Why I’m never taking my dogs to the vet again

He's wearing this muzzle because I can't control MY behavior.

He’s wearing this muzzle because I can’t control MY behavior.

There’s no better testament to how much owners influence the behavior of their dogs than the vastly different experiences Aaron and I have taking Jackson to the vet.

Aaron is the default parent (yes, I’m using the term “parent” because “owner” sounds so sterile) to take the dogs to the vet during emergency situations because I am NOT good with blood and panic-y situations.

But I started taking the dogs to the vet for non-emergency purposes because I’m the parent who works at home. In theory, it’s easier for me to be the vet person.

Now, Aaron always reported perfect behavior from Jackson during his vet visits. But the last few times I took Jackson, he’d get panic-y in the waiting room, cowered from vet employees, and bared his teeth at our usual vet!

WTF, Aaron, you liar!? Our baby is a god damn monster. And he really hates our vet. I have no idea why — she’s a totally sweet lady who always speaks gently to him and treats him well. And he’s NEVER been one to hate people. Other dogs while on a walk, yes. But people? No. (Well, except for that one crazy guy once… thank gawd.)

So this time, when Jackson’s weird neck wounds from two months ago refused to heal up completely and seemed to get worse, I begged Aaron to resume his role as “the vet person.” Jackson behavior and my anxiety was making the visits way to stressful for me. And I suspected that my anxiety may even be triggering Jackson’s mood.

Aaron obliged, and took off work to be a good parent. I wished him luck today as he left the house, even suggested he take the muzzle that had come in handy last time.

Guess what… Continue reading

Thanks for 13 silly, stinky, happy years, Ayla

323677733_39e4eb5737_zAyla, my family dog, died at 2:30pm on July 20th, at 13-years-old. She spent the last four years of her life living with our longtime housekeeper, Elsa — aka. Ayla’s favorite person on Earth. Elsa was by her side for her last breaths, just as I hoped she’d be, just as Ayla deserved.

The day Ayla died (after crumbling into a sobbing mess, screaming “no!” while Aaron held me) I rushed over to Elsa’s home. I spent hours sitting with Elsa and her nieces and nephews — alternating between tears and laughter — as the WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD came by to say their goodbyes to Ayla… Continue reading

Boston terrier floral arrangement

The Best Week Ever blog posted these photos of floral arrangements shaped like dogs. And it reminded me that I never blogged about the most amazing floral arrangement I’ve ever seen! These dogs are cute and all, but our housekeeper of 15+ years did it first:

And this is Ayla, the dog she modeled her arrangement after:

ayla on the bench

Elsa completely surprised us all. We had no idea she could do that! Even better, the reason she made that floral arrangement was because she was so happy that she was officially adopting Ayla from us. Ayla had always lived in our family home, but about a year into owning her it became clear that she was really Elsa’s dog.

The best Valentine’s Day I ever had

I was even feeling the doggy love on V-day!

I don’t “do” Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people. But, as far back as I can remember the day made me all uncomfortable and squidgy. Even when my first boyfriend got all crazy romantic and sent me flowers at school, I just felt really weird about it. Ever since then I’ve asked all boyfriends to just not do anything — just ignore it with me.

And so far Aaron’s been amazing at it. He made me something for our first Valentine’s Day (maybe he wasn’t quite sure if it was a trick or not?) and it was the best thing I’ve ever gotten and it is never to be topped. I will hopefully write a post about that later, when I’m not laying in bed about to go to sleep.

And one other year he bought me silly stupid crap just to make me laugh. He went shopping with his best friend who asked, “aren’t you going to get in trouble for that?” Ha.

But this year, this year was all crazy different…
Continue reading

Radvent: my creative symbol is a wonky Boston Terrier

(Oof, I’m behind on these. Today is kind of a quiet day so I’m hoping to catch up…)

Choose an object to symbolize your creativity and put it in a place you can see it every day.

The framed photos in my hallway.

It shouldn’t be too shocking that my creative symbols are photographs!

I used to have my bedroom wall COVERED in photos that I had taken — it was like my own personal art gallery. But when Aaron and I moved in together he asked me to not re-create the photo gallery because it made him feel clausterphobic, which I understood.

So, now, I have just one wall set up as a mini gallery with a few of my favorite photos.

But out of all the framed photos, this one is my favorite for several reasons…

I snapped this after I had washed Ayla’s dirty paws off in the sink. I took it with a film camera on actual black and white film! And it was originally not a photo I was considering developing because it wasn’t “perfect.” Right before I snapped what I thought was going to be a photo of a Boston Terrier sitting adorably in a sink, Ayla started making her way towards me and “ruined” my shot. But my photography teacher picked this one out of all the others on the proof sheet and told me it was the one to work on. And it changed the way I looked at photos. It showed me that it’s not always the “perfect” photos that are the most interesting, or speak the loudest.

It basically gave me the freedom to get creative, experiment with different angles and give the photos that look a little wonky a chance to shine, turns out people like things that are a little wonky.

give a dog a bath

Who knew there would ever be a day that giving my dog a bath would make for one of the best Saturday nights of my life.

It started as a lonely night. My husband went to play at a friend’s house and I stayed home alone for the first night since I’ve been sick. I was bummed and feeling anxious. And then Jackson actually asked to have a bath! (Seriously… how many of you know a dog that actually asks for a bath? Well, if you know my dog Jackson, then you at least know one dog that does.)

So Jackson hops into the tub and just gives me the look that says, “I’m so f-ing stinky even I, a dog, think that I stink.”

So I start the bath and climb in myself, because when bathing this dog you’re BOTH getting a bath. Jackson’s so good. I get him wet and then soap him up while singing the “Your A Stinky Dog” song. After a minute he wants to shake — I tell him not to, and he holds back, even though you can tell it’s SO unnatural for him. And then when he’s all washed up and before I let him out of the shower I tell him, “okay shake” and he just goes to town!

After the bath, Jackson tears around the apartment soaking wet while I hop out of the tub covered in stinky dog hair and chase him around with a towel trying to get him dry before he succeeds in rubbing his wet-dog smell all over the couch and chairs. And all the while I’m laughing so hard that my sides hurt! Finally Jackson submits to the toweling down and, smiling ear to ear, pants and squirms on the floor. When he’s had enough of that it’s up and sprinting back and forth a few more times just because he thinks it’s fun, until I can get him wrangled up in the towel again.

When he’s finally dry it’s my turn to bathe. And all of a sudden I’m smiling ear to ear just like my dog and I can’t remember when I’ve been this happy. That silly, wet, stinky, pit bull makes me so damn happy!

My hero!

Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a die-hard pit bull fan. One of the reasons I love pits so much is their gentle and intuitive nature. And it kills me that they have such a bad reputation, but sometimes, sometimes, that bad rap comes in quite handy…

A couple months ago I was walking my dogs (Jackson, the pit & Rza, the terrier) late at night on their before dinner constitutional. On a dark corner near a busy-ish street Jackson stopped to be behind a bush. I was standing on the corner with the little dog waiting for Jackson to finish his business when I looked up and saw two enormous dudes rushing diagonally across the street towards me. I thought it seemed odd, but it was all happening so fast and out of the blue that I didn’t even have a second to process the fact that this could mean danger. About the same time as the dudes got to the corner Jackson finished peeing and trotted up to my side. The dudes took one look at Jackson and they both jumped backwards, threw their hands up in the air in an “i surrender” motion and went “whoa whoa whoa” as they slowly backed away, arms still in the air. Jackson just sat there, he didn’t bare his teeth, he didn’t bark, the hairs on his back didn’t raise up like they usually do when he’s freaked out. He just sat there being a good boy the whole time.  These dudes just panicked at the mere sight of a pit bull. And before they took off running in the other direction one of the dudes looked back at me and said, “That’s a good friend to have.”

Jackson proved the veracity of that statement once again last night…

I took the dogs out for their evening walk when I got home from band rehearsal. I normally dont do take them late at night anymore since I had that freaky run in with the two dudes. But i thought, eh, no big deal if I only do it every once in a while.

So i make it as far as one block away from the apt when I see this guy running FLAT OUT as FAST as he could, rounding the corner and running down the street ahead of me. And i thought, yikes, that’s like “running from the cops” fast! And, sure enough, a cop car slowly came around the corner with it’s search lights on. They were too far away from me to hear me tell them where he went so I just pointed and they drove off looking for him. But the cops passed right by him! So i ran ahead trying to flag them down, but they had already disappeared, and so i went around the block in an attempt to get far away from the running guy.

After a brisk walk I came back around to our street and headed towards home. That’s when I heard someone yelling at me, and when I looked over it was the running guy who was coming right towards me! I couldn’t understand what he was yelling, I had my ipod on plus he wasn’t making much sense anyway all I knew was that he wasn’t happy and he wasn’t nice. I started walking faster and noticed that he was following me, so I stopped and mentally signaled to Jackson that i was afraid of this guy. I was worried that Jackson wouldn’t do anything and just sit there like he did the first time I was approached by the two dudes. But Jackson responded immediately! And right before the running guy got close enough to touch me Jackson lunged at him- barking, snarling and snapping like a, well, like a pit bull!

The weird part is that the running guy was was so out of whack that he didn’t back away, he just stared at Jackson and said “what is that!?” So I let out a little slack on his leash and Jackson lunged at him again, this time a lot closer, and that’s when running guy finally got scared enough and took off the other way, into someone’s backyard!

And then i started RUNNING towards home, and ran into the cops who were questioning some girl, and had a random guy in the back seat of their cruiser.

I ran up to them with my two dogs in tow and said, “Are you the ones looking for that guy?”

They said “Yes, we’ve been looking for him all night.”

And i said, “Did you just hear my dog barking? That guy was coming right for me. I saw where he went if you want to check it out.”

They immediatly let the other guy out of their car and took off to find the guy again.

I don’t know if they found him or not because I ran home, letting Jackson pull me faster and faster towards our apartment.