Gentle Humor

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

Category: Pets Page 1 of 3

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.

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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.

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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.”


“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.

I Admit I’m a Bag Lady

I can’t leave my dog in my Prius and lock it. I discovered this when I ran into the post office and a couple of minutes later I heard a car alarm going off. It didn’t stop and I was cursing that idiot driver until I went out to the parking lot and saw it was my car lights flashing.

When I called the dealer about it, he said to bring it in, but apparently the alarm system goes off when the car is locked and something moves inside. I guess there’s a good reason for that, but I can’t figure out what. Suppose you want to leave your teenage daughter in the car because she refused to be seen with you in public, but you wanted her to be safe. She’d have to sit like a sphinx until you got done in the grocery store. Unfortunately, the repairperson didn’t know how to fix it.

For those of you who are tisk-tisking me for leaving my dog in the car in the first place, let me assure you that I am putting her in no danger. I’ve left her in the car with the motor running, unlocked, and the air conditioner on, when I just dash in to get something somewhere. You can’t tell the car is on – it’s so quiet with that hybrid electric motor.

When I have to go into a store for a while, I take the dog in with me. I made this black bag that I put her in. It looks like a worn out, tacky handbag. That dog has gone into restaurants, amusement parks, movies, bars, and church.

She loves it in there. If I put the bag on the floor, she tries to climb in it – even if we’re not going anywhere. It’s got a wood bottom with a cushy pad so she just lies down and enjoys getting toted around. When I go to the bathroom I hang her on the door hook so the top won’t fold down on her.

She’s a smart little pooch, so we taught her to be quiet in the bag by saying, “No barking.” However, there were some glitches. Once when we first started using it, we were on vacation and found a church on Sunday morning. She was quiet as a, ahem, church mouse until we went to communion. We left her in the pew, and when we were walking down the aisle on the way to the altar, we heard her whimpering. The kids started poking me (as if I hadn’t heard!), and giggling into their hands. The whining got louder. I guess she thought we’d left her. We got communion and raced back to the pew, petting the outside of the bag to calm her down. After that no one left her alone while she was in the bag.

As I type this I realize that you may be thinking, “What kind of nut carries a dog around with them in a bag?” Well, I’m that kind of nut – l’ll admit I’ve always been a little crazy. But if you could see how pitiful that dog looks when you’re getting ready to go out the door and she doesn’t get to go, you’d be bagging her up, too.

Today I noticed the bag is getting pretty ratty. She’s poked a couple of holes in it, and the sun has faded some of the fine black mesh. It’s trashy, but I haven’t found a replacement with as much ventilation that looks like a handbag instead of a dog bag, and doesn’t show the dog in it because it’s black and so is she.

One problem is that I can’t take a purse with me, because the bag is supposed to be my purse. So I have to pack a credit card in my pocket for purchases. It looks pretty stupid, but I haven’t been caught yet. Knock on wood.

Sweet Smelling Dogs

I had to give my dog a bath just now. When I say the word, “bath,” she tucks her tail and heads for the farthest place in the house.

Today after I it, I followed her to the laundry room, her tail tucked, head hung low, resigned to her fate, buying time leading our little parade through the house.

Since she’s so small, I can wash her in the deep sink. She stares up at me with her dark brown eyes and it’s like she’s saying, “Why are you doing this to me, momma? What did I do wrong? Didn’t you tell me I was the best dog in the world? Don’t I always greet you with joy, even when you’ve just gone to the bathroom?”

After the bath she runs through the house and rubs her nose and the side of her body against all the furniture like a cat on speed. She’ll bend her head down and plow her face along the carpet, switching sides. She acts wild and throws a ball in the air or snaps at our heels. It’s all quite entertaining, but I still feel sorry for her while the bathing is in progress.

Wait, I have a pitiful story to tell about her. She’s pretty smart so we have to spell things around her. After awhile she understands the spelled words, too. She picks up tricks quickly, too. One thing I’ve been teaching her lately is to “stay.” She sits for a little but will usually get up and follow me if I go around a corner out of sight.

I have started working full-time and I’ve been taking her to the office with me. She loves it. People talk baby talk to her and give her scratches, so she can’t wait to go in the morning.

Yesterday I had a commitment first thing, so I wasn’t going straight to the office. She had been following me through the house, worried I’d forget to take her with me, and I finally said to her in the living room, “I’m sorry, honey, but you’re going to have to stay here this morning.” She immediately sat down, all pitiful like, because that’s the words I use to tell her she’s not going to get to go somewhere and she understands. Brilliant dog, that one.

She quit following at my heels, and I told her I was sorry again and rushed off to dry my hair. When I came back into the living room about five minutes later, the poor thing was still sitting there, as if to say, “See, momma, I did exactly what you told me to do. Please take me with you.” She’d heard that one word in there, “stay” and was being obedient.

Now you’re probably thinking that I need to see a shrink about talking to my dog, and you’re right. But she understands what I’m saying. Furthermore, she doesn’t argue, talk back, put me down, complain, or ask me for money or my car keys. There’s no one else in this house that does that.

Now I have a nice, clean, sweet-smelling dog curled up at my feet, and life is good – as long as she doesn’t start passing gas. Oh my gosh, her SBD’s live up to their name. Ghastly! (get it, “gas” tley).

Not laughing? My dog thinks it’s funny – she just told me so.

Surf Wars

My daughter brought two goldfish home from a school giveaway (BTW, thanks a ton, whoever’s brilliant idea that was to give away “free” goldfish).

The sad part is, I had a goldfish that was several years old and looking like he might not make it much longer when these two new ones arrived. I was SO looking forward to no more tank cleaning, fish feeding, filter buying and dirty fish water siphoning.

Sure enough, Golder died just a few weeks later and I could have been FISH FREE! But no. Some nitwit decides to give away goldfish as a prize, and now I got two brand new ones, both babies so they will live many, many long years.

Some of you are probably saying, “What’s the big deal? Make the kids take care of the fish.” That would be fine if I wanted a fish tank where you couldn’t even see the fish. Around this house, the new wears off real quick. The kids “forget” to feed, water, or clean up after their pets. I do it because I feel sorry for the poor innocent things that are at our complete mercy and will die a pitiful death of neglect without me.

So guess who’s been caring for these two additions for the last five years?

Lately I’ve noticed that one fish is a total bully. He’s twice as big as the other one, but I just thought it was because he had a hearty appetite. I usually sprinkle the food in and walk away, but I decided to observe them for a few minutes. The big goldfish opened his mouth enough to suck in a big flake. While he was “chewing” it, he swam around tormenting the other fish. Then he stopped and sucked in another flake, and then chased the second fish some more.

“You’re a jerk,” I said to the bully. He looked me right in the eye and spit the big flake straight at me. If we had been in the old west, we would have squared off in the middle of the road with our fingers twitching over our pistols.

We stared at each other until I finally looked away. He grabbed a new flake and chewed it like a plug of tobacco while he chased the smaller fish around. These two have names but I can’t remember them. Let’s call the big one A-hole and the little one Sweetie Pie. A-hole came over and started snapping at me. That’s what he does when he wants more food. He goes up to the surface and smacks at the water. It makes enough noise to get you to look. When you do, he starts swimming frantically around and doing these aggressive wiggles back and forth. It’s very intimidating. You can practically hear him shouting, “Get me some food, bitch, or this water won’t be the only thing I’m smackin’!”

But something inside of me snapped when I saw him tormenting poor little Sweetie Pie again. I was madder than a wet hornet, but what was I gonna do about it? How could I bully a bully fish?

I decided I needed to show him what it was like to be pushed around. I put my hand in the water and chased HIM. He didn’t like it, not one single bit. Bullies are always such sissies. He darted here and there trying to execute evasive fish maneuvers. I chased him around a little more until I thought he’d learned his lesson. He seemed pretty humbled, but a few minutes later he was nosing into Sweetie Pie. So I chased him again. The third time was the charm. After that he kept his distance.

I wish I could say this story has a happy ending, but alas it didn’t take A-hole long to revert to his old tricks. I put my hand back in the tank and chased him once more, and he behaved for a little while, but then he went back to being a bully.

You’re probably thinking, “Why not just flush him?” Oh, I couldn’t do that! But I don’t let him intimidate ME anymore. He may push that other fish around, but he’s not going to get away with doing that to me. No sir. When he smacks that water, I don’t come running anymore. Not as fast, anyway.

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Copyright © 2020 by Suzanne Olsen