Tag Archives: Dogs

Poop patrol

As you can likely guess, with 6 dogs we have to go on weekly poop patrol. I know, it’s a disgusting blog topic. And I hope for your sake that you didn’t just eat lunch.

Because of poop patrol I found this music video (introduced by my sister) kind of funny. It is made by some silly Danes.


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The magic van

Uncle Rico's van

Unbeknownst to many of our readers, we are the proud owners of a 1982 Chevy Van. This thing is so old that it was literally on the manufacturing line when I was in diapers. My husband is eagerly awaiting the year 2012, in which it will become a collector’s item and thus be eligible for a special license plate.

The magic van is like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. I swear you can keep shoving shit in there and still have room for stuff. Mary Poppins, at different points in the movie, pulls a large lamp and cough syrup from her bag. So what, precisely, can you find in the magic van?

The ogre first comes equipped with a couch in the back, which folds down to a bed. A perk, I should mention, that makes the van an ideal mode to transport to concerts. But that’s another blog. A blog that really doesn’t have anything upstanding to contribute, actually.

I should note that we are driving the van, along with our Jeep Cherokee, to Iowa. The purpose of the van is to usher our beloved K9’s across the country. Perhaps we’ll even run into other crazies who are traveling with a pack of dogs. However, this generally means that their K9’s compete in dog shows, whereas our dogs do little more than bark at butterflies and try to hump each other (which does not make sense, since they are all fixed).

But back to the van. Inside of it you will now find (a) another full sized couch, (b) 6 large home stereo speakers, and (c) 1 HUGE television, circa 1999. We have already hauled this god dammed TV from Washington to California, from California to North Carolina, and from North Carolina to Washington. And by god, my husband is bound and determined to haul it to Iowa!

So the vehicle that was originally intended to transport our dogs now contains our entire living room. What’s magic about this is that there is STILL room for the dogs. The original couch in the back sits in the back, and the living room couch sits perpendicular to it (lengthwise). And our dogs LOVE their couch. It’s not uncommon to enter the living room to find 3 or 4 of them sleeping on it at once, with their chins resting on each other’s tummies and rumps.

So the added weight likely reduces our gas mileage from 10 miles per gallon to, say, 9 miles per gallon. But let’s face it – there’s no way to stuff 6 dogs in a Prius. So at least we’ll be comfortable along the way.

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Vet visit

I took 4 of our dogs to the vet today, by myself.

Just the usual appointment. Sim couldn’t be there with me, so he kindly loaded our largest dog crate in the Jeep Cherokee last night. We’ve been experimenting with different vehicle/crate/dog combinations to find the ideal mishmash for our road trip. After today, I can say with great certainty, that 4 dogs in the Jeep with one crate = a recipe for disaster. The dogs were wonderfully behaved, but the issue is that the crate door only opens part way from one side of the Jeep, so it’s easy to take a dog out (only because they leap out at you once the door opens) but hard to put one back. With this in mind, we may not even use crates for the majority of our trip. I think an upcoming blog about our van should clarify the proposed logistics.

While the dogs did splendidly, it was in large part due to the excellent staff at Whatcom Veterinary Hospital. I am so thankful for their kindness and patience in working with our dogs. They not only provide our furry family members with the best treatment possible, but they continually show their care and empathy. In retrospect, really the best and worst moments of our lives have been shared with veterinarians. So it is with great thanks to Dr. Aupperlee and colleagues that we enter this new chapter of our lives with healthy and happy dogs 🙂

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After packing our television, we could finally muscle our entertainment center away from the wall.

Behind it we found a trove of tennis balls. Our dogs have been on ball crack, as we call it, all night.

We technically have 3 different breeds of dogs in our household, but they are all in some combination beagle and/or golden retriever. So while I haven’t videotaped the sheer joy of tonight, the following clip is pretty representative.

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House hunting

So with 6 dogs who like to eat wall, you can imagine how exasperated we became trying to find a home for rent in Iowa. This has, hands down, been our biggest concern this year. We know there are other options, but they are not to be discussed in our household. We won’t hear of them. I will move the earth, sell my soul to the devil, and/or live in our Chevy van with all 6 of our dogs before I remove any one of them from our family.

House #1 seemed like it was a sure thing. It was located in Iowa City, had lots of space for the dogs, and had a fenced front and back yard. It was also 110 years old and totally falling apart, so really our dogs couldn’t do much more damage. But then landlord began dragging his feet. The current tenant, who owns a bar in Iowa City, is going through a divorce. And what sounds like a mid-life crisis. So apparently it’s difficult for him to plan ahead and decide when the hell he’s going to get his shit together.

In the meantime, we found House #2: A cute little farm house outside of town on the edge of a small organic farm. Heaven. But the landlord rented it to someone while our application was in the mail. No, I’m not surprised. I know we have 6 dogs. But I was sad, nonetheless.

Landlord of House #1 was still dragging his feet and becoming more distant, as the tenant was likely falling deeper and deeper into an alcoholic stupor. And eventually he stopped returning our calls.

Then came the ridiculous emotional breakdown. I know you were waiting for it. A white girl ALWAYS has to blog about this. There were 7 people recently killed in a local refinery explosion. There is a woman at my local supermarket who is fighting breast cancer. And here I am, being dramatic.

I called my sister and whined. She listened like the dear sister she is, and reassured me that everything would work out. I threw my body around the house like a moping 13 year old girl and cried so hard I got the hiccups. In hindsight, I was only PMSing as usual. I know my husband was glad he was in class that night.

I sat down in front of my computer and poured my heart out in a MS Word document. However, I composed probably the most organized, eloquent, and persuasive piece of work I’ve ever written. And I have a multitude of past professors to thank for this. I wanted to have this draft letter ready in case we found the perfect place. Stuff goes quick on Craigslist, especially in a college town containing just 60K residents, half of which are students.

I then logged onto Craigslist to again torture myself by looking at homes that did not allow pets.

And there it was: Dog friendly home in the country. Could this be true? It passed the first scam inspection – no generic names, no weird fonts or photos that were too good to be true. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood floors, a deck, air conditioning, and a large lot of land on the countryside, 5 miles from town. I pasted my letter into an email to the landlord and crossed my finders. I crossed my toes too (a freakish feat, I know), just to be on the safe side.

The next morning I checked my email to discover that the landlord said she was also an animal lover, that the current tenants have 4 dogs, and that she would be willing to rent to us!

We worked with an Iowa City property management company to coordinate the paperwork and deposits, and we’re now ready to move! We hit the road after Sim graduates on Saturday, June 12th!

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The best chew toy

What is the most popular chew toy in our house, you ask? No, not a shoe. No, not a stupid bone that cost more than a steak. And no, certainly not some overpriced piece of rubber known as “Kong” that only yuppies buy their dogs.

BTW (my students taught me that acronym), did you know that the term “yuppie” stems from the acronym YUP, standing for “Young, Urban Professional”? Kind of charming, huh? Yuppie. Like “yippee!” Only snootier.

Anyway, our dogs are not impressed with shit like the “busy bee” that Beatrice the Weimaraner, owned by a yuppie couple in their 30s with braces (you know – in “Best in Show”!?), fancies.

Our dogs’ chew toy of choice? The wall. Yes, the fucking wall. What the hell is wrong with our dogs? Are they mentally deranged? There is nothing they love more than to sink their sharp teeth into the bright white paint and break through to the drywall.

I have no crafty conclusion to this. That’s it. My dogs, who I’ve been caught bragging to people about having a sixth sense, like to eat wall.

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Holy Moley!

As I was making coffee this morning (and by coffee, I mean dark roast espresso with steamed soy milk), I looked out the kitchen window to admire my furry friends playing in the backyard. I noticed that they were stuffing their noses in the grass like pigs hunting truffles. This is nothing particularly new. But then they started to yelp at each other through the tall grass, as if to plead “No, it’s mine!” Maybe they found another big beetle or something to torment. I understand the circle of life, but I have to admit I’ve become fixed on Buddhist belief that no creature should be killed. Except for bees, I hate bees. They scare the living shit out of me. I was recently giving a lecture while a scary looking bee snuck in the classroom for a lesson on statistics. Talk about stressful. But back to the story – I decided to venture outside to see if I could save some poor bug’s life or prevent our dogs from eating something they would regret (i.e., something I would be cleaning out of the carpet an hour later).

As I approached, I saw a glimpse of something in someone’s mouth. I don’t know who’s mouth, because it all became a blur. I swiped for the dog’s collar and it took off. I think there was some sort of exchange, like in football. And then Missy had the little creature. I could see it was small and dark, with a tail. God help me. I chased after her and she ran to the other side of the yard. I screamed as she ran to the back fence line covered by drooping trees. And as I yelled at her to “drop it!”, she did. Just like that. By then I was at her feet holding my hands above the little guy, sheltering him from another attack. The other 3 pups gathered round as I realized it was a mole. An adorable little mole. A mole who had escaped, unscathed, in perfect condition. And wouldn’t you know it, Missy dropped him right in front of a mole hole. He quickly scurried in the soft dirt and was suddenly gone. The dirt quaked for a minute, like jello, and then subsided. My little mole was safe!

After the event I praised Missy for listening to me and she glowed with pride. Perhaps this was because she, and not her 3 brothers, held the mole in her mouth for the longest time, but I’d like to think she was happy to have saved him. For months the dogs have been stalking this little mole to no avail. Why on earth would this mole spend so much time in our yard? A yard filled with 6 dogs nearly all of the time? His most enchanting passages are positioned just under our large trees in between the roots that are buried deep in the soil. Our pups are half hound, so their daily activities are almost entirely determined by scent. And this compels them to dig, dig, dig. If you need a trench dug, our dogs could do it in tandem, in record time. We have just 3 weeks left at this house, and I’m happy to know that we’ll continue to spend it with our little mole friend, who I think we’ll all miss upon departure.

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