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To the Opossum from Last Night

Dear Opossum From Last Night,

It’s been 23 hours since my family and I witnessed your demise.  It’s been 23 hours since I’ve been able to look at my best friend, even though he’s in the same room as me.  For that amount of time, I’ve hated my dog for what he did to you.  Suddenly, I don’t hate him anymore.  Instead, I pity you.  You see, I finally took the time to notice some things.  Those things really don’t work in your favor.

Last night, you met my best friend Bowser.  I know that the whole “opossum” thing is to play dead and sometimes, that is what you should do and it can work to your benefit.  However, last night, what you should have done was fall over and… laugh.  You should have reached out your cute little hand and pointed your finger at Bowser and just laughed hysterically.  I know you heard him coming.  He’s so fat that the deck shakes when he walks on it.  He’s detached the stairs nearly completely off the deck simply by bounding his fat ass up and down them for all these years.  The act alone of just heaving his lard butt off of the couch and walking to the door is enough to cause him to have labored breathing and wheezing that could rival that of any asthmatic or Biggest Loser competitor.  His 15-year-old body creaks and cracks and sometimes, it sounds like his toothpick legs will snap.  How did you not hear him?

He’s the slowest creature ever.  Sometimes, I want to strap him to the back of a turtle so he can get back to the house before it’s been long enough that I need to wax my upper lip.  Standing at the door and calling him is a nightmare.  It takes 10 minutes for him to make it from the tree to the stairs and to be honest, that’s about three feet.  in that amount of time you could have called a taxi, went to the bar and had enough to drink that you would have ended up making some poor decisions.  Instead of doing that, you what?  Oh, yes.  You waited around long enough for lard ass to make it from the deck to wherever it was that he found you.  How did you not have enough time to get away?

Just how did he find you?  The dog can’t see worth a damn.  If he could, surely he would be able to catch one of the 15 pieces of steak that we throw at him.  He just watches and waits for them to hit him in the eye and then fall to the floor.  Once they are there, the doofus can’t find them.  He’ll be standing on top of a piece and looking at us like we teased him.  You blend in with the night!  You dummy!  Were you standing out there with flares, directing him like air traffic control?

Once he got to you, what happened?  I still can’t figure out that part.  I mean, I know that you ended up in his mouth, but how?  He has the reflexes of an old lady with a walker.  Hell the old lady may be faster.  Did you introduce yourself and shake hands?  The only thing I can figure is that you had to have been suicidal.  Sure, it’s completely plausible that you pulled a piece of lattice from the deck and you took your own furry life with it.  Bowser just carried you in the house in an attempt to save you.  I’m going with that.  It makes more sense than to believe that my elderly, obese, slow, cancer-ridden dog killed you with his one snaggle-tooth.  I’ve seen meth addicts with more teeth than this dog.  Not possible for him to kill you.  He’s never killed anything but a cheeseburger.

You ruined my night, you damn opossum.  I had just cleared three boys from the bathroom and I finally was going to end my week long bout with constipation.  Just as I thought my day was improving, I heard my kids screaming in fear.  I assumed a mass murderer had broken in and he had gutted Larry in front of them.  Before I could get off the toilet and grab the baseball bat I keep behind the door, Paris burst into the bathroom screaming, “Bowser has a possum, Bowser has a possum!”.  I barely had time to cover my pooter before he saw me.  Thanks for traumatizing my already dramatic middle child.

I walked out of the bathroom in stealth mode, fearful that this invader was alive and pissed off.  I was ready to push the kids down and run if I had to.  Survival of the fittest, or in my case, the smartest.  As I crept around the corner and used Paris as a shield, I found you there in my dog’s mouth as he lay on his dog bed in the living room.  He looked like he does every time he plays with a toy.  He just held you in his mouth as blood dripped all over everywhere.  If I weren’t still constipated, I would have likely shit myself.

Larry was a super hero and he got Bowser to finally put you down long enough that he could use the dust pan to put you gently in the trash bag.  Of course, I wasn’t in there.  I had already ran from the room in hysterics, crying like a 13-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert.

I haven’t been able to forget what happened.  Last night, I dreamed that you crawled up the stairs and snuck into my room and stabbed me and Larry while we slept.  All day, I’ve been mad at Bowser and I’ve mourned your death.

While ago, I got to thinking.  It changed everything.  Now, I want to thank you.  You see, I’ve been asking myself just how long Bowser will be able to fight the cancer and old age.  I found a new mass on him last week and I’ve been too scared to make an appointment at the vet.  You showed me that my old dog still has some fight left in him.  While I’m sad that your life ended, I am forever thankful that you showed The Bowz what it was like to feel young again.  You also gave me hope.

Forever your crappy friend,

Bowser’s Mom

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So, you want to find a new home for your dog?

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Working in animal rescue, every day of my life I hear a billion reasons why someone wants to re-home their animal and I have at least 2 people A DAY that ask me to help them find a home for their pet.  It got me to thinking… how would my own dog stack up with these homeless mutts?  And so, here are the top reasons I’ve heard for re-homing a pet and what I have went through with my very own pooch of 13 years.

1. I had a new baby.

You had a new baby?  Let’s hope it’s more forgiving, patient and understanding than you are!  Okay, that was mean.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m glad you had a child.  Do you know how much joy a pet can bring to your kids life?  Did you know that children who are raised in homes with pets actually have less allergies?  Sadly, once someone contacts me I really can’t talk them out of finding their pet a new place to live.  If you had any idea how many pets are homeless for this one reason, maybe you would think things over.

Bowser’s story:

When Bowser came into my life, I had a toddler.  While Bowz was great with him, I did wonder how things would be when I brought a new little person into the house.  It wasn’t different because I had a Pit Bull, it was just different because I was bringing an attention-sucking monster in to our home.  It had just been Bowser and Levi for 8 years and I did worry, don’t get me wrong.  By being cautious and extremely careful once little Paris came home from the hospital, I felt better about the situation.  By making myself more knowledgeable and by not setting Bowser up to fail, I gave him time to adjust.  I remember the very first moment when everything relaxed completely.  Paris was a few months old and he was sitting in the middle of the living room floor in his ExerSaucer, bouncing around and playing with his little plastic keys.  I saw Paris jump and knock his keys off on the floor and he started to cry.  Before I could even react, Bowser was there, leaning down to pick up the keys.  He put them in his mouth, looked over at Paris and then gently laid them on the top of the ExerSaucer and walked away.  It was in those few seconds that I learned that my kids had an angel on Earth who walked on four legs and who smelled horrible after a rain storm.

2. My dog goes to the bathroom in the house.

Uh huh, and so do you, right?

Bowser’s story:

While Bowser hasn’t ever been one to have accidents in the house, on the few times that he has, they’ve been doozies.  One day, Bowser got into the trash and dug out a ziplock baggie full of pulled Pork.  Since no one was home to let him out, Bowser went into the kitchen by the patio door and he proceeded to make a huge, runny pile of doodie right there.  Smelly diarrhea is bad enough but how about you add the BIG factor here… the dog just happened to poo directly into the vent, which was cranked up on heat.  Add a few hours and I’m sure you can imagine what my house smelled like when I got home.  Not only did I have to deal with the smell but I also had to reach my arm down into the vent and pull everything out of it.  Have you ever washed crap out of a vent?

3. My dog won’t stay in the backyard, he always runs away.

Dogs are smart and if they know they have a moron for an owner, they will continue to run away.

Bowser’s story:

His mom was a moron.  That damn dog ran away for the first 12 years of his life.  The last time he ran away was on the night of my birthday party two years ago.  No matter what I did, Bowser would get out and roam the neighborhood.  Fences, tie-outs, supervision, none of it really mattered.  Harry Houdini was reincarnated in the form of a mangy brown dog named Bowser.  The worst Bowser runaway happened after I had Bristol in 2005.  We were living in Oklahoma and because Bristol was in intensive care, I refused to leave his side.  I had friends taking care of Bowser but while I was gone, Bowser decided to run away.  My mom found him incarcerated at the city pound where the caretaker’s were scared to death of him.  I guess it was that whole “Pit Bull” thing.  Maybe even more ridiculous was the fact that I was as worried about my stupid four-legged kid as I was about my little human child.

4. I have to move.

Are you moving to Alaska or just down the street?

Bowser’s story:

Since I’ve had Bowser, I’ve lived in 5 different places in 2 different states.  Bowser has lived in both Oklahoma and Missouri.  During all of these times, I’ve never once thought about leaving him behind.  The reason?  No matter where I go, it would never be “home” without my Buckaroonie.  With him, my family and my life are complete.  Of course it would have been easy to find him a home but then, where would I have been without him?

5. I’m getting a divorce.

Really?  Good for you!!  Spouses are the devil!

Bowser’s story:

Bowser and I went through a divorce and thankfully, I got custody.  It’s a good thing because had I lost this dog, it would have definitely been my demise!  I’d be writing this blog from my prison cell while doing time for killing my ex.  Sure, divorces suck and your finances take a big hit.  But, why would any girl in her right mind part ways with the one male who always has time to cuddle, who always leaves the toilet seat down and who willingly listens to her bitch and moan and never complains?  Sure, his farts can clear a room but at least he can’t say, “Oh, the dog did it.” or “Pull my finger.”.

6. My dog tears up the furniture.

Good, consider him your interior decorator because your couch was sooo last season anyway.

Bowser’s story:

I cannot count the number of throw pillows that this dog has destroyed in his lifetime.  Within a month of buying our new couch a few years ago, Bowser ripped a 6-inch gash in the seat cushion.  Because I’m too lazy and cheap to fix it, I throw a torn (thanks, Bowser) couch pillow over the hole.  His greatest achievements in mischievousness?  He once jumped through a closed window and survived.  Yes, completely through it.  That was a fun thing to come home to.  But, the one moment that always come to mind is the time that my friend Chad babysat Bowser while Larry and I were out-of-town for a race.  Before we left, I told Chad to make sure that he didn’t leave Bowser alone because he had really bad separation anxiety and he was a wee bit nuts.  I told my friend about Bowser’s psychotic days (to be described later).  When Larry and I got home the next morning, we went to our bedroom to go to bed but the door wouldn’t open.  Once we finally got the door open, we found that in our absence, Bowser ate the door frame, chewed a large hole in the carpet, he ate our blanket and sheets, he ripped open our down-filled pillows so feathers floated around the room, he chewed a hole through our mattress and the little bastard even climbed in our closet and ripped clothes off of the hangers.  Yup, so your dog leaves hair on the couch… I’ll trade ya!  My friend’s face was priceless when I got to say, “I told you so!”.

7. My dog is aggressive towards other dogs.

Aggressive?  Like how?

Bowser’s story:

While Bowser initially had other dogs around and in his life, as he aged he became an “only child”.  Sadly, “only child” syndrome actually turned to “the dog is freakin’ nuts” syndrome.  As Bowser ages, he gets more and more nasty.  He will actually go out of his way to piss on the neighbor’s dogs when they walk up to the fence.  One day, he gave the neighbor’s white Pomeranian a golden shower while she watched in disgust.  After that, I didn’t really have to worry about the neighbor’s kid playing with my kids.  Lol.  Bowser had his worst moment of real aggression when we were at Larry’s parents shop.  We didn’t know that Max (Larry’s English Mastiff brother) was there.  Bowser saw him and attacked.  To this day, Larry still points out the scar that he has from breaking up that dog fight.  I’m sure you can imagine what a fight would be like between a scroungy Pittie and a 200-pound (or close to it) Mastiff.  That dog-fight still has Max and Bowser all riled up when they smell the other one on our clothes.  And hey, it’s only been like 4 years!

8. My dog acts weird.

As weird as you?

Bowser’s story:

There is no limit to the weirdness of this dog.  For those of you who don’t know, I found Bowser at a truck stop after I had recently lost a baby.  Because of that profound loss, Bowser became my baby.  I carried him around, he went everywhere I went, we shared suckers and ice cream cones and he lived “the life”.  Unfortunately, I also made him batshit crazy.  He had horrendous separation anxiety (I mean, he did jump through a CLOSED window) and he ate weird things.  One Christmas, he ate all the glass balls off of the bottom of the Christmas tree.  I woke up one morning and they were gone.  After a trip to the vet, I knew for sure that my dog was smuggling them in his belly.  Surprisingly, he lived through that, unscathed.  After a few incidents of “batshit crazy”, I went to the vet and I asked him for help.  That old Oklahoman said, “That dog is beyond help.  You’d be doing him a great favor by putting him to sleep.”.  I asked him what I could do besides that and he wrote me a prescription for Prozac.  For 3 years of his life, Bowser popped Prozac like they were tic-tacs.

9. My dog throws up everywhere.

Stop forcing him to watch Project Runway!

Bowser’s story:

You have no idea what puke “everywhere” is until you’ve lived with my dog.  If you’ve made it through the blog to this question, you already know that my dog does a lot of things that he shouldn’t.  He ate glass Christmas ornaments!!  But, he also ate everything else that wasn’t nailed down.  After another trip to the vet, Bowser was put on a medication that the astronauts use in space for nausea.  I don’t remember the name of it now because it was like 10 years ago but I do remember that it wasn’t cheap, at all.  When your dog barfs enough that he’s on spaceman meds, come whine to me then.

10. My dog gets into the trash.

What dog doesn’t?

Bowser’s story:

Some dogs like bones, meat, carrots and treats.  My dog likes paper plates, McDonald’s wrappers and tampons.  As Bowser has aged, this phenomenon has become out of control.  What once rarely ever happened, is now an everyday occurrence.  If I don’t go all “white trash” and put my trash can on the kitchen counter before I leave for work, the dog will have the can over before I can pull out of the driveway.  If I don’t remember to shut the bathroom door, I get to come home to my teenage son’s look of complete disgust over the sight of a mostly eaten tampon laying in the living room floor.  (try explaining that one to your 8-year-old son)  My dog is the “john” and our trash is the cheap whore that taunts, tempts and teases him.  He doesn’t want to be bad but give him the right opportunity to screw up and he will.  Just like a male.

11. My dog is sick and I can’t afford the medical bills.

There’s something called “resources“, check them out!  For more info, check out the tab Animal Rescue/Pet Related Info at the top of my blog.

Bowser’s story:

Vet bills suck, no question.  But don’t we owe it to our pals to help them?  I can think of a ton of times in Bowser’s life where vet expenses got to be too much.  In his lifetime thus far, he’s had prolonged prescriptions for Prozac and nausea medication, he nearly died from pneumonia after a boarding stay while I was on vacation, he had a testicle burst and he had emergency surgery for testicular cancer, his bladder filled with stones so bad once that they had to go in and actually take his bladder out and scrape it and now, Bowser has cancer and some other “unknown” medical condition.  Since March, I’ve spent a few thousand dollars on vet exams, x-rays, prescriptions and over-the-counter meds.  Since March!  It’s a huge burden and financially it’s excruciating but I owe this dog a debt that could never be repaid.  The least I can do is try to save his life, like he’s saved mine.  The important thing for you to know is that there are resources out there to help you in your pets time of need.  If you’re in the Kansas City area, check out the Animal Rescue tab at the top of my blog.

12. I got a new dog and my old dog doesn’t get along with it.

Yes, this is actually a common excuse.

Bowser’s story:

Don’t get a new dog.  I learned this myself a few years ago when I was fostering a Pit bull puppy.  Bowser is an only child and he doesn’t want to share his toys or couch with a “dog”.  So, I won’t make him!  He was here first.

13. My dog won’t stay out of the litter box.

All dogs eat cat poop.

Bowser’s story:

I can sum this one up really quickly.  If you think that your dog’s appetite for kitty bi-product is horrendous, imagine being me.  One day, I saw Bowser getting into the cat litter box.  When I got onto him, he tried to yank his head out of the box but the lid caught on the top of his head.  When Bowser lifted up, the top came off the box and it fell to the floor.  Never one to disappoint, Bowser didn’t end the embarrassment for himself there.  He then looked up at me with a grin and that’s when I noticed the piece of cat poop lodged in the gap where he was missing a bottom tooth.  When your dog smiles at you with turd dentures, you can talk to me about the terror of poop eating dogs.

13 reasons, I had 13 reasons to re-home Bowser and you know what?  None of them are legitimate enough for me.  Over the course of 13 years together, I can easily think of 13 things that I hear all the time that definitely pertain to my dog.  Yet, still I go home every night and open my door to find a couch covered in dog hair, torn couch cushions on the floor, clumps of toy stuffing all over the place and once a month, a stray tampon here and there.  If it weren’t for those little things, my life would be so boring.  Yes, dogs can be a huge pain in the ass but the thought of life without them is just too painful to bear.

pets-destroying-stuff-things-house-cats-dogs12

Dogs… can be a pain in the ass!

KC vs. DC (Part 1)

Wikipedia says that jet lag is: physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel on a (typically jet) aircraft.  Well, Wiki, I believe you can “suck it”.  I disagree!  It doesn’t take a trip from coast to coast to be exhausted.  Just stick three kids on a plane anywhere and everyone on it will have jet lag and an urge to smack someone.  (disclaimer: this is where I say, “I do not condone violence.” blah blah blah)  Forget snakes on a plane, my biggest fear is KIDS ON A PLANE!

When I found out that I would be traveling to Richmond, VA for a work-related conference, I had the brilliant idea to include my family in on the trip.  I can tell you now that there is not enough Xanax in the world to prepare you for the combination of three kids, their first flights, east coast traffic and no escape from the little spawns of the devil (wait, that makes me the devil).  I love my kids to the moon and back, everyone knows that.  But damn if they don’t make me want to yank every hair from my head sometimes.  <——— possibly the under-statement of the year.  My kids are ADD, ADHD and many other acronyms for “crazy ass kids”.

A few months ago, I secured our flights, rental car and hotels.  I guess I didn’t take into consideration how much everything costs nowadays.  For the cost of those three things and the short-lived happiness of a vacation, I could have had the breast augmentation I’ve always dreamed of and a life full of joy.  Missed that chance.  Again.  I should have had it years ago with my EIC (earned income credit) from the IRS.  Because THAT’S a good use of a credit for making children. They are who ruined them in the first place.  Breast feeding three kids sure “sucks” the life out of your boobs.  Okay, I got off track… Redirecting myself now…

We had months to prepare everything in our life for the trip.  There was money that needed saving, arrangements for the dog’s boarding, packing, etc.  A week before the trip I called the schools to let them know the boys would be out and that they would need to pick up their homework so they could take it with them to be completed on the trip.  Of course, the smart-ass of the house tried to get his teacher to feel sorry for him by telling her that the plane was going to crash on his way home and that he really didn’t think that he should spend the last days of his life doing homework that he wouldn’t be able to turn in anyway.  Those of you close to me have a pretty good idea which kid said this.  Of the three, he’s the one most like me.  Sometimes it can be a good thing but much of the time, watch out world!

*** Stay tuned for Part #2, coming 3/28/13 ***

Dare’s Tips on Having a Great News Interview

Yesterday, I was suckered in to a news interview on one of the dogs I helped rescue.  While everyone seems to think I LOVE being the center of attention, I really don’t.  Well, unless you’re my significant other, my child or my best friend.  Wait, or my dog.  Okay, screw it.  The point is, I don’t do so well with public speaking.  I have terrible anxiety and in the past when confronted with public speaking, I passed out or vomited.  Publicly.  My best incident was during a school program when I was singing Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time”.  I managed to pass out just as I sang the lyric “I rise and fall.”   One minute you see me and the next, I had fallen off of the top riser and disappeared.  And some say I lack talent.  Obviously, not when it comes to making a complete fool of myself.

Anyway, recently I was part of a great story about a pet being reunited with his owner, half the world away, four months after he went missing.  Awesome, inspiring and beautiful.  Yeah, so you would think that the interview to share his story should rival it.  Well, not so much.  Especially not when I have to be involved.  So, technically, I was the one to get the interest in the story in the first place BUT it was a great story that needed to be shared!  Just not by me.  From the moment I specifically was asked to do the interview, I got nervous, sweaty and TOTALLY freaked out.  I may have actually shit my pants had I not been so uptight everywhere.  Of course, as most of you know, I went through with the interview, for the greater good.  I learned a WHOLE lot about television, interviews and myself in general.  I’ve decided to share my list of things so if you are ever in my position, you will be a HUGE success.

  • When initially contacted by a news reporter, be sure to try to speak as clearly and as educatedly (a Darath made up word) as possible.  Generally, reporters prefer to speak to the “village idiot” so odds are if you are smart, you should be safe and they won’t want to talk to you.  Do NOT handle the call with bumbling phrases such as “I, uh, can’t, uh, really interview so well.” or “Are you positive that I have to do this?  Can’t you just talk to the dog?”.  Those are obviously code in reporter-talk for “I would love to do an interview with you.”
  • After the initial contact with a reporter, be sure to call your friends and try to pawn the chore off on them.  So what if they aren’t relevant to the story!  You do NOT want to do an interview.  If you love yourself, don’t put yourself through the misery.  If your friends suck or are reasonable people, they will laugh at you and tell you “Oh, it’s fine.  You will do great!”.  Those statements will teach you that #1- your friends suck and #2- you need to find less reasonable friends.
  • When realizing you are “stuck” with doing said interview, do NOT panic.  Screaming in your office, throwing up in your trash can, stooling uncontrollably and crying hysterically will not help you now.  You are screwed.
  • When calling back the news reporter, make sure that you know what you are saying.  If you are going through with the hour-long misery-fest that will be edited down to 15 seconds, you should take the lead and control the situation.  Be firm with your request of the place to be interviewed.  Had I thought this through completely, I would have asked to be interviewed in front of Bazooka’s (for all you KC people, it’s a nasty, nasty strip club…but classy.  Classy with LOTS of assy) or at the very least, standing in front of a meth house in Independence (shout out to the meth capital of the world to all you representin’).  You want your interview to be remembered for more than just your retardedness.  People are more likely to forget about you if they see horrid things in the background.
  • When scheduling your interview, make sure to leave yourself enough time to “freshen up”.  Had I planned accordingly, I would have put on a shirt with sleeves, found some damn lip gloss, changed my underwear and blotted my shiny forehead.  I also could have hit the gym for a few months, possibly years.
  • When thinking of your interview, don’t think about the extra 10 pounds the camera adds.  You really weigh that much, fatass.  Instead, think of the cupcakes, candy bars and the Venti whatever from Starbucks that you had earlier.
  • When you arrive for your interview, make sure you immediately move away from your vehicle, especially if it’s filthy and covered in dirt and bird-doo.  Extra-especially if it’s covered in a giant “flock of seagulls that ate mulberry’s” sort of doo.  If you don’t get away from your car they will have you leaning up against it showing your best 70’s “I drive a Trans Am and rock a mullet” sort of way.
  • If you have a dog with you, try to ensure no embarrassing moments on camera by filling the dog full of Pepto.  Having a dog with the Hershey squirts at an interview is a really embarrassing thing.  Dodging piles of slippery dog-deuce while trying to walk back and forth for the camera 151 times is quite difficult.  Wear sensible shoes.  Goloshes would probably work best here.
  • While being taped, try not to bounce your eyes back and forth from the camera to the reporter.  This is frowned upon.  Also, try to refrain from looking directly at the camera, waving and saying “Hi, Mom!”.  This too, is frowned upon.
  • After your interview is over, make sure and take a long bath with a giant bottle of alcohol.  While you could bathe and drink the booze, some would prefer to just smash themselves over the head with the bottle and pray for death.  If you thought the interview was bad, just wait till you see yourself on TV.
  • While preparing to watch your interview, pop a Xanax (if prescribed) and anxiously pace.  At the first “teaser” of your story before the commercial break, be sure to run through the house in your robe screaming, “Holy shit, holy shit, that was my hand!”   Begin to pace, occasionally opening your robe and exposing your nakedness.  You will need ventilation.  You will surely have worked up a sweat and be in desperate need of another bath.
  • When you see your interview come on, try to look away from the tv.  You will be transfixed and in complete disgust.  If you are lucky, you won’t have a giant booger stuck in your nose (which you missed seeing before your interview but did catch as you drove AWAY).
  • Get ready for your phone to ring non-stop.  Don’t answer it.
  • When the interview is over, stand up, run through the house screaming “Holy shit, holy shit, that was me.  I was on TV.”  Promptly stop, look confused, drop your robe on the floor and walk out of the room.

These are my steps to a successful interview.  If you have one, good luck!!