Friday, December 7, 2012

Gone With A Bang

Well as we all know, dogs come in many shapes and sizes with most dogs having a specific shape and size in order to accomplish the task of the breed.  For example Beagle's and Jack Russell's are bred to hunt rabbits and foxes (and not the two legged kind that wear bikini's. Just want to make that clear to the male readers.),  Labrador's are bred to swim and retrieve ducks from the water, Huskies for the endurance to pull a snow sled, Brittney's to hunt and retrieve quail and pheasant, Australian Shepherds to herd and sort cattle, German Shepherds for personal protection and to eat criminals, and poodles to wear dumb looking hair cuts and prance around some old ladies house.   You can probably tell which breeds I like the most.  Each dog has a specific purpose for existing and ole Red Dog is no exception.  I don't really understand why but I am absolutely fascinated with the fact that Red Dogs blood line is bred to track and hunt lions.  If nothing else it just sounds cool that his ancestors hunted down something so majestic and lived to tell about it so to speak.  A fox or rabbit will always run away. A quail, pheasant, or duck will fly away.  But the thought of Red Dog's ancestors chasing down a critter that could turn and eat them just captures my imagination.  I've seen a rabbit stop to stand his ground when he is being threatened by a coyote but that didn't last once the coyote decided it was lunch time and I've even seen cattle chase Australian Shepherds out of a corral when I used to work for a rancher.  I have never seen duck, quail, or pheasant make an organized aerial attack on hunters unless pooping before take off is considered to be some kind of ugly symbolic gesture on the bird's part, however I have witnessed a Yellow Billed Starling dive bomb my oldest daughter multiple times when she was twelve years old and that just made me laugh till I cried.  But to think that this big red muscular smart stout handsome looking animal known as a Rhodesian Ridgeback could hold his own with Mr. Lion, the cool factor is off the chart in my mind and I own one.  It makes me want to stand tall with my hands on my hips, look skyward and do the Tim Allen man grunt "ARARRARRARR". It's so cool.  That's why I like my Red Dog so much but today I found out something about Red Dog that I was hoping not to be true so let me tell you about it.  
Many months ago I decided to get back to shooting my guns that I haven't shot in many years.  Since crashing my Harley at seventy miles per hour 6 years ago, (and not being able to get the wreck out of my head) I have been looking for a way to fit some quick stress relief into my busy schedule.  Shooting my old guns and buying some new ones to shoot seemed to be the way to go.  So that's what I have been doing lately, burning up ammo every chance I get.  Well this afternoon as I gathered my gear for the firing range I thought I would take Red Dog along and he could enjoy it with me.  Red Dog, being the observant fellow that he is, noticed that I was no longer in my work scrubs but in my play clothes so to speak.  He began watching every move I made, following me from room to room in order to see what I was going to do next.  Finally Red Dog heard the jingling of my truck keys as I grabbed them off the table and he went into full alert.  His ears flew skyward, his eyes locked on to me like a missile defense systems, and began to wag his tail around and around as though he was rapidly cranking a World War II warning siren alerting everyone that something was up and Red Dog was pretty sure he knew what it was or at least he thought he did.  The jingling of my keys and a wardrobe change could only mean one thing to Red Dog..."ROAD TRIP!"...and I told y'all in the last adventure how much Red Dog likes to go for a ride and he was "RED DEEEEEEEEE" to hit the road.  Out the door he went, with the excitement of a six year old headed to the Toy Store.  He jumped into the bed of the truck and immediately moved to his favorite riding spot (which is the front right of the truck bed so he can enjoy the view of the country side) and off we went.  He likes sticking his head outside the bed in order to catch a cool breeze but once we hit sixty miles per hours his face looked like Tommy Lee Jones face while in the G Force machine in the movie "Space Cowboys".  Red Dogs ears are flapping like a flag in the wind, his tongue is hanging out and flying straight back touching his ear, his face has that distorted G Force look to it and he is smiling from ear to ear the whole time.  Sometimes I swerve around in my lane because I'm trying to watch Red Dog in the rear view mirror.  We finally make it to the firing range to see that we are the only two out there and have the whole place to ourselves.  Yippee!!!  I decided to let Red Dog stay in the truck for a while since he has never been to the range with me and let him get accustomed to the gun noises from a distance.  So after thirty minutes of sighting in one of my rifles I walked back to the truck to get Red Dog who was patiently lying down in the truck bed.  I opened the tailgate and he jumped to the ground with the excitement he had before leaving the house.  He was "Happy Happy Happy" as Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty says.  We walked back over to where the guns and gear were and I told him to sit down beside me.  Now that he was in a safe place I was eager to see how he would react to the report of the rifle and I would soon get my answer.  I continued to pet Red Dog as I fired the first round and oh my goodness he wasn't ready for that.  He gave a full body jerk and started to slowly walk away like "holy crap what was that?".  You could tell he didn't care for it much but he tolerated it none the less.  I called him back and he obediently came and sat down beside me but the excitement he had only minutes ago was immediately gone.  No more perky ears.  No more tail wagging.  I was hopeful that after shooting for thirty minutes prior to letting him out of the truck might have better prepared him but that just wasn't the case.  As Red Dog sat there beside me I fired a second shot down range.  He didn't flinch near as much as he did the first time but he was done.  He started walking off and would not come back at my command.  As I continued to call his name he would stop for only a few seconds to give me a look like "go jump in the lake, that's enough of that business" and walked away with as much dignity as he could possible muster.  With his tail down between his legs he slowly headed back to the truck.  As I watched him walk away it reminded me of when I was thirteen years old and forgot to take out the trash one evening.  It was eleven o'clock at night when my dad noticed I hadn't done what he asked me to do earlier so he told me take it out now.  It was pitch dark and we had no back yard light to brighten my path as I walked to the alley.  When I reached the trash can I began to throw the sack inside when suddenly the neighbor's cat jumped out of the barrel.  I jumped ten feet in the air while my heart leaped three feet out of my chest and simultaneously wet my britches.  In those few seconds I felt more terror than any human should ever have to experience.  So I gathered up what wits I had left and slowly made the walk back to the house just like I saw Red Dog doing. But in my heart I was running like an Olympic sprinter expecting an ax murders or the boogie man to grab me at any moment.  I completely understand what Red Dog was going through with him trying to calmly walk away from a situation with your dignity intact and your is brain screaming "RUN SUCKER RUN".  So I gathered up my gear and headed back to the truck.  When I got there Red Dog was sitting in the bed in his happy place looking at me like "what the heck were you thinking, I'm a lion killer not a bird dog.  My ancestor's owners used spears and bows to hunt with not nuclear bombs".  I don't think I could have baited him out of the back of that truck with 10 racks of ribs at this point so I shut the tailgate and we headed to the house.  
Don't worry about Red Dog, he completely recovered and was back to his old self by the time we arrived home.  When I opened the tailgate and he jumped out with the same swagger that he left with.  He Immediately headed over to his water bowl and take a big long gulping drink like he really needed that after this little adventure.  Although Red Dog is a big strong loud lion killer of a dog I think he might be getting a little soft or "Yuppiefied" as Phil Robertson would put it by living indoors in the lap of luxury.  I don't think I will take him back to the firing range anytime soon because I still want Red Dog to use his "Sonic Bark" to scare the pudd'in out of those uninvited guest who might come snooping around our place.  As far as home security goes, I think Red Dog will just continue to use his God given "Sonic Bark" to guard the place and won't be pack'in heat anytime soon. Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                                 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Born To Ride

As many of you have read in the past we have quite the collection of critters at our place and I often refer to this menagerie as the DMZ (i.e. Debbie's Mini Zoo).  We have chickens, goats, parakeets, finches, cockatiels, doves, cats (oh do we have cats), Red Dog, and ducks. Well just one duck now.  For some reason our ducks die like flies after a winter freeze around here so I guess because he is the lone survivor of many ducks that have passed through the DMZ and when I say passed I mean that literally.  I call him Super Duck (SD).  I have never seen SD leap a small buildings in a single bound but he has survived drought, death, and disease so he must have some hidden super powers or ninja skills.  But all of Debbie's critters have little quirks that either tickle or annoy me.  
Take for instance Super Duck.  Not only has he survived many near death experiences around here but during the summer when we broke out the kiddie pool for him and the hens he was always the first one in the water and the last one out. Each time we fill it up he acts like it's his first time to ever see a body of water he could float in and he would jump in the pool for Tasmanian Devil like swim. Now on the other hand the hens stand around the edge sipping on the water like it's a refreshing cup of tea.  It's sip and cluck, sip and cluck cluck, then sip and cluck cluck cluck just like any other group of women at a tea party.  They are probably sitting there complaining about their husbands so I'm not surprised when I hear cluck cluck, cluck cluck cluck, cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck and understand what they are clucking about. LOL.  As far as the roosters go they are just like any other guys.  They guzzle down as much as they can hold and hurry off before the hens get a chance to hen peck them.  Isn't it weird how nature imitates life.  When it come to the parakeets, doves, and finches they are all thrilled just to get their bird bath filled up.  They all jump into that thing like a bunch of stinky ole cowboys who have been riding the trail for months and have finally come up to a tank of fresh water.  They whoop and holler (in bird talk of course) and splash around like a bunch of little kids.  
Although our feathery critters make me laugh the the goats and cat fall into the annoying category.  Our goats (Bert and Ernie) aren't here any longer because they figured out how to escape from their  8 foot tall fence and would go visit the Angus cows down on the Brazos River.  After chasing them down two different times in two weeks (and when I say chase that means I send my son and his 19 year old legs to do the job because I am in no shape to exercise) so they were given to my little 6 year old friend Weston for goat roping practice and I think the goats have met their match with him.  As far as the cats go, it's like having a school of land sharks constantly circling your feet.  You open the back door twenty five fussy chia-pets dart into the house at super sonic speed.  It's like twenty five miniature hit and run accidents in 3 seconds hitting my leg.  I just stand there motionless praying I am still standing after the frenzy is over with.  The most annoying thing about the cats comes down to one very large 35 pound black and white long haired cat called Mr. Buttons.  He is the size of a small Bobcat and fears no evil.  He roams the neighborhood just daring something to come after him.  He is an indoor/outdoor cat and comes in and out of the house as he pleases.  All in all a pretty cool guy as cats go but he has one quirk that drives me absolutely crazy.  When he's ready to got outside he will start slapping one of the window blinds with his front paws.  He looks like George Foreman working a punching bag.  I have no clue why that's his signal to go outside but it is.  The thing that drives me nuts is that he seems to think he always wants to go outside at three o'clock in the morning.  Why?  Once again I have no clue but all I know is that this goober will beat on the blind until one of us gets up and if you chase him off he returns within minutes  for rounds two three and four.  If in the event that doesn't wake us up then he pulls out the big one.  He jumps up to one of the posts of our bed which is about 5 foot tall and takes a leap right into the middle of one of us. I don't know if you have ever had a 35 pound cat jump on you at night but I can say it is not pleasant and will wake up even the heaviest sleeper from their dreams. Whatever it takes he is committed to his mission.  I'm too old to be missing any sleep so I usually cave in and let him out so I can get some shut eye.  I guess that's the price I pay for having a wife who is a critter junkie.  All in all I can live with it.  
I bet by this time you are wondering what this has to do with Red Dog?  Well, Red Dog is the one critter around this place that doesn't get under my skin and he causes me to laugh most all the time.  Today was no exception.  It was my afternoon off from the clinic and I came home to one of the prettiest October days I have seen in a while.  The sun was out, there were few clouds in the sky, temperature a perfect seventy degrees, and no wind.  I decided to go for a drive through the country side just to enjoy the day.  Ever since Red Dog learned how to load up in the pickup bed, he loves to go riding as well.  So after I finished lunch I ask Red Dog if he wanted to go for a ride and man does he know what that means.  He started pacing around the room wagging that tree branch of a tail like the checkered flag at a NASCAR event.  His tongue was hanging out of his mouth slobbering all over the floor and I knew he was ready to go.  He was so excited and darted off toward the garage.  As we got to the back door he tried to bolt right through and head out to the truck but because I wanted him to control his excitement I made him sit and stay at the back door a few times.  That way he could collect himself (doing the calm submissive thing like Cesar says) and learning not to blast through the door so no ones gets tripped in the future.  It was like telling a 6 year old kid to sit in front of the Christmas tree and not touch the presents.  It was almost beyond Red Dogs self control but he settled down and sat their until I told him he could go.  He is such a good Red Dog.  As he walked into the garage his excitement immediately turned into great confusion.  There was no truck.  His tail stopped wagging and he slowly started walking around the area where the truck was supposed to be.  Red Dog looked up to me as if to say "what the heck, am I being punked".  I must say I was a little surprised myself because I forgot that I parked the truck in the driveway at lunch.  Man that empty garage made us both feel like the only two guys standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon, echos and all.  At this point I saw the excitement drain out of Red Dog.  His ears drooped downward and tail fell between his legs.  He was one disappointed hound dog at this point.  So I opened the garage door and we walked out into the drive.  Within seconds he caught a glimpse of the truck it was game on again.  He ran to the truck as fast as he could.  You would have thought that he just guzzled down a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.  His excitement was out of control...again.  Red Dog stood at the tailgate in launch mode with his legs shaking just dying to leap into the truck bed.  He got so excited he had a couple of failures to launch until the tail gate was completely down.  When he jumped up into the back I could have sworn I saw him strike a pose like one of those extreme BMXer's stretched out over his bike as he flew over the top of the tail gate.  The second Red Dog was in the truck he sat down and looked at me like "come on, quit goofing around, let's go".  So off we went.  Red Dog sat back there with his nose in the air, tongue and ears flapping in the wind.  As the Geico commercial suggests, He was happier than Gallagher standing in the middle of a watermelon stand.  At that moment all was right in Red Dog Land as we headed off to go pick up my best pal Mark.
What a wonderful way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon.  Taking a drive through the countryside enjoying God's creation, discussing life events in the company of a good friend, and Red Dog slobbering down the side of my newly washed truck.  If only there would have been some ribeyes cooking on the grill when we returned Red Dog and I could have really hit the big time.  But never the less it was a very good relaxing afternoon for all of us.  In the immortal words of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, it made us "Happy Happy Happy" to go for a ride in the country on such a beautiful fall day. Until the next Red Dog adventure, God bless you all.                        

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Best Eggs Are Fresh Eggs

You know that old saying about a man's dog resembles and mimics his master and his habits.  Well it appears Red Dog is no different.  Debbie is always yakking at me about the things I eat, especially things that have been sitting in the refrigerator for arguably way to many days/weeks.  I am always digging around in there looking for an evening snack and when I find something that looks good or looked good a few days/weeks earlier, I grab it and start chowing down.  When she sees me walking into the room eating yesterday's/last week's left overs she nearly comes unhinged.  I usually remind her that I saw little to no unusual growth on the particular food product I was consuming just to reassure her it was safe to eat. But I don't think she believes in my ability to safely analyze refrigerated foods.  After her gagging subsides she sternly reminds me she will not be the one cleaning up any messes that might be created if I eat it.  So we have an unspoken agreement that if I mess it up, I clean it up which is only fair.  It appears Red Dog has picked up this ability to eat anything that doesn't eat him as well.  So the same clean up rule applies to Red Dog.  If he messes it up, I clean it up.  I am very happy to report that Red Dog has done extremely well in the house breaking department and has had very few accidents since he moved in.  I am even happier to report that my record in this department is even better than Red Dogs which is of great relief to my wife (no pun intended).  As you have read in the past, many things cause Red Dogs mouth to start watering which ranges from cat poo to spare ribs.  I'm on the same page as Red Dog when it comes to the spare ribs but he is on his own when it comes to the cat poo sprinkled with kitty litter.  Some of you may recall a FaceBook post many months ago where I had a very unpleasant experience while washing fresh chicken eggs and then chewing my finger nails.  For those who have never read that posting just let me say that I got to taste a part of the chicken that was never meant for human consumption and it is still my opinion that it didn't taste a thing like chicken.  
Speaking of chicken eggs, we found another food group that Red Dog likes almost as much as spare ribs today.  As you may or may not know my part of Texas is experiencing one of the worst droughts in state history with high temperature and very little rain over the past two years.  We are currently on water rationing and we are not allowed to water our grass, trees, plants, and flowers with city supplied water so things are pretty dry around here.  Debbie has about 30 chickens that have survived this two year drought thus far and egg production has been pretty poor.  Well the old girls have been doing their best to earn their keep lately and egg production slightly improved over the past few months.  During these hot summer days, Debbie has be going out right before sun down to gather eggs and she takes Red Dog along for protection in case she comes across unwanted critters.  It doesn't take her very long to gather eggs but she has this small zoo known as the DMZ (Debbie's Mini Zoo) and it takes around fourty minutes to feed, water and bed everyone down for the night.  After her chores were done I heard Debbie slam the back door yelling "that's it, you are staying outside for the rest of the night".  At first I thought she was yelling at me and so I automatically began pleading my case by pointing out I have been inside under the air conditioner watching T.V. all evening.  I quickly realize in the middle of her rant that she may not be yelling at me.  I immediately shut my mouth (a technique I have perfected over thirty years of marriage) because it makes no sense to confess to something you may or may not have done.  Fortunately for me, during the course of her rant I heard the words Red Dog and knew I was off the hook.
Apparently while Debbie was taking care of the DMZ Red Dog got hungry while on guard duty and began eating the eggs she had just gathered.  By the time Debbie noticed what Red Dog was doing he had gobbled up all of the eggs in her bucket.  I was biting my upper lip trying to keep a straight face in order to avoid the same fate as Red Dog.  As she told me what he had done the image of Steve McQueen eating fifty boiled eggs and lying on the bed with a full belly in the movie "Cool Hand Luke" kept running through my brain and I finally  lost it and just started laughing.  I don't think I won any favor with my sweet wife when that happened.  I then had the uncontrollable urge to go find Red Dog to see how big his belly was but when I got to the door I couldn't see him anywhere.  As Debbie stormed off to the bedroom I thought I might need to take a page out of Red Dogs play book and make myself scarce until she cooled down.  Later in the evening I saw Red Dog peering through the back door and he must have really liked those eggs because there wasn't even a drop of egg yolk on his chin.  He looked pretty sad staring through the window while serving out his back yard sentence this particular evening.
So today I found out that Red Dog and I not only like a good spare rib but we both like our fair share of scrambled eggs.  After laughing at my wife I also found out how well my wireless internet router works from the back yard.  By the way Red Dog says "tjcwtd cxdvm xdkelszxl asdl.lo xzp;xz" which needs to be translated because Red Dog doesn't have fingers and has to type with his paws: Until the next adventure God bless you all.                                 

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Red Dog Rib Alert.

Laser locked on a rack of ribs in kitchen

Well it's been a while since my last story but there hasn't been much going on in Red Dogs world the past few weeks.  It has been so hot and dry here in North Texas that Red Dog is doing what everyone else is trying to do...Stay COOL...Although we don't have a pool or at least I haven't caved in to Debbie's pressure to have one built.  Red Dog has been using Debbie's fish pond as his private swimming hole to beat the heat this summer.  He goes to the back door and sits there until we let him outside.  Sometimes he whines about it and other times he doesn't.  Once outside he goes through a ritual of raiding as much cat food as he can hold then heads for a little dip in the fish pond without hesitation.  Once in a while he gives me the ojo during his little soaks like I'm his personal cabana boy and he is waiting on me to bring him a cool drink or dry towel.  I like ole Red Dog quite a bit but not well enough to be his cabana boy.  As the Geico Lizard would say "Forget about it!!!"  But one thing is for sure, there is no mistaking when he wants back inside under the air conditioner.  First he will start off with a little whimper in an attempt to get our attention and if that isn't successful he starts growling and making louder noises.  When all else fails he will break out the "Sonic Woof" until we open the door or the neighbors call about the noise.  I really don't blame him because it's so darn miserable outside but it sure can disrupt a good Sunday afternoon nap.  Once inside he's just like the rest of us and goes to his most comfortable place in the house for the rest of the day.  
We had some good friends come over for supper the other evening and they brought "Smoked Ribs" and that put Red Dog on high alert.  If you remember back to one of our first adventures I found out quickly that Red Dog was a rib junkie as he inhaled three ribs off of my plate in a matter of seconds after placing it on the arm of my easy chair while I answered the phone.  And if you will also recall Debbie caught him lying on top of the dinning room table thinking it was a proper place to take a nap soon after he moved here.  For these two reasons Red Dog is banished from the kitchen and from being around the dinner table.  Well the other night as the aroma of smoked ribs filled the house you could easily find Red Dog.  He staged himself just inches outside the kitchen area in hopes that someone would fumble a rib to the floor.  It was funny to watch him.  It must have taken every ounce of his willpower not to enter the kitchen and beg for a snack.  Red Dog sat there at attention like a guard at Buckingham palace but with his eyes locked on our every move just hoping for some rib manna from heaven to fall his way.  I never heard a peep out of him the whole time we were eating but he never moved an inch away from the kitchen door either.  He behaved himself so well we couldn't let the evening end without a reward.  Debbie headed toward the back door with a plate of rib bones and Red Dog's tree branch of a tail started moving like an airplane propeller.  As soon as the door open he darted outside like a lighting bolt and eagerly waited for the rib feast to begin.  He had been preparing for this moment all evening long and I could have sworn I saw a rib bib on him as he dove into the middle of his smokey treat.  I'm not sure how many rib bones Debbie gave him but it was plenty.  Red Dog made them disappear faster than David Cooperfield could make a woman disappear from a box and with far less drama.  So Red Dog just laid around the house the next day with his belly full of rib bones and and smile on his face.  All has been right in his world ever since.   
There is some good news from what I called his "Make Me Sick Adventure".  A few weeks after Maddie headed back to Lubbock with our kids Red Dog kicked his cat poop eating habit cold turkey and I am hopeful it will "NEVER" return.  I guess if I keep feeding him rib bones that will lessen the temptation.  
So it was a double header win in Red Dog country this past week.  Nothing really exciting or hilarious to write about but I did get a little chuckle out of Red Dog eyeballing those ribs the other night.  Until the next adventure.  God bless you all.      

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bad Habits Make Me Sick

Ms. I Will Teach You To Eat Cat Poop Maddie and Mr. I Will Gladly Learn To Eat Cat Poop Red Dog

Well Red Dog has picked up a few bad habits from a couple of his pals over the past few weeks and is in deep dodo with my wife over them.  Since Reed, our youngest, has moved home Red Dog has been hanging out in his room all hours of the day because he has been letting Red Dog sleep on the bed with with him.  That's against the house rules around here but Red Dog is still getting away with it at times.  You have to realize this is a seventy five pound hairy pony lying around on the furniture and Red Dog is shedding like crazy this summer which creates a lot of extra work for Debbie around the house.  I will admit that Red Dog is pretty sneaky about not getting caught.  He reminds me of my friends little boys when they were little sneaking cookies from the kitchen to their bed rooms.  

I was over visiting my friend in his living room one afternoon when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  At first I was not sure what was going on so Matt and I kept on talking.  After a couple more minutes of conversing I noticed some small blurred images flashing in and out of my peripheral vision.  I finally had to stop our conversation to watch what was going on.  Matt's two young sons were sneaking from their bedroom where they were supposed to be taking a nap into the kitchen to swipe cookies off of the counter top.  They would peak around the corner waiting for us to look away then dart across the floor to the cookie jar then repeat the maneuver when returning to the safety of their bed room.  I must admit it was a well thought out plan as we found out after some semi serious parental interrogating.  Those two little boys had taken the lid off the cookie jar prior to going to bed in order to eliminate any jar noise during their cookie heist.  I considered their plan a successful failure because they went to the well one time to many and got caught.  We found a large cache of cookies hidden in their bunk beds and I snicker when I think about how many times they had to sneak around us to get such a stock pile.  

Red Dog is being very cautious when it comes to catching him sleeping on the furniture.  He must be sleeping with one eye open and one ear to the air listening for me headed toward the bed room because every time I head that way he is already trotting down the hallway as though nothing is wrong.  There is some evidence that he has been sleeping on the bed but it's difficult to tell as there isn't much difference in the cleaning habits of a seventy five pound dog and a twenty year old boy.  I have only caught Red Dog once and I made it very clear that its not allowed but I'm pretty certain he has continued to lounge on the furniture when I am not looking.  Wow, it just hit me that Red Dog is acting like my twenty year old just without the smartalec remarks.  Maybe those two should move in together.  Oh, wait they did and at my house.  Maybe some day I'll catch a break.  

As annoying as it is to have Red Dog sneaking around sleeping on the beds the next little habit he picked up from his pal Maddie is just plain gross.  The other day Debbie could hear some weird crunching noises coming from the guest bathroom so she went to investigate.  As she walked into the room she could see Red Dog with his head under the cabinet where the cats litter box is kept.  As she got closer she notice Red Dog was eating the cat poop out of the litter box and it appeared he was enjoying it.  OH MY LORD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CRAZY DOG!!!  We have had Red Dog over a year now and he has never done anything like this "EVER".  Debbie went into this grossed out rigor and chased Red Dog out of the room.  Where and when did he pick up this filthy habit.  Now I know that dogs do this when they are outside and that is gross enough on it's own but when you add the crunching noise of the cat litter it brings it to a whole new level of gross.  The thing that grossed me out the most, and I have seen a lot of gross things in my medical career, is that it was the exact loud sound you hear in your head when you eat a bowl of Grape Nuts breakfast cereal and it looked just like Tootsie Rolls covered in gray sprinkles.  It makes me nauseated and gives me the willies just thinking about it.  (Quick note to self:  Tell Debbie to scratch Grape Nuts off the shopping list).  If there are any pluses about this nasty little habit it's that Red Dog doesn't have stinky breath so we must be buying a good brand of cat litter.  After telling this story to the kids our Lubbock daughter confessed that Maddie does the same thing and they have to block her from the litter box. After more discussion we calculated that Red Dog didn't start this nasty little habit until Maddie came for a weekend visit a few weeks ago.  Thanks Maddie.  

Now we have a dog with a "SONIC" bark who likes to eat cat poop with kitty litter and has the freshest smelling breath in the neighborhood.  This dog ownership thing just keeps getting better and better.  What will happen next around here?  Will the cats start laying eggs, the chickens start chasing cars, the grey squirrels crow like a rooster at sun rise, or my twenty year old son clean that pig sty he calls a bedroom.  Who knows what strange events will take place out here at the DMZ (Debbie Mini Zoo for those who aren't familiar with this Texas Red Dog Adventure acronym).  But one thing is for sure Red Dog has to change his choice of snacks before I throw my guts up because I can't continue to type and vomit at the same time.  Until the next less gross adventure, God bless you all.                      

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Chaos

It's been an interesting Saturday morning around the Howard house so let me fill you in on the players in this little adventure before I begin.    Player number one is Red Dog.  His actions today are more like the little brother who wants to do what big brother does instead of behaving like he was taught.  Player number two is Maddie.  She belongs to my Lubbock kids.  Player number three is the new indoor kitten (whoopee) which I call "Stupid" because I can't remember what Debbie named her.  Now let me take a minute to give some background on Maddie and Stupid before I begin. 

Maddie was a One hundred and forty pound obese indoor Ridge Back until a few months ago when the vet put her on a diet and she is now down to 75 pounds.  I'm thinking I need to go see this vet for my weight loss with those kind of results.  She is a tad bit spoiled and rules the roost at her house.  She lies around on the couch and sleeps in the bed with my daughter since her husband works the night shift for the police department.  We have a totally different set of house rules for poor ole Red Dog which include no sleeping in the beds or lying on the furniture when we are around.  One night Maddie started this constant low grumbling growl at the sliding glass door of my daughter's apartment which alerts her that someone might be messing around the back porch.  So my daughter grabs her home protection 12 gauge shot gun and cautiously moves toward the sliding glass door.  Maddie's growl gets louder and more aggressive as my daughter throws back the curtain to the door and brings her shot gun to full draw.  By now Maddie is barking her head off ready to eat the face off of anyone or anythings that is outside the door.  Things were pretty intense at this point.  When the curtain flies open there stands some drunk college kid from the apartment complex in his birthday suit trying to be cute when he gets to see a 12 gauge shot gun pointed at his face and big red dog ready to eat him alive.  I think the drunken humor quickly left this stupid college student and he instantly ran into the darkness screaming like a little girl.  Unfortunately he had no britches to wet but I think the sight of his shiny hiney disappearing into the darkness was pay back enough for my daughter.  Needless to say I am a big fan of Ms. Maddie for protecting my daughter so I am more than happy to put up with some of her habits.

The next player in this little Saturday morning adventure is "Stupid" which is a kitten that was brought to our house by our Wichita Falls daughter.  She apparently found Stupid in a tree outside her house with the sniffles about a month ago.  For whatever reason she thought the kitten might die up there after an evening thunder storm.  Well to make a long story short she brought the cat to our house for Debbie to nurse it back to health.  I asked her how many cat carcasses she has seen stuck in the trees around her neighborhood and she just rolled her eyes then said none.  I was reassured that this kitten once sniffle free would be sent to a new home.  Well it's one month later and the sniffles are gone and Stupid is freely roaming the house climbing on E V E R Y T H I N G like kittens do.  I know it's supposed to be cute and all but cute went out the door for me about a thousand cats ago (I am obviously estimating the number of my wife's cats on the low side).  Stupid climbs on the furniture purring her little head off waiting for the chance to curl up with Debbie and snuggle.  They both think it is Wonderfulllll and I'm left wondering when it's my turn to snuggle with her (her being Debbie and not the cat).  Maybe my snuggling chances would improve if I wore some fuzzy PJ's and started purring instead of wandering around the house in my boxers tooting (note to self buy fuzzy PJ's and stop tooting).  Since both of our girls got married Debbie has been "OBSESSING" about grand kids but my math skills tell me that kittens are less expensive and I can laugh when Red Dog chases them.  So to stay out of trouble with the wife, I guess Stupid can stay.  Besides everyone in town knows it's much easier to adopt a child from Russia than a kitten from the Debbie Howard Cat Adoption Agency.  Now the cat population has risen to a gazillion and one around here.  Whoopee!!!  I mean that sarcastically.

The final player of this story is Red Dog who needs no introduction and is surprisingly not the ring leader of today's adventure.  He just came along for the annoying ride.

This story starts around six o'clock on Saturday morning with my Lubbock kids sticking their heads in the bedroom to tell me good by as they head off to Dallas for a weekend of Texas Rangers baseball and shopping.  They drove in the day before to shorten their drive and drop off Maddie for me to dog sit for the weekend.  They figured a seventy five pound dog stuck in a second story apartment doesn't do well by herself especially when it's potty time.  I'm still in bed and Debbie is gone for the weekend to her thirty year high school reunion in Darrouzett, Texas in the north panhandle. (By the way you can read a good little story about this little Texas town on her blog over at Texas Tumbleweed Travels).  I fall back asleep trying to catch up on my rest after a long week at work.  Around seven o'clock I am suddenly awakened by Ms. Maddie because she thinks the best spot to place her cold wet nose is in the palm of my left hand as it hangs off the side of the bed.  "YUCK"!  Now I am wide awake.  Some people wake up in the mornings to a soft rock radio station playing by the bedside while others wake up to their 3 year old staring at them nose to nose whispering "Daddy, Daddy, wake up" in their ear.  But that's not the case here at Debbie's Mini Zoo (DMZ).  You get the blessing of hearing cats and dogs whining at the door wanting outside for their morning constitutional or Oscar the Cockatiel squawking his head off because dawn is breaking and he doesn't want you to miss it.  But now I get to add a freezing cold wet nose to the hand to alert me to the dawning of a new day.  (Oh boy, what a blessing!)  I guess I should be thankful it wasn't the cold nose right up the kiester like many dogs like to do.  So I pet Maddie on the head and try to slip back off to sleep.  The key word in this statement was "Try".  Apparently Red Dog saw how much fun it was so here comes cold nose number two.  Great, what a thrill!  I am awake again.  Since I didn't yell at Maddie I petted Red Dog on the head as well.  Thinking that everyone has got some morning loving I could go back to sleep but I was wrong.  Petting those two goobers just created a shark like petting frenzy.  Red Dog and Maddie were both pushing each other jockeying for the best petting position.  There was more pushing going on than an NBA basketball game and neither dog could get enough of it.  They were acting like a couple of junkie's, each working hard to get their next petting fix.  Finally I had to yell at both of them to "Knock It Off".  By this time I was fully awake with no hope of getting back to sleep so I got up and headed to the bathroom to get ready for the day.  As many of you older folks know you never pass up the chance to sit on the porcelain recliner first thing in the morning.  While I was there here came Maddie to see if she could help.  I shooed her away but as soon as she left here came Red Dog thinking he might be missing out on something important so I shooed him away as well.  Out of no where Stupid shows up thinking she could be far more helpful than the other two yahoo's.  I can't get her shooed away because she is a cat and cats are stupid.  Hence naming her the same.  Since Stupid is still in the room it was obvious to Red Dog and Maddie that I needed more company so they come trotting back.  After hissing and shooing at them for a while the dogs finally left the room but Stupid kept hanging out just in case she was needed.  I guess the Ridge Backs couldn't stand the thought that someone else might be vying for my attention so here they come back for round three.  "OH MY GOODNESS".  It was like a Forth of July parade in my bathroom at this point.  All that was missing was a sheriff's posse, marching band, and grand marshal waving from a shiny convertible.  "THIS IS INSANE".  I am thankful that  none of these animals could operate a telephone or they might have called the whole neighborhood to invite them for a block party in my bathroom.  At this point I start yelling and yelling and hissing and yelling some more.  They all just stood there staring at me wagging their tails and purring.  I guess that seeing a fifty two year old gray headed fat guy sitting on the toilet in his birthday suit doesn't look very intimidating to these guys.  I finally gave up on the yelling and finished my morning chores.  Once I got back on my feet I popped the dogs on the rear end and stomped my feet at the cat to chase them out of the room.  Now that was more like it.  I stood there with my hands on my hips and my chest sticking out thinking I have restored my authority over the animal kingdom.  The words truth, justice, and the American way were echoing in my brain and all I needed now was red cape and a "S" on my chest to make the moment complete.  But then I realize I was standing there in my birthday suit and the air rushed out of my ego immediately.  I was too scared to look at the mirror and see how ridiculous I must look.

Now for a quick disclaimer:  For those who now have an image of me striking a Superman pose in my birthday suite stuck in their brain please feel free to shove a number two pencil in your ear to rid yourself of this horrible image.  I will gladly reimburse anyone for the cost of the pencil if you send me a receipt.  Now back to the story.

Now that the first order of my morning business is over it's time to hit the shower.  while showering I looked down to see Stupid was back curiously pawing at the water dripping off the bottom of the shower curtain.  What was wrong with this cat that she couldn't leave me alone while I get ready for the day.  I quickly threw open the shower and aimed the shower head directly at her hoping it would chase her out of the room.  Well this plan failed because she was too fast and out of reach of the spraying water to get my point across.  But I did manage to make the bathroom look like a car that went through a car wash with its windows down.  After finishing my shower and mopping the floor I found Stupid standing on the toilet staring into the bowl in a hypnotic trance.  I thought with a little help she could have a whirlpool experience of a lifetime and scare her out of the bathroom forever.  So I flushed the toilet and prepared to watch the outcome of her very first swirly.  She sat there watching the water swirl around and around with her head moving with the motion of the water.  As the water level dropped lower and lower she leaned closer and closer to the center of the bowl trying to touch the water with her paw.  Just as I was about to give her a little nudge toward the swirling vortex in runs Dumb and Dumber and Stupid jumps off the seat and missed out on her first water park experience.  Apparently Red Dog and Maddie thought they were missing out on something special so they crowded their way toward the toilet to see the magical swirling water for themselves.  Great!  Now I have created a mini water park for animals and these guys are going to stay in the bathroom the rest of the day waiting for the next performance of the magical water.  I finally gave up on the rest of the morning by getting dressed and left for the emergency department in hopes of finding something less stressful to deal with other than a house full of cold nosing water watching peeping Toms.  What a morning!

I guess the take home message for today is if I have a house full of critters and I want some Saturday morning peace and quiet, lock and barricade the doors then post security guards outside.  I think I am old enough to take care of my morning chores without any help from these guys.  I could easily see this plan working with future grand kids so maybe today's adventure preparing for a house full curtain climber and not so much about a bunch of four legged tail wagging bathroom assistants.  Either way I've decided I don't want to be a victim of any future bathroom parades so I will be arming myself with a water spray bottle the next time I have a house full of animals or children.  May be I won't look so pathetic sitting there next time.  Until the next adventure.  God bless you all.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Who Has The ASD

I really don't know how to safely tell this story without the end result being me living in the dog house.  But here I go.  Many people I know have a family tradition or heirlooms they pass down through the years as a way of remembering a family matriarch or to carry forward an important piece of family history.  Some families do it through handing down a wedding ring, hand made quilt, old shot gun, pocket watch, china hutch, eyeglasses or even the family Bible.  I know of one family who has a complete set of sterling silverware hand made by Paul Revere, yes the historic "The British Are Coming" Paul Revere, that is still being passed from generation to generation as a way of keeping alive the memory of their family members who helped defeat the British for the independence of our country.  Even my wife and I have a tradition of eating fast food tacos on our wedding anniversary for the past 30 years just because we were too broke the first 3 anniversaries to afford a nice meal.  We look at it as something fun we now love to tell people about and are happy we kept the tradition alive all of these years.  So as you can see traditions or legacies can be things of great monetary value such as sterling silver or as whimsical as cheap tacos.  For my wife's family, they have a special gift they have passed down for at least 2 generations that is for a lack of a better word "Amazing".  During our first Christmas as husband and wife Debbie and I were trying to figure out how to blend all of our family's Christmas celebrations into 3 short days.  So we did the only reasonable thing a young married couple could do, we drove roughly 500 round trip miles and made four different Christmas celebrations of both families finally ending up at my wife's grandmother's house.  While there I got the blessing of sleeping in the same small bedroom with my father in law and it was there that I was introduced to this wonderful family legacy.  I want everyone to understand that I love my father in law greatly but "OH MY GOODNESS" this man can snore the shingles off of your house.  I have never heard something that loud come out of a sleeping human being in all of my life.  He must get Christmas cards each year from the U.S Geological Survey with a snore that loud because it causes the ground to shake.  I am pretty sure that the largest earth quake ever recorded in the North Texas Panhandle had an epicenter right under his house.  You may want to Google that just to be sure.  I bet by now you are wondering how this is a family tradition?  Well after a few years of marriage I found out that my father in law has passed this amazing talent to my dear sweet wife.  Thus a legacy is born.  You now understand my concern about being in deep trouble if I tell this story.  Now that you know this much lets see how deep of a hole I can dig myself into.  Not that I am happy or bragging on my father in law but he did an outstanding job of passing down that snoring gene to his daughter.  I consider him the "Yoda" of the snoring world and you can call my wife "Luke" because the FORCE is without a doubt with her.  Now I bet you are wondering how Red Dog fits into this story.  Well, I'm not sure how Red Dog acquired the snoring gene but he has it loud and clear.  I work many late hours in our local hospital so it's not unusual for me to come home late at night  to the dynamic duo of Red Dog and Debbie sawing some very loud logs and I'm sure it sets off earthquake sensors all over North Texas.  Wow those two make quite a team but about ten months ago Debbie found the antidote to her "LITTLE" night time problem and now Red Dog is snoring solo.  The solution came in the form of a forty dollar blue rubber molded anti snoring mouth piece.  Lets just call it a ASD (anti snoring device) so I don't have to use the s-word and Debbie's name in the same sentence so I don't dig that hole too fast.  The ASD came from of all places QVC and it actually worked to my joyful surprise because QVC is nothing more than a non-stop Sham Wow like infomercial.  But after 30 years of midnight earth quakes,  I for whatever would work in order to get some sleep.  Now all I have to do to get a peaceful nights sleep is run Red Dog out of the bedroom.  
A few weeks ago Debbie called my clinic to ask me if I had seen her ASD that morning before leaving for work.  My heart sunk as I began to maticulously retraced my morning steps trying to remember if I had seen it but came up with a total blank.  She told me she had turned the house upside down looking for it without any success.  After a few minutes on the phone it hit me that Red Dog was lying in the floor on her side of the bed that morning and realized that I didn't hear Red Dog snore at all that night.  I told her to immediately pry his mouth open and see if he had a blue rubber smile.  Well no blue smile for Red Dog.  Debbie has continued to look everywhere for weeks and still no luck.  The weird thing is that Red Dog hasn't snored once since Debbie lost the ASD.  I don't think the inventor ever meant for it to be used by dogs but we may be on to something new here.  If the ASD can't fit around dog teeth maybe Red Dog chewed it up and it's now fitting somewhere near his south end. Hmmm?  And maybe what I thought was snoring from Red Dog all of this time was a south wind blowing out from under his tail.  The ASD could be working more like a muffler as "SOMETHING" escapes from the tail pipe?  This could be the beginning of a whole new line of pet products and I could name it the "Butt Muffler".  If nothing else it would make for an interesting pet commercial. lol.  But I'm guessing that Red Dog probably chewed up Debbie's ASD in the night and it's now resting somewhere in his colon.  I suggested she accompany Red Dog outside each day so she could recover the ASD but she passed on that idea and didn't see the humor in my statement.  With me being such a cheapskate, I may just have to escort ole Red Dog outside myself.  But if I do and you hear that I got Debbie a new ASD don't any of you tell her where I got it.  I am banking on you the reader to keep my secret.  
Before I leave you today I would like to introduce to you my new web address where I will be writing all future Texas Red Dog Adventures now that you know about the O'Neal family legacy.  Please go to (not really lol).  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.           

Acting Alike

A little exercise.
And more rest!!!

I'm sure you have heard the stories about a mans dog looking or acting like his master.  Well, I think that's the case with Red Dog except I don't drink out of the toilet.   As I have said in the past, Red Dog has become quite fond of  indoor life which I can totally relate to.  We both enjoy lying around under the air conditioner and we eat all the food Debbie puts on our plates.  We both seem to take plenty of naps and talk/growl in our sleep.  Just last night Debbie hollered from the bedroom that something was wrong with Red Dog.  I went in to check on him and he was lying peacefully at the foot of the bed fast asleep making these gurgling/grunting sounds.  I don't know what he was dreaming about but he didn't appear to be in any distress.  When I called out his name he just layed there looking up at me like what did you do that for.  He was perfectly fine and didn't appear to be very happy about being woke up.  A few months ago Debbie was gone to Africa so Red Dog and I got to "bach" it for a while.  We ate, drank, napped, snored, scratched, and tooted when ever we wanted and no one was around to tell us to stop.  We sat around the house doing guy things every day.  It was like testosterone heaven.  We even created a live man/dogmade water feature in Debbie's pond one evening (the guys will know what I'm talking about) but don't tell her I told you that.  It was all short lived as Debbie returned home a few weeks later (don't get me wrong, her coming home was a good thing) and we had to start behaving again.  I got tickled at Red Dog the other day when Debbie, Red Dog and I went for a ride in the truck.  On nice evenings we all load up and go cruising through town until it gets dark.  Red Dog loves riding in the back and it only took him a few times to figure out he could jump into the pick up bed on his own.  That was one thing I was really happy about because the first few times I had to lift him up in there and it was an ugly sight lifting 85 pounds of scared kicking dog into the pickup bed.  But now he's got the loading thing down pat.  We would hit the road with his face to the wind and those big ears flapping like Dumbo the Circus elephant.  We returned home the other evening from one our rides and Debbie and I went straight into the house after parking the pickup in the garage.  About thirty minutes later it suddenly hit me I didn't let the tailgate down so Red Dog could get out.  I hurried back to the pickup to find him sitting there patiently waiting on someone to let him out.  He looked like he could have stayed there all night without any problem.  I was a little irritated at myself for forgetting about him but he was just happy to see me.  He's a good Red Dog.  But the one thing that has caught my attention lately about Red Dog is that he and I are on the same page when it comes to exercise.  If I want to go check on something around our place I drive the golfcart and when Red Dog comes with me he doesn't want to run along side like most dogs, he jumps in the seat beside me and off we go.  I think he figures he never knows when he might come across a lion and needs to save his strength to defend me.  So we cruise down to the tank like a couple of lazy bums that know what we are doing.  Lately Red Dog likes for me to go outside and play with him in the back yard.  This little thing got started when Reed (our twenty year old son) would come home to visit and they would go chase each other in the back yard.  Red Dog would run around the yard at top speed darting back and forth as quickly as he could with Reed right behind him.  Funny thing is it doesn't last but a minute or so and Red Dog has had enough.  He will suddenly stop and go lay down as to say "that's all in need for one day".  Luckily I don't have to put out that much effort when it's my turn to play with Red Dog.  When I ask him if he wants to go outside that tree branch like tail of his starts spinning like an airplane propeller so off we go.  The minute Red Dog's feet hit the grass he takes off like a lightening bolt and the game begins.  I jump down into a defensive basketball stance and Red Dog does the same. He then suddenly takes off at full speed running around the yard.  He will stop and pause for a few seconds and as soon as I jump back into that stances, he takes off again.  We repeat this over and over (which usually equals about three times) and we are done.  The good news is that it doesn't take Red Dog and I long to miss the A/C so we quickly head inside.  I fall into my chair and Red Dog lies down close to the A/C air vent and our recovery time begins and lasts the rest of the day.  I was sitting there after one of our rigorous workouts thinking that Red Dog was getting as soft and out of shape as I am.  Here is a dog that's bred to hunt down lions on the African plains and now all he wants to do is hang out with me under the air conditioner.  Not a bad idea considering the drought we have been in for the past two summers but it got me wondering if I have picked up any of Red Dogs habits?  
Like I said earlier, I've never drank from the toilet and I've never pooped on the carpet.  I'm pretty sure I've never cold nosed the Schwann man when he comes to the house, although I do get a little excited seeing  him carrying boxes of food to me.  I don't think I have ever licked the neighbors on the hand when they have come over to visit.  I don't chase Debbie's cats but it sure puts a smile on my face to watch Red Dog do that (please, no one tell Debbie).  I don't lick myself but I have licked BBQ rib juice off of my fingers and we all know how much Red Dog like ribs.  I've never scooted my bobo across the floor when it itched but Debbie keeps yelling at me to quit scratching myself when walking across the room.  We both like to go tinkle out in the back yard but mine is usually under the cloak of darkness.  I've never been sprayed by a skunk and have never chased a car unless I left it in drive when I got out of it.  I don't eat dog food from a silver bowl but I do like peanut butter Captain Crunch in a breakfast bowl and it looks a little like Red Dogs food.  We both let toots and snore but I did that long before Red Dog moved in.  We both whine to Debbie when we want something to eat.  I've never been smacked with a news paper for having an accident....Oops, no need to go there because I am over fifty.  Needless to say we do act alike at times and I guess that theory about the dog acting like his master could have some truth to it. So if you come knocking at our door one of these days and Red Dog answers and offers to shake your hand with me standing behind him barking my head off with multiple  "Sonic Woof" don't get worried.  It just means Red Dog and I have been spending a lot of time together.  LOL.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                     

Friday, June 1, 2012

Look Who's Getting Trained

Red Dog is patiently waiting to see if he has trained me to open the back door correctly.

I have noticed that Red Dog is getting more and more accustomed to his indoor lifestyle.  I can't really blame him for liking central air and heat, I am rather fond of it myself.  But I never imagined that Red Dog, the lion hunter, would adapt so quickly.  This is a dog who was bred to chase down the king of the jungle and who spent the first year of his life guarding livestock from packs of wild coyotes, but now he sleeps on  carpeted floors and drinks cool filtered water out of a silver bowl (well sometimes he drinks out of the white porcelain water bowl in the bathroom).  The contrast of lifestyles are so different I find myself singing the theme song to the "Beverly Hillbillies" as I am writing.  I see Red Dog as the Jed Clampett of the dog world when it come to adapting to new surroundings.  Still a hillbilly at heart but wise enough to know that indoor plumbing is a much better deal.  So let me tell you how spoiled this guy has gotten lately.  
When Red Dog first got here he wanted to stay outside and run the neighborhood.  He was even chewing the wood pickets off of the backyard gate just so he could roam freely and check out his new town. I'm sure that after growing up on the ranch our little 3 acre placed seemed quite confining. The dog was so strong that once he chewed a hole big enough to fit his nose through he plowed the rest of his 85 pound body through the opening with the ease of an army tank destroying the gate one body width at a time. So I would jump in the pick up and go find where Red Dog was hanging out after each escape.  After a few days he finally figured out that he now lived at the all you can eat dog food house and never escaped from the backyard ever again.  I like a guy who makes decisions based on the available food supply.  
So after Red Dog decided that the groceries were plentiful and a temperature controlled environment suited him nicely, it was time for him to turn his attention to his other bodily needs.  Red Dog is a pretty sharp hombre, it didn't take him long to figure out that when he whines at the door he gets to go outside. Given the fact that he lives  year around with a temperature of 70 degrees in his home; he only goes outside when nature calls nowadays.  Red Dog is out then right back in.  This guy has turned into an Olympic speed pooper at this point.  Debbie is just hoping Red Dog never learns about indoor plumbing so he won't leave the bathroom in a mess.  I figure that's my job around here anyway so he better not get any ideas.  For the first few months each time he whined, we would rush to the door in hopes of preventing a major accident in the house (Debbie came across his first and only 3 car pile up in the dining room a few Sundays ago which caused her to miss church.  She had to transform herself into a one woman HazMat team for the clean up.  Glad I missed out on that one). For months we have had this system where Red Dog whines, I open the door, and he goes out.  I thought it was working pretty well.  I don't have to clean up a doggie disaster and nether one of us gets barked at by Debbie.  After a while I realized that not all of Red Dogs whining was a warning call of impending disaster.  
Lately Red Dog has started whining at three o'clock in the morning and waking me up.  It's like he's on some kind of a schedule.  He whines so I jump out of bed, dash for the back door praying I'm not too late and that I don't step into a early morning surprise.  After doing this jumping out of bed thing for several weeks this routine started feeling very familiar to me and during one of my earlier morning sprints it hit me why this was so.  
When we were first married Debbie was a bit of a night owl so I usually went to bed before she did.  The house rule was that the last one to bed turned out all of the lights which usually was her.  I would be half asleep when she finally got to bed.  There I would be snuggled down in those toasty covers just drifting off into dreamland when I would feel her climb into bed.  She would almost always forget to turn off a light or to turn on the ceiling fan after she got covered up.  So after a few moments of silence I would hear this sweet voice lovingly say "Honey, would you turn off the light" or "Honey, would you turn on the fan" and I would drag myself across the room to do what she asked.  I couldn't say no to the woman of my dreams (and for the record I always did it with a joyful heart and a smile on my face).  Well after several years of doing this I finally asked her one night while stumbling toward the light switch, why she couldn't do this once in a while and here was her answer. "Why should I when I have you trained to do it" then she giggled.  I said," WHA WHA WHA WHAT!!!"  That's all I could get out was a bunch of WHA WHA's.  I stood there in disbelief as she continued to giggle.  She took advantage of my loyal devotion and suckered (i.e. trained) me into being the permanent light switch operator.  I felt like the Andy Griffith character Will Stockdale in the old movie "No Time For Sergeants" when he was tricked into being the PLO (Permanent Latrine Officer) because no one else wanted to clean the bathrooms.  So I guess that made me the DPTM (Debbie's Permanently Trained Monkey) around our place.  Apparently Debbie is pretty good at training me because after thirty years I'm still doing it.  And the other night I realized that Red Dog, my most favorite dog ever, is using a similar tactic on me as well.  I found myself standing in the dark, in disbelief, and saying "WHA WHA WHAT" all over again.  Now I can be known as Red Dog's Trained Monkey around here also.  I think it's safe to say that Red Dog has made the transition to indoor living quite easily.  He has also proven that his owner isn't the sharpest pencil in the box as well.  I'm not sure what all Debbie and Red Dog are doing together while I am at work but I have a feeling she's been telling him light switch stories because this early morning door dash business feels exactly like the bed time shuffle my wife tricked me into doing years ago.  My new claim to fame will be that I'm the guy who can be easily trained by both woman and beast.  So if your dog needs some training tips I'm sure Red Dog or my wife will be willing to share so come on by but I won't come to your house to show off my skills.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.           

Monday, May 14, 2012

Table Napping Not Allowed

Red Dogs Favorite hiding and sleeping place.  Don't ask me why it's behind the bed room curtains???

I have told you this before but there was much debate on whether Red Dog was going to live outside or inside when he moved in.  The definition of "much debate" in the Howard House is my wife explaining to me how we are going to do something over and over again.  And as you have also read before, Red Dog won a landslide vote to live indoors but as we found out you can't always change outdoor habits.  
The other day Debbie was busy cleaning in my man room and then she was working on her flower garden in the back yard when she came in to cool off and get a drink of water.  As she walked through the dining room,she sees Red Dog stretched out lying on his stomach staring out the back door.  The only problem Debbie had with what he was doing was the location in which Red Dog chose to lie down.  To Red Dogs surprise, indoor living has rules that he was unaware of.  You just don't go and lie down where ever it suits you and the place that suited Red Dog was on top of Debbie's dining room table.  She couldn't believe what she was seeing.  An 85 pound lion hunter camping out on top of her 10 place table as though he was actually supposed to be there.  Well Red Dog got a taste of his own medicine.  In stead of the SONIC WOOF we get to hear from Red Dog all the time, Red Dog got to hear the  SONIC YELL "GET DOWN, GET DOWN, GET DOWN" from the my lovely five foot four inch wife.  Red Dog doesn't have a thing on Debbie when she decides to make herself heard.  Red Dog did what any male would do when the woman of the house starts yelling at them (Note to readers:  For the record my loving, sweet, kind hearted, merciful, forgiving, beautiful wife has never yelled at me like that so I am just assuming I know how Red Dog was feeling during this moment).  He ran for his life.  When Debbie told me what he did it got me wondering what posessed him to do that.  My imagination starting running wild and here is the answer I came up with.
Red Dog, although kind and lovable, is bred to hunt lions on the African Savannah.  So being a good hunter, he took the high ground in order to search for possible large game.  I can see him patiently sitting high atop a hill or small rock formation scanning the landscape for the rogue lion that has created chaos in the local village. I think that is really cool.  But unfortunately for Red Dog there aren't many lions in Seymour Texas.  I'm sure while living on the ranch that he came from, he spent many days lying in high places scanning the rolling plains of North Texas in search of something to hunt.  My wife went to Namibia Africa last year and she said that the Namibian landscape looked a lot like Texas so I think that it would be an easy thing for Red Dog to imagine.  But when it comes to indoor living those types of habits are considered bad manners, especially when you are turned into a city slicker.  So I don't blame Red Dog for wanting to relive a few moments of his outdoor life.  There are days I catch myself walking across the yard whirling my right arm in the air as I imagine myself  roping cattle in the pasture.  I guess guys just need to escape into the deep recesses of our minds once in a while to relive our younger days of adventure.  
Well after the "SONIC YELLING" was over things returned back into a peaceful day.  Debbie headed back to her flower garden and Red Dog got his hearing back.  I'm sure Debbie thought she had made her point "VERY CLEARLY" that dreaming on her dining room table will NOT be tolerated.  But like many of us guys, Red Dog had a short memory.  About an hour later Debbie walked in the same door into the same dining room for the same cool drink to find the same Red Dog lying on top of the same dining room table probably daydreaming of the same adventure...Again...Now I'm not sure if there are words that can indicate something louder than SONIC BOOM but it was obvious that the words ATOMIC BLAST could describe Debbie's reaction when she found Red Dog back on the table.  Red Dog once again started running for his life but this time it would be of no use.  There was no way Debbie was letting him off the hook for a second offense.  She used every ounce of her Cherokee/Creek heritage to track down Red Dog to his favorite hiding place.  Now I'm pretty sure that most Indians did not yell "GET DOWN GET DOWN GET DOWN" as the tracked buffalo across the Plains but it was the tactic Debbie used as she tracked down poor ole Red Dog.  Growing up in the 1970's, when I hear the words "GET DOWN GET DOWN GET DOWN" all I hear is K.C. and the Sun Shine Band rock'in out in my head but that wasn't any help to Red Dog.  Debbie broke out her "ANGRY MAMMA" voice and the tail chewing was on.  At one point Red Dog looked at me with those big sad yellow/brown eyes and all I could do was shrug my shoulders.  There was no way I was getting in the way of that angry Indian with all of those fireworks going off.  I have learned a thing or two after 30 years of marriage.  Well Red Dog took his tail chewing like a man (as most of you husbands can understand) and life around the Howard house quieted down once again. 

Red Dogs new dreaming location.  The foot of our bed.

Sometimes it's hard to break old habits but sometimes it's nice to relive the old days in your mind as well.  There is no doubt that ole Red Dog is still dreaming of days on the African Savannah or his life protecting the North Texas ranch house because he barks and growls in his sleeps but now he does it at the foot of our bed and not on top of the dining room table.  Red Dog is still the best dog ever, even though he is still adjusting to indoor living.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.        

Friday, May 11, 2012

DMZ (Debra Mini Zoo)

Mr. Buttons

Welcome to the Debra Mini Zoo or the DMZ as I like to call it.  We invite you and your  family to come visit us for a day full of fun and laughter.  Come feed the chickens, doves, parakeets, finches, goats, dog, cats, and Me as part of the activities .  We also have plenty of wildlife here at DMZ which includes skunks, possums, raccoons, mice, armadillos, hogs, deer, bobcats, coyotes, snakes, and an assortment of birds that will capture your imagination as they wander around.  You can pet any critter that you can catch as long as your health insurance is up to date.  We do not offer tetanus and rabies vaccinations for visitors but pet away at your own risk.  Free admission.  So come join us at the DMZ.  

No, we don't have a public zoo at our house but it's starting to look like it.  This was my feeble attempt at sarcasm since my wife has taken in another new pet.  If she keeps taking in critters I will have to start charging admission just to feed them all.  So I guess now is a good time to introduce the newest member of the DMZ family, "Oscar" the cockatiel. Oscar was a long time pet of our dear friend Karla.  She kept him down at her flower shop for many years entertaining customers by flying throughout the shop.  Many times he would sit on Karla's shoulder while she put together floral arrangements.  He is quite the character.  He is living with us for reasons I'm still not clear about but after thirty years of marriage I have learned to just say yes when my wife tells me she wants to do something.  So Oscar was added to our little zoo.  He has been living in a large cage that covers half of our dining room table for the past few weeks until Debbie puts him in the aviary with the rest of the birds which could be never.  The one good thing about living in the dining room is that it can be closed off from the rest of the house so Oscar can stretch his wings and fly around for a while.  

The other day that's what Oscar was doing when Debbie noticed him circling the room without landing.  She looked around and saw Red Dog standing there watching Oscar intently.  Wherever ole Oscar flew there was Red Dog staring in amazement.  She could easily see a disaster in the making but it wasn't going to be Red Dog's fault as you will soon see.  Oscar finally landed on the floor near Red Dog.  Debbie stood there and watched as Red Dog walked over to sniff on him.  Oscar just stood there without flying away.  So Red Dog kept on sniffing ole Oscar up and down.  All of a sudden Red Dog's tongue lunged out of his mouth and Debbie thought it was certain death for Oscar but no, all Red Dog wanted to do was lick on Oscar a few times and that was it.  Oscar must have thought he had flown into a giant Red Dog bathing station or something because he just stood there for a quick cleaning.  Who would have thought that was going to happen.  Certainly not Debbie.   She stood there stunned over what she had just witnessed unaware that Mr. Buttons had quietly slipped into the room.  Suddenly Debbie heard this low subtle baritone like growl coming from under the chairs and that's when she spotted Mr. Buttons slowly stalking his way toward Oscar.  Mr. Button's eyes were fixed on the target like a laser tracking system.  Debbie yells at Mr. Buttons and for a few milliseconds everything went into slow motion as M.B. started his attack run.  Oscar must have seen Mr. Buttons about the same time Debbie did because that slow motion thing quickly erupted into complete utter chaos.  Oscar takes flight in a panic, squawking at the top of his lungs warning others that there is danger here.  Debbie grabs a butterfly net she brought in as a back up in case she couldn't catch Oscar by hand and was waving it frantically in the air trying to capture him before M.B. had himself a mid day snack.  Red Dog just stood there as to say "I wasn't done giving him a bath, where is he going".   The yelling, squawking, and sheer madness continued for several minutes.  Finally Debbie caught Oscar in the net and everyone's world returned to normal.  I would have given anything to have caught this on camera because words can not describe the vision that is stuck in my head of a 48 year old out of shape house wife frantically jumping up and down swinging a netted stick with a fussy overweight house cat running around the room smacking his lips like a crazed killer and a squawking white cockatiel frantically flapping his wings above it all as his life flashed before his eyes.  It's "Priceless" as the T.V. commercial says.  I'm still snickering when I think about it.  I'm considering placing cameras throughout the house to capture the next round of chaos so it can be replayed over and over again on the  big screen for my own personal entertainment.  I have wondered what the neighbors would think if they saw all of this going on through the window.  One thing is for sure, it's not as boring in our neighborhood as people might think.  I think even Red Dog was entertained by all of this.   

So my sarcasm about having Mini Zoo may have more truth to it than what I originally thought.  So come on out to our house and visit the DMZ while admission is still free.  You can load up your lawn chair, grab a jug of ice tea and come hang out with me to see what will happen next.  And since I made mention of my wife being out of shape, you just might get to see her jump all over me while your are here.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.