating them, they’re that good.

Back to the subject, which is, why does my dog have Frito feet? If you know the answer, please don’t hesitate to send it to me via a package containing Fritos. I’m running low.

Lamenting the Foulness of Life

My dog’s stomach is growling. She had a batch o’ rib bones and now I can expect puddles of barbecued barf in my bed tonight. Disgusting, huh? But wait, there’s more.

This ten pound dog is by my side night and day. She’s lying snugged up next to me on the couch while I type, right in the path of the 340º heat blowing out of my laptop. She’s a heating pad strapped to my leg.

I generally like heat – love my car’s seat warmers. One of my relatives likes to drive my car when we go anywhere because it’s nicer, and in the winter I’ve got the seat warmer on. He’ll be sitting there in the driver’s seat, talking about his latest BM. Don’t ask me why.

“You should have seen what came out of me this morning.”

“I do NOT need to hear this,” I say.

“Black as coal and all of 12 inches, coiled up like a cobra, part of it floating like it was ready to strike.”

“STOP!”

“It was remarkable,” he’ll say. “Never seen anything like it. I got a picture of it here on my phone – take a look, you won’t believe it. Here, see? Owww, why is it so friggin’ hot? My nuts are roastin’!”

He says it every time we’re in the car – like the seat has launched a sneak attack against his scrotum.

As bad as his bodily function stories are, my dog barfing in the car while she’s sitting on my lap is worse. I hear this little burbing noise and a nano-second later she heaves, and there’s a puddle the size of a spilled glass of milk on my thigh – slimy and the color of the last nauseating thing she ate. Sometimes it’s grass in a clear slime like a sickening version of lemongrass soup. Other times it’s brown and lumpy.

The awful part is that you can’t do anything about it. I’ll be on the freeway going 65 mph when she Ralphs on me. I hear the sound, and I try to get her off my lap but I’m never fast enough. About the time I get my hands on her waist and snatch her up, I feel the warmth on my thigh, then the wetness.

Anyone who’s had bad timing snuggling a baby knows what that feeling is like. The baby’s happy and coochie cooing one minute, and the next minute you’ve got this foul wet vomity-smelling ooze heading south down your shirt.

At least the dog barf doesn’t smell so bad. Usually.

Oh my gosh. You talk about smells, I went into the ladies bathroom at the permit office the other day. Mercy! Women’s bathrooms, just after their morning coffee break, are worse than paper mills. Woo-whee! Brings tears to the eyes.

I don’t know what’s made me write about these things. Oh yeah, it was the dog’s growling belly, which led to this lament of the unwelcome bodily functions we all encounter daily, of which I seem to experience more than my fair share.

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Copyright © 2020 by Suzanne Olsen