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.  


  1. oh, dear! a marking cat is no fun! glad she found a good home!

    and you do have quite the zoo...

  2. In my defense I was not being mean when I sent Lucy "down the road" so to speak. I gave her exactly what she wanted, she is now the queen kitty and only kitty in a very nice home where she is the picture of perfect pet. Part of the job of a "zoo keeper" is to find the perfect home for each pet.