Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ciel and Pip

Yesterday, my husband and I added two new family members to our menagerie of pet-children. It’s a funny story how I got them…okay, not necessarily funny, but interesting.

Working where I do, I’m exposed to many animals of all shapes and sizes. Since the grooming salon is in the back of the store I have to pass by most of these animals. Among these animals are rats.

A few years back, I had pet rats. I really enjoyed them and I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I started spending more and more time passing their cages and stopping to look at them.

At first it was just a quick stop to see if we had any rats. If we did, I’d say how cute they were, but remind myself that these were male rats and I had female rats. I didn’t want male rats. It has nothing to do with male rat personalities, but with their dangly male parts. It’s kind of weird to see. So I decided that I’d go to another store in Norman where they carried only female rats.

Then my desire to get pet rats again got stronger and stronger. Soon I didn’t care if I got males or females, I just wanted to have them again. It finally came to a head on Monday. My husband wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday which is tomorrow. I didn’t know what I wanted at first, but then I stopped at the rats again. Yep, I wanted rats for my birthday.

I asked one of the people in pet care to see one of the rats. She told me about a rat they had for adoption that only had one eye. I wanted to see him and immediately fell in love with him. I was going to make him mine.

Then yesterday my husband and I went shopping and we came home with a bunch of rat stuff, the one-eyed rat, and another one so he could have a little friend. I held them a little last night. I was going to wait to name them, but I started to look up names.

Eventually I settled on Ciel for the one-eyed rat, named after a boy in Black Butler who lost his eye, and Pip for the other rat. Pip is the main character in the novel Great Expectations.

So…that brings the amount of pets up to: three dogs, four cats, and two rats. Eventually we’re going to get a ferret because my husband wants one. Yeah, we’re crazy, but that’s okay.

Until next time, keep your whiskers clean.

Fun, but Dangerous

As I’ve said many times before, I love working at a grooming salon. Not only do I get to bathe dogs (and then am relieved when I can send the bad ones home), I get to do a lot of thinking after all, it doesn’t take much brain power to bathe and brush dogs (once I become a full-fledge groomer, this might change). I like to think about my life, stories I want to write, dreams I had, and things I want to do when I get home.

However, as with any job, dog grooming isn’t without its hazards. Last week I bathed a Newfoundland. He didn’t want to be on the table and jumped off. Well this was an older grooming table and it tipped over crashing to the floor. Unfortunately my leg was too close to the table and I got a nice cut on my leg.

Or yesterday, a Great Pyrenees puppy got her foot caught in the kennel grate and was yelping. I tried to help her get her foot out, but she bit me. It was more of a biting scratch. She wasn’t trying to hurt me. Eventually she realized that she was pulling in the wrong direction and once she stopped resisting her foot came right out.

Also yesterday, a Jack Russell mix playfully jumped up on one of the groomers and scratched her on her wrist very close to where she just got a tattoo.

A few weeks ago, fortunately on my day off, two dogs bit four groomers and one of the bites was really bad.

There are many other stories like that, but fortunately these incidents are few and far between. Most of the time we have some crazy dogs, but we’re never really harmed and blood is rarely drawn. Dogs that are downright mean, or are incredibly stressed are sent home so no one is harmed.

Pet parents are often angered by the fact that we require rabies vaccination verification. We explain to them that it is a liability to have a dog in there that isn’t up-to-date on his/her rabies vaccinations. Some owners understand, but other owners storm out believing that needing the rabies is a stupid rule. I don’t know about the owners, but I don’t want to get bitten by a strange, unvaccinated dog and then have to go to the hospital and get a rabies shot in my stomach.

You know, even if I got bit every day I don’t think I’d change occupations. I guess it’s because I know that bad days only last for a short time and are always followed by good days and good dogs.

So, until next time…be kind to your groomers, they’re the ones who are holding the razor.

Full House: Beautiful Chaos

As I type, there are six dogs in our little, bitty house. How’d that happen when I only have three? Did each of them split in half?

Well I offered to dog sit for one of our salon clients. She’s a nine year old Shih Tzu (Toffee). Yesterday, my mom had to take an emergency trip and wasn’t sure when she was coming back so she dropped her eighteen month old Toy Poodle mix (Ebony) and two and a half year old Rat Terrier (Penny) at our house.

Yesterday it was a bit chaotic. The cats were mad. Toffee barked at the other dogs. Penny, Molly, Haley, and Ebony played. Shaffer, well he just tried to stay out of the way and growled at the other dogs while they played. I don’t completely blame him, between the cats and the dogs he was surrounded by females. What can I say, I like female dogs better than males, it has nothing to do with their personality, it’s just a preference. However, I do like male cats better.

I finally had to separate everyone and shut doors. Finally things quieted down. Then my husband came home. Strangely enough, it wasn’t all that chaotic after he got home, but that was probably because there were two people handling all of the pups. We got them pottied and put to bed. Because they’d been playing all afternoon and evening we didn’t hear a peep from them until eight-thirty this morning. Nine hours of sleep was wonderful.

This morning I put Penny and Shaffer in the backyard and took the four short ones (Toffee, Molly, Haley, and Ebony) out front. At first they weren’t leashed and they went in five different directions. No, I didn’t make a mistake. Four dogs went in five different directions. Don’t ask how that is possible. I had to chase Molly and Ebony down. Eventually I had a small, black dog under each arm. Needless to say they got leashed. They decided to wrap their leashes around my back so the leash in my right hand was at my left leg and the leash in my left hand was at my right leg. By the time I got untangled, both were searching for a place to potty.

Where were Toffee and Haley? Doing their own thing. They’re old enough to know that running off yields nothing but a lecture and a leash. Once Toffee, Ebony, and Molly pottied, I put them in the house and drug Haley around the yard until she did something. I love Shih Tzu and I will always have at least two hanging around, but they are so stubborn and want things their own way…which is probably why I like them so much.

Following the morning potty is breakfast. While on the phone with my mom telling her about how much of a brat Ebony is, I devised a feeding plan. Shaffer and Penny would get fed outside, Molly in her crate, Ebony and Haley in the living room and Toffee in the spare bedroom (also known as the dog’s bedroom). I ended up feeding Ebony and Haley in the spare bedroom and Toffee in the living room, but it worked. Everyone got fed and it wasn’t even chaotic; it was organized albeit a bit noisy. It’s a wonder my husband didn’t complain about all of the noise.

Right now Shaffer is dozing off by the door, Toffee on the back of my chair, and the other four are playing in the spare bedroom. Mother is coming later on to pick up her pups. It was fun having six dogs. If only our house was a bit bigger, I’d dog sit more often.

Until next time remember tug-of-war is a way of life.

Confirmed Dog Person

I remember when I first started blogging…again. I wrote about depression, dogs, movies, books, and whatever else struck me as a good topic. Lately my posts have been revolving around dogs. At first I was reluctant, but since my whole life revolves around dogs, I realize now that I’ve found my blogging niche.

I think the reason why I haven’t had near as many depressed episodes is due to a combination between dogs and medication. I still have my moments, but they’re not as bad. Even when I have a fairly bad episode, I know I still have to care for the dogs and that gets me out of bed.

It sounds bad, but I prefer to cuddle with my dogs before cuddling with my husband, but then again I’ve always been like that. I show affection to animals, but I find it hard to show affection to people (outside of my parents). I haven’t quite figured that out, but I do remember that the author of Pack of Two wrote about something similar in the book. She wrote about how her family wasn’t an affectionate family, but they would show affection to the dogs. When they were sitting doing something, someone would reach down and scratch the dog.

So that brings me back to my original question: Why is it so easy to show affection to dogs (and other animals) than it is to people? Is it because with dogs there is a complete trusting relationship that we can’t find with humans? Dogs don’t hide behind masks. What you see is what you get. They are the few creatures on this planet that have seen every side of a human’s personality and still remain loyal. When I’m having a bad day, one of my dogs will sit beside me. They’re not trying to “fix” the situation as humans are wont to do; they’re not trying to make the situation go away; all they are trying to do is offer comfort to a hurting family member.

I guess another reason why I love dogs is, for me, they’ve always been there. I was born into a family who loved dogs and had dogs. When I was old enough, my parents got me a dog (and I don’t even recall asking for one, but I think it was because they missed their American Eskimo Dog, Shep). Even though my parents would sometimes express that they’d like to not have the “burden” of owning dogs; that if their current dogs die off they won’t acquire anymore. Twice this has happened and twice my parents have adopted another dog or two and they say that they can’t imagine their lives without them. I can’t imagine my life without dogs either.

I didn’t mean to get all philosophical with this post, despite the fact that I love philosophy. I just noticed that I haven’t posted in a couple weeks (been sick, busy, or both) and I decided to just do a reflection piece about my love for dogs.

Oh, and Shaffer is staying with us. I’ve just decided that we’ll figure out some kind of compromise with him. Besides, I’m attached to that annoying dog. He’s my dog and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that.

So, until next time keep your toys close, your humans closer, and your human’s hamburger closest.