Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Against One

I found out a while back that Red Dog still likes being outdoors as long as the temperature suits him.  It was one of those beautiful early spring days where the temperature is around 70 degrees, sun is shining bright, a slight breeze blowing and not a cloud in the sky.  A morning where you could stay out side all day without fear of sunburn, dehydration, or heat stroke.  "It was just right" to quote that Goldie Locks chick.  So my plan was to let Red Dog hang out in the back yard for most of the day.  He could lay around catching "rays" or chase my wife's cats to his hearts content.  You all know which one I wanted to see.  So the last thing I saw Red Dog doing was....well I better not say since my wife reads this blog but he was thoroughly enjoying himself.  Now the plans I had for myself was slightly different.  I grabbed a large glass of ice tea and headed to my chair for some deep sea fishing with Bill Dance on the big screen (no need to risk getting heat stroke on a blistering 70 degree morning).  So a pitcher of ice later Bill and I caught some of the biggest tarpon the Gulf had to offer but now I was tired.  Tarpon fishing is hard work.  So for medical reasons I decided to grab a little nap in order to rest my heart from the fishing excitement because one can never be too cautious with their health.  Trust me I know, I've studied medicine.  After my tarpon outing in the Gulf of Mexico, I woke up from my much needed nap to hunting bear in Alaska.  It was turning out to be quite the Saturday morning adventure and my internal meal alarm is telling me it's time to eat.  Remember only the best outdoorsmen can transition from fishing in Florida to hunting in Alaska in a two hour time period, so keeping up the calorie count is very important.  It's doubly important to keep up my strength now that I'm in Alaska bear country and you can't outrun a bear on an empty stomach.  Trust me I know, I've studied nutrition too.  So to the kitchen I went for a high octane meal.  As I passed by the back door doing the happy dance toward the fridge I look out into the yard to see white winter fluff all over the grass.  For a moment I thought I was witnessing a 70 degree Texas snow miracle so I rubbed my eyes to focus better.  I then realized it wasn't a snowstorm that hit the back yard while I slept.  It was Red Dog.  I walked outside to a white fluffy blanket covering the whole yard.  "What in the world went on out here", I thought "and what is this stuff (or stuffing to be more exact) lying on the ground?"  Well there was Red Dog lying on the ground stretched out on the grass tanning himself like a sun bather on the South Padre beach.  Not only was he working on his tan but he was fast asleep from exhaustion.  (And it wasn't from chasing the darn cats).  Apparently Red Dog was bored since there were no cats to chase, balls to catch, or bones to chew while I was tending to my health. But "CHEW" is the clue to the white disaster that hit our back yard.  Remember me telling you how I saw him chewing up his doggie bed in the last adventure. Apparently outdoor furniture cushions taste very similar to doggie beds so Red Dog  decided he would chew to death two of Debbie's furniture cushions.  There was fabric and fluffy stuff every where.  According to my calculations the manufacturer puts about approximately a football fields worth of stuffing in each individual seat cushion and Red Dog tore apart two of them easily.  Poor cushions.  They were heavy duty and designed to hold up under my big old "ButTox" as Forest would say.  It must have given Red Dog quite the workout chewing them apart because he never moved a muscle while I surveyed the yard.  I wonder if someone taught him my possum playing trick?  Hmm.  What a mess and with Debbie being gone guess who gets to clean it up..."ME"!!!  So here I go crawling across the yard on my hands and knees picking up from the Red Dog Blizzard of 2012.  The only thing worse than seeing the mess in the back yard was the site of my big old "ButTox" shining in the air as I crawled on the ground.  Just the site of it caused children to run home crying to their mommies and adults calling my hospital phone asking for medicine to stop the nausea.  One neighbor even asked if he could cover me with a white sheet and come back after dark to show movies off of it.  I kept on working in spite of scaring the neighborhood.  The whole time on the ground I'm thinking how happy I was to own the only "Red Dog Home Security System" on the block.  By now I had finished picking up and Red Dog woke up from his sun bathing slumber.  My loud groaning while crawling around must have interrupted his nap.  I was pretty tired especially given the fact I had given up physical labor many years ago and was ready to go back inside to make the lunch I abandoned earlier.  But Red Dog didn't see it that way.  He was refreshed and ready to play.  Since I was conveniently on my hands and knees looking like a giant goober he mistakenly assumed I was wanting to do the same.  Oh great.  Red Dog was jumping, slobbering, growling, and running in circles around me as to say "come on lets play, lets play".  That tree branch of a tail was waving in the air like a checkered flag at the Daytona 500 but I wasn't in the mood for any fun and games at this point. But Red Dog just kept on going like the Energizer Bunny.  So I got up off the ground (which was an ugly sight within itself) and went inside to rest leaving Red Dog outside to do what ever Red Dog does because I was "PLUM TARRED". 
I made lunch (obviously Red Dog needed none since he consumed two furniture cushions) and carried it back to my spot in front of the big screen.  I missed out on the Alaska bear hunt but quickly found myself in a ground blind ready to shoot mule deer in Montana.  Life was starting to get good again.  I had a bag of my favorite chips, meat sandwich, and a fresh glass of ice tea.  Bring on the big buck.  I ate lunch while finishing my deer hunt and my world was back in balance once again when suddenly I heard Mr. Sandman knocking at my door.  I drifted off for a well deserved Saturday after lunch nap and when I  woke up this time someone was trying to sell me a wall mounted talking fish on the T.V.  For a few seconds I thought Mothers Day is right around the corner and I do need to get something for my lovely wife but that thought left as quickly as it came.  I figured she's already purchased such a fine piece of decor and wouldn't have the wall space to display another..he he he.  So after shaking the cobwebs out of my head...Again...I was carrying what was left over from lunch back to the kitchen (which included an empty plate, empty glass, and empty chip bag) and I looked out the back door...Again...I could not believe my eyes.  Remember earlier he chewed up "TWO" cushions, well I forgot to mention there was a set of "THREE" cushions and Red Dog had decided not to leave any survivors.  In my haste to get back to a day of fishing and hunting, I forgot about the third cushion and left it sitting in the chair apparently with "eat me Red Dog" written on it.  At this point I felt bad for Red Dog, I could have at least offered him a glass of ice tea to wash down this tasty treat.  That material has to be a little dry tasting (I'm shooting for sarcasm here).  The only good thing was that the ground wasn't quit as white as before because Red Dog had not completely dismembered the third victim.  So here I go again on my hands and knees in the middle of the back yard looking like one of the action pieces from the board game "Angry Hippo" picking up stuffing over and over...AGAIN...And there sits Red Dog wagging his tail thinking I'm ready to play...AGAIN... At this point I'm just thanking God there were no camera's to capture me on all fours crawling through grass.  It didn't take long for me to cool off and all Red Dog wanted to do was hang at my side.  He would look up at me as if to say "I Dun Good" with that tree branch of a tail still wagging away.  I couldn't help but wonder what was going on in Red Dogs mind when he was chewing up those three cushions.  Did he think he was protecting an African family from angry lions lurking in the shadows ready to do them harm or was he on the hunt tracking down a pride of lions that had been killing and eating livestock the tribe depended on for food and money?  Either way it must have been quite the adventure but it sure put a lousy dent in what had started out to be a pretty nice Saturday for me.  Now, each time I go sit on the lawn furniture and my "ButTox" has no cushion to land on I think about how hard Red Dog must have worked to kill those three unwelcome intruders in such a short period of time and laugh.  I think in his mind, he faced off with three blood thirsty killers and came out victorious.  Red Dog had a three for three Saturday and those are good stats in anyone's books.  So I guess when your pedigree goes back to a long line of lion hunters and you live in Texas where lions hunting is non existent, a dog just has to use his imagination and make do with what he's got; stuffed or otherwise.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.             

Sunday, April 22, 2012

He Eats Anything.

When Red Dog came to live with us last year he was a seventy five pound, nine month old eating machine and my first thought was "how much does a small indoor pony eat", especially since I have never kept livestock indoors. Being an indoor dog was not in my initial plans but I had forgotten to consult my wife as to what "my plans" should be.  I voted he stay outside and she voted for inside.  Apparently the election system in the Howard house works much like it does in Russia only I was given a second chance to cast my vote correctly. Indoor Red Dog won by a landslide.  It was thrilling to watch our household political machine in action.  He now lives a life of air conditioning, heating, and large white porcelain drinking fountains that fit him perfectly.  Now that the indoor/outdoor issue was settled my thoughts shifted back to the food question and here is what I found out rather quickly.  Red Dog will eat anything. 

It was a beautiful spring evening around 5:00 pm which is supper time at our house and my hungry tummy was reminding me that we had left over pork ribs from my favorite BBQ restaurant "Smokey Bros".  Large meaty, juicy, smoked pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce.  I could hear the "I want my baby back baby back" ribs song playing in my head and couldn't wait to heat them up.  As the ribs started to warm up the aroma in the kitchen became intoxicating.  I think my feet left the ground a few times when I took a deep breath.  Oh it smelt so good and the timer on the microwave seemed to be moving at a snails pace.  I could hardly wait. (My wife says I'm way too passionate about BBQ and I told her that if they could bottle the smell of smoked ribs and brisket into a perfume we would make the Duggars look like beginners.  She doesn't see the humor in that statement).  Suddenly I heard the "Bing" of the microwave and I danced my way to the kitchen.  When I walked in, there sat Red Dog looking upward as though manna was preparing to fall from heaven and he was right.  His tail was wagging so fast you could see grout drifting across the tiles on the kitchen floor.  He was definitely ready for some ribs but so was I.  Red Dog was forgetting that he eats out of the shiny chrome bowl and I eat off the nice china with the floral print.  (Oh my Lord, I just said china with a floral print.  What's next, a discussion about shabby chic.  I better get back to the ribs).  When I plated the ribs they smelled and looked W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L.!!!!  I grabbed a large glass of ice tea at the end of the cabinet and started toward my favorite chair as though I was carrying the crown jewels.  The Texas Rangers were playing on the big screen and I could hear Tim Allen doing the man grunt..AR AR AR AR AR my head.  Suddenly my hospital phone rang.  While still in my rib intoxicated state, I put the plate on the arm of my chair and ran to answer my phone.  I returned in a matter of two minutes and found my plate exactly where I had left it but there were no pork ribs in sight.  I stared at the empty plate with amazement.  It looked as clean as a new car on the show room floor.  There wasn't even a drop of rib juice left.  Oh no, where in the world did the ribs go?  Then it hit me, "WE" now have a "indoor dog".  I scanned the room looking for Red Dog.  There he was sitting about ten feet from my chair, tail still wagging with a smile on his face and a small drop of BBQ sauce on his lower lip.  His chest was sticking out as though he was just named valedictorian of his graduating class at obedience school.  I don't think I have ever seen a happier dog.  He was plenty proud of himself and didn't have any problem showing it.  I looked for something.  A bone, a piece of bone, even a bone with some rib meat left on it.  There was nothing and I mean nothing.  This mutt had inhaled those ribs like Bluto inhaled green jello in the movie "Animal House".  Not only was I shocked, I was heartbroken.  The aroma was still lingering in the air as I sat down in disbelief. 

Not long after that, as a welcome to the family gift for Red Dog, my wife bought him a big fluffy doggie mattress to sleep on.  She thought this would make his new life with us more comfortable after sleeping outside when he lived on the ranch.  One night we heard him growling and snarling at the foot of the bed.  This wasn't much of a surprise since we had heard him doing this before and figured he was battling lions in his dreams.  But this time it was a little different.  There was some additional noise echoing in the darkness, so I got and turned on the light to see what was going on.  There was Red Dog standing over his new sleeping mat jumping up and down on it with his from paws tearing the stuffing out it.  Turning on the light did not slow him down one bit (or bite you might say), he kept on ripping away.  He was either sleep walking/sleep killing or very fond of the taste of that particular fabric?  To this day I'm still not sure which it was but he looked pretty funny making a mess on the bed room floor.  So Red Dog no longer has a comfortable bed to sleep on because of his taste for cheap fabric. I might also add he did the same thing to all the cushions on the lawn furniture as well.  That darn dog. 
If pork ribs and cheap fabric are Red Dogs favorite things to eat then a carry out foam box could be his next favorite.  A few weeks later I was cleaning leftovers out of the fridge and threw it all into one of those white foam carry out boxes used at most cafes.  Red Dog was playing in the back yard so I took him the leftovers as a little afternoon snack. Well I couldn't find his plastic food dish anywhere.  He had probably carried it off to one of his quiet places in the yard to chew it apart.  So without thinking, I put the foam box down on the patio for him to eat when he finished goofing off.  About an hour later I happened to look out the back door to see white debris all over the yard.  Red Dog ate the leftovers then apparently started in on the carryout box for dessert.  All I could see was a big mess I needed to clean up before my wife got home from shopping and I couldn't see Red Dog anywhere.  I stepped outside and whistled for him just to make sure he wasn't somewhere on place choking to death from a foam box.  As I was waited on him to come running I caught a glimpse something out of the corner of my eye.  It was big, it was red, and it was all wet. It seems Red Dog needed an after lunch swim in my wife's twenty foot fish pond she built in the back yard. (I was hoping he had waited one hour before jumping in because neither one of us wanted to be in trouble with the boss).  I wasn't sure how much of that foam box he had ate but it appears he was not having any trouble keeping his head above water.  I swear he had on a pair of sunglasses, floating on his back, sipping ice tea through a straw with a little umbrella in it, and letting his worries just drift away while relaxing in his own private spa.  At least that's how I was picturing it in my mind.  Red Dog appeared to be enjoying himself quit sufficiently living the good life. 

I guess the biggest things I learned about Red Dog since he has came to live with us are... 1)  Pork ribs make him very happy.  2)  Doggie mattresses taste good.  3)  A foam box helps him swim better.  4)  He will eat anything that I don't eat first.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                             

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Tricks On Me.

Before I go on to the next adventure, I need to clear up a small matter from my previous post about using the words "Momma Bear" to describe my sweet lovely wife.  Those two words can have a variety of different meanings from nurturing caring momma bear all the way to face eating angry momma bear.  Debbie was somewhere between those two versions after the Lucy adventure but I meant "Momma Bear" in the most affectionate endearing way possible.  Now that I have gotten back on her good side, on to the next Red Dog adventure.  
Over the past few months I have noticed Red Dog starts whining at the back door around 5:00-6:00 in the morning.  I was worried he was whining because he needed to go out for a potty break.  Home security is a twenty four hour a day job so I figured the dog needs a little library time every so often but not this early in the morning.  I would lie there using my possum playing tactics hoping that my wife would get up to let him out but she would just lie there snoring away.  While waiting for her to wake up I started thinking about the horrible accident that might be found if I don't respond to his cry.  So I would stumble out of bed half asleep to let him out. (I really think Debbie is better at this possum playing game than I am). Then quickly rush back to bed hoping to find it still cozy and warm.  Well the past several morning I have started paying better attention to what Red Dog does once he goes out.  As he walks through the door he goes into this slow precise intentional walk.  One slow step at a time.  He stops to stare into the night with his nose in the breeze searching for a scent floating through the air.  Then suddenly his hind muscles contract and he  launches himself into the darkness chasing whatever evil lurks beyond.  I was thinking what a good boy, keeping our home safe from those free loading varmints that are cleaning me out of twenty five pounds of cat food each week.  Well the more I watch, the more I learned. He wasn't after varmints.  He was chasing Debbie's big grey tom cat "Smoky".  
Now Smoky is this tough, strong, fearless tom cat who takes no lip from anything on four legs.  He wanders the neighborhood like "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" just daring the wild varmints to try something.  I'm amazed he is still alive.  He is a battle worn veteran who has proved to me he's one tough hombre.  He is a gang of one and I think that's why I kind of like this guy.  He has only allowed me to pet him a few times. When he is tried of being touched he will strut away as if to say "that's all the time I have for you" and goes about his business.  So I am baffled why he runs when Red Dog starts after him?  Well I found out the other morning it's all about the groceries.  In a past adventure I wrote how cool it was to watch Red Dog bolt out after Debbie's cats because he looked like Secretariat breaking out of the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby and how she didn't like him to do that.  It was because her cats were coming to the food bowl to eat and Red Dog was chasing them away.  After the chase Red Dog would return to the cat food and eat everything that was left.  (He's like Mikey, He'll eat anything).  Smoky figured out that eating early in the morning eliminated the need to "eat and run".  I'm guessing that was driving Red Dog crazy watching Smoky enjoying his meal in peace so he would start whining and I was letting him out thinking it was potty time.  Well on one of those mornings Smoky decided to hold his ground and those two started trading blows right and left.  The battle that ensued was more entertaining than a UFC title fight with neither wanting to give any ground.  It was a real live "Mexican Standoff" in my own back yard.  When it was all said and done, I think they both saw the futility of the situation so Smoky ran off in one direction and Red Dog walked back to the house with a few small bloody spots on the end of his nose.  There are still two small nicks there as a reminder of that epic battle.  I don't think they like each other very much these days and have started this early morning taunting through the sliding glass door.  So at first when the early morning whining started, I'm the dumb sucker who's climbing out of bed tripping my way through the darkness to let him out.  I've been tricked into the middle of a early morning dog and cat feud.  "Yippee".  I bet my wife snickers when she reads that. (The reason I say she will snicker is when we were younger and she would get upset at me, she would sometimes stay up at night to rearrange the living room furniture because she was too mad to sleep.  Many times my job as a paramedic kept me out until the early morning running emergency calls and I would not turn on the lights when I came home to keep from waking her up.  Almost every time I would trip over some piece of furniture she had moved.  She told me she would lie there and laugh to herself when she heard the thump of me tripping over something followed by groaning in the darkness.  That's why she's snickering).  So this morning I decided I was going to hold my ground when I heard Red Dog making that fake "I've got to go potty" noise.  I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 in the morning.  I told myself "heck no, I'm not getting out of this warm comfy bed" and went back to sleep.  It was 6:00 am and Red Dog is still whimpering at the back door.  So I laid there wondering if he really was faking this or will I be calling in a hazmat team to come clean up a toxic mess on my wife's living room floor.  I rolled the dice and fell back to sleep.  Around 6:15 I was awoken by Red Dog's "Sonic Bark" WOOOOOFFFFF WOOOFFF WOOOOOOOOFFFFF WOOF WOOFFFF.  "HOLY HEART ATTACK".  I jumped to my feet as though reveille had blown and I had over slept at boot camp.  I ran to the back door with my heart pounding out of my chest, flung it open and watched Red Dog charge into the breaking dawn.  I still have no clue whether he had to potty really bad or had Smoky on the run.....Again.  Now wide awake, I headed back to my warm bed for a few more minutes of sleep.  I apparently dozed right off on my return because the next time I looked at the clock it was 6:30 am.  I laid there foggy headed thinking something wasn't right.  Oh no, our water bed had sprung a leak.  Great, I can't catch a break this morning.  Then it suddenly hit me as the last of the sleep cleared out of my head, "Oh man, we don't own a water bed".  Darn you Red Dog and your loud "Sonic Bark".  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                    

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wet Marks The Spot

Mr. Buttons
Not every adventure at the Howard house is created by Red Dog.  My wife operates a small zoo around the place which includes a large number of cats who's population has grown by ten kittens in the past few weeks and still counting.  It's the feline version of the Duggar family.  There were about fifty chickens penned up in the back of the property until this summer's heat wave and drought killed some of them.  Their number now stands at thirty five.  It brought a whole new meaning to the words "fried chicken".  She got twenty new baby ducks late last spring as the drought began and those little guys lasted about two weeks due to the heat.  One evening they just started falling over like they were at a Pentecostal revival and it didn't stop until they were all gone but two.  At one point she had about forty pair of parakeets in the aviary until the heater in the bird house stuck on high and created an over sized easy bake parakeet oven.  As you can tell high temperatures were not friendly to her bird population.  There was one lone surviving parakeet so Debbie brought him three friends for "company" in hopes that baby birds would suddenly appear.  The kids got her two pink doves to keep the parakeets company and increased the population of the aviary.  Apparently the doves have decided to be just "friends" because there are no signs of any serious relationship between those two if you know what I mean. Wink Wink.  There are two Pygmy goats, Burt and Ernie, who act like a couple of guys according to my wife.  They hang out all day making a mess in the pen just eating, drinking and pooping.  Not bad duty if you can find it, is my thought.  Occasionally they would put on a head butting demonstration that would rival anything seen on Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom".  I would go get a large glass of ice tea and watch them until one of us would get tired.  I know, it's a guy thing.  There are also a large number of possums, raccoons, and skunks that show up nightly to partake in the twenty five pound per week feeding frenzy of cat food in the back yard.  The deer regularly stop by to nibble on the acorns falling off the oak trees in the front yard.  It just dawned on me why the Grey Diablos work so frantically picking up the acorns.  Their only competition for these tasty treats are the white tail deer better known as the Cola Blanco Gang.  I guess due to the Cola Blancos overwhelming size the Grey Dioblos have to hustle to bring home the bacon (i.e. acorns).
As you can see I don't throw the word zoo around lightly.  But I'm not quite done with the Dr. Doolittle role call.  Most of you have come to know and love Red Dog but let me introduce you to a couple of new characters.  Mr. Buttons and Lucy, who are the indoor cats, and where this particular story begins.
Mr. Buttons was the first to come live with us.  He is a very large, fat, furry, lazy black and white tom cat destined to a life of indoor luxuries.  He was given to us by some dear friends who have a large country vineyard but apparently country living wasn't Mr. Buttons cup of tea.  He was always trying to sneak in their house to avoid the rigors of country living so it was time to head for the bright lights of the big city with swimming pools and movie stars.  We found out once he came to live with us he had some very specific dietary needs that didn't include mice or dry cat food. Canned tuna was his meal of choice, preferably plated so as to not irritate his delicate palate.  He was without a doubt an "Aristocat".  
About one week later Reed, our son, found a small yellow and white fuzzy female locked in a pet carrier sitting in the the middle of a lone dusty country road and brought her home.  Of course being a little fuzzy fur ball, there was no way Debbie was going to send her back into a cold cruel world where coyotes and bobcats roam.  I would like to tell you that after a vigorous debate, I finally agreed to let the cat stay but that decision was made the minute the cat hit the door and not by me.  Whoopie! (and I mean that sarcastically.)  Debbie named her Lucy because the red fur looked the same color as Lucille Ball's hair.  So within two weeks she added two cats to the "Greatest Show On Three Acres".  I'm not a fan of indoor cats but Debbie told me I was going to change my mind about that.  For those readers who are "Star Trek" fans, the infamous Borg phrase "Resistance is futile" echoed in my head as she "EXPLAINED" to me why I was changing my mind.  Now that she cleared that up for me I now think indoor cats are great and I mean Tony the Tiger "GREAT".  Remember she reads my blogs too.  As the weeks went by both cats just got fatter and lazier as they adjusted to their new Beverly Hills like life style.  Lucy, being a juvenile, was always wanting to play and old Mr. Buttons saw no need in exerting that kind of energy.  Besides, his food bowl was in the kitchen and he would need those precious calories to make the strenuous journey at meal time.  Lucy was without a doubt becoming a thorn in Mr. Buttons side and one night it all came to a head.  Mr. Buttons always slept at Debbie's feet on the corner of our king size bed.  I think he always thought that "king" was the appropriate way to describe his place of rest but Lucy thought differently and wanted that space for herself.  
The time was about 3:00 am on a Saturday morning and my slumber was disrupted by Debbie screaming at the top of her lungs, "GET OFF ME.  GET OUT OF MY BED.  GET OUT OF MY BED"  while kicking and thrashing off the covers.  I quietly laid there confused, shaking off the fog of sleep trying to figure out what I had done to cause her to yell at me like that.  That king size bed is so big it almost feels like I need to text her good night just to make sure she hears me so I was pretty certain I had been behaving myself this particular morning.  Although half asleep, I wisely chose to lie there playing possum.  This was a skill I perfected many years ago when the babies would start crying in the middle of the night.  I would throw in some fake snores to complete the illusion of sleep until I figured out what woke up Momma Bear.  Luckily it wasn't me this time, it was her precious Lucy who had jumped on the bed chasing off a sleeping Mr. Buttons and began claiming her new place of rest as her own.  I laid there motionless, just in case I misread the situation, wondering why she had been yelling like that.  Apparently after Lucy took over her new sleeping quarters she proudly walked over and sat on Debbie's chest and began to make pee pee on her pj's in order to make claim to the new territory.  Debbie had been woken up by loud thunder and children crying but I do believe this was her first time to be woke up by cat urine.  Lucy and I were both relieved but for two totally different reasons.  I could hear her griping at Lucy from the bathroom as she changed her pj's.  After she was finished, she immediately went on a room to room search with Marine like procession to find the guilty party.  I should have gotten up to help but I was too busy snickering like a little fifth grade girl while trying to play possium.  She finally found Lucy and promptly put her outside to face the forces of darkness for the rest of the night.  Oh she was so mad but that was so funny.  Don't ever doubt that my wife deeply loves her animals but she just wasn't feeling the love this particular morning.  After this stunt I knew Lucy's days were numbered.  You don't make pee pee on Momma Bear and continue to get to live the high life, at least  at her house.  A few days later she got to move to her new home far far away and I don't mean heaven just Abilene.  To this day I don't even mention this incident in fear I will get a new home far far away which could include heaven!  So after telling this story, if I show up on your door step with suit case in hand please have mercy on me and let me in.  I think she will let me come home in a month or two.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Double Trouble

One of the biggest reasons we got a Rhodesian Ridge Back was because of this little lady in this photo on the right. This is
Red Dog
Maddie.  She belongs to my Lubbock kids.  She is the first RRB that I had ever been around.  She is very loyal, well behaved, strong and protective.  That's what captured my attention about the breed.  A big ole stout dog that 
obeys commands, that's my kind of dog.  
So when I got the chance to get a Rhodesian Ridge Back I jumped on the RRB band wagon.  
A few weeks back Maddie came to visit Red Dog for the weekend while the kids headed off to the Metroplex to shop.  They always have a good time together and Red Dog is always excited to have company.  Sometimes too excited.  He gets that tree branch of a tail he has moving so fast it can knock you over.  Now having two RRB's in the house is like letting a pair of Belgian plow horses hang out in your living room.  Constantly walking around or climbing over these guys all day long just wore me out and I am in no shape to be exercising.  Both of them keep vying for my attention.  I pet one then here comes the other one trying to muscle in on the action.  This goes on back and forth Allllll Daaaaay Longgggg!!!  It's like watching a couple kids fight over the same game at Chuckie Cheese just without a giant goofy annoying mouse lip syncing to some loud obnoxious song in the corner of the room (can ya tell I'm a big CC fan).  By the end of the first day, they have ate every ounce of dog/cat food in the house, drank every water bowl dry and resorted to drinking out of the toilets.  I have never once drank toilet water in my life but it apparently tastes pretty good judging by the way they were gulping it down. YUCK.  You can decide for yourself what makes it so flavorful.  My wife is a real big fan of dogs drinking out of the toilet.  She loves mopping up the gallons of water that they slobber on the floor and is an even bigger fan of finding the slobbers/toilet water on the lid in the middle of the night.  You can figure out how she knows this on your
Finally the sun rose on day two of the weekend and we got the brilliant idea to go shopping in Wichita Falls.  Since there are no listings in the yellow pages for horse sitters in Seymour, we baited these two yahoo's into the back yard with a fifty pound bag of dog food and potty chair then ran to the car.  We were gone for several hours and when we got home I saw Maddie whining at the back door and Red Dog was no where to be found.  I figured he was out on the back side of the property creating another adventure for himself.  I was hoping Maddie would go back there to join him but after thirty minutes of this spoiled city dog whining at the back door I let her in.  All of a sudden Red Dog comes walking into the living room wagging his tail.  What the heck, they were both outside when we left.  I was so confused and come to find out I wasn't the only one.  There was a voice message on the phone and so I played it.  It was our wonderful next door neighbor K.K.  She called to let us know that she found Red Dog out running the neighborhood and brought him home.  She told me that when no one answered the door she opened it and Red Dog trotted off toward the bedroom.  Okay, so that solved the mystery of one dog in the back yard so I called back to thank her and got the rest of the story. 
After K.K. let Red Dog back in house and left the phone message she noticed something wrong in our back yard.  As next door neighbors we share a six foot wood picket fence that separates our back yards.  She could see from her side what appeared to Red Dog walking around in our back yard and she just put him in the house.  "Oh No" she thought as she strained to get a better look between the pickets.   If that's Red Dog in the back yard then who's dog did she just let into the house.  I think scenes from the movie "Turner and Hooch" were flashing through her head as she thought about some strange dog chewing up Debbie's robin egg blue leather furniture.  "What to do,oh what to do" she said.  Her five foot four inch frame couldn't see over the six foot fence so she pressed her nose against the wood and carefully studied the dog in the back yard through the cracks.  She finally came to the conclusion that it was Red Dog in the back and one of the doors must have been accidentally left open and so he went outside.  She then worried about critters getting in the house if there was a door left open.  She really wanted to go double check the doors but I think she was worried she might walk in to find me in there napping or even worse napping in my birthday suit.  Now that would scar anyone for life.  I explained to her that we were dog sitting for our kids and Maddie was the RRB in the back yard.  A sense of relief and confusion came over her as she processed this information.  She was so relieved.  It's so nice to have such wonderful caring neighbors like K.K. and Raye (her husband). They sure do take good care of us and Red Dog.  I need to make sure that a couple of rib eye steaks get delivered to their house in the near future and maybe I can teach ole Red Dog to use that tree branch of a tail to knock on the door.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.                             

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sonic Woof

I opened the front door of a friend's house the other day and heard this sweet female voice say out of this little white box "Front door open".  Our friend had bought herself a home alarm system and I thought that was pretty cool.  But then I thought what she really needs is a Red Dog.   
If you have read some of the Texas Red Dog Adventures, I have mentioned that Red Dog has a rather loud bark but let me see if I can better describe just how loud it is.  We knew from the first day that Red Dog moved in he was going to be a barker, which was good for Debbie since I'm gone a lot.  He barked at everything.  First it was anyone at the door, next every animal in the yard, then cars on the street,  and also as the porch light came on (motion sensor activated).  I think at one point he was even barking at the rising sun.  HOLY COW, it was SO LOUD and we have found out it does have a lasting impact on those who hear it.  
We had two friends come to the door to give us a bid on some construction work.  They knocked and off went the alarm "WOOOFFFF WOOF WOOOOOFFFFFF WOOOOFFFFFFFFF WOOF".  The ground shook, the walls vibrated, and my heart stopped for a few seconds.  I then composed myself and answered the door.  I opened the door to see one man standing stiff as a board gritting his teeth hoping not to be eaten.  The second man had already made an about face and was half way back to their truck never looking back.  I guess he figured he only had to out run the other guy at the door in order to live.  There was also another friend, who was walking down the street, who made an immediate U-turn still half a block away and was heading home.  So I think you could say "yes that's one loud bark".  
On another occasion, we had a guy working on the front of the house one morning when my wife left to go shopping.  Red Dog normally stays outside when no one is home to keep from making big stinky messes in the house.  I came home for lunch and noticed that Red Dog was inside whining at the back door so I let him out into the back yard.  I knew that Debbie planned to be gone most of the day and thought he needed to stay outside until I came home from work.  As I backed out of the drive I noticed there were tools lying on the ground and remembered that the handy man was there to do some work on the front of the house.  I didn't give it another thought and headed back to work.  Around three o'clock it dawned on me that there was work to be done in the back yard as well and I left Red Dog out there.  I jumped into the truck and hurried home to put him inside.  As I came up the drive I saw the handy man picking up his tools like he was getting ready to leave.  He said everything was done in the front but when he headed to the back yard he was greeted by a sonic WOOOFFFF WOOFFFFFF WOOOOOOFFF WOOOOFFFFFF WOOF.  He was startled because Debbie told him earlier that morning she put Red Dog in the house so he could work back there.  Oops, my bad.  The handy man stopped and texted his boss to tell him that there was a giant dog in the back yard.  His boss texted back "yes I know, the dog is friendly".    Apparently the boss and the handy man had too different definitions of friendly because he wasn't wasting any time picking up his stuff.  This immediately reminded me of the "Pink Panther" movie scene where Inspector Clouseau asked a man, with his heavy french accent, "Does your dog bite" and the man says "No" so Clouseau tries to pet the dog that was sitting near the man and that dog attempted to chew his arm off.  Clouseau then looked at the man and said (once again in his french accent) "I thought you said your dog didn't bite" and the man answers back (again with the accent) "That's not my dog"  Well this was my dog and I tried to reassure him Red Dog doesn't bite (or at least not yet) but I don't think there was any way to convince him after he heard that "sonic bark".  So I went and put Red Dog in the house so he could start the work in the back yard.  I intentionally opened both garage doors to allow the handy man easy access to the back but when I returned to apologize for letting Red Dog out at lunch, I found both doors closed.  The handy man was still not convinced  that Red Dog wasn't going to eat his face off, so he had followed behind me shutting both doors as I walked Red Dog into the house.  I felt bad he was that scared but I just had to chuckle that he had closed the doors behind me.  I guess he figured better to be a live chicken than a faceless handy man.  Now, I don't want you to think that Red Dog would hurt anyone (unless you are planning to rob my house and in that case he has ate the faces off many buglers and small children) but usually once the barking is over it turns into a licking and petting frenzy for Red Dog. 
So if you get the chance to visit our house don't be scared.  Just stand your ground, knock on the door or ring the door bell, stick both index fingers in your ears and prepare for the "SONIC WOOF".  If you decide to run, head for one of the oak trees in the front yard and climb on up.  Red Dog has many talents but as far as we know he can't climb trees. lol.  Until the next adventure, God bless you all.        

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kryptonite Rawhide

This last winter Red Dog got what we thought was a nice surprise.  The Gentry kids (who are a cool bunch of house apes) had been reading about Red Dogs adventure on Facebook. So while shopping one afternoon they saw this giant three foot long rawhide chew bone at the pet store.  The kids thought it was something Red Dog could use and bought it for him out of the kindness of their hearts.  It just so happened that we ran into the Gentry's at a popular local BBQ restaurant known as "Smokey Bros" before the kids could get the chew bone delivered to the house.  The kids brought the unwrapped gift inside so there was no doubt what it was.  This thing was ginormous.  I've never seen a chew bone that big in my entire life and I'm positive Red Dog hasn't  unless he's stumble across an old cattle carcass while living on the ranch.  I got tickled as they gave me the gift.  Many of the customers were looking at this chew bone like "I didn't see that on the menu".  I often wondered if anyone grabbed a menu to see if it was listed.  So we finished our meal and I carried the huge bone out of the restaurant like a cave man carrying a leftover leg bone.  I had a sudden urge to yell "YABBA DABBA DOO" as I walked out the door.  
When we arrived home, I walked into the house carrying Red Dogs new gift.  He greeted us at the door with his normal excitement of tail wagging but then Mega Bone caught his eye.  Those brown eyes grew to the size of a small car and locked on me with a laser beam stare.  I am almost sure he was hearing angels singing in his head.  I laid it on the floor and he began to eagerly examine his new gift.  After studying it for several minutes he looked up at me as if to say "how do I get a dinosaur bone in my mouth".  This look caught me off guard considering the fact that just a few days after Red Dog moved in last year he inhaled three large beef ribs off of my supper plate in the blink of an eye without even leaving a grease trail.  So Debbie picked up the chew bone and gave it to him.  Red Dog stood with his head wobbling from side to side desperately trying to balance the bone in his mouth like an Olympic Weight Lifter trying to balance a five hundred pound bar bell.  He held on as long as he could and finally dropped it on the wood floor causing a loud WHAPP!!!!  Red Dog tucked his tail and ran to closet with the speed of a gazelle running for his life.  Debbie and I just had to laugh then it dawned on me, "Great, now all it will take to rob us blind is for a thief to throw a piece of raw hide on the floor".  After a few minutes, I was able to lure him out of the closet. It then hit me that even Superman was defenseless against kryptonite and that made me feel better(I don't think Red Dog knows who Superman is so he didn't feel better).  I decided that Red Dog doesn't have to got off to Guard Dog College and I didn't have to clean up anything stinky off the floor.  It was a win-win day for both of us.  Until the next Red Dog Adventure, God bless you all.