Shunning The Dog

Shunning The Dog

by Gina Valley

Our dog’s developed a super power.

It’s not a particularly enjoyable super power for the rest of us. I wish he’d developed the ability to fold laundry or to load the dishwasher, but he did not.

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Dog experts call this new super power “rude”, in that he is “barking” at us when he wants something. Of course, “barks” is a significant understatement about what he’s doing.

It used to be, when he wanted something, he would just sit near whatever it was his request centered around. He’d sit by the back door when he wanted to go out. He’d sit by his food jar when he wanted to eat. He’d sit on my bed when he wanted to shed a ridiculous amount of hair.

But somewhere along the line he decided, probably after observing my children, that making some noise might speed up the process a bit. So, he got in the habit of emitting one “huff” when he sat down near something he wanted.

At the time, I thought it was kind of cute. It was actually helpful, too, because sometimes, even though he’s a hefty 100 pounds, I can’t hear him sit down. And, our rugs and I both want him to get outside whenever he feels the need to go.

He changed the huff to a quiet bark after a couple of weeks. Just one soft one, but definitely a bark. It was sweet. Kind of like when your baby learns to say “baba” or “mama” or “TV,” and you’re proud she can say what she wants.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Shunning The Dog Dogs Pets TrainingShortly thereafter, however, he changed his one single bark to one single sonic boom. It was so loud it shook every window in our house. We decided, as responsible dog-parents and window-owners, that something had to be done.

So, we told him “No!” each time he did it.

Then, dog-behavior-experts that we are, we got up and quickly took care of whatever need he was communicating, lest he be prompted to let out the super bark again, and shatter every window in our house.

So, yes, our dog successfully trained us to meet his every demand quickly and efficiently.

Then, apparently, our dog decided that either we were too slow or he wasn’t being clear enough with his directives, because our jumbo furry family member ceased his one bark air raid behavior, and resorted to a more-is-better campaign, which included a window-shaking bark every second or two until his demands were met.

We consulted a dog teacher for the sake of our ears and our window panes. (He is not a dog trainer, mind you. He is a dog teacher. He explained this to us several times. “Trainer” implies our dogs are mere pets. He “teaches family members.” Funny, but he didn’t seem the least bit interested in “teaching” our 13 and 14 year old non-furry family members to stop “barking” at each other while they played HALO.)

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Shunning The Dog Dogs Pets TrainingThe dog teacher explained to us the best way to get rid of this window-endangering barking was to reward our dog’s good behavior, and to ignore his “less desirable” behavior. He told us not to do anything for our dog while he barks at us, but to instead wait until he silently sits near whatever it is he wants.

Further, we were to “deny him socialization while he is being rude.” How, one might wonder, does one go about denying a dog socialization? And, one might also wonder, how does a dog know what socialization means?

The dog teacher said we should turn our backs to our dog until he stops the behavior. I think they call that shunning in Amish areas.

If turning our backs is inconvenient, like when we’ve finally got the kids to stay in bed and actually get to sit down, and there is virtually no chance we’re going to stand up and face the wall in an effort to teach the dog to stop barking about the package of Snicker bars on the kitchen counter, we should cover our faces so the dog cannot see them.

This explains why my husband and I were both sitting in our family room with our faces hidden, his beneath a Macy’s mattress sale flier, and me with the front page of The Times draped across my upper body, when our eldest son walked into the house with his new girlfriend.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Shunning The Dog Dogs Pets TrainingWe hadn’t met her yet. I feel like we still haven’t.

All I could see with the newspaper over my head were her shoes, and what I am hoping was a photo of Donald Trump’s hair. I couldn’t hear a thing she said the entire time, as the dog was not even a little phased by our ignoring him, and continued to bark non-stop.

We offered her cookies, a lovely beverage, and the business section to put over her head.

She looked quite confused.

I guess some people just don’t understand dog-teaching.

Or, super powers.

Laugh out loud!

-gina

Are your furry family members well-taught? Or, have they trained you? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Dreamstime.com – Used with permission.

Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

by Gina Valley

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right? TravelDo I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

And, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right? Travel

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

This reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!!

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Laugh along with this timely Gina’s Favorites post for Throwback Day.

If It Answers to “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog

We have several dogs.  We love them all very, very much.

One of them is named Douglas.

Douglas is an idiot.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites Pets

Often when I am looking at Douglas I say to him, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

He is pretty.

He’s a lab and saluki mix with shiny black fur that is soft like a rabbit’s. His mouth always looks like it’s smiling. He has a long tail with a dangling, silky fringe that that never gets tangled. He’s lean and looks like he could run down a cheetah. He really is a pretty dog.

He’s also pretty dumb.

Douglas joined our family when he was 9 months old. His first family had named him “Douglas,” after the black train on the Thomas the Train TV show. We opted not to change his name because we didn’t want to confuse him. If we knew then what we know now, we would have just laughed and laughed and laughed at the idea of not confusing him.

Douglas, who is sweet and wonderful with children despite his enormous size, lives in a constant state of confusion. I swear sometimes the other dogs are laughing at him. I sometimes scold them for that. Apparently he isn’t the only confused member of our family.

It took nearly 2 years to teach him to “sit” on command. It took nearly 4 years to get any kind of acknowledgment from him that when we holler “No!” we are not happy with what he is doing and he should stop. Even still, sometimes all he does is pause.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsHe doesn’t wag his tail like normal dogs. He has an asymmetrical pattern when he puts his tail into motion. When he’s especially excited about something he does what we call “helicoptering,” which is when his tail just makes continuous, enormous circles.

But, it’s his seeming inability to understand what his name is that is the source of most of our head shaking and giggles.

For the first two years he lived with us we would call out, “Douglas!” to get his attention, and then, having received no acknowledgement whatsoever again, we would call out, “Trixie!” to get Douglas to come to us. You might remember that Trixie is one of our other dogs who is, sadly, quite ill now. He’d see Trixie run up to us and he would follow her. The funny thing is he would run up to us if we called out, “Trixie!” even when Trixie wasn’t home.

But, that was ok.  At least we knew how to get his attention.

And, he is very pretty.

Even though it usually receives no acknowledgement from him we consistently call Douglas “Douglas.” We are ever hopeful that he will catch on.  But, at 10 years old he still hasn’t.

For almost 6 weeks this past spring he answered solely to the name “Easter Basket.” Daughter#1 was in a conversation, and when she said, “Easter basket,” Douglas charged across the house, giant paws slipping and sliding, long legs flailing, right up to her. We thought it was a coincidence.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsIt’s not unusual for Douglas to make a sudden mad dash through the house for no apparent reason. We don’t even answer the door if he runs up and barks at it unless the other dogs do, too. He has excellent hearing. He even hears, and I think sees, invisible people.

So, scientifically minded people that we are, we tested “The Easter Basket Moniker” theory again later that day. We had Son#3 sit on the sofa in the family room with no food nearby, as we wondered if Daughter#1 being in the food-centric breakfast room earlier had been the reason he had made his mad, well-timed dash. Son#3 called out, “Easter Basket!” Douglas came running.

I’m not sure if Douglas thought “Easter  Basket” was his name or if he had associated “Easter Basket” with candy and was hoping to get some (my dad also comes running at the phrase “Easter Basket.” He loves him some candy!), but for whatever the reason, for the first time in his near decade as a part of our family, we had a reliable way to call that dog to us. Gotta admit it felt a little weird hollering it out at the dog park, though.

Since the end of his “Easter Basket” phase we have been back to calling him “Douglas,” while he is back to having no idea that we are talking to him.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday ‘Ole Easter Basket amazed me.

I called out, “Douglas!” and he tore through the house and ran right up next to me, looking at me expectedly. I was so shocked that it took me a minute to remember I was calling him to see if he needed to go outside. He went out.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsTwice more over the next couple hours I called out “Douglas!” and he ran right up to me. I was so excited that at nearly 10 years old he had finally learned his name. Sometimes you lower your expectations for certain individuals. I could hardly wait until my pack got home so I could show them.

So, they got home around dinner time, and I called out “Douglas!” to give him a chance to show off his new found brilliance. No reaction. I tried several more times. I even tried with a Scottish accent. No dice. He didn’t even look at me until I walked over to him and petted his head.

Whatever iceberg had popped through the surface of that vast empty ocean that is his brain had sunk back down into the depths.

But, that’s ok.

And, luckily, he is pretty.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Ever have one of those “what’s my name again?” days? Shoot me a comment. I’d love to hear all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Can You Ship A Water Buffalo?

Can You Ship A Water Buffalo?

by Gina Valley

As I’m desperately trying to get my family to get ready to leave for a visit to my parents’ and sister’s homes, I figured that my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post would be perfect for Throwback Day this week.

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

Do I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

And, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

This reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Top 10 Reasons The Dog Is Barking

Top 10 Reasons The Dog Is Barking

by Gina Valley

They say:  “Pets make you live longer.”

I say:  “It just feels that way.”

We have 2 dogs, Bear and Ziva. They’re 1 ½ years old, brother and sister from the same litter of Labrador puppies. But, that’s where their similarity ends.

Bear is blonde, stout, and so laid back I sometimes hold a mirror under his nose to make sure he’s still breathing. His favorite things to do are to sleep, and to stand on our dining room table, while it creaks and groans under his 102 pounds.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Reasons The Dog Is BarkingZiva is sleek and covered in shiny black fur. She is never still unless she’s sleeping. Her favorite thing to do is to wake up Bear, and to goad him into chasing her.

Until this week.

Ziva has a new favorite thing to do now.

She likes to stand right next to me, and bark.

Over and over and over.

This is not her cute little play-with-me puppy bark. This is not the huffing noise she uses to get my attention when she wants breakfast and it’s not forthcoming.

No, this ear-splitter is propelled out of my furry friend by all 90 pounds of her muscle, and shakes the windows and nearly knocks me over.

I’m sure ours is not the only canine with lots of loud to say. Perhaps your furry friend has a similar habit. Ever wonder what all the barking’s about? I’ve got you covered.

Top 10 Reasons The Dog Is Barking

#10.  She wants to freak you out while you’re home alone

#9.  The cheesecake she snarfed down while you drove the kids to school is fighting back, and she needs to go out to make a deposit or she will make her deposit on the rug

#8.  She already made her deposit on the rug, and you’re about to wreck all of her hard work by stepping in it.

#7.  She ate her carrot and her brother fell asleep on top of his carrot and she wants you to take it from him and to give it to her.

#6.  She saw a raccoon an hour ago, but you weren’t home so she’s telling you about it now.

#5.  There is more cheesecake in the refrigerator.

#4.  She does not observe Daylight Savings Time, and it’s time to get up.

#3.  The hamster is looking at her.

#2.  You closed the bathroom door, and she misses you.

#1.  She just likes to hear herself bark.

Come to think of it, my kids holler at me about most of these, too.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do your furry friends holler at you? Do you speak their language? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

I Do NOT Want A Picture Of Poop!!!

I Do NOT Want A Picture Of  Poop!!!

by Gina Valley

No, I don’t want a picture of poop.

I don’t care how amazing it is.

The two puppy parents in our home, who just happen to be my two eldest sons (“eldest” sounds so proper and dignified, doesn’t it? Too bad I’m talking about poop now), have worked out a detailed schedule to determine whose turn it is to pick up the puppy poop in our backyard on any given day:

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Do NOT Want A Picture Of Poop Dogs PetsToday, I’ll forget to do it & tomorrow you can forget.

Our backyard was starting to look like a free-range poop farm. I told Son#2, who’d made the mistake of being home at the time I was looking out the window at the ever growing droppings display, that I didn’t care whose day it was to pretend it wasn’t their day, he needed to round up those deposits.

Son#2 accepted his fate with a minimal amount of complaining, so I knew he’d suddenly become mature and interested in helping out around the house. Or, more likely, it’d been so long since he’d taken on doody duty that he couldn’t remember when he did it last to complain effectively about having to do it again.

Either way, I was happy to see him head out, shovel on shoulder, bucket in hand, and boots on feet. I made a mental note to remind him to throw out that bucket as soon as he was done. And, maybe the shovel. And, the boots, too.

Foolishly, I went about my business, and forgot all about my poop-processing progeny. I’m not sure how much time had passed, as I was lost in the allure of cleaning out the dryer vent hose, but it couldn’t have been very long before my scat-gathering son returned. He was giggling, always a frightening sign from someone engaged in poop-removal.

“Mom, where’s the camera?” he barely managed to get out between bursts of giggling.

“Why?” I asked a bit suspiciously, and more than a bit afraid of the potential answer.

“I just saw the coolest poop.”

So, there you have it. The one phrase that sums up the essence of what it means to have children and pets, because without them both you won’t likely ever hear the phrase “I just saw the coolest poop,” much less have the fortitude not to run away screaming.

Perhaps sensing I wouldn’t likely ask for further details, my 2nd oldest child and Poop-Czar for the day continued, “What do you call it when things are hooked together, like, you know, those twins?”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Do NOT Want A Picture Of Poop Dogs Pets“Conjoined?” I offered timidly.

“Yeah, conjoined. That’s the word. You know how sometimes the mini-Snickers don’t get cut apart all the way, and a couple of them are still conjoined when you open the bag?” he continued brightly.

I could not think of a good way for this description to end, but I was too fascinated to run away. He had, after all, brought mini-Snickers up, so he definitely had my attention.

“And,” he continued his tale, “you know how Bear [his 100 pound puppy] snarfs down candy whole in the wrappers?”

I knew I wasn’t going to like where this tale was heading, but it was like a car accident. I just couldn’t turn away.

“Well, he must have gotten a bag of mini-Snickers, because he’s got some major sparkly poop piles going out there. But, one of them is the coolest poop I’ve ever seen.”

I threw up a little in my mouth.

“I guess he ate some conjoined mini-Snickers, because this poop has 3 of them in it, still hooked together.”

I realized I would never be able to eat mini-Snickers again.

“And, it’s all wrapped up in grass and slime and poop, so I think it must’ve upset his stomach.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Do NOT Want A Picture Of Poop Dogs PetsIt certainly upset my stomach.

“Dogs eat grass when their stomachs are upset, right?  I think the candy upset his stomach, so that’s why it’s wrapped in grass.”

Who says my kid isn’t into science? I wondered if this could this count as his science project this year.

“With that green all around it, it kinda looks like sushi. Poop and Snickers sushi!”

And, now I will never be able to eat sushi, either.

“Do you want me to take a picture of it?” he asked.

This child of mine, who complains that my taking first day of school pictures of him and his siblings is a waste of time, and thinks that taking pictures of birthday cakes is ridiculous, was volunteering to photograph dog poop for me.

I wasn’t sure if he was thinking we should put it in the puppy’s baby book (not that we have a baby book for the puppy) or use it as a holiday card (it did have green and gold in it) or post it to scare people online (finally something truly hideous to pay back all those Facebook friends who put post-op and infection pictures on their walls), but, tempting as all that was, I knew what I had to tell him.

“Thanks for offering,…”

“but,…”

“I do not want a picture of poop.”

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Who handles output removal at your house? Ever seen any cool ones? Do you have a Facebook friend who posts gross stuff? Shoot me comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Why We Have The Dog

Why We Have The Dog

by Gina Valley

Our dog, Douglas, passed away quite suddenly this past week.  Our family is heart-broken.

Like all dogs, he was a furry bundle of trouble and work and fun.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Why We Have The Dog PetsIf you don’t have a dog, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to go through all that effort just to hang out with someone that is loud and messy and, more often than not, smelly.

Yet, our family always has a dog family member.  Sometimes, as many as 3. Currently, we have 2 yearling lab pups that drive us crazy and keep us laughing all day.

So, considering all the work and that we will face the sadness of the end of their life as they age, why we always have a dog?

I’m glad you asked.

Why we have a dog:

Not because one wag of his tail-of-death clears everything off of the coffee table in one fail swoosh, sending books, drinks, and small children flying in all directions, but because a nudge from a furry head can bring a smile to the worst day.

Not because he figured out how to suck all the milk out of the baby’s bottle, but because babies need someone to pull up on when they’re learning to walk and to be a soft landing place when they fall and to eat all of the things they throw from their highchair.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Why We Have The Dog PetsNot because he ate a Costco-size bag of chocolate kisses and pooped sparkles for a week, but because toddlers need someone to play catch and tag with who will never quit and to lick their faces when they’ve snuck candy and who loves gooey hugs and sticky fingers.

Not because he barks non-stop at fireworks, but because 5 year olds need someone to keep them safe during thunderstorms.

Not because he climbed onto the kitchen counter and proved  that a cake meant to serve 55 people all afternoon only serves one dog for 2 minutes, but because 7 year olds need someone to snuggle with when they’ve been sent to their room for sassing.

Not because he’s afraid of caterpillars and the clothes dryer, but because 10 year olds need someone to help them be brave at the neighborhood park, and to meet new friends.

Not because he can’t wag his tail evenly, but because 12 year olds need someone who always has time for them when the world is crazy busy around them.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Why We Have The Dog PetsNot because he insists on carrying a 2L soda bottle around with him, but because teenagers need someone to talk to who will listen forever and never interrupt them and never judge them.

Not because he sleeps on the sofa while we’re out, and hops off quickly  when he hears us drive up, but because 15 year olds need someone to sit with them and protect them when that strange noise in the empty house makes them wish they hadn’t insisted they were old enough to stay home alone.

Not because he feels the need to have a loud discussion with our local gang of raccoons every night at 3:50AM, but because no one should have to be alone when they’re up in the middle of the night.

Not because he ate the entire 6 pound box of jerky treats one afternoon and then brought them up for an encore all over the brand new living room rug, but because everyone needs someone who is always happy to see them no matter what time it is, what day it is, or how cranky they were when they left in the morning.

Not because he loves to wake people up who doze off on the sofa by poking them in their eye with his cold, wet nose, and then licking them in the mouth when they open their mouth to holler at him, but because everyone needs someone to take care of them, watch over them, love them completely even if they don’t always understand each other.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Why We Have The Dog PetsAnd, not because he knocked over the Christmas tree and dragged it around the house while we were at midnight services on Christmas Eve, but because everyone needs to take care of someone, to watch over someone, and to love someone completely even if they don’t always understand each other.

It’s been a rough week at the Valley house as we’ve lost one of our dear furry family members.  We’ll never forget Douglas, but I’m glad we have our other goofy dog, Bear and Ziva, to keep us entertained and smiling.

Laughing and crying this week.

-gina

Are you a dog person? Has there been a special pet in your life?  Do your kids have pets? What is it about animals that make them worth the effort and expense to have them in your life? Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog…Gina’s Favorites

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

The eldest of our dogs, Douglas, died this week.

We are beyond sad. It was an unexpected passing and quite traumatic for my kids, as he was with most of them their whole life. He was nearly 15 years old.

But, we are thankful for the many years we had with this sweet, loving dog. We will miss him tremendously.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog...Gina's FavoritesThis is one of the posts I wrote about him a couple years ago.  I hope it gives you a smile, as it did me, while remembering him.

If It Answers to “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog

We have several dogs.  We love them all very, very much.

One of them is named Douglas.

Douglas is an idiot.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Often when I am looking at Douglas I say to him, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

He is pretty.  He’s a lab and saluki mix with shiny black fur that is soft like a rabbit’s.   His mouth always looks like it’s smiling.  He has a long tail with a dangling, silky fringe that that never gets tangled.  He’s lean and looks like he could run down a cheetah.  He really is a pretty dog.

He’s also pretty dumb.

Douglas joined our family when he was 9 months old.  His first family had named him “Douglas,” after the black train on the Thomas the Train TV show.  We opted not to change his name because we didn’t want to confuse him.  If we knew then what we know now, we would have just laughed and laughed and laughed at the idea of not confusing him.

Douglas, who is sweet and wonderful with children despite his enormous size, lives in a constant state of confusion.  I swear sometimes the other dogs are laughing at him.  I sometimes scold them for that.  Apparently, he isn’t the only confused member of our family.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog...Gina's FavoritesIt took nearly 2 years to teach him to “sit” on command.  It took nearly 4 years to get any kind of acknowledgment from him that when we holler “No!” we are not happy with what he is doing and he should stop.  Even still, sometimes all he does is pause.

He doesn’t wag his tail like normal dogs.  He has an asymmetrical pattern when he puts his tail into motion.  When he’s especially excited about something he does what we call “helicoptering,” which is when his tail just makes continuous, enormous circles.

But, it’s his seeming inability to understand what his name is that is the source of most of our head shaking and giggles.

For his first two years in our family we would call out, “Douglas!” to get his attention, and then, having received no acknowledgement whatsoever again, we would call out, “Trixie!” to get Douglas to come to us.  You might remember that Trixie is one of our other dogs who is, sadly, quite ill now.   He’d see Trixie run up to us and he would follow her.  The funny thing is he would run up to us if we called out, “Trixie!” even when Trixie wasn’t home.

But, that was ok.  At least we knew how to get his attention.

And, he is very pretty.

Even though it usually receives no acknowledgement from him we consistently call Douglas “Douglas.”  We are ever hopeful that he will catch on.  But, at more than 10 years old, he still hasn’t.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog...Gina's Favorites

For almost 6 weeks this past spring he answered solely to the name “Easter Basket.”  Daughter#1 was in a conversation, and when she said, “Easter basket,” Douglas charged across the house, giant paws slipping and sliding, long legs flailing, right up to her.  We thought it was a coincidence.

It’s not unusual for Douglas to make a sudden mad dash through the house for no apparent reason.  We don’t even answer the door if he runs up and barks at it unless the other dogs do, too.  He has excellent hearing.  He even hears, and I think sees, invisible people.

So, scientifically minded people that we are, we tested “The Easter Basket Moniker Theory” again later that day.   We had Son#3 sit on the sofa in the family room with no food nearby, as we wondered if Daughter#1 being in the food-centric breakfast room earlier had been the reason he had made his mad, well-timed dash.

Son#3 called out, “Easter Basket!”  Douglas came running.

I’m not sure if Douglas thought “Easter  Basket” was his name, or if he had associated “Easter Basket” with candy and was hoping to get some (my dad also comes running at the phrase “Easter Basket.”  He loves him some candy!), but for whatever the reason, for the first time in his more than a decade as a part of our family, we had a reliable way to call that dog to us.  Gotta admit it felt a little weird hollering out “Easter Basket!” at the dog park, though.

Since the end of his “Easter Basket” phase, we have been back to calling him “Douglas,” while he is back to having no idea that we are talking to him.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday ‘Ole Easter Basket amazed me.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog...Gina's FavoritesI called out, “Douglas!” and he tore through the house and ran right up next to me, looking at me expectedly.  I was so shocked that it took me a minute to remember I was calling him to see if he needed to go outside.  He went out.

Twice more over the next couple hours I called out “Douglas!” and he ran right up to me.  I was so excited that, at just over 10 years old, he had finally learned his name.  Sometimes you lower your expectations for certain individuals.  I could hardly wait until my pack got home so I could show them.

So, they got home around dinner time, and I called out “Douglas!” to give him a chance to show off his new found brilliance.  No reaction.  I tried several more times.  I even tried with a Scottish accent.  No dice.  He didn’t even look at me until I walked over to him and petted his head.

Whatever iceberg had popped through the surface of that vast empty ocean that is his brain had sunk back down into the depths.

But, that’s ok.

And, luckily, he is pretty.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Ever have one of those “what’s my name again?” days?  Shoot me a comment.  I’d love to hear all about it!

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?…Gina’s Favorites

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

As I’m desperately trying to get my family to get ready to leave for a visit to my parents’ home, I figured that my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post would be perfect for Throwback Day this week.
You can read my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post in its original location. 
Either way, I’ll meet you at my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post. You bring the salad (I’ve gained 4 pounds this week!).  I’ll bring the laughs. And, as always, the extra click to get there counts as cardio.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

by Gina Valley

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripDo I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripAnd, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road Trip“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripThis reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripBut, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Our Dog Is Tipsy

Our Dog Is Tipsy

by Gina Valley

Our boy puppy now tips the scales at well over 80 pounds.

But, scales, unfortunately, are not the only thing he tips.

One of his favorite activities is cup tipping.  If there is a cup anywhere in his vicinity, he will gingerly knock it over with his snout, and then he seems to laugh at it.  He thinks it’s hysterical.  I’ll admit that it is funny to watch when he does it outside, to my kids’ beverage cups.  But, the humor is absent for me when he does it inside our house.  Like I need another mess to clean up.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally

I must admit, though, that I laughed pretty hard when he tipped The Professor’s bucket size cup of soda over yesterday, even though it drenched our ottoman.  But, maybe that was because The Professor got to clean up that deluge & I got not say “I told you not to leave that there,” because just a raised eyebrow at him conveyed that message.

Sometimes, I think about all of the time and expense our dogs have cost us and I wonder why I put myself through all that trouble.  But, then I see one of them snuggle up to a sad child or step in to protect us from a mystery noise in the middle of the night, and I remember that these pain-in-the-neck-furballs are full-fledged members of our pack, and I can’t imagine life without them.

My puppy-centric cleaning day helped me decide that my Why Do We Have The Dog? Post would be perfect for Throwback Day this week.  You can read my Why Do We Have The Dog? post below, in an edited form, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links and read my Why Do We Have The Dog? post in its original location.

Either way, I’ll meet you at my Why Do We Have The Dog? post.  You bring the chocolate.  I’ll bring the laughs.

Why Do We Have The Dog?

I heard it said once that pets make you live longer.  Sometimes I think maybe it just feels longer.

A dog family member is a furry bundle of trouble and work and fun.  If you don’t have one, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to go through all of that trouble just to hang out with something that is loud and messy and potentially smelly.

So, let me explain why we have the dog:

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Not because one wag of his tail-of-death clears everything off of the coffee table in one fail swoosh sending books, drinks, and small children flying in all directions, but because a nudge from a furry head can bring a smile to the worst day.

Not because he figured out how to suck all of the milk out of the baby’s bottle, but because babies need someone to pull up on when they’re learning to walk and to be a soft landing when they fall and to eat all of the things they don’t want on their highchair.

Not because he ate a Costco size bag of chocolate kisses and pooped sparkles for a week, but because toddlers need someone to play catch and tag with who will never quit, and to lick their faces when they’ve snuck candy and who loves gooey hugs and sticky fingers.

Not because he barks non-stop at fireworks, but because 5 year olds need someone to keep them safe during thunderstorms.

Not because he climbed onto the kitchen counter and proved  that a cake meant to serve 55 people all afternoon only serves one dog for two minutes, but because 7 year olds need someone to snuggle with when they’ve been sent to their room for sassing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally

Not because he’s afraid of caterpillars and the clothes dryer, but because 10 year olds need someone to help them be brave and to meet new friends.

Not because he can’t wag his tail evenly, but because 12 year olds need to know they are special and significant even when their world is crazy busy around them.

Not because he insists on carrying a 2L soda bottle around with him, but because teenagers need someone to talk to who will listen forever and never interrupt them and never judge them.

Not because he sleeps on the sofa while we’re out, and hops off quickly  when he hears us drive up, but because 15 year olds need someone to sit with them and protect them when that strange noise in the empty house makes them wish they hadn’t insisted they were old enough to stay home alone.

Not because he feels the need to have a loud discussion with our local gang of raccoons every night at 3:50AM, but because no one should have to be alone when they’re up in the middle of the night.

Not because he ate the entire 6 pound box of jerky treats one afternoon and then brought them up for an encore all over the brand new living room rug, but because everyone needs someone who is always happy to see them no matter what time it is, what day it is, or how cranky they were when they left in the morning.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally

Not because he loves to wake people up who doze off on the sofa by poking them in their eye with his cold, wet nose, and then licking them in the mouth when they open their mouth to holler at him, but because everyone needs someone to take care of them, watch over them, love them completely even if they don’t always understand each other.

And, not because he knocked over the Christmas tree and dragged it around the house while we were at midnight services on Christmas Eve, but because everyone needs to take care of someone, to watch over someone, and to love someone completely even if they don’t always understand each other.

For more canine laughs, click on over to my If It Answers To Easter Basket It Must Be Our Dog post about our pretty, but dumb dog.

…Even though it usually receives no acknowledgement from him we consistently call Douglas “Douglas.”  We are ever hopeful that he will catch on.  But, at 10 years old he still hasn’t.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally For almost 6 weeks this past spring he answered solely to the name “Easter Basket.”  Daughter#1 was in a conversation, and when she said, “Easter basket,” Douglas charged across the house, giant paws slipping and sliding, long legs flailing, right up to her.  We thought it was a coincidence….

…I’m not sure if Douglas thought “Easter  Basket” was his name or if he had associated “Easter Basket” with candy and was hoping to get some (my dad also comes running at the phrase “Easter Basket.”  He loves him some candy!), but for whatever the reason, for the first time in his near decade as a part of our family, we had a reliable way to call that dog to us.  Gotta admit it felt a little weird hollering it out at the dog park, though….

If you are in the mood for deep thoughts and a tear-jerker, I’ll meet you over at my Seriously Today – Our dog Is Dying post about what I was thinking about when I realized Trixie’s cancer was starting to defeat her body.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally …I’m thinking about how she forces herself to get up and greet us at the door nearly every time someone comes home, and how painful it must be to move on the few occasions when she abandons the effort to rise and merely wags her tail.  I don’t always greet people at the door.  What’s my excuse?

I’m thinking about how she finds comfort in just being near us.  I don’t know if she understands what’s happening to her, but I know that she feels better, safer, happier being near us. I can tell that she does not want to be alone.  How many people do I know that would be happier just being near someone?  Why haven’t I invited them over?…

Whichever you pick, or heck go for both, I’ll meet you over there.

As always, the extra clicks on Throwback Day count as cardio.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Has there been a special pet in your life?  Do your kids have pets? What is it about animals that make them worth the effort and expense to have them in your life?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.