Archive for March, 2013

There is an epidemic going around, folks, and I’m pretty sure no one realizes the severity of the problem.   I’m not sure anyone even knows that it is a problem.  Believe you me, though–it’s a disaster waiting to happen.  Protect your children, stow your valuables.  But above all else…HIDE YOUR SHOES.


"Grimm has lured me to the dark side."

“Grimm has lured me to the dark side.”


Why the panic, you ask?  Do you live in a household with two footwear frenzied canines running amok?  No?  Well, if you did, you would understand.  No sneaker, slipper, pump or loafer is immune to the attention of a dog affected with the footwear fetish.  You can try to run and hide, but you should just leave your shoes behind.  If you don’t, the dogs will find them anyways.  They ALWAYS find them.


"You see this shoe? It thought it was safe, tucked away in it's basket hidden on a shelf. Look who has it now. There is nowhere to hide. None of your shoe friends can save you."

“You see this shoe? It thought it was safe, tucked away in it’s basket hidden on a shelf. Look who has it now. There is nowhere to hide. None of your shoe friends can save you.”


Grimm has always been fascinated by footwear.  Flip flops, of course, are the ultimate delicacy for this shoe gourmand.  The more expensive a shoe, the better they taste.  I have tried to keep my footwear safe, but I am only human. Occasionally a closet door gets left open or a running shoe is carelessly tossed in a dark corner.  Now that Rufus seems to be following in Grimm’s footsteps, my diligence has to improve.  The fate of my soles depends on me.

Grimm's Shoe Fetish

“I think I will start at the top. That little tab sticking off the back of you, shoe, looks delicious. Let the destruction begin!”


Now that Rufus has joined the family, my serial shoe killer finally has an accomplice.  Nikes can’t run fast enough to escape them, stilettos aren’t sharp enough to injure them, and even Dr. Scholl’s inserts are not immune to the footwear fiends destruction.  If they can’t respect a doctor, you can bet your Doc Martens will have no chance whatsoever.  With shoelaces hanging from their fangs, they race to catch the next pair of unsuspecting victims.

Shoe Eater

“Another shoe lost to Rufus the Ripper. MuWaHaHaHaHa!!”


You have been warned, my friends.  A destroyed shoe is a gruesome sight to behold.  It can take less than ten seconds for your flip to flop or your pump to deflate in the mouth of a skilled destroyer.  Keep your shoes hidden and be very wary of curious canines.  The fate of your soles depends upon it.


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Being the new kid on the block can bring challenges.  You have to make new friends, avoid new enemies, prove yourself worthy in a lot of ways.  Making that transition can be hard and finding new buddies to share life’s experiences can be that much harder.  So, when you are finally accepted into the fold, life feels complete.  What could be better?


Battle Over The Stick


Rufus was accepted as one of the gang right off the bat…even before I officially decided to keep him.  I thought Grimm might be a little jealous of the new guy since his position of youngest was being usurped by a new hellion.  I had visions of gang initiations and hazing going through my head.  I could just imagine Grimm, Zella and Charley making Rufus dress like a cat and meow all day or forcing him to give them his ration of treats and food as tribute.  But did they?  Nope.  They took him in and immediately made him feel welcome–sharing their toys, their food, their beds, their love.  He became their newest little buddy.


Grimm vs. Zella & Rufus


Maybe, I thought to myself, the dogs knew at that time that he wasn’t supposed to be a permanent resident.  They were just being polite.  Now that I’ve officially adopted him (and by officially, I mean I just said, “Okay, I guess you can stay”), I thought maybe the jealousy would start.  Dogs can sense so much–surely they can determine through their canine superpowers when something is temporary versus permanent.  Surely they would gauge the subtle shift in the environment when Rufus was given tenure.  Surely the petty squabbles would commence.


Three Pups Carry A Stick


Unless playing tug of war with a stick counts, then I was completely mistaken. You see, that is what is remarkable about dogs.  They have an innate sense of goodwill (well, most dogs, anyway) about taking things at face value.  The newbie didn’t have to prove his worth to them or remake himself to fit their ideals.  He could be himself, and they theirs, with no apologies for their quirks, no expectations to become something more or less…no hidden agendas, no subterfuge, no scheming or gossip.  How refreshing it would be to live in a world such as this!  To be able to just say what you mean and mean what you say…well, why can’t we?





Rufus couldn’t be happier about being accepted into the fold.  To belong to something…to be part of something…isn’t that what most of us desire?  Don’t we, too, understand the feeling of wanting to fit in and the joy of finding true friendship?  As long as we can be ourselves and be true to our spirit, then finding our niche should bring us joy.  Love your friends and accept them for who they are.  And if your friends also love to tug on sticks as much as you, well that is a huge bonus!  Tug away, my friends…tug away.

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Now, before I began, I just want to say one thing:  no one is allowed to say, “I told you so.”  I realize now that  I was probably doomed from day one but I will say, “Thank you.”  Thank you for humoring me when I said that I would be able to adopt Rufus out one day, for pretending to not see when I was so obviously smitten and for understanding when I say that I cannot give this munchkin up.

Fostering is hard.  Caring for a life–feeding him, teaching him, training him, loving him–takes a big commitment.  However, one knows that the joy of finding that perfect home makes it all worth it.  Some fosters stay with you for a long time (I had a cat I fostered for 14 months before she found her perfect home and a pit bull mix who stayed with me for 11 months before he moved on) and some only for a short while (I only had a border collie mix for 3 days before he was claimed by his new family).  No matter how hard you try not to get attached, you sometimes do.

I’ve fostered many dogs and cats over the years and I have become a foster failure a few times, too.  I ended up keeping or adopting the ones I couldn’t bear to see leave or who I felt would truly be best served by staying with me–Thomas, a ginger and white cat who I just adored, Elliott, a black and white cat who was so attached to Thomas I couldn’t separate them and Zella, whose story can be read here.

There’s a line in Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, where Marilla is talking to Matthew about returning the orphan girl who was mistakenly sent to them in lieu of a boy.  They had requested a boy from the orphanage in order to help with labor around the farm.  Matthew has been smitten by the precocious redhead and does not want to send her back.  Marilla says:


“What good would she be to us?”

“We might be some good to her,” said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.

“Matthew Cuthbert, I believe that child has bewitched you!  I can see as plain as day that you want to keep her.”


And keep her they did.  Best decision they ever made, too.  The decision was made not because of what she could give them (even though she enriched their lives), but because they could make all the difference in her life by giving her a home and love.

I, too, have been bewitched by a redhead…only a male canine, not a human girl.  I feel that my dogs and I might be some good for him.  In his short life-time (six months) he has been through four homes.  That, my friends, breaks my heart. Why should he have to go on to another home when mine is able to provide him all his needs?, I ask myself.

To make matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view), Rufus is completely enamored with Grimm.  He loves him more than anything in the world.  He mimics him, he cuddles with him and he wants to play with him all the time.  Sure, Rufus likes Charley and Zella, too, but I have never seen a dog with such an intense affection for another.  At work, my coworkers joke that he is Grimm’s pet.  Grimm, patient as ever, takes it all in stride.


Rufus mimics his older brother, Grimm.  If he grows up to be just like him, I can't complain...unless he also develops a shoe fetish.

Rufus mimics his older brother, Grimm. If he grows up to be just like him, I can’t complain…unless he also develops a shoe fetish.




Even when resting outside, Rufus likes to be near Grimm.  Holding paws is best.

Even when resting outside, Rufus likes to be near Grimm. Holding paws is best.


How can I, in good faith, uproot this pup once again when the time comes?  Oh, sure, he’s young and malleable and would probably be fine…but what if he isn’t?  It’s not like I have a horde of potential adopters knocking down my door, anyways.  I have none…that I feel are worthy of him.  Plus, now that he is dealing with demodex mange, he looks a bit homely and moth eaten.  What adopter wants to take on a medical challenge right off the bat?

See what I mean?  These are the excuses I keep coming up with to not find him a suitable home.  I realized yesterday that truly, the only reason that I couldn’t find him a home was because I wanted to keep him.  Selfish, selfish, selfish.  The thing is, though…why shouldn’t I?  The other dogs like him, I have room in my house and yard, I can afford him and he seems to love it here.  Why do I feel the need to justify keeping him?  Is it because I hate being labelled a “failure” again?  Probably.  I just need to redefine Rufus:  he is not a “foster failure” but a “foster for keeps”…mine to keep, to teach, to care for, to love.

I should have known this would happen when it took me forever to name him.  That was probably my first clue he was staying.  What did his name really matter if he was to be adopted and it changed anyway?  It mattered because it was really to be his permanent name all along.  Second clue?  I got him an expensive collar and personalized name tag with my contact information on it.  I told myself his new owner could get a new tag when the time came and I needed to have my information on him “just in case”…”just in case” he became mine, permanently.  Lastly, I had him microchipped and linked all my information to his chip number.  He already had a name tag–did he really need  a microchip at this point?  Sure, I could transfer the microchip over to the new owner, but couldn’t I have waited to chip him after he was adopted?  Apparently, no…I needed to chip him asap in case he got lost or removed his tag and collar so that he could be returned to me and his rightful home.  Subconsciously, I was thinking waaayyy ahead.  It took the conscious part of my brain a while to catch up.





Please don’t judge me too harshly.  I am weak and not nearly as tough as I think I am, especially where knucklehead dogs are concerned.  So, here it is:  Rufus is officially mine, for keeps.  May this home bless him with all he could ever want or need.  And it’s really okay…you can say it.  I TOLD YOU SO.

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If you live in North America and you just so happen to look outside and see a mushroom cloud, well, that’s my house.  Now, before you call in the ATF or other government agencies to report possible terrorist activities, you should know that this noxious cloud was not caused by plutonium or uranium or any other radioactive substance.  It was caused by something much more serious:  canine flatulence.

Rufus is starting to catch up with Charley in his gas production.

Rufus is starting to catch up with Charley in his gas production.

With four dogs in the house, the amount of methane produced is astronomical. My household may be solely responsible for the greenhouse effect (sorry, Greenland–my dog’s gas is melting your glaciers).  I don’t feed them beans, they get a probiotic with their food, but lately the increased amount of gas can be attributed to the woofer’s goat impressions.  They like the spring grass, but it doesn’t like them so much.

Last night was the worst.  Between their musical backsides loudly proclaiming their expulsions and the odor permeating the air, I’m surprised I didn’t asphyxiate in my sleep.  I was going to light a scented candle to help mask the stench, but I was afraid of an explosion.  Instead, I sprayed air freshener until my index finger was permanently bent.  I sure hope they don’t use fluorocarbons in those cans anymore (if they do, sorry ozone layer).

Brain Damage

I’m pretty sure too much exposure to noxious gas causes drain bamage bain dramage your brain not to work.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, too much methane gas displaces oxygen and, without oxygen, well, our brains start to go south.  Maybe this explains a few things, like the picture above.  The dogs are contributing to their own demise.

Charley has always been gassy, but even more so in his old age.  I always know when he’s about to commence an air raid.  He usually gets up, very quietly and quickly, and leaves the vicinity.  That’s my cue to follow.  There is no helping those left behind.

Rufus, the new kid on the block, has begun to give the old man a run for his money.  He is a stinker, in more than one way.  Rufus, though, unlike Charley, likes to wallow in his own stench.  I swear he smiles when he passes gas.  I should have named him “Pig Pen” what with his own personal gas cloud hovering overhead.  He has no shame.

Grimm always seems perplexed whenever his derriere starts squeaking.  He does quick turns to see what the heck is happening in his nether regions.  Once he has figured out that the smell of death and decay is coming from his butt, he tucks his tail and hides his head in shame.  I almost feel bad for the kid, except I too have to smell his stench.

Zella, God bless her, is not ladylike at all in her flatulence.  She is the worst about snuggling up to you with her backside near your head.  Does she have the grace to move before breaking wind?  No.  She just breaks your nose with her odor.  Between the four of them, I’m surprised I have any sense of smell left.

Can I get a gas mask over here, please?

Can I get a gas mask over here, please?

How have the noxious fumes not killed me?  I have no idea.  All I know is that I need to invest in a military spec gas mask.  Anyone know of a good wholesaler? I’m gonna need more than one, I think.

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