Posts Tagged With: dogs

Entertaining Loyalty

I always wanted to be Snoopy. I envied his doghouse rooftop adventures. His mastery of any and every skill ever needed by man or dog boggled my mind. Snoopy embodied football captain, homecoming king, movie star, spy, master chef and beach bum all in one neat package of smooth and debonair. He acquired the nickname Joe Cool for good reason.

Snoopy

But Joe Cool eluded my abilities and station in life. I identified best, unfortunately, with Charlie Brown. I still do.  – Sigh – But, I still dream of one day morphing into Snoopy. Suave, sophisticated, and multi-talented with a great laugh.

Something about animated dogs defines the words Loyal, Optimistic and Resourceful. The cartoon world occasionally personifies some of the most admirable qualities anyone could hope to attain. When that happens, it’s usually a canine that takes on those traits.

Max

Look at Max from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Such a happy dog in spite of spending his life with someone whose heart ran “three sizes too small.” His tail wags throughout most of the story even while suffering abuse and meanness. And when he gets worried or scared, he bounces back with excitement for each new adventure. What a good doggie!

If you really think about it, many cartoon dogs play the same role as joker or jester in kingly tales. While appearing silly and nonsensical, and providing comic relief, a fool often plays the most honest and insightful character. And a fool’s common sense out runs nearly all others around him.

Grommit

In the claymation style of animation, Grommit plays this role particularly well. As his witless owner Wallace carries out a bizarre series of plans, Grommit provides the brains as well as the braun in this duo. If not for Grommit, Wallace would hardly survive a typical day without serious injury.

Wishbone

While admittedly not animated, I count Wishbone among cartoon dogs because he “talked” and “acted.”  He usually played a key character in each tale he told and made otherwise out-of-reach stories and classic novels come alive for my kids (and for me, as well.) Don’t take my word for it. You can watch watch Wishbone in action in this video I’ve uploaded for you. (It’s only fourteen minutes, you know you want to.) 

Odie

Cartoon Dogs also play the fool in the everyday sense of the word. Witness Odie of “Garfield” fame. Apparently as airheaded as they come, Odie endures the onslaught of Garfield’s teasing and harassment with never a complaint. Oh sure, there’s the occasional mischievous twinkle in his eye when Garfield catches karma, but otherwise, Odie simply accepts his fate as the fall guy. You can’t help but take his side and hope he gets a jab in occasionally.

Scooby

I never cared much for Scooby Doo. His brainless bumbling irritated me for some reason.I’ve never been of fan of airheaded anything. I’ve wondered lately if Scooby’s and Shaggy’s constant munchies meant more than your average innocent school age kid knew. His weird “ruh roh” language also drove me nuts. Give me a witty Velma any day over “blonde” big dogs.

Dug

Dug, from the movie “UP!” wins the most loyal award. His line, “I hid under the porch because I love you!” gets me every time. I suppose he reminds me of family, where we all mess up, allow ourselves be at our worst and still find that we’re loved and accepted regardless. Dug does what comes naturally to a dog, obedience, excitement, wonder and a protective nature. That he gets so easily sidetracked by [Squirrel!] little things only endears him more in my mind. I’m an easily sidetracked person but my heart’s ready to love and give whatever’s asked. At least, I try to do that.

Underdog

How could I talk of cartoon dogs without mentioning “Underdog”? Watch the opening credits and tell me that doesn’t prompt some superhero envy. (Probably only works if you watched it as a kid.)

What a mild-mannered, kind creature with super powers beyond compare. I would have given almost anything as a kid to wisk on a cape and fly through the air righting wrongs and giving crooks and bullies what they deserved. I had my private list of bad guys in elementary school I’d have swooped up and dropped into a prison yard given the chance.

Dogs.

Man’s best friend. Or so they say.

Maybe, in a few cases, cartoon dogs serve as man’s best example of what a good person can aspire to.

Did I miss any of your favorites?

 ~~~

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” ~ Johnny Depp

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Categories: Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who Let the Doggie Out?

Last week I dog sat. Yes. Me.

MSH even agreed to it, which in itself constitutes an incredible miracle of stellar proportions.

Look at this face. Who could say no to this face?

Sweet lil Blondie.

Sweet lil Blondie.

A fluffy curling tail that wags faster than a hummingbirds wing, this sweet little doggie grabs your heart and won’t let go. Kind of how she grabs her squeaker toy for a game of throw, fetch and keep away.

She’s new to the extended family, but not a puppy. She’s about eight years old and obviously not used to children. Her disposition lies somewhere along the realm of a pampered princess with little use for sticky little grabbing hands and unpredictability and loudness that comes with the territory of small children.

She’s playful, just not in a kid-friendly or other dog friendly way. She’s been the center of attention, the ruler of all things household.

She sports a blingy collar to match her bleach blond fur and mincing little steps. I took her along on my walk at the Rip one morning and had a tough time keeping up with those short legs. She’s fast and curious and doesn’t waste any time doddling, except over certain bushes and taller grasses. She loved the rabbits and if not on a leash would certainly have managed to catch one or at least give it a good run.

Y’know that ankle-biter dog bark? Yeah, that one. She’s got it down. Thing is, she’s got the razor-sharp chops and the chutzpah to back it up. I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. No way.

We had a great time. Except for the fact that I worried about her when away from the house. I didn’t want to stay away too long. I felt bad leaving her at all, especially when she’d get so excited when I prepped to go.

Honestly, I felt like a brand new mom all over again. Completely clueless about what I should do with this little bundle. How much attention to give? How much to let her just do her own thing? Is she eating enough? Drinking enough? What about potty issues? How much is enough, too much? All those looks, barks, growls, yips, non-verbal communication that I can’t interpret no matter how much I want to.

Smiling lovingly at her "mommy."

Smiling lovingly at her “mommy.”

And there’s surely some doggie etiquette I didn’t get while out in public. Is there a book about that? And I didn’t remember what mix of breeds she is, (akin to cluelessness about your own child’s age.)

All that worry melted away when she sat on my lap or lay at my feet.

See? Just like a kid! They look so sweet and adorable and problem-free when they sleep.

When her mommy/owner picked her up I felt both relief and sadness. Relief because someone who knew what to do and understood her language could meet her needs better than I. And sadness because she brought an energy and joy into our home I hadn’t expected. Hopefully she’ll come visit soon.

Don’t get too excited. No potential doggie adoption here. Nope. MSH’s heart wasn’t captured, snuggled or charmed. Not a chance.

Categories: Fun | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pet Peeved People

Friday Letter to my Kids

Dear J, J, L and L,

After Sunday’s hour long downpour and subsequent temporary pond creation, nearly every member of the neighborhood walked past or around or through the park/pond. I couldn’t help but notice how many dogs accompanied the humans. I see people walking their dogs every day all day at the park since it’s right outside our front door. I just had no idea quite so many lived here as I saw concentrated in one Sunday evening. I’d guess three out of four neighbors house one or more dogs.

Clearly, that puts our family in the minority.

Since one of you recently adopted a blingy blond princess dog, (Blondie) and one of you has a ginormous, slobbery, loveable dog named after a beer, (Pabst) as well as a cute but moody cat (Penelope Buttercup) I’ve thought some about the few pets we’ve had over the years.

I suppose first I ought to discuss the elephant in the room, or more concisely, the dog not in the room.

I know, I know, we never owned a dog.

That’s more your Dad’s doing than mine. I’d have probably relented, against my better judgment, if it had just been me making those decisions.

Or not.

There were various dogs in my household growing up, one or two of which produced some slightly traumatic experiences. (Being home alone when the small Beagle began birthing the babies of the biggest dog in the neighborhood didn’t go over well in my pre-facts-of-life brain.)

stunnedSorry. Had to call my therapist and have a conversation there for a minute… (kidding)

Anyway. No dogs for your growing up years. And look, you survived!

Laaaaaa!!!

Cue the orchestra.

Nope. No dogs.

Instead Parakeets blessed our household. Bright green Sunny lived up to his namesake by being a ray of chipperness and laughs. I loved how you used to build Lego mazes for him to search through to get to the inanimate love of his life, a bell. Weirdest relationship on the planet.

image by Testostera

image by Testostera

I’ll never forget when he flew out the open garage door and Little J followed him through the neighborhood, climbed a forty-foot tree (what was I thinking?) and got him to climb on her hand. Completely inspired, she tucked him into her shirt and shimmied down the tree and ran home. Talk about heroic love!

I’m not sure if we can count “Suffer” as a real pet, since it was a stray that hung out by the back door that we occasionally fed. And occasionally bought medicine to put in its food. And occasionally, on really cold snowy days, let in the house if the parakeet was in its cage. It remained a stray when we moved cross-country. I didn’t really feel too guilty sending it back to its free and wily ways of mooching off whatever neighbor took compassion on it.

I learned a few years later that three-year old Big L’s naming of “Suffer” wasn’t in reference to his mangy, tattered countenance, but a reference to Disney Cinderella’s cat “Lucifer.” Say it out loud like you just found a dead mouse and you’ll see where she came up with the name.

Maverick, the blue parakeet, escaped the same way as Sunny, but we never saw feather nor tail of her again. And Blossom, another blue, met a most unfortunate demise, which also might require calls to therapists if I ever divulge in what state I found her.

After Sunny passed away, with the requisite burial in a box in the side yard, we didn’t have any more pets for a while.

That is, until the fish. Teenaged Little J had a spell with that saltwater tank. But it’s tough to bond with fish and crabs and snails. And that thing never smelled very good.

And Little L had that poor oxygen deprived goldfish that was more depressing that cheering, about exactly the opposite of its intended purpose. And then a few other nameless, nothing whatsoever like Nemo the Disney cartoon personality-filled fishies, swam in and out of our lives for a brief spell.

And finally, two more parakeets who, thanks to Dad and his overly generous and somewhat sidetracked nature, flew out of their open cage that he’d set out on the back patio during an extra windy day.

Thus ended the Tilby family pet saga.

A predominate theme with all but the saltwater fish and the cat: Mom did the majority of cleaning.

Ew.

Not happy memories there.

At least with human children the poop eventually becomes the child’s own task. With pets, it’s forever the job of the human to clean up the piles and putrefaction.

Give me kids any day.

Bottom line. I’m happy if you’re happy in your pet-filled or pet-less lives.

Carry on.

Lovingly yours,
Mom

P.S. Thank you for not asking me to experience snakes, pigs, rats, rabbits, mice, hamsters, miniature deer or tarantulas as pets.

photo-23 copy 5

 

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” ~Christopher Hitchens

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Doggone it! “IT’S A DOG’S LIFE–ESPECIALLY AT THE BARRETTS”

I don’t have much experience with dogs. Except for a fairly traumatic experience with a beagle when I was nine or ten. But that story isn’t entertaining, enlightening or really all that interesting. It just made me not want to ever own a dog in my life.

I’ve worked with dogs. No, I’m not referencing any of my bosses, who have all been wonderful. No, really. But a couple times I worked at someone’s home and their dog or dogs became an integral part of my work day, and sometimes my non-work day.

What I’m taking far too long to say here is I have no dog stories. But I recently read one that summed up dog ownership with such grace and aplomb that I decided I needed to let you, my faithful readers in on the same story.

So here, straight from the pen of one of my dear writer’s group friends, Elizabeth Barrett, I turn you over to her able and witty words:

theotherelizabethbarrett

Buddy and Livvi

Elizabeth Willis Barrett

I do not like dogs.  The only thing they have going for them is that they are 50 times better than cats.  For some reason the word “cat” puts a shiver down my bones.  I don’t know why I wasn’t blessed with an animal loving gene.  I think when the lines were queuing in Heaven for various attributes, I stood far too long in the Music lines, constantly looking over at the Photography and Writing and Speaking lines to make sure I could eventually get into them.  There was no time to wait in the Animal Loving line before I was whisked to earth and set down in Rexburg, Idaho, during a blinding snow storm.

But Brad loves dogs and has to have one.  We’ve been through many as a family: Chisum, Beau, Alamo, Chorizo, Mariah, Ike, Jeremiah, Sammi and Bailey to name a few.  We’ve had…

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