Bear’s been asked to be the seminary teacher, which means that he gets up every morning at 5 to teach the teenagers about the scriptures. It’s a massive job and he’s lucky to be able to team teach, which helps defray some of the size of it all, but it’s still been a major change for us and a whole lot of work. He loves it, and I love having a quiet evening as we’re all reading together. And Gizmo loves it because he gets to park his big fuzzy butt on a pile of papers.
Gizmo, our big dumb boy cat, is part ragdoll and part persian. And this time of year that part persian is really showing as this giant puffball leaves clumps of long white fur on every surface he touches and you get your fingers stuck in the matts whenever you try and pet him.
This is the furinator, and it is the best tool ever for grooming long hair cats. It gets out so much hair in each session that I could make myself three new cats.
This is what has become of our little Boo. She likes to give hugs.
Remember where she started? She’s a 6 month old monster.
She’s ended up spending a lot more time outside than we ever planned on. Our backyard gives her plenty of room to run around and play, but, being cat people, we assumed our dog would be an indoor dog. But she made her choice, so who are we to deny her? She wants to frolic and play and be a puppy in a way that the indoors just can’t offer her. It makes supervising her far less of a chore.
Since Atti spends most of his time home lying on the ground, he was getting worked over by Boo’s aggressive play. She wasn’t getting that Atticus wasn’t a puppy, and treated him like a littermate, which means she wanted him to be the one to take her roughhousing. She’s getting better, no more scratches and nibbles, but she certainly isn’t gentle yet. We’re working on it. I tried for 45 minutes to take a picture of her face, but the only time she would even look at me is while I was holding a treat, which didn’t leave me two hands for the camera. She loves her boy, we just need to get her to control that love a little better.
I was told that English Mastiff’s were big lovable lunks and were lethargic and lazy. That can kick in any minute now and I’d be very happy. I asked my vet techs about it and they said that puppies are puppies and she’d grow out of her energy. As they were debating when exactly that would happen, they had this conversation:
Tech 1: Well, how old is Jackson? Isn’t he all like, ‘Dur duh dur.”
Tech 2: Jackson? I think he’s three, but didn’t he just start going ‘ Dur duh dur’?
1: No he’s been ‘Dur duh dur’ for a while now.
2: Well there’s Mabel. She’s only 15 months and she’s TOTALLY ‘Dur duh dur.”
Dur duh dur. Said as if that’s what the dog said as she walked, slow and stupid. I got home and told the story to Bear and ever since that’s been our shorthand for “big, slow, lethargic, meathead dog.”
“Boo! Leave Atti alone! When are you going to get ‘Dur duh dur’ already??”
“Oh Boo, you sweet girl, when you get ‘Dur duh dur’ will you snuggle me?”
You all just remind me of this when I start complaining about my lazy dog.
I got a couple of dog food samples in the mail, but since Boo is still eating puppy food, I put them back in the shipping envelope and left them at the top of the stairs for Bear to take to work and give away.
But before he could, this little butthead cat Gizmo somehow smelled food through two layers of shipping material, went into the envelope after it, dragged it out with his teeth, and ripped the package open to make himself a meal.
None of our cats have been neutered because they are all purebred and we hoped to breed them. I feel the need to add a responsibility disclaimer here and say that they never ever go outside and we always planned to neuter them after a couple of litters, but those litters never happened, so we just waited and waited and waited. Apparently our infertility has spread to the cats. Two girls, two different males, 1 stillborn little kitty. Have you ever heard of a CAT not being able to get pregnant? It so figures.
Our little girl cat Jem is now too old to give birth to her first litter without fear of complications, so we were planning on taking her to get spayed, but then Gizmo started acting like such a little jerk he bounced himself to the front of the line. Marking everything, bullying Jem, trying to attack stray kitties through the glass door, he completely wore out the charm of his in tact masculinity. Something had to be done.
I took him to the vet and even though he’s only ever gone once for shots, he still seemed to recognize something bad was going to happen. We carry our cats around on leashes instead of in carriers (the breeds we go for are cooperative enough to go for that) and trying to get out of the car and into the office was nearly impossible as I had this big fluffy cat velcroed to my leg. I finally just had to let him cling to me like a toddler throwing a tantrum as I crossed the street. We made quite a sight as the other drivers in the parking lot laughed at the living Garfield cartoon in front of them.
Gizmo came through like a champ of course, charming all the vet nurses in the office with his little orange nose and abundance of whiskers. After a couple days with the cone he settled down and is now suddenly a scaredy cat hiding under couches. Poor thing. Without all those manly hormones coursing through him he’s suddenly not such a big tough guy.
This is a pretty radical departure for me, being so staunchly a cat person. Part of why I love cats is their independence and cleanliness, two traits that don’t really apply to dogs. But here I am anyway. It’s all Julie Klausner’s fault.
Julie is a hilarious comedian and I came across this tweet last week and didn’t take her at her word.
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) February 4, 2012
I read this to Bear in the car on our way to date night and cried so hard I couldn’t speak. As soon as I read this, I became a dog owner who hadn’t yet met her dog.
When we got home I started searching. I worked out google with searches for organizations that would help us get a service dog, but realized that we don’t quite need one just yet. Most charities wouldn’t give Atti one because he’s so young, and his needs aren’t severe enough to jump through hoops and come up with the cash for an expertly trained service dog. I kept thinking of the part of the article that talked about kids making friends because their dog was so cool, and I started to think that the right, regular old, well trained dog would be good enough for him. I devoured Craigslist, scoured Petfinder, called shelters, and came up empty.
If you want a small dog, there is no shortage. Poor chihuahuas and pitbulls were EVERYWHERE. But a small dog won’t work for us long term. We need a dog that will grow to be big enough that Atti can play with him from his wheelchair. Then there was the cats. They have done a remarkable job in our family, I’m not introducing anything that threatens them. Which meant that the GORGEOUS Malamute I found with the face like a teddy bear couldn’t be ours. The cats wouldn’t stand a chance.
After a few days of rationalizing the need into urgency, I resigned myself into recognizing that even though I wanted Atti to have the benefits of an expert dog YESTERDAY, at 4 years old he still has a ways to go before it would be most beneficial, and pet ownership is not something you jump into because you read a moving article. Adopting a dog just because he’s handy is begging for disaster. I sighed a deep sigh, tried to get over the feeling that I was somehow, in that backwards logic parents feel, failing my child, and let it go until a few years in the future.
Then on Saturday Bear went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things and found a kid out front with a basket of these puppies. They were full-bred Old English Mastiffs, and dirt cheap as far as puppies, but especially for Mastiffs, go. He sent me a picture of this sweet little girl and I was a goner.
You know what is a perfect breed for our family? An Old English Mastiff. Look how gorgeous, and enormous, she is going to grow up to be. Mastiff’s are huge dogs, but known to be gentle with children and other animals, quiet, peaceful, and companionable. They want nothing more than to lay at their master’s feet, as little Boo is doing to me as I type. They don’t need constant workouts, just a couple walks a day. They’re just sweet lugs who want to love and protect their family. And we stumbled across one in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Scout seemed like a name for a more adventurous dog. This little girl just wants to curl up on my chest and stick her snout under my chin. She’s far more of a Boo Radley than a Scout, but still, our little Atticus has the companion I dreamed of.
Now that the heat of summer is gone, they make little sniffing attempts to explore the backyard whenever I’m outside. Gizmo’s the most brazen, totally living up to the gender stereotype of being a boy as he rolls around in the dirt and eats grass while prissy little Jem doesn’t want to get her paws dirty.