Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A visit from death doodle may prove accurate...

I initially heard about the phenomenon of the death predicting cat on an episode of House.  Death cat was able to sense the impending death of patients in the hospital.  Upon Googling, I discovered there is an actual cat residing in a nursing home in Rhode Island who possesses this incredible power.  Coincidentally, his name is Oscar.

On Friday afternoon, I began feeling a little under the weather.  By Friday evening, I was sure I might actually be dying.  Upon retreating to bed for the night, I found it somewhat odd that the doodle insisted on laying alongside me.  Typically, he curls up in a ball at the end of the bed and strategically places himself across my feet so as to prevent any possibility I might be able to get up to use the bathroom during the night... or escape in case of a fire... or defend against 37 attacking ninjas.  I digress.  After a few dozen unsuccessful attempts to relocate him from his new sleeping position (he was stealing my covers!), I was sure his bizarre behavior held a deeper meaning.  It was then that I remembered: death cat!  I aborted any further attempt to decipher this unusual behavior and deduced this was the only possible explanation, given the critical condition of my health at the moment.  Oscar is Death Doodle!  Some may call to question the accuracy of his predictions due to the fact that I am alive enough to be writing this... and it is four days after the fact.  But I assure you my condition has only worsened since Friday and until proven otherwise, I maintain that I am still actually dying.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nugget: Celebrity Status

Now, I'm not one to brag unless it pertains to my dogs, but Nugget actually is kind of a big deal.  There is a vast collection of adorable Nuggetisms that make him easily identifiable - even in a large city full of countless talented goldens.  One of my most favorite Nugget greetings is when he sits up on his hiney, as if to say "Hi, nice to see you!" and offers a paw.  Initially, this was accompanied with his high five trick which we requested with a hand up and the words "Good game!"  On his own accord, Nugget separated these into two stand-alone events and typically offers one or the other (sometimes both) to everyone he meets.

We are not strangers to the Petco at the Arboretum.  In fact, it's one of my favorite stores just because it's clean, organized and boasts a modern design.  It's no secret that the boys and I frequent this location at least twice monthly, which is only slightly more often than we need to restock on noms.  Occasionally, we will see some of the same cashiers and associates we've encountered on previous trips.  And some of them recognize us.  The other day, I was at my wits end with the boundless energy of both dogs, so I took them to Petco for some peanut butter-filled bones hoping that would occupy their idle paws and mouths for a few hours.  As we were at the checkout (with a new cashier whom I did not recognize), Nugget offered his requisite greeting by sitting on his hiney for the nice lady.  She was flattered, of course, by Nugget's kind gesture and then she paused for a moment before asking, "Is this the 'good game' Nugget?"  I was stunned, but immediately replied, "Yes!  The one and only!"  Oh how proud I was!  Nugget is officially a Charlotte C-list celebrity, which in doggy terms is at least the equivalent of being a B-lister.  Nugget is truly making a name for himself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My 'Doodle, The Bra Bandit: A Conspiracy Theory

I have a sneaking suspicion that B is tired of seeing my clothes laying haphazardly about the house, rather than in the drawers or closet where they belong.  My conspiracy theory involves B, the 'doodle, and a little bit of bribery with milk bones over a long weekday afternoon while I was at work. 

Oscar has always sought out B's socks from a pile of laundry awaiting its turn in the washing machine.  And any dish towel within paw's reach, he also considers fair game.  Until this week, however, the 'doodle has never attempted to tote away any pieces of my wardrobe... but then there was the black bra incident on Tuesday night. 

Admittedly, I'm terrible about putting my clothes in the hamper or back on a hanger when I disrobe at the end of the workday.  Often times, there are any number of shoes, shirts, pants and unmentionables strewn across my bedroom and bathroom.  If you know me, I understand this is terribly shocking and hard to believe since no one has ever entered my apartment to find it anything less than perfectly spotless - even with two dogs living under the same roof.  So consider this my "skeleton" - during the work week, my place is a disaster!

Now back to the bra:  Suspiciously, Oscar singled out this one article of clothing from the mound I had piling up on the floor.  Oddly enough, he wanted to chew on it and he has never chewed anything that doesn't belong to him prior to this.  I repeatedly took it away from him... and coincidentally hid it in every possible place EXCEPT its rightful drawer.  He found it every time.  I even put it behind a pillow on my bed, under which he burrowed to find his prize.  I finally conceded defeat and put the bra in the hamper, which he has yet to figure out how to open.

Upon interrogation, B denies even knowing I own a black bra and swears he has no idea why the 'doodle is so dazzled by the article.  He also quickly changed the subject, so as to not further incriminate himself.  Unless the 'doodle has been paging through Victoria's Secret catalogs, I have serious doubt Oscar even realizes it's mine.  Through no confession of his own, I've concluded B had everything to do with this in order to encourage me to put my clothes away.  The poor 'doodle was merely his pawn.  It is my belief, though I have only circumstantial evidence, that B somehow tainted the black bra with the scent of milk bones, thus triggering Oscar's uncontrollable urge to chew.  Why else would the 'doodle be so successful at repeatedly finding the bra?  How dare he use my own dog against me!  And take advantage of the fact that Oscar is just a babe and knows not what he does?!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chamberlin Gear!


This amazing artist has posted her "Chamberlin" art (which is SUPER cute) on Zazzle for purchase on your choice of shirts, totes, mugs, etc.  50% of the sales will be donated to Chamberlin's wheelchair fund.  I received my shirt and tote in the mail today and they are ADORABLE!  I can't wait to show them off and have people ask me about Chamberlin!  He really is famous :)

Monday, November 15, 2010


88lb male golden retriever, approximately 2 1/2 ft tall, brown eyes, last seen wearing a blue argyle collar. Believed to have crucial information regarding a vandalism investigation involving the violent shredding of fabric softener dryer sheets. Again, reward for information leading to an arrest...


I spent last evening trying to solve the mystery of who is responsible for the large muddy paw print on my new Vera calendar. The offending mark is approximately size of a furry 10 month old labradoodle paw. The suspect is still at large and is believed to be armed and dangerous using his wet, sloppy kisses to lure his victims. Reward for information leading to his arrest...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Football Sunday

Don't interrupt a man during his game... even if he is dozing.
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Mom is not a nom!

Bruises from Oscar nom-nom-nomming on my arm. I swear I do feed him!
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Nugget, who made that mess?

I swear I just picked all those up 42 seconds ago.
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New Friend

This is our new friend, Sadie. No, she's not staying forever. I'm watching her for some friends for the weekend. But as B said this morning, "There are dogs laying everywhere!" It's a little cozy, but everyone is getting along well.
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That when mom's away, the golden will lay - wherever he wants! If it's not my couch, it's my bed. At least once a week I come home to a drool spot on the cushion of my micro suede couch. But catching him in the act has been nothing short of a challenge. As soon as my keys jingle at the door, he promptly returns all fours to the floor where they belong. Just in the nick of time, as I put one foot over the threshold, he has successfully restored the Mr. Innocent face from the look of guilty pleasure he wore just moments prior. He  hasn't fooled me; even the cutest of faces is laced with a hint of guilt.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sometimes we get along ...

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I'm not biased...

...but I think Nugget is the most handsome boy I've ever seen!
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Getting into the spirit

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If kids are anything like dogs...

... I'm OUT!  Let me preface this by saying, even if I really didn't want children, I'm trapped into birthing or somehow acquiring at least one.  Since my brother married first and declared very adamantly his plan to remain childless, I am left with the responsibility of providing my parents at least one grandchild to love, squeeze, spoil and load up on sugary treats before returning them to me.  And as much as they love and adore all of their grandpuppies (5 total, plus the late Diesel - rest his soul), I've been informed this is no substitute for the actual human variety offspring.  (Really, I don't see what the big deal is... Nugget has my eyes and Oscar... well, he's the red-headed stepchild, but we love him just the same).

First, I cannot imagine loving anything or anyone as much as I love my dogs.  This is different, of course, from the way you love your parents or siblings or spouse or friends.  It's a motherly love.  I am elated when they learn new tricks; excited to see them every morning when I wake up and every evening after work.  I tuck them in to bed.  I laugh at the silly things they do.  I cry when they are sick or hurt.  I brag on them incessantly.  I have more pictures of them on my desk than I have of B.  Yes, it is true love... and a mostly rewarding relationship!

The delight of puppy parenting, however, does not come without its challenges.  Let me paint it for you this way - I'll walk you through a typical day:

6am:  Oscar is up - a full 90 minutes before we usually get up because he doesn't understand this "fall back" concept.  In his mind, he's wondering why mom is sleeping so late!  At 6am, it's COLD and dark.  I have little patience for dilly-dallying when we're attending to morning "business".  Look buddy, it's the same grass you've been going in for the last 10 months... nothing has changed, I promise!

6:15:  I try to coax them into going back to sleep for even just 45 minutes.  But Oscar insists it's breakfast time.  Ok, I cave and they get their kibble early.

6:20:  I'm trying to go back to sleep, but keep being rudely awoken by the sound of Nugget and Oscar romping in the next room.  It's a sound I imagine is similar to what would be heard in the wild between two mountain lions fighting over a fresh, juicy carcass.  Going back to sleep at this point is a lost cause.  In fact, the entire county might be awake now since Nugget has the bark that can be "heard around the world".

7:30:  I get out of the shower to see a fresh puddle of urine on the carpet in my bedroom.  This is what happens when we get up, go potty, and eat breakfast too early.  Granted, Oscar was a potty training nightmare.  But until the time change, he had been accident-free for weeks!  So I clean up the mess and he, of course, shows no remorse.

8:15:  Everyone gets a treat, Oscar goes in his crate and I'm out the door for work.

1pm:  I swing by over lunch to say hi and give them a quick potty break - even though the dog walker is coming by in 2 hours.  We all play and give loves.  Biscuits and water is distributed and I'm gone again.

5:15:  I get home and the note from the dog walker says everyone did all their business on the walk.  Perfect.  Theoretically, no one should have to poo on the short, after work walk.  So we make it quick and then everyone gets dinner.

5:30:  Finally I get to start unwinding from my day.  Except I emerge from my bathroom, into the kitchen in my bare feet, and step right onto something warm and squishy.  On my BRAND NEW rug!!  Smells like Oscar.  Oscar is also eating it.  Super.  Now I'm thinking the dog walker coming in the middle of the day has really thrown off his schedule.

5:45  I'm just finishing scrubbing my NEW rug and sanitizing my own feet when I walk around the corner to find Oscar with his (previously VERY full) water bowl in his teeth.  Water everywhere.  This confirms my decision to buy stock in Bounty paper towels.  I made the executive decision that it's time for a trip to Petco.  These dogs clearly need something to entertain them... besides tipping water bowls and removing my towels from the kitchen repeatedly.

7pm:  Back from Petco and everyone has a new bone.  I don't hear another peep out of them for the rest of the night!  Worked like a charm, except now I've began the downward spiral of "buying" good behavior.  Is this the dog equivalent of sitting your children in front of a video game to shut them up for the night?  Must be... because it worked.

10pm: Bedtime is another ordeal.  Why is it such a surprise to everyone that when the lights go out, I expect you to lay down and be quiet?  GO TO SLEEP!  Or don't - that's your prerogative.  But I want to sleep, so stare at the wall, tell yourself a story (quietly), but don't chew on your brother's ears or lick his face or bite his tail!  (See morning commentary regarding mountain lion fight).

And at 6am, it starts all over again.

In reality, I know babies really are a whole lot more work.  But eventually, they learn to communicate their needs, wants, feelings, etc in actual words.  And they'll eventually learn to clean up after themselves.  (Whether they chose to do it is another story).  "Woof!" could be 3,726 different things!!  And it never gets any clearer.  No matter how many books I read them, these dogs still will not talk.  Though at this point, I'd be very disappointed if they don't at least know how to read. 

They sure keep my life interesting!  And as soon as I walk in the door, it doesn't matter how awful or boring my day has been to that point, I can count on them to turn it around.  Perhaps someday I'll get on board with the human baby thing, but I'm pretty content with my canine kids for now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

This is Nugget's sad face...

Everytime B leaves, Nugget pouts. I dropped him at the airport yesterday, so his car is still in my parking lot. Nugget recognized it and stood up with his paws on the window to see if B was in there. So pitiful... but so cute how much they love him! And now I have to get those paw prints of his window!!
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Add potholders to the list...

Note how they are evenly spaced. And the proud look on his face. Thanks Osc.
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Good Morning, Oscar!

This is my view when I open my eyes in the morning. You know that feeling that someone is staring at you? Yeah...
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cheap Entertainment

Oscar is not sure whether he's a dog or a cat.  He pounces, but he wags his tail.  He hisses (though I've yet to witness this personally), but he barks.  He obey [VERY] basic commands in exchange for treats, but caresses himself against my furniture.  And he does some of the most graceful, thorough stretching I've only previously seen exercised by a cat. 

Aside from the usual romping and barking, Oscar was more in touch with his feline side tonite.  As I was cleaning up in the kitchen, where Oscar is always by my side at the off chance something edible (or even not) might hit the floor, Nugget was laying in the dining room, minding his own business.  Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I saw Oscar walking slowly out of the kitchen.  He was actually TIP-TOEING into the dining room; being so careful and sneaky, picking each paw up slowly and placing it back on the floor gently.  After several steps, he crouched into pre-pounce stance and then launched himself in Nugget's direction.  Romping and barking resumed.

He may be confused, but I sure get a lot of laughs :)

Further proof...

...that Oscar is a direct decendent of the goat species. Thanks for that little surprise, Oscar.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nugget's Life Story in One Picture

Eat, sleep, tennis balls!!
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Again with the towels...

This is no exaggeration, I picked up those kitchen towels 5 times this morning.  The funny thing is that Osc won't tear them up or even play with them; he just prefers they not be hanging.  It's kinda like a game now.  He retrieves them and waits to see how long it takes me to see that they're gone.  Then I put them back up and wait to see how long it takes him to notice and take them back down.  So funny...  Nugget used to do the same thing, though he would also bring out my bath towel and bath mats.  I guess I should be thankful that, for the most part, they aren't destructive.  Anyway, it's cheap entertainment.  :o)
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This is what I woke up to...

Nugget likes to share my pillow. It's gonna be a tough break when B moves in. We'll have to soon be investing in a Cal King!
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Lessons from Chamberlin

Because Nugget and Oscar are HUGE fans of Chamberlin (okay, really I am... but Nugg & Osc listen attentively when I update them Chamberlin's status), I thought I would dedicate a post in his honor.  His story can be found here: Chamberlin's Story  You will absolutely need some Kleenex.

I am continually disgusted by the stories I hear in the news.  As a woman of Christian faith, I often struggle with the "why?" when I read stories such as this.  How can anyone be so heartless?  Why do bad things happen to innocent, helpless beings?  Nothing gets to me quite like hearing a story about a child, elderly person or animal being hurt by someone.  They rely on able-bodied, able-minded adults for even their very most basic life needs. I cannot fathom how anyone could deny them those things, ever.  Really, there must be a black hole where their heart is supposed to be.

I started following Chamerlin's story towards the end of September.  I am a fan of Susie's Law on Facebook and initially saw the story there.  (Susie's story is also nothing short of amazing!  A MUST-READ if you haven't already!).  I was immediately captivated by this little guy's innocent face and sweet disposition.  The YouTube video that was put together by the Guilford County Animal Shelter is absolutely heart-wrenching.  Chamberlin's Video  I've watched this at least 5 times and each time, I cry just as hard as the first time I saw it.  Look at this pitiful dog, left to die in an abandoned back yard and just short of death's door step.  He was found by chance (& thank God he was!).  He has suffered immensely, but this little guy just looks up with the most loving of eyes and wags his tail.  How amazingly humbling is that?  He is so incredibly grateful for the people who are saving him.  Rather than cowering away because of all that he's been through, he reciprocates the love and affection being shown to him by the wonderful people at the shelter. 

WOW.  The things we can learn from this courageous animal...  How often do we, in our own way, cower into a corner and shut out our family and friends because we've had a bad day or because of any number of physical and emotional scars that burden us?  I am probably the most guilty of anyone I know.  When I'm hurting, it's so much easier to bury myself in work and let my phone go to voicemail.  Interestingly, that never makes me feel better.  What a beautiful reflection of God's grace it would be to step out of our comfort zone and give love and affection during our most difficult times!  There's something to be said for converting our bad feelings into positive energy.  Nothing lifts my spirits as much as when I make someone else smile.  Thank you, Chamberlin for that reminder!  How I pray to have half the courage Chamberlin has shown - to be able to wag my tail and smile when all I feel like doing is hanging my head.

Finally, a HUGE shout out and thanks to the Guilford County Animal Shelter!  What they are doing for Chamberlin is so awesome!  They do a phenomenal job of providing updates on Chamberlin and making their Facebook followers aware of opportunities to make a difference for abused and neglected animals.  Thank you!

Nugget and Oscar have sent a donation to the Guilford Co Shelter for Chamberlin's care (Fine - It came from my checking account, but I put the donation in their names!)
The shelter accepts Paypal or you can mail a check to:
Guilford County Animal Shelter • 4525 West Wendover Ave., Greensboro, NC 27409 
There are many basic dog and office items for which they also have a need, if that's more your thing or if you have the resources to provide that instead.  That list can be found on their website.  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

To close your eyes will not ease another’s pain. — Chinese Proverb

Thank You, Oscar...

... How did you know I had been wanting to begin storing our dish towels on the dining room floor? That seems like a far more logical place than the bowl on the kitchen counter from which you stole them. And I like the disheveled, unfolded look much better!
I think I have a slight idea what my parents must have felt as they walked in on a mess or something broken when my brother and I were younger. The 'What in the hell happened in here?" was usually met with blank, semi-innocent stares. Eventually one of us would crack and the cleaning or appropriate punishment (usually a beating) would ensue. Oscar and Nugget don't respond much differently when I ask the same question upon walking into a mess such as pictured above. I already know who did it, (Nugget would never counter-surf), and I have the feeling my parents always knew, too. Oscar always wears his proud "Look what I did!" face and Nugget always hangs his head, regardless of which of them is the guilty party. The only difference is that dogs aren't going to clean up a mess; I have to!

*Disclaimer: Before someone reports this to CPS, I was never actually beaten by my parents. The comment was for entertainment purposes only. My brother, on the other hand, received his well-deserved beating daily. :o)
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