Don’t bring me your dog… and other parenting stories.

Teddyanddog

I grew up in a household with a lot of pets. I remember one summer when we had two wolfhounds, a medium sized black dog of questionable lineage, three cats, an eighty year old parrot, and a cage full of mice. Outside of the house were three horses. There were also five children. Four boys. One girl.

It was 1867. My brother Aaron, the middle child was the most responsible and serious of the lot. He was eleven at the time, and feeling as if he was living in the shadows of his eldest brothers. He was also tired of feeling responsible for his younger two siblings. The wolfhounds belonged (if they could belong to anyone) to our eldest brother Max. The black dog was the family dog. The three cats belonged to themselves, but spent most of their time with me. The parrot was named Louis and was just there for the summer while it’s owner (Tellias) was traveling.

Anyway, to make a non-story short, one day Aaron came home with a Pug. It was adorable. He’d found out that Mr. Breck and Mr. Tisdale, two gentlemen who shared a fashionable home and had no wives, had a litter of puppies. Aaron took it upon himself to bring one home without the permission of our parents.

My mother told Aaron to bring the puppy, now named Mercutio, back to Mr. Breck and Mr. Tisdale. Our father said we had to defer to my mother. He was of no help. So we started to yell loudly that it was so unfair and that we loved Mercutio with all of our cold little Vampire hearts. Max, being the eldest and for some reason my mother’s favorite, put in his opinion that we should keep Mercutio. So my mother gave in. I think the fact that my brother Andy told my mother that Aaron would never forgive her. So we kept Mercutio who was a fine dog and a grand addition to our household.

Fast forward to 2018. We’ve had four dogs since my children were born. We had two dogs when we started to have children. Then we had one dog for 12 years. Now we have one dog. We also have two cats. One dog, two cats. I’ve avoided the never ending revolving door of rats, mice, hamsters, birds, and other small caged creatures.

Before I became a responsible adult, and before my brothers became responsible adults we thought we were responsible enough to have pets. We adopted cats and dogs then after a few years they somehow ended up with our parents. At one time the family home contained six dogs, eight cats, and no children.

Looking back, as a parent, I told my children NO. Don’t bring me pets.

A lot of young adults start to collect pets as soon as they move out of home. Unfortunately shelters are full of these pets. As kids move around, as young adults do, they find themselves unable to keep their animals. That is where the parents come into the picture. Just drop the critters off with Mom. NO.

A dog is a 12-16 year commitment. A cat can live for twenty years or more. I can’t stress enough that having a pet is a huge responsibility. You are responsible for a life – the entire life – of a living creature.

Sure dogs and cats are fun. I love my dog. I love my cats. That said, I don’t want anymore right now. I’m at full capacity. There is delicate social balance. If one of my kids brought in another animal at least one of the cats would start having behavioral problems. The amount of fur in the house would be almost too much for me.

Beside that it is just irresponsible for young adults to start collecting animals. At a time when they need to be able to get out and explore, or move someplace else and find new opportunities, a pack of dogs, or two or three cats will just home them down. And it is unfair for the animals, and unfair for the parents who end up taking the pets in. No animal wants to be re-homed.

And while I’m on the subject of pets…if you or your children adopt any dogs or cats PLEASE have them spayed or neutered. Do not let your son equate his dog’s balls with his own balls and is misplaced manhood. It is not the same with dogs as with humans. The only balls your dog needs is tennis balls.

Before your children move out, have that talk about pets. You’ll be glad you did. My parents wish they had.

And that concludes my public service announcement.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Girl with Dog

Short Story Sunday: Dog Park

“Come with me my love on an adventure that will surpass all adventures,” he said to her with his rich masculine voice, and his dreamy brown eyes.

This was not the adventure she had expected.

She looked at her dog, a five year old, ninety-six pound German Shepard named Joe. “I suppose you want me to take you to the dog park.”

“Yes, come with me my love and I will chase balls, sniff butts, and act a fool, and you my love, my only, my queen can take me there.”

“Because you can’t drive.”

“I am but a dog. You are a woman of great power and the keeper of transportation.”

She heard a noise and turned her head. Joe turned his head at the same time.

Her husband stood in the doorway to the kitchen where she and Joe were talking.

He gasped as he looked at his wife and dog. “Joe can talk?”

“Yeah, and he can hold three tennis balls in his mouth at the same time. He’s a smart dog. Put your shoes on if you want to go with us.”

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

Alice in Christmas Land

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joy, and Dogs!

This is my dog Alice in Christmas Land. She will turn two years old on Christmas Day – So Happy Birthday Alice.

Alice is exceptionally sweet, loves to cuddle, smart, playful, and funny. Alice also LOVES the two cats who live with her (not shown – the cat in the photo is doorstop.)

Alice the GSD, VampireMaman

Today’s assignment: Hug your dog, your cat, your Vampire, your child, your mom, or anyone you love or like a whole lot.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Post Script to a Cat (very dark matter)

Right after I’d posted my last blog post about Dark Matter I stood to close the sliding glass door behind me. On the deck were several small bones with small teeth. I picked them up and immediately knew who they belonged to. I ran down the stairs to the backyard where I discovered the nine month old dog had dug up the bones of my cat Angus.

I can’t blame the pup. She did what dogs do.

Angus had been gone for six years. He was seventeen years old and locked into our hearts. He passed as he slept next to my husband, his purring and breath stopped. He was buried deep and then held safe under a pile of river rocks.

The day Teddy brought Angus home for the first time I wondered what compelled him to bring that teeny tiny little six-week old bundle of snarling and hissing teeth and claws.

Angus grew to be a beautiful white and black Manx cat with a personality unlike any cat I’d ever met. He got along with dogs and other cats. He loved Teddy to the moon and back. Everyone else was out of luck because Angus hated everyone else.

He would hiss at me when I’d give him food. He’d growl at me when I’d pet him. Nobody could pick him up except Teddy. Angus was a vile and tormented creature with a soul possessed by God knows what.

I used to theorize that he was the reincarnated and pissed off soul of either Friedrich Nietzsche, or Nepoleon Bonaparte. Angus hated women. He hated all men except Teddy.

Then suddenly things changed. When I was pregnant we showed Angus a stuffed animal, I think it was a dog. He hissed at hit and ran out of the room. But once there was a small child in the house his life was never the same. Small children don’t care if a cat hisses. A small child just laughs. A small child doesn’t react the asshole behavior of a possessed self-centered cat.

Mind you, Angus never bit or scratched anyone. He was all talk. And despite his antisocial scary cat habits he became best friends with our neighbor, a single woman who was allergic to cats. When we were away Angus would go across the street and yowl at her door, then go inside and sleep on her couch.

Within a few years of having children Mr. Angus John Patrick Kings (he was born on St. Patrick’s Day) became the most loving and sweet creature who ever lived.

He loved for me to pick him up and hold him. He loved attention. He loved life. The demons were gone. The last six years of his life were the best – for all of us.

Today Angus came back. I went sort of numb as I picked up his bones and put them in a bowl. I’ll bury what remains of my friend in the front yard. I won’t tell Teddy. I just feel so sad.

I kept hoping, as I moved stones in the front yard, trying to find the perfect resting place for my cat, I felt a presence. Not of Angus, but of maybe someone else. Maybe it was wishful thinking. I know Nigel the Ghost was there, not knowing how to react. Or I imagine he was there. Or maybe someone else, from my distant past, who knew the soul of a cat, and the soul of a Vampire, and a heart full of love.

A small tailless green-eyed monster captured my heart years ago, and he continues to keep a little piece of it.

I’m out of words.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Unanswered Questions (about super heroes, animals, and fools falling in love)

Part 1

Batman vs Superman

When this movie first came out I thought it was about Batman and Superman fighting over the last pair of XL sized tights.

Alright, I told this joke to about twenty people and everyone, without a single exception, ignored me. I thought it was funny. I was ready to get a reaction and laugh until my side hurt.

But that brings me to a questions. Why do super heroes wear tights? If you’re a skater or a dancer you know that tights get snagged and tights get runs. What self-respecting GUY is going to fly through the air or wherever with runs in his tights?

Does Batman, and his super hero friends shave their legs? Ladies know that a big mat of leg hair under stockings and tights can show through, making for an unattractive mess.

When they wear tights do they wear footless tights and thick socks under their boots to prevent blisters? That would be the most practical because they could slip off their boots and socks and switch to flip flops on hot days. (And click here to find out why Vampires wear yellow flip flops.)

Why capes? They don’t help anyone fly. Even Vampires have given up on the whole opera cape thing. They’re not practical unless you’re going to have a picnic and forgot to bring a towel, or you’re stuck in the airport overnight and need a blanket.

Why the masks? Why don’t you want anyone to know who you are? Aren’t you proud of saving the world? Don’t you want people to be able to relate to you? Are you ugly without the mask? If you’re a super hero why are you afraid so someone knowing who you are? I mean, you’re stronger than just about anyone and have super powers so it isn’t like someone is going to hurt you anytime soon.

I’m sure there must be answers. Nobody, male or female, in my family is a big super hero fan, except, yes, we do see most of the Marvel movies. We adore the Avengers in the movies, because they’re just all so darned good looking. And who didn’t love Guardian’s of the Galaxy, but they didn’t wear tights. I can’t imagine Chris Pratt in tights. And he isn’t going to be playing a dancer anytime soon, I can almost guarantee that.

 

Part 2

Why do we keep animals in our homes?

My puppy eats tampons then barfs them up. My cats barf up everything else. My entire house smells like dog pee. Somebody keeps digging up my roses. My dining room chairs are covered in cat fur and cat barf. My cats fight and hate the dog. One of the cats claws up furniture. Don’t even suggest a spray bottle – that means you have to catch them in the act, and they’re sneaky little shits.

Sure they’re cute, they’re sweet, they give us unconditional love, they protect us (so I hear but I’ve yet to see that in my house), they’re funny, they make us laugh, but they’re a pain in the ass. Yes, they wrap their little paws around our hearts and don’t let go. Sigh.

 

Part 3

Why do fools fall in love?

When my son was in high school I’d find notes in the dryer, folded up, and now crisp. They were love letters and poems he’d penned on yellow legal pads, then folded many times and hidden in his jeans pockets, only to be found by me, his mom.

Sweet Madison
Your blonde hair blowing
In the wind
Behind your bike
I wish
You’d break up
With Mike
And Kyle, Brandon, Forest, James, Jake, Ian, Austin, Jason, Christopher, Justin

Or

I imagine when we’re grown. You a CEO in pearls and a suit. I the most powerful Vampire in North America. You in a meadow, on a beach, in the moonlight. The wind is in your hair. You ask for a hair clip. I don’t have one because I’m a dude.  You look at me and smile then tell me you got into Yale. Your dream. Our dreams entwined. You’re leaving. I’m staying on the West Coast. You broke my heart. Damn you.

I found hundreds of those little notes scrawled out on yellow paper in fine point Sharpie or purple ball point pen. He seemed to have a thing for girls with hair blowing in the wind.

He is my romantic. Garrett is always falling in love, or out of love, or falling for the idea of love. I’ve always thought he loves the idea of love more than love.

Now he is in college and the game has changed. I’m starting to find the notes again, now that he is home for summer break.

I love the way your cool skin feels on mine.

or

I love the way your warm hands feel on my cool skin.

I wish I didn’t see those. He is twenty now. But cool and warm? That means he is seeing both Regular Human and Vampire girls. Yes, that is to be expected. But I didn’t want to see that. I’m his mom.

Oh well.

At least I know that he talks to me about this stuff. Even at twenty he talks to me.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Evil Squirrel at Evil Squirrel’s Nest, and his inspiration on unanswered questions about Super Hereos from our friend at  Faith, Hope, and Chocolate.