Some stuff I want to tell you about

Wow – how has it been a week already?  Time is flying friends, and not in a good way.  Some updates:

Had a blast this weekend – more camping, more hanging out with family, more watermelon eating.  Ran into Steve at the Downtown Sundown Guns ‘n’ Roses cover band concert.  It was…awkward? It was nice to see him, but I was sweaty and already irritated by other things, and not feeling pretty. I felt surprised/sad/nervous/glad I wasn’t drinking.  I’m guessing this is normal?

More on camping – Dex is an escape artist and kept creeping out of the tent.  And by creeping, I mean that sonovabitch kept UNZIPPING the tent and chilling by the campfire.  What an asshole.

Ernie continues to be fascinated by the kittens.Ernie and the kittensThe kittens continue to be fascinated by eating and pooping.  Oh, and biting (they are teething).  They are much bigger now:

GirlieBoy kittenThe little calico girl is perfecting the Hemo stink-eye.

Dammit Hemo, you are a bad influence!

They are not photographing as well now as they used to – I think it’s because they are actually moving around, getting into shit (literally) and needing lots of baths/wipe downs. Their little faces always look a little gaunt because I am constantly wiping food/milk/eye gunk out of them, and smearing eye medicine in them.

Work is crazy – we are working 4 10 hours days, which on the one hand is awesome because hey – 3 day weekend every weekend!  But it is not awesome, because hey – 10 hour work day Monday – Thursday.

I’ll see you around!

[Edited to add] – VIDEO! Of the KITTENS!

Lil Wayne and Juvenile

Me @ petsmartAt my office, we have a cat guy. He feeds and cares for several feral cat colonies around town, and while he is on vacation for a few days, I agreed to take care of them.

He’s had to move one colony deeper and deeper into a patch of wooded area to keep them safe from automobile traffic and cruel people (he found a few cats poisoned a few months ago), so by the time he got around to showing me where they were, I had to don rainboots and a generous dose of Deep Woods Off, and was advised to carry a stick for pushing aside spiderwebs.

The first couple days of cat watch were uneventful; I tromped to the designated spots, left food and refilled water and did a quick head count. On the second day the food had been overturned and a pair of turtles were happily munching on the soggy cat kibble; I was annoyed and ever-so-slightly afraid (yes, I was intimidated by a turtle), but it was tough to stay mad at the turtles, with their mushy cat food-smeared heads pulled half-heartedly into their shells.

I will cut you.

On Sunday, as I was checking on the second half of the colony, I spotted a tiny orange tail peeking up over the edge of a slanted board. Trying to be as quiet as possible, I crawled over to get a better look. Three kittens, no more than 3 weeks old, were huddled together in an orange and calico pile. Mom had already fled at my intrusion. Brushing aside a few more cobwebs, I reached in and scooped up the tiny fur bundles and tromped back to the car. By this time, the kittens were squalling relatively loudly, and I had visions of vengeful cats streaming out of the woods to pull me down and reclaim their screaming young.

SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t happen. My hike back to the car was uneventful.

I scoured the car for something to keep the kittens in, and the best I could find was a dutch oven my friend had recently returned to me and I hadn’t brought back into the house yet. I lined the bottom with a t-shirt and placed the kittens inside.

I pulled into the PetsMart parking lot and reached into the backseat for the pot o’ kittens. I carried them inside, now fast asleep, and made my way to the Banfield vet counter.

Hansel is displeased

Lil Wayne is displeased

“Can I help you?” the receptionist asked, giving me and the dutch oven tucked under my arm a quizzical look.

I tipped the dutch oven enough to reveal the huddle of kittens (thank goodness I had decided against putting the lid on).

“Um, I found these? And I was hoping you guys could tell me how old they are and what they’ll need before I can bring them to my vet tomorrow morning?”

A vet tech took the pot from me and took it back to weigh the kittens and check their temperatures. She came back out a few minutes later to tell me that they all looked relatively healthy, if a little small, and that although they didn’t have any teeth yet, she didn’t think they’d need to be bottle fed. She walked me over to the cat section and pointed out what wet food I should mix with some KMR (a kitten milk replacement) to offer to the kittens. Another vet tech walked by with a small pet carrier and a mysterious bulge in her scrub pocket.

Gretel, a calico kitten

Juvenile

“You’ll need to keep them warm,” she said, patting her pocket. I could just see some orange fluff sticking out – kitten #1 had found a home. She handed me the pet carrier with the two remaining kittens inside, then offered to give me a syringe to help feed the babies. Some kittens never take to the bottle, she explained, because they can smell the latex and don’t like it. Their clinic had better luck just using a syringe to offer formula.

So. There are two kittens currently snoozing on my coffee table under the watchful eye of Ernie. Julie has named them Lil Wayne (orange) and Juvenile (calico). I’ll keep you posted on their progress, but I need some help.

Ernie inspects the new arrivals

Ernie suggests we name them "Sugar" and "Spice," since they look delicious.

Also – homes. These guys are going to need homes. I am at my pet limit, and Hemo wants absolutely nothing to do with these guys. She insists that we are a one cat household, and I agree.

Tease

I’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow, but I wanted to share some photo updates from around the house this weekend.

Brugmansias are blooming…Brugmansia bloom, close-up
Brugmansia in bloom

And I found some kittens:

Kittens

They are about 3 weeks old, and Ernie wants to taste them really badly.

Ernie inspects the new arrivals

They really need names and homes.  Let me know if you can help out on either front.

Happy Mutha Fudruckin’ Monday.


BSL is BS

Baby Ernie, the first day I brought him home.

Baby Ernie, aged 5 weeks.

Ernie’s pictured in this post about BSL.

BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is something I had never heard of before I owned pit bulls. And if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember if I had an opinion either way on pit bulls before Ernie. Sure, my friend had a pit mix (Dexter, who later came to live with me), but I don’t remember having a thought one way or the other about his breed. He was just a big, sweet dog with too-little ears who knew to stay on the porch. Oh, and he let us dress him up. But his canine older brother, Tucker (who was a retriever mix with regular-sized ears), had the same qualities and did the same things.

Baby Ernie (and a chubby Hemo)

Baby Ernie (and a very chubby Hemo)

I fell in love with Ernie when he was two days old; he looked like a little guinea pig. While I was waiting for him to be old enough to bring home, I bought a Pit Bulls for Dummies book and set about memorizing it before he came home.

Cement block-shaped head? Pump handle tail? Check and check. At the end of the book was a chapter on BSL and where it had been successfully challenged, and organizations to contact if you had any questions.

I filed it away, hoping to never have to give it a second thought.

A few months later, Ernie and I were in PetsMart getting an ID tag made at one of those “etched while you watch/wait” kiosks.  Ernie, a few months old at this point, was exhausted from the sheer amount of people, treats, and toys in the store, and was laying at my feet as we waited for his tag to be finished. A woman approached me, keeping a careful eye on Ernie, and asked me what type of dog he was.

Baby Ernie sits.

Do I look ferocious?

“He’s a pit bull,” I smiled at her.

She took a couple of big steps back.

“Oh – those dogs shouldn’t be allowed around people.”

My face flushed bright red with a mixture of anger, shame, frustration, and shock.  How do you even react to that, when the dog, nay, PUPPY, in question is laying at your feet? Does “I’m sorry you feel that way” even begin to cut it?

Then I moved to the small town of Romeo, MI.  A few months after moving there, my step-dad pointed out to me an article in the local paper which reported that the village was thinking about enacting BSL which would ban pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs within it’s borders. I went into full-on panic mode and turned to the “Resources” page of my Pit Bulls for Dummies book. I called about 5 numbers, left messages, and waited anxiously for a reply.  I got a call back from a group that had successfully defeated a pit bull ban in nearby Detroit, and they agreed to send a representative to the next council meeting.

I am not a public speaker, but I went to that meeting clutching pictures of Ernie and a few prepared words in my sweaty hands. Ernie, then 9 months old, was at home and although he obviously had no idea what was going on, I didn’t want to let him down. One of the village trustees described pit bulls as being  “merciless when they attack” and I almost lost it. Another Romeo resident held up pictures of a child mauled by a pit bull and advocated for their banishment. When it came time for me to take the floor, I was so nervous I had a hard time meeting the gaze of any of the attendees. Luckily I managed to stammer out a coherent sentence or two (thankfully quoted in an article in the Romeo Observer* or I never would have believed it actually happened) before sitting down.

Ernie and his cousin, Sadie

Ernie and his cousin, Sadie Lu, after a long day.

The motion was successfully defeated in favor of enacting a more general (and effective) dangerous dog ordinance. But the seed was planted, and I’ll never forget how close I’ve come to losing my boys, and the hatred and fear people can bear for a dog they’ve never even met.

Through this blog, I’ve met (well, read the blogs of) many other pit bull owners and advocates (like Kate at save the pit bull, save the world, Miss M and Mr. B and their awesome owners at Two Pitties in the City, and rescue/educational groups like Bad Rap, The Unexpected Pit Bull, and Richmond’s Ring Dog Rescue) who have strengthened my belief that these dogs have a place in our world and our homes. All of us can’t be wrong, right?

So now that I’ve shared my sob story, I have to ask for a favor.  I’ll be attending BlogPaws West this fall with RichmondPetLovers.com. The catch is that the conference will be held in Denver, CO, a city where Ernie, Dexter, and all pit bulls are not only banned, but would be in danger of being seized and euthanized based only on the fact that they are pit bulls. Maggie at Oh My Dog! has created and is organizing the Operation:Denver campaign to educate Denver’s Mayor Hickenlooper about the facts, rather than the myths, about pits and the people who love them.

Ernie's glamour shot

Ernie's glamour shot.

Maggie is coordinating a postcard campaign to send 10,560 post cards, or a mile’s worth, to the mayor of the Mile High City.  All you have to do is create an electronic postcard (you can download a template for PCs or Macs) and email it to Maggie at operationdenver@gmail.com. That’s it! Just a minute of your time.

Because I feel so strongly about this, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m going to donate $1 to Operation:Denver for every postcard you guys create. That’s right – if it means no more delicious beers for me, than so be it.

So force me into a ramen diet, guys! Create a postcard and let me know you’ve sent it to Maggie by telling me about it in the comments (or copy me [badmuthafudrucker@gmail.com] in the email you send to Maggie at operationdenver@gmail.com). If you need a pit bull image, feel free to use any I’ve posted here or anywhere in the blog.

Thanks, friends. BSL is getting my blood boiling.

—————————————
*The last sentence in this article makes my stomach twist in knots. Is this guy a dog expert? Fuck no, he’s a freakin’ VILLAGE COUNCILMEN. Get a clue, ass.

She’s baaack!

Guess who I saw this morning in the bathroom – Curly Sue!

Curly Sue, aka my long eyebrow hair

This picture does not really do her justice, since I had to take it by myself in my abominably-lit bathroom.  You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that she is a thing of beauty.  Me, trying to get a picture of an eyebrow hair in the bathroom mirror without accidentally pulling it out – not so much.

Other things I’d like to talk about today:
Harvest – The harvest has begun! This weekend I picked my first cucumber, along with a handful of green beans and a small-ish yellow squash. I may have jumped the gun a little on the squash, but I’m nothing if not impatient.

If you happened to be peeking out of my neighbor’s upstairs window last Saturday around 9am, you would have seen one ecstatic pajama-clad girl skipping around the garden clutching beans in both hands and pausing periodically to shake aforementioned beans in her dog’s face, singing (in the style of the Go-Gos), “We  got the beans, we got the Beans, we got the BEANS, YEAH! We got the BEANS!”

Um, yeah.  We got some mutha fudrucking beans.

The cucumber became part of a delicious mango salad, but the squash and beans are still on the counter, taunting me. Joke’s on you, veggies, ’cause you’ll both be a stir fry tonight!

– You may have a distinct noticed lack of Dexter up in this piece as of late. He is in South Carolina, getting some one-on-one time with his former mommy, Danielle. It’s pretty obvious from the pictures she’s been sending me pining away for us, right?  Right?

[Cue weeping]

Apparently he’s having such a good time he’s already on his third chew toy. No squeaker in SC is safe.

Dex on vacation

He’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

And yes, that is a hand-crocheted afghan he is wrapped up in.  Hand-crocheted by moi, no less.  I’ll be happy to start taking orders if, by some chance, you don’t have the time or the inclination to waste spend 12+ hours of your life looping yarn around a hook while watching the first four seasons of Lost.

Call me!

Breaking news – dog celebrates birthday (owner almost forgets)

A fifth birthday, to be exact.  My little baby Ernie turned 5 on Saturday.

I knew it was coming up; Ernie and I have met a lot of new people in the past few months and when asked, I’ve been telling them that he’ll be 5 “later this summer.” On Saturday, wedged between coolers and beach chairs on our way out to the dog-friendly north end of Carolina Beach, the words were half-way out of my mouth before I stopped.

“Wait – what’s today?  Is it the 5th?”

(fellow passenger) “Um…yes?”

“Today is your birthday, Ernie!  You are five!”

So…sorry, baby Ernie.  No birthday cake.  But you did get some delicious birthday ice cream.

Om nom nom birthday ice cream

Ernie turns 5

I love you, little one! I hope we get to celebrate many more together.

Shit, now I’m crying.

I just called to say ‘I love you’

So I know I’ve already warned you guys that I’m phoning it in for the rest of the week.  This is me, literally phoning it in.

These pictures were snapped with my phone a few weeks ago at the Goat and Compass in Wilmington.  The Goat is Ernie and Dexter friendly, and when Amanda and I were there on a Friday afternoon (I was able to leave work early because our air conditioning was broken) they even had free buffalo wings.  Score!  Sadly, the wings were not Ernie and Dexter friendly (because dog farts are not people friendly).

The boys, hanging out.

Dexter sneaks closer to the wings.

Even my beer laughs at his pitiful attempt to sweet talk some strangers out of people food.

They also have a pretty sweet beer garden out back.  When the boys got tired of being inside Amanda and I took our beers out there to get some fresh air.  Dex didn’t seem to like the gravel out there too much, and it was pretty funny to watch him daintily pick his way across the flagstones.  Ernie, however, didn’t seem to mind and after scouting the perimeter, laid down in the crunchy gravel and took a nap.

To each his own, I guess.

Are you making fun of me?

Sorry, Dex.

Anyway, the next time you are in Wilmington – check out the Goat and Compass!  They even have a chalkboard up in a corner (which used to be where you could play Wii until someone broke it *sigh*) where you can buy a beer for an absent friend and leave them a note.  I’ve left one for you!

(No plans to come to NC?  Not into beer?  Then check out this post for a chance to win something even cooler.)

Sleep karate chopping?

I’ve never been much of a sleep walker.  More of a sleep talker, which I guess can get pretty creepy, too.  One of my best friends and former roommate used to get really freaked out when I’d sit up in the middle of the night and ask for a hairbrush.

“I thought you were possessed by the devil,” she’d say.

Um, sorry Deb.

My sister Elizabeth used to sleep walk and talk, as I remember.  When we were moved from Hawai’i to Virginia, we road-tripped it from coast to coast.  Each night when we’d stop at a motel, our parents would get two rooms – one for them, and one for us kids.  One night, Beth jumped out from under the covers and onto the foot of the bed.  She crouched down in perfect surfer form, arms outstretched, and sang a quick rendition of “Wipe Out” (think Animal from the Muppets).  Then she sorta woke up, looked around, and started crying.

I’m pretty sure my other two sisters and I got in trouble for upsetting her.  Although I have to say that she was about 6 at the time, and I’m sure we were pointing and laughing.

But anyway, I’m beginning to suspect that lately I’ve taken my sleep activities to a whole new level, and the saddest part is that I may have involved little Ernie in these night-time shenanigans.

Sunday evening, while enjoying a delicious gyro with friends at the Greek Fest (where I saw an honest-to-goodness young Michael Bolton – more about this later), I notice a thumb-sized bruise on each of my upper arms.

Huh, I wondered.  I don’t remember getting manhandled this weekend.

Monday morning, poor baby Ernie is moping around the house.  As his usual morning routine includes waking me up around 6:00 with a sneeze to the face, followed by pacing around the house and zooming around the backyard, I suspected something was up.  I checked each of his feet for cuts or burrs, then palpated his abdomen to check for swelling or hardness.  Nothing.

Then I started manipulating his hips, and he started whimpering.  I guess you have to know Ernie to know that this is a big deal.  He’ll cry and get all excited when he sees someone he loves (read: anyone he’s ever met, even once), but he does not cry out in pain.  Even when he ripped his whole toenail off, he didn’t cry.  The only reason I knew something was up was that he was lick, lick, licking his poor, nail-less foot next to me on the couch.

Anyway, back in the present day.  Ernie was slowly walking around the backyard, head down and ears back.  He wasn’t limping, and he successfully one’d and two’d, so I watched him hobble onto the couch and left for work.

By Wednesday he was fine – verdict: muscle strain.

BUT THEN, on Tuesday morning I found a bruise and a cut on my side.  I’m pretty much convinced that Ernie and I have been drafted as ninja enforcers by an organization so secret even we don’t know about it.  It makes perfect sense, if you think about it:

  • I’ve been going to the gym, transforming myself into a lean, mean, fighting machine.  If you could see these biceps, you’d be intimidated.  Trust me.
  • Ernie is very strong and agile, and can be pretty stealthy when he wants to (Dexter…strong, but gets failing grades in agility and stealth).
  • Warm weather + poverty = no AC.  But I do have my bedroom window open to get some air flow at night.  I think it is through this window that They initially made contact.  I also think this is my ninja exit/entrance, as my keys remain where my waking mind left them (plus, ninjas do not have pockets, and jingling keys ≠ stealth).

As further evidence, I present to you the fact that I’ve woken up at 2:50am for the past 4 nights, and haven’t been able to get back to sleep.

I’m pretty sure it’s the adrenaline rush that comes from battling crime in hand-to-hand combat.