Tag Archives: cat

Dogs- Furry People. Except When They’re Not.


I love dogs. I really do. But let’s be clear about something. Despite all of our attempts to anthropomorphize them by dressing them up, leaving them our estates or applying our emotions to their facial expressions, they are still just dogs, not furry humans. Let me elaborate.

They Smell. And they have no intention of bathing in anything other than dead worms and bird poop. Even their feet smell like corn chips.

Frito Feet

Frito Feet

They Smell Part 2: Dog breath. The breath of my dog could melt the skin off your face like Nazis opening the Ark of the Covenant. Seriously not exaggerating.

Cat Poop. Dogs love cat poop. I was discussing this phenomenon with my friend, who started laughing and said, “I don’t think my dog ever ate cat shit,” to which I replied, “That’s because you don’t own a cat. If you had a cat, your dog would eat cat shit.”

More Poop. If you are lucky enough to have a dog that poops outside and not on your plush white carpet, say a little prayer of thanks. And then add a 2nd prayer that while you are gone working all day trying to earn enough money to buy the trendy gourmet dog food recommended by groomers, vets, the mailman, strangers on the corner (but not your dog because he prefers to eat cat poop), you don’t get a call from your 10-year-old son telling you the dog had a “poop explosion” all over the living room.

And More Poop. On those days your dog actually poops outside, break out the shovel or the plastic grocery bag for poop pick up doody…I mean duty. Especially important if your dog chooses to use your neighbor’s yard instead of his own. Neighbors are notorious for not appreciating your dog’s outdoor poop experience as much as you do.

Poop Side Note: Seriously, do not skimp on the quality of your dog poop bags. Make sure you pick one that won’t magically untie or disintegrate or good Lord spring a hole should you accidentally wash a bag of dog poop that you forget in your pocket. Please do not ask how I know this.

Yes, There Is Even More Poop. My dogs have long hair and often get poop dingle berries. Do they care? They do not. They strut around my house with their little poopy prizes and sit their dingle-berry laden butt stars on my carpet, furniture, and bed. HOW IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING?

The Final Poop. Next time you take your dog for a walk, observe how many times he sticks his nose in a pile of poop. In all likelihood, it’s EVERY SINGLE ONE YOU PASS. Humans, on the other hand, will go to freakishly extreme measures not to smell another human’s poop by lighting candles, running fans, spraying disinfectant…hell, someone even invented Poo Pourii, which you spray in your toilet BEFORE YOU EVEN POOP! We now have PRE POOPING COVERAGE.

poo-pourri

It’s a real product. Seriously.

Eating Gross Stuff.  If all the poop weren’t bad enough, I have also seen dogs willingly eat barf, dead animals, bird poop, rabbit poop, the crotches out of dirty underwear, smelly socks, deer legs, grass, bugs, dirt, dead worms, nylons, razors, garbage, rotten meat, and bully sticks which are actually dried bull penis’. Oh yeah, and they lick their own butts. I’m sorry, but if your significant other just licked their own butts, would you let them kiss you?  But I bet you let your dog lick you in the face. Yeah. Think about that for a minute.

So you thought about all of this and I know you are wondering why in God’s green earth do you own a dog. A smelly, cat poop eating, bird poop rolling, furry pile of e-coli just waiting to slobber on your new white pants or barf up your underwear in front of company. Well, I’m here to answer that, too.

Heart. A dog’s heart far exceeds his brain size and the good sense God gave him, and he will do just about anything to be with you.  Run when he is tired, sleep when he isn’t, take the blame for your farts, wait all day in the hot sun or the freezing cold, drag your sorry ass out of a fire, find the bad guys, take a bullet for you, retrieve your ducks, sniff out bombs, kill rats, bark a life saving warning, herd your sheep (and your children), carry medical supplies, rescue people from avalanches, crushed buildings, mud slides…

I have known smart dogs, brave dogs, funny dogs, sedate dogs, hyper dogs, loud dogs, shedding dogs, annoying dogs, jumping dogs, licking dogs, cuddling dogs, tough dogs, cranky dogs, bouncy dogs, submissive dogs…and I have loved every one.

I love their goofy, tongue flopping smiles, their rotund bellies in constant need of scratching, and their swirling, whacking, wiggling, twirling tails.  They are the joy in a sucky day, a warm snuggle under quilted covers, a rowdy party of beer swilling frat brothers who chase rubber balls instead of girls, and oh how incomplete my life would be if I didn’t have at least one glorious, smelly, hairy, noble dog in it.

And that’s pretty much it.  Dogs really aren’t like humans at all.  They are “just dogs”.  And Thank You, God, for that.

Dog

Don’t Fence Me In


Tonight I tried to take my cat for a walk.  We had limited success.  He was pretty happy until I wouldn’t let him sit in the weeds all night.  Then we had a bit of a tiff, which I won after several minutes of coaxing, pulling, cajoling, and hissing (him, not me).

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You might be wondering (most normal people would) why I was walking my cat, and the best explanation I can come up with is that we were both bored and we both wanted to be outside, even though I am currently covered in bug bites and smell like chemicals.  But that’s the point of tonight’s blog – I would rather swat mosquitoes and beer bugs than sit safely indoors.  For me, that’s the point of summer – to get outside and explore the world.  That would be Midnight’s point too, but he is not allowed unsupervised outdoor visits due to neighborhood garden pooping and baby bunny decapitating.

Do you think she can see me?  I don't think she can see me.

Do you think she can see me? I don’t think she can see me.

I have had several outings since my last photo blog.  I even took a break from sunsets to switch to wild flowers and waterfalls for a bit.  My traipsing around snapping photos has earned me 280 miles on my Cannondale and around 30 on my Townie – not a bad start, although I would like to finish up the season at 2000 overall.  We will see how ambitious I get, and who wins my weekends – the bike or the beach.  Of course, if I bought a Burley, I could throw my cooler and lawn chair in it, and bike TO the beach…hmmmmm…

My first pictures are not outdoor explorations.  My friend, Joe, the captain of our mTT (My Team Triumph) Bellin Team from last year came to my day job to rally the troops about mTT and tell his story (always worth repeating – you can read it here).  Any day I get to see Joe is a good day, and it’s wonderful to see him spreading his wings as the race ambassador for mTT.  If you are looking for an organization to add meaning and heart to your running, check them out and sign up to be an angel.  Life changing, I’m tellin’ ya.  DO.  IT.

Left Picture: From Left to Right - Grandma Marge, Mom Dee, Aunt Do-Do, Joe, Christian Jensen (Wisconsin mTT Director) and me. Right Picture:  Joe, myself and Christian.

Left Picture: From Left to Right – Joe’s Grandma Marge, Mom Dee, Aunt Do-Do (Doreen – my bestie so I get to make fun of her), Joe, Christian Jensen (Wisconsin mTT Director) and me.
Right Picture: Joe, myself and Christian.

My first excursion took me on a 25 mile circuit thru my ancestors old stomping grounds.  I purposely mapped my ride to run the entire length of Conard Road, because the dork in me found it exceedingly cool to ride down a road named after my ancestors, even if it’s just an old farm road.  It was also cool to find an ancestral  headstone in the local cemetery, although it seems to be one stone marking the very short lives of three children.  Two of them died within a couple of months of each other (April 1882 and May 1882 – if I am reading the stone correctly.  It’s a little worn so hard to tell), so now wondering if there was a local illness that year, and if so, what?  May have to have a little discussion with my dad on that one.

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As my ride continued, I noticed storm clouds in the distance, so had to hoof it a little, but I did take time to stop on Mary Road to grab some pictures of blooming wild flowers, including our beautiful state flower, the trillium.  I think the small yellow ones are marsh marigolds – notice how they are thriving right next to an old plastic bottle.  Gotta love man’s mark on this earth, and nature’s ability to thumb its nose back at us.  Does anyone know what the single yellow flower is?  Wild or accidental cultivation?

wildflowers

Incidentally, my mother tells me it is not illegal to pick trilliums – just illegal to dig them up and transplant them.  I’m not sure if she investigated this or if she is just covering her tracks from all her illegal trillium picking.  She’s a little shady, that one.

My next ride took me to Red River County Park, so named because of the color of the river that runs thru it, feeding into the Bay.  I’m not sure what causes it – it looks like iron to me, but my dad thought it might be from the clay in the earth or from the bark of local trees.  I tried to find something on the internet but Google failed me, so a trip to the library is in order.  I supposed I could randomly ask a local too, although the “weirdo factor” kicks in when sweaty strangers in spandex start asking questions.

Red River County Park, Wisconsin

Red River County Park, Wisconsin

Notice the shells?  When I first visited this park with my Grandma Conard way back in the day, this was all sand.  I swam in the river with a bunch of other kids – I was a little freaked out by the water, which is probably why I remember it so well.  The shells are from an invasive species called the zebra mussel.  These little buggers have taken over the Bay and many other local waters, and are causing ecological issues such as avian poisoning and smothering native clams and mussels due to the sheer number of them. My intention is not to start a dissertation as to why the zebra mussels are tiny evil crustaceans, especially seeing as we have so many other ecological issues going on that zebra mussels seem like they would be pretty far down the “should we be alarmed” list.

This picture shows two sides of the same tree at Red River, taken on the same day at the same time.  What a difference a little perspective makes.  Kinda like life.

yingyang

My next adventure involved a hike in the woods.  There is a bird preserve that has a trail used by birders and forestry students at the local college.  Dave and I heard about it thru his cousin Jeremy, and ventured down it a short bit back in April.  It was too wet then to continue, but I knew I wanted to come back and explore it.  Given the current bug population, Dave declined my invitation.  Apparently he is rather attached to his blood.

It was still a little wet – in fact it reminded me of some southern bayou.  It occurred to me that it would make a great place to hide a body and I started nervously looking around for the serial killer.  And giant hair Shelob spiders.  And bloody-muzzled slavering dire wolves.  Right about this time I scared up a deer and nearly wet my pants.  The beauty below is not imaginary, though.

Woods

Memorial weekend Dave and I visited Wequiock Falls, and then Matt and I returned this past Monday night.  The difference in foliage in a week is phenomenal, but so is the water volume.  Monday’s photos were taken after 2 days of heavy rain – the current was crazy.

FallsFalls2

This is just a pretty shot of the falls from when Dave and I went over Memorial.

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Saturday was spent lounging on the beach at Bayshore, which is primarily crushed zebra mussel shells and rock, but enjoyable anyway.  When I got too hot and was tired of dozing in the sun (although honestly, who ever gets tired of dozing in the sun?), I stone hopped along the larger shoreline rocks, occasionally dipping my feet in the Bay to cool off.  Notice the “peace” rock.

Bayshorebeach

The rest of these are more sunset pictures – some taken at Bayshore and some at the local boat landing.  I also experimented with the panorama function on my iPhone for the first time.  Turned out pretty cool, I think.  I also really like how the dock and the rocks have a pink hue from the setting sun, and how the one sunset has a cloud that looks like a giant space ship.  Oh, and a random flower picture thrown in for good measure.

I did enhance a few of these – the camera never seems to capture the vibrant colors as well as my eyeballs.  Hopefully I didn’t over do it!

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Stay adventurous my friends!

Until next week,

Sue

10 Reasons Selling My House Makes Me Want To Eat Cake


015_12AFirst of all, in all fairness, I want to eat cake all of the time – not just when I am stressed.  But, under normal circumstances, I can “Just Say No” and move on with something more constructive, like eating Reeses Peanut Butter Puff Cereal.  This house thing, though – Man, I might as well make cake one of my main food groups.

It’s been 16 years since we last went down this path, and I don’t know if it’s age, the crappy housing market or Mr. Polar Vortex, but it sure seems harder this time around.  To give the folks down at Uncle Mike’s Bakery a break from my window peeping cake stalking, I decided to write down the 10 worst cake-eating inducing culprits of the house selling process.  Feel free to eat cake while you read this.

OPEN HOUSES: Is there anything worse than having to clean your house for strangers?  Yes.  Yes there is.  It’s having to clean your house for strangers, and then spend an hour in the car with two hyper little dogs that have face-melting breath, who are dancing nervously on your lap with their pointy little feet digging into your flesh, and a meowing, barfing cat in the back seat.  Oh, and then when you get back afterwards, the realtor says, “We only had one couple.  They think your house sucks.”.  Result:  9″ Marble cake with white frosting and pink flowers from the Pig.

Adorable.  Until they breathe in your face.

Adorable. Until they breathe in your face.

SHOWINGS: Showings are marginally better, in that the people coming thru are likely more serious and it doesn’t take as long, so you only have to spend about half an hour with the smelly dogs and barfing cat.  However, your hopes are pretty high, because you think they are really interested, right?  So you wait for feedback, and wait for feedback and then you wait for feedback.  And each day you wait is another blow to your house ego.  You started this adventure thinking you had the best house in the world. Day One has you at “Good God These People Are Getting a Bargain For What We Have This Priced At!”, and by the time you get your 3rd or 4th showing with little to no response, you are down to “We live in a hovel.  Our home is worthless.  Nobody love us.  Gloom, despair, and agony.  We suck.  Our house sucks.  We will never love again.”  Result:  6 pack of giant cupcakes from Festival.

PRE-APPROVAL:  To even seriously start looking at houses, realtors want to know you can actually afford what they are showing you.  Funny how people don’t like to work without the prospect of being paid.  To avoid being labeled a time-wasting pariah, you have to go thru the pre-approval process with your local mortgage lender.  Be sure to bring with you your pay stubs, W-2 forms, 401K information, bank statements, certification stating you have access to both of your kidneys, a living specimen of the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, the venom of a black mamba, and the birth certificate of your first-born.  While the birth certificate is fine for pre-approval, make sure you bring your actual first-born with you to the closing!  Result:  Turtle cheescake from Cheesecake Heaven

GETTING AN OFFER:  So, after 10 bazillion years of horrible car rides, you finally get an offer.  It’s 19 pages of legal mumbo jumbo, and you need a masters in rocket science and Mandarin Chinese just to figure out the date printed at the top of the page.  But you sit down with your realtor, who walks you thru it.  Basically, they want to buy your house for a decent price, but first, they want to inspect, test, staple, bend, fold, and julienne fry it, and then they want you to pay them some extra money to help defray their costs, and then they also want you to throw in a few appliances, too.  Like maybe all of them.  But yay!  They don’t have a house to sell, so you consider yourself lucky, and sign on the dotted line.  Result:  Birthday cake!

Lots of birthdays celebrated in this house.

Lots of birthdays celebrated in this house.  Look how old that computer monitor is.  And the beanie babies on the shelves.  Yikes.

HOME INSPECTION:  This is where the buyer hires a certified home inspector to go thru your home and find all the boogers.  All homes have them and most homeowners are aware of them.  The door that doesn’t shut right or the curling iron burn in the counter top from your rookie fashion diva.  However, these are not the things that keep you awake the night before the inspection.  It’s the boogers you can’t see – the horror stories you hear from other sellers – like a leaky roof or mold in the attic or a monster living in your sump pump hole.  We had a few tense moments as we read the report, but we escaped with minor injuries.  One thing to note – the report stated we had a minor gas leak in the furnace, so we called the heating and cooling people, who came over and tested it.  It was a leaky valve that took about 10 seconds for the guy to tighten, all to the tune of $70.  SEVENTY DOLLARS.  But this turned out to be nothing compared to the monster in the sump pump hole.  Result:  Celebratory heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cake, and a glass of wine.

RADON: The Monster In Your Sump Pump.  Most of you have heard about this gas – odorless, colorless, and present in all Wisconsin homes to some degree.  In high amounts, it can cause lung cancer.  Most home offers now contain a radon test contingency, and then they also have a contingency in there that states who will pay for the mitigation (usually the seller) if it tests above a certain level.  So the radon test guy comes over and puts a tester box in your basement and leaves it there for two days.  You continually go down there to hover over it, even though you can’t tell anything because the tester they use is cleverly designed not to show the reading.  You can only guess that it’s working because of the green light, and you spend a few sleepless nights wondering if you are inhaling radon.  Here’s the kicker though.  In Wisconsin, radon testing is not regulated by the state.  In other words, we have no state certification process, so pretty much anyone can test for radon.  And usually the guy who is testing for it is also selling the mitigation system.  They offer the test for free (how convenient) and what a surprise to find out you tested high.  I’m not saying there isn’t radon in most homes and I get that it’s a real danger.  I’m questioning the process when the same people who are testing for it are also making money by putting in the mitigation system.  Which is basically a $650 pvc pipe that sticks out of your house, with a fan at the top.  In our case, there was the choice of either having it go out the side of the house or out the garage.  Our buyers choose the garage.  When the radon guy was there, he made it sound like they installed a seal over the sump pump with a pvc pipe that came out of it, that would then run either out the side of the house or across the ceiling to the other side of the house and then out the garage wall.  When our buyers choose the garage option, we expected to see a pvc pipe running along the ceiling.  Um.  No.  What they did was seal the top of the sump pump, and then banged a 5” hole in the floor of our basement next to the garage wall, inserted the pvc pipe there and then ran it out the garage, up the attic and out the top of the roof.  I actually don’t think the finished product is that bad-looking the way they did it, but it would have been nice to know they would be putting a hole in our basement floor.  So now they are retesting it.  I asked him if homes ever tested high again after the mitigation system was put in, and he said no – most homes built after 1940 never had a problem because of how they build the foundations since then.   Oh, and the new tester whirring away in the basement is completely different from the one they used originally, and they are running the test in a completely different room.  Fancy that.  Result: Entire row of Oreo cookies.  We were out of cake.

APPLIANCES:  Okay, so you didn’t really mind giving up your appliances.  They are a little long in the tooth, and even though you haven’t cooked a meal in 3 years and the primary occupants of your fridge are half empty condiment bottles, you rationalize that you deserve something new seeing as Dear Hubby got his insulated garage doors and floor drains.  You decide to take a break from spazzing about house inspections and radon tests, and troop over to Sears, where you find out how much appliances have changed since the Jurassic period, which is obviously the last time you looked at them, based on those prices.  Refrigerators have freezers on the bottom, stoves can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, washers don’t have agitators, and everything has an electronic control panel to rival Houston’s NASA center.   You will actually have to READ THE DIRECTIONS, just to put your milk in the fridge or wash a load of jeans.  With all these new fangled high-tech bells and whistles comes a much shorter appliance life expectancy.  Not only will you be shelling out an easy 5 grand, you will be shelling it out again within 10 years.  Result:  No cake for you.  You just spend 5 grand in appliances.  Binge on Tums.

LG-Washer-and-Dryer

GOING THRU ALL YOUR JUNK:  When a person moves, they tend to go thru all their crap and start tossing.  A great idea, no?  Well, it’s all fun and games until someone opens up the box of disorganized photos.  I was in the process of chucking the whole works in a big Rubbermaid container when I had the bright idea to go thru them first.  I completely ignored the little niggling voice saying “Don’t be a dumb ass.  Now is not the time.  Toss those suckers in the bin and walk away.  You hear me? WALK.  AWAY.”  I did not walk away.  Below is a picture of my first night of going thru photos.  By the time I finished four nights later, I had a copy paper box full of double and triple prints to send to recycle and a serious respect for the digital camera.  Think about it.  The digital camera has changed our lives.  We now delete the crappy photos instead of having them processed, groaned over, and stored for umpteen years because we won’t throw them away after we’ve paid for them, damn it.  I once processed an entire roll, in doubles, of fuzzy pictures of my son’s model car collection, because I didn’t know what was on the film when I brought it in.  My son was in the room with me when I was ran across them.  I tossed him a few and said “You owe me $10 bucks for these pictures”.  He had the nerve to laugh.  Result:  DQ ice cream cake.

This was the first night

This was the first night

APPRAISAL:  The appraiser is not as bad as the inspector.  He just comes in, sees what kind of shape your house is in, takes pictures, measures the outside, and then does a market analysis.  However, just like the inspector, you are a slave to his report.  If he decides the value of your house is less than what your buyers offered, the whole deal can fall thru.  This is our final hurdle.  I am hoping we have the results by the time I post this blog.  Seriously – if this doesn’t go thru I will lose my shit.  And then go buy an entire sheet cake from Uncle Mikes and eat it until I throw up.  Result:  Aforementioned Uncle Mike’s sheet cake.  With chocolate filling.

A different Uncle Mike's - this one is in Boston.  Man, I wish I had gotten that piece of red velvet cake when I was there.

A different Uncle Mike’s – this one is in Boston. Man, I wish I had gotten that piece of red velvet cake when I was there.

SAYING GOODBYE:  As I said above (way way way above…if you are still reading this you deserve a prize of some sort), we have been in our current home for 16 years.  We raised our two children here, and have a lot of wonderful memories.  It has been such a good house, and an even better home.  We will be leaving behind flowers we have planted, neighbors we have befriended, and Rocky-dog foot prints in the extra section of driveway we put in.  I have walked this neighborhood with my dogs for over 22 years (our home before this one is only two blocks away), and all the locals know me as the “lady who walks her dogs while reading a book”.

These dogs were made for walkin...

These dogs were made for walkin…

It’s going to be tough to leave.  I almost couldn’t do it, and in fact talked to Dave about backing out of everything about a month ago.  But then, on my birthday, while driving past the turn to the spec home we wanted to buy, on my way to Door County, I realized how much I loved it out there.  How connected I already felt.  I said a little prayer then, and asked God that if it was okay with Him, to make it happen.  Our buyers came thru later that afternoon.

Now, before I get all sappy and smarmy, I’m going to end this with the note that I really hope it warms up before we move.  There’s about 10 inches of polar vortex encrusted dog poop in our back yard.  I’m thinking I don’t want to leave that as our legacy to the new owners.

Stay warm, my friends!
Sue

PS – We move on the 14th.  I may or may not have blog posts the 13th and the following 20th – it will depend on how organized I happen to be.

PPS – No cakes were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

PPSS- I can’t say the same for the Oreos.

Keep-Calm-and-Eat-Cake

Rescue Me


One of the things I love the most about Facebook is reconnecting with old friends, family members, and classmates.  I love seeing what they are doing and meeting via cyber space their children, grandchildren, and pets.  I love finding out what they think is funny, or sentimental, or maddening. And I really love how we come together as a community to support one another when someone loses a loved one or struggles with illness or other hardships.

One of these reconnects is the subject of my next Hero story:

When one hears the term “animal rescue”, one usually thinks about animals being rescued by humans.  We’ve all seen pictures and read stories of people rescuing pets from floods, garbage piles, drain pipes, trees, chains, and neglect.  Sometimes though, the “rescue” in “animal rescue” is the human getting rescued by the pet.

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A few years ago, Laurie Spah held a high energy, stressful job.  It required a lot of her time and focus, not only during office hours but at home as well.  It was not unusual for her job related activities to spill into her private life, consuming her physical and mental resources into evenings and weekends. She had little time left to pursue outside interests, much less take time for her home and friends.

As busy and crazy as her life was, Laurie enjoyed her job.  She liked the mental stimulation and challenges to keeping everything on track and in balance.  And, she was good at it.  But even people who are good at their jobs can sometimes find themselves in need of new employment due to circumstances beyond their control, and this was the case with Laurie.

It didn’t take her long to find new employment, but her new job required far less of her, leaving her with feelings of loss and extreme anxiety.  Laure did the smart thing, and began to get counseling, as well as medication to control the symptoms.  However, she still struggled. As someone who has dealt with anxiety issues related to depression, I can give first hand knowledge to how debilitating it can be, and I can understand the awfulness of wondering if you will ever feel normal again, if you will ever find joy again.  Each day can become a challenge to just “get thru”, hoping the next will be better.

what-is-anxiety-disorder

Seeing her struggle, her counselor suggested Laurie find a way to occupy her time and stretch herself a little, by reaching out to help others.  On that advice, Laurie began scanning the paper and the internet for ideas.  By chance, she received a mail flyer about an animal shelter looking for volunteers.  It was a newer no-kill shelter called Happily Ever After, and was based in Marion, Wisconsin.

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Part of Laurie’s anxiety manifested itself by causing her natural introverted personality to magnify, so the idea of volunteering at a shelter where she would have minimal human interaction appealed to her.  She read that they often had information booths at a local pet store, so she went there on the weekend.  She talked to the woman there, who happened to be the aunt of Amanda Reitz, the founder of Happily Ever After (you can read her story by clicking here).  After hearing about how the shelter was started and the work that needed to be done, Laurie filled out her forms and began her life as a dedicated volunteer.

Lucky

Lucky is one of Laurie’s foster kitties, and he is now at the adoption center waiting to find his forever home. Hopefully someone will give this beautiful boy a chance soon!

The following Saturday, Laurie drove out to Marion.  It was a blazing hot day, and while the pet rooms were air conditioned, the rest of the facilities and surrounding farm was not.  She spent that first day hauling, scooping, lifting, scrubbing, hammering, painting, walking, feeding, and caring.  Mostly caring.  There were 120 cats and 50 dogs, and each one was treated with the same love and attention as the next.  And while Amanda and her father had their doubts as to Laurie’s return, she knew she had found her calling.

Since that first hot, sweaty Saturday, Laurie was an active volunteer with HEA every weekend.  Being with the animals helped calm her anxiety like nothing else could.  The physical labor tired her body while the wagging tails and purring throats soothed her mind.  Besides the healing properties of warm, fuzzy, gratitude, Laurie discovered the reward of working with a great group of people who respected her and understood what she was going thru.

Ariel

Ariel picture is one of Laurie’s current fosters who she has had since September 2012. Areil and her sister Peta came to her with upper respiratory infections. Peta passed away in her arms from FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). Ariel had a continued ear infection and it was discovered that she had polyps in her throat and a very large one in her ear. They removed them all but the one in the ear was so large that they had to take the whole ear canal. Her ear is sewn shut.

As her time with HEA continued, Laurie took on more duties, helping to establish and open the new Green Bay shelter and eventually becoming the unofficial manager.  Laurie now spent her weekends and most week nights helping to save the 4-legged loves that first saved her.  However, her volunteer work was overshadowing her full time job, her relationships with her loved ones, and her own pets.

To help minimize her work load, HEA created team lead positions that helped remove some of the stress and time consuming duties from Laurie at the Green Bay shelter.  And while letting go was difficult, Laurie now has more time to pursue the aspect of rescue that she loves the most – care taking and nursing pets who are ill.  She has also been able to adopt an additional family member- an English Setter named Paige, who for 7 years knew nothing of her world except a kennel, but is now lavished with love and attention.

Paigeandoliver

Laurie’s babies: Paige (the English Setter) and Oliver (mix of 7+ breeds). They are both rescues from HEA.

Laurie will never quit working for humane solutions to alleviate pet over population and to provide pets with safety, health, and loving homes  – from being part of spay/neuter clinics to running the HEA adoptions out of PetCo, or to fostering and nursing sick or disabled animals.  Laurie believes all pets deserve a 2nd chance, and her goal will always be to try to give them that.  After all, they gave her a second chance, first.

And that’s Laurie’s story!  Remember – heros come in many forms, and they don’t always wear a cape.  Most times, they are people you see every day, quietly going the extra mile to make someone else’s life a little better.  People like Laurie.  🙂

Laurieandsally

Just 3 months into Laurie’s volunteering: At the GB holiday parade, Sally was the first dog (but not the last) that she “fell in love with”.

Until next week-stay warm my friends!
Sue

PS – If you are thinking about growing your family with a four-footed pal, please please consider adopting a rescue, from Happily Ever After or your local shelter.  Save a life.  Save your own.

A Thanksgiving Story. Or Not.


Today is Thanksgiving.  I was torn about what I should write about.  I thought it should be something monumental, given the day.  But everybody and their brother is talking about what they are thankful for.  And it’s not that I’m NOT thankful.  I truly am.  But I couldn’t decide – do I post about the smarmy things I am thankful for like my family and friends?  Or do I go the funny thankful route, and talk about things like shirtless pictures of Hugh Jackman (actually pretty thankful for this) and the invention of Poo-Pourri?

poo-pourri

It’s a real product. Seriously.

Instead, I have decided to share a Thanksgiving story with you.  And it’s a bit of a stretch to call it specifically a “Thanksgiving” story.  It’s really more of a “fall-ish” story, but I am pretty sure it happened close to Thanksgiving so I should get some points for that.  And it’s a dog story.  Who doesn’t love a dog story?  Well, maybe if you’re a cat.  Cats might not love a dog story.  Not because cats hate dogs, but because cats are pretty much like honey badgers, in that they just don’t care.  I have a honey badger cat sitting right here, on my lap, trying to crawl on my keyboard and write his autobiography with his butt.

Honey badger

Anyway…

This story involves our old neighbors, Dave, me and the best dog ever, Rocky.  This is him.

Rocky

Awesome Dog

While he didn’t fly through the air with his cape and Sweet Polly Purebred or rescue Timmy from the well or unmask any villains with his tribe of meddlin’ kids, you can still see he is awesome.  Damn awesome.

The neighbors loved him too.  They let him poop in their yard (seriously, they didn’t care) and would call him over for scritches and pats and snuggles.  Because Rocky was so awesome, we didn’t need a fence, because he never left the yard (except to poop at the neighbors).  No fence could contain him anyway.  When we first got Rocky from the Humane Society, we lived at our old house that had a yard with a 7 foot privacy fence.  Chuck Norris Ninja Dog found a way to get over it.  We never saw him do it, and we never figured out how he did it.  But the evidence was plain – we put him out the back, and he came in the front.

This story takes place in November in Wisconsin, so it’s dark by 5pm.  And I don’t mean “dusk”.  I mean dark.  Like, Lose Your Black Cat In The Yard dark.  It’s the time of year where you wake up in the dark, drive to work in the dark, and come home in the dark.  If you work in a windowless cubicle with nothing but fluorescent light to bathe you, it’s quite possible that you may not see the sun for 6 months.  You think I am exaggerating?  November, December, January, February, March, April and sometimes May.  So really that’s 7 months.  And yes, I know what the calendar says – but the calendar was made by old, dead, Europeans who didn’t live in Wisconsin.  I say, any month it might snow, is winter.  And yes, it does snow in Wisconsin in May.  By rights, I should also include October, but for some reason, October is usually hotter than September.  You know how all the leaves change to those pretty yellow, orange and red colors?  It’s because the sun is setting them on fire.  We live on the edge here in Wisconsin.

Okay.  Carrying on.  It’s fall – close to Thanksgiving.  We let Rocky out to go poop in the neighbors yard.  He loved the cooler weather, so if he was gone 20 minutes or so, we didn’t panic.  He liked to patrol around the house or lay on the cement step in the garage or just read a magazine while taking a good long poop.  Who knows.  We just knew he was around somewhere.  He was funny in that he didn’t bark.  Not to come in, not when he played, not at strangers.  I think in the 12 years he blessed our lives, I heard him bark maybe 5 times.  We just got used to watching the patio door and when we saw his white wooly form in the dark, we would open the door and let him in.  This night, Dave happened to see him first.

I was in the living room, and heard the patio door slide open and shut, followed by Dave yelling, “Hey, hey, hey!”  We lived in a new subdivision, so I figured Rocky found a mud hole or something so I ran in to help with damage control.  No mud, but Dave says, “He’s got something in his mouth”.   The “something” was long and brown, sort of like a short walking stick.  I could see him fruitlessly trying to hide under the table but he was an 80 pound hairy beast with a gargantuan stick in his mouth that kept getting caught in the chair legs.  “He has a stick,” I observed.  Dave gave me a “Why, thank you, Captain Obvious” look, and said, “I don’t think it’s a stick.”

Dave grabbed the hind end and I grabbed the front end and we push/pulled him out in the open with his prize. And here is when we noticed his stick had a hoof at the end of it.   Where in the hell did he get a stick with a hoof?  For some reason, the hoof was throwing me for a loop.  “Holy shit, it’s a deer leg,” said Dave.  Ah.  Lightbulb moment.  That explained the hoof.

By now, the kids were in the kitchen.  Lindsay was laughing and exclaiming about how gross and disgusting it was and Matt thought it was cool, and proceeded to run back and forth in the kitchen and then sliding on his socks.  While the hyperactivity and excited jabbering of the kids escalated, I noticed Rocky trying to disappear into the floor, while hanging on for deer…I mean, dear…life to his “stick”.

Rocky

Rocky with a chewy stick.

Before he got any ideas about carrying it into my living-room, I grabbed the leg and told him to drop it, which he did.  (Because remember, he’s awesome like that).  I held it up gingerly, careful to keep it well away from me, and his eyes followed it back and forth, his tail waving gently on the floor and his tongue out.  Dave grunted and said, “I think I know where he got it.  When I came home, I saw the neighbor in his garage dressing his deer.”  Oh great, I thought.  Pooping is one thing.  Stealing a guy’s deer leg is another.

I walked over to the neighbors.  Sure enough, his garage door was open and his deer was lying on a canvas tarp on the garage floor.  Mr. Neighbor was nowhere to be seen, however.  I was a little fearful at first that maybe Chuck Norris Ninja Dog took out the neighbor in his deer leg quest, but that really would have been out of character.  Rocky was awesome, not evil.  So I gently tapped on their door with the hoof.  Mr. Neighbor answered the door with a fork in hand – I smiled and giggled and held out the deer leg, hoof first.  “Um, Rocky just brought this home….”  Mr. Neighbor burst out laughing.  “Oh boy!  Wait till I tell the guys this!  I just took a break to eat some dinner!  Never thought to shut the garage door!  That Rocky!  What an awesome dog!”

“Well, I don’t know what else he may have gotten into when he was over.  He might have eaten or taken something else,” I explained.  Mr. Neighbor did not care.  Mr. Neighbor laughed and waved me away with his fork.  “No problem!  That Rocky!  Hahahahahahaaaaaa!”  He took his deer leg back though.  Relieved, I went back to our house.

The next day was a Sunday.  We let Rocky out for his morning constitutional without incident, and then Dave and I and the kids left for church.  We came home a couple of hours later, to be greeted by an unholy stench the likes of which our nostrils had never before smelled, and prayed would never smell again, along with a football sized pile of…something….on the rug right in front of the door as we came in.  This would be the “he may have eaten or taken something else” portion of Rocky’s big deer leg adventure.

“I hope you don’t want this rug,” Dave said as he rolled it up like a giant barf burrito.  “The whole thing is going in the garbage.”  I didn’t argue.  No way was I touching that, and was indeed thanking my lucky stars that I was not the man of the house and therefore did not qualify for the “Exceedingly Gross Chores” portion of the marriage.  Yes, I know that is stereotypical and sexist, but it works for us.  I handle Standard Gross Chores, like snot noses, cat barf, and toilet bowl cleaning, and he handles all the rest, plus spiders.

While we had no more vomiting of rancid meat from the depths of hell, we did have to deal with Awesome Dog’s awesome gas, for at least a week.  This was a gas so awesome it had the power to melt your face clean off.  The Chuck Norris of gas.  We ran from the room and hid in our closets when we saw Rocky coming.  We were like the kids in Jurassic Park, hiding from the Velociraptors.  As surely as those velociraptors wanted to have Timmy for lunch, we knew Rocky’s gas was hunting us down.

Eventually, his digestive system returned to normal – meaning he still had gas but at least our faces were safe, if not our noses.  And he returned to being the most awesome dog on earth.

Best dog EVER

Best dog EVER

Someday, I will tell you the full Rocky story, but until then, do you have a funny dog story to tell?  A favorite pet?  A dog or cat more awesome than Chuck Norris?

Happy Thanksgiving!
Sue

 

PS – Your Welcome:

hugh-jackman-shirtless

I’m Back!


It’s been a while since I posted.  The last couple of months have been fraught with distractions, like eating Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, Marge’s homemade angel food, Dave’s birthday lasagna, cheese cake, Christmas ham, Lucy’s yummy chocolate truffle cookies, and assorted dips, cheeses and crackers.  Not to mention half of the tin of homemade cookies my mom gives us every year that I assured her I would leave entirely to Dave (I cannot be trusted to promises made when it comes to baked goods).

Christmas Cookies

Mmmmmm….cookies!

I have also been distracted by a game on my iPad, introduced to me by my nephew.  My adult nephew, who is 30 years old and expecting his first baby and whose care-free video game playing days will soon be coming to a crashing sleep-deprived halt.  Excuse my cruel chuckle as I experience the empty nest days of doing whatever the heck I want whenever the heck I want to, as long as it doesn’t break any laws, interfere with my job, breach national security, or send us spinning into bankruptcy.

The game in question is The Simpsons Tapped Out.  First, let me say that I don’t even watch The Simpsons.  I think, in the entire 500 years it’s been on the air, I may have watched 3 episodes.  I have paid enough attention to pop culture to know who Homer, Marge, Maggie, Bart and Lisa are, but that’s really about it.  I would never have looked for this game on my own, because I wouldn’t have cared enough to even think it might exist.The Simpsons Tapped Out

So, when David showed me the game on his iPhone, I thought it was in complete innocence, one gamer to another.  No.  He was seductively trying to suck me into the vortex so he could add another friend to his game and fulfill a quest.  I watched in fascination as he clicked on people and buildings, collecting cash and making Bart go to church and Ned Flanders take power walks.  My eyes dilated and my finger reached tentatively out towards his phone.  Then he said the magic words…”It’s free, Aunt Sue”.

This is not a game for those afflicted with OCD.  I became obsessed with rebuilding Springfield and fulfilling quests.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were soon filled with the sounds of my finger spastically tapping on glass.  I started bringing my Ipad to work to sneak extra game play during the day, where I hunched over my iPad, tapping furiously while casting furtive glances over my shoulder.  I needed to buy more land and build more buildings!  I needed more cash!  More Halloween Treats!  More Christmas coins!  More friends!  I visited Tapped Out forums to find strangers to add to my ‘friend’ list and forced my friend’s 12 year old son to “add me”.  I almost went as far as buying fake donuts with real cash, just to be able to build the mad scientist volcanic lair.  Oh yeah.  I was hard core.

The Simpsons Tapped Out Volcano Lair

This baby cost 200 donuts.

Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, we ran out of the Christmas cookies that I was using to feed my gaming frenzy, and I realized I needed to get my life back.  The dogs were picking thru garbage and hanging out on the street corner, harassing the neighborhood collie (Hey you.  Yeah, you!  Look at you behind your fence, pansy boy!  Oh yeah?  I dare ya!  I triple-human dare ya!). The cat was cooking ‘nip in the basement and selling it to unsuspecting kittens.  The boys were mixing lights with darks in the laundry room while surviving on Hot Pockets and Tina’s frozen burritos.  I had 10,679 unread emails just from Kohl’s alone (Save 30%!  Free shipping!  Get Kohl’s Cash!), and was so far behind on Facebook that I didn’t recognize any of my friends.

Catnip

“Pssst. Little kitten! I have some candy for you!”

So I quit.  Cold turkey.  I don’t recommend this to the faint of heart.  First came the shakes.  Then then the delirium.  I cried.  I giggled maniacally.  I sobbed in hysterics.  I beat on my Ipad, shouting “WHY?  WHY?” And then I crashed.  It was the worst ten minutes of my life.

And now I’m back to my barmy old self, ready to motivate the hell out of you  to work out, eat right and pray your socks off in 2013.  Are you ready?  Let’s ride!!lets-ride_o_134792