Coyote smorgasbord

Have you ever done something so completely idiotic that you even surprise yourself by your total lack of judgement? Well, welcome to yesterday morning.

As is often the case, I walked my 8 year old son, Eli, to the bus stop about two blocks from our house. I also chose to take our two dogs, Maggie and S’more along with us. Not surprisingly, I’ve never managed to leash train the two canines, so a “walk” with them is more like an amateur wake boarding competition.

We were the first to arrive at the bus stop. But we were quickly joined by several of the usual grade school suspects. I was the only parent. Suddenly, I looked up and spotted a vicious predatory mountain lion aggressively racing towards us. Well OK, it wasn’t exactly vicious, and it wasn’t actually a mountain lion. It was a…coyote, a mean looking, mangy coyote. But mangy means hungry, doesn’t it? And on second glance, it wasn’t really racing towards us, it might have been minding its own business. But it was like 20 feet away from us and didn’t seem at all put off by me, my dogs or the little folk beside me.

I grabbed both leashes tightly as my dogs yelped and pulled towards the wild beast. Clearly they weren’t afraid. But I was. It felt like a situation on the verge of going horribly wrong. I struggled to hold the dogs back and avoid a wildlife confrontation. The coyote passed us without incident and turned the corner a few houses down. “Eli,” I said, my voice still shaking, “I have to get the dogs home so they’ll be safe. I can hardly hold them back.”

Then I corralled my two pups and headed off in the opposite direction. As I approached our house, I breathed a sigh of relief realizing we were out of harms way. But then it hit me. I had just left a cadre of elementary school children unarmed and unprotected with a rabid coyote on the prowl. What the heck is wrong with me? Sure the dogs were safe. But Eli might have been served up as Wile E’s second breakfast.
I dropped the dogs at home and turned tail to head back to the bus stop. But a few yards down the block I caught sight of the yellow school bus leaving the neighborhood.
“Phew,” I relaxed knowing that the children were safe and on route to school. Unless of course one had been eaten prior to the bus’s arrival. I heard my therapist’s voice in my head insisting I employ logic when “worry brain” starts to take over. “Nonsense,” I reasoned, “I’ve never heard of a single case where a lone coyote chowed down on a school child.”

Just in case, I drove by the bus stop on my way to work. There weren’t any entrails or blood stained concrete. I was relatively certain that no child had met with an untimely fate. But I will confess that I felt a whole lot better at 3:30 when Eli bounded off the bus surrounded by his entire posse of bus stop buddies.

Well, you know what they say, parenting is one third knowledge, one third judgement and one third luck. So in those instances when you come up a little short in the judgement arena, just pray that you’ve got a surplus of luck to fall back on.
p.s. To those of you feeling the urge to report me to child protective services and write chastising letters to the magazine: no children were actually endangered in the writing of this article. Our local coyotes are as timid as mice and as vicious as common house plants.

Puppy deja vu

I’ve lost my mind again. Remember how we decided to get a puppy and everyone thought it would send me into a psychotic tailspin from which I’d never emerge? Well, it didn’t.

The fact is we got lucky. We got the one and only perfect puppy on the planet. It’s true. She has yet to do anything wrong. I”m not joking. This puppy is like from heaven. She’s never chewed up anything. She learned to use the doggy door in like an hour and a half and has not had any accidents in the house. She has the most gorgeous ebony coat and does not shed even a single hair.

I am madly in love with Maggie. The only issue is that she LOVES the company of other dogs. She adores us and everything. Finds people delightful and loving. She’s very affectionate with humans. But there is a deep, intense joy that eminates from within her when she gets around other dogs.

While we were out of town she vacationed with her foster mommy who had 3 or 4 other dogs. She was in her element. She did clearly miss us. But she played from sun-up to sun-down and had the time of her life.

Maggie just seems a little down these days

Now that she’s back, I think she’s kind of depressed. I can see it in her eyes. They’re just a bit listless

. She’s lost some of the spring in her step. She just seems like she’s lonely, no matter how much love and attention we give her.

So I think the only answer is another puppy. My sister hung up on me when I told her I was thinking about it. Everyone says I must be insane. The fact is, this is not what I necessarily want. I am liking having a dog for the first time in my life. But I never imagined myself the owner of more than one of these playful pooches.

But now that I am devoted to Maggie, I feel obligated to do what is right for her. Without a doubt, she needs a companion. It’s like her soul’s calling is to connect with another canine. What kind of person would keep a living creature from it’s truest, deepest purpose in life?

So I’m looking for the second most perfect puppy in the universe.(and a new prescription for Ativan). Any suggestions on where to find either or both?

Puppy-whipped

Hard to say who's cuter...

Levi and Maggie

I can’t leave my house. I am trapped by my puppy. It’s not that she (an outrageously adorable black lab mix whose pregnant mommy was rescued off the reservation) is holding me here against my will. She was potty trained in two days. She goes in and out of her doggie door like a seasoned Mastiff. She doesn’t need me to let her out. She loves playing with the bunnies in the backyard when we’re gone. She does well on her own. It’s just that I can’t stand being away from her.

I am, for lack of a better word, puppy-whipped. Snuggling with her is like nothing I’ve ever felt. I’ve stopped running necessary errands, have curtailed my work meetings significantly, I’ve even ceased running to the grocery store and have allowed our food supply to dwindle to a hardened block of Jarlsberg cheese and a few rotten strawberries.

What is happening to me? Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t remember feeling this way about my boys when they were puppies…er…I mean, babies. I think I was so freaked out about every minute parenting detail that I could never relax long enough to enjoy my sweet little bundles of joy…or…sobbing, screaming, colicky newborns, as they happened to be.

The truth is, Maggie is a luscious little fur ball filled with nothing but love, cuddles and okay a few accidents in the house. But she doesn’t keep me up all night. She just curls into the chez at the foot of our bed and sleeps peacefully. She doesn’t have long, unending crying jags when she’s overtired. She just naps on my lap when she’s all tuckered out during the day. She doesn’t make me question my sanity by acting hungry every other second and then spitting up three quarters of her last feeding. She simply amuses me non-stop with her tail-chasing, bunny-hunting, peanut-butter licking antics.

What is not to love I ask you?

I’m getting a puppy because…

I’m getting a puppy because… I’ve lost my mind.

I’m getting a puppy because…i think it’s the right thing to do.

I’m getting a puppy because…My mother never let me have one.

I’m getting a puppy because… I want my boys to learn how to take care of something.

I’m getting a puppy because… My dad would be proud.

I’m getting a puppy because… It’s breaking my 9 year old son’s heart that he doesn’t have a pet.

I’m getting a puppy because…I miss potty training.

I’m getting a puppy because… My husband really wants one.

I’m getting a puppy because… My son wants to teach somebody circus tricks and I’m too old to learn them.

I’m getting a puppy because… It completes my family.

I’m getting a puppy because… I need to pack more into my already bursting at the seams days.

I’m getting a puppy because… I’ve always wondered what if feels like to be unconditionally loved.

I’m getting a puppy because… I like to cuddle.

I’m getting a puppy because… None of my friends think I can handle it.

I’m getting a puppy because… I don’t have anyone else’s hair to brush.

I’m getting a puppy because… After two kids and a husband, I think I might finally be ready to nurture without any expectation.

Pets are not people!

An Associated Press-Petside.com poll released Tuesday found that half of all American pet owners consider their pets as much a part of the family as any other person in the household. Um…what? As far as I can see, that is messed up. Really. Think about it. I know you love your pet. You would do anything for your pet. But value it as much as any other person in your household? That’s just not right.Cute_Pictures_21213

Hey, I had pets. I was one of those artsy single chicks with cats and I loved my animals. I remember scrounging up money for an EKG for Henry who we later learned had a bad heart condition. He also needed Prozac towards the end of his life (well how would you feel being a young virile male and knowing your life would soon come to a premature end?) And then there was the chemo we forked over for Katie. Martini, my dog, needed intensive psychological attention, home-made organic food, and a personal trainer to keep him sane and fit. I’m no stranger to loving your animals and treating them like members of the fam.

But when push comes to shove, please tell me all those people polled don’t actually consider their pets to be as important as their spouse or children. I mean the poll does say that more singles see their pets as family members than married folk. I guess that’s slightly comforting. The thing is, they’re still animals. I don’t get how people can overlook that rather obvious fact

The poll also said that most pet owners feed their animals human food, nearly half give their animals human names and almost a third let them sleep in a human bed. Can you say reality check? Listen, in many ways I’d love to have a pet. But I can barely manage a husband and two little boys. Sure, there’s a certain appeal to having an animal. They’re almost always kind, on your side, sympathetic. They don’t demand nearly as much attention as your children, and they don’t talk back. Big plus. But I implore you to remember that a pet is a pet and your family members (at least most of them) are humans. So in the event of a fire (or an earthquake if you’re still living in CA), let’s all consent to saving our offspring before venturing back into the flames for Fluffy. Agreed?