Tag Archives: funny

Looking Back with Laughter

27 Mar

I got the call yesterday that my almost 17-year-old dachshund Justin’s ashes are ready to be picked up. I am also ready to be picked up, so I decided to look through my old humor columns for those in which I talk about Justin. This one made me laugh, so I’ll share it. It’s from 2001, so Justin was all of 2 years-old.

 

Things That Go Bump in the Day

The other day I was sitting at my computer writing a column about pornography when I heard a horrible noise in the kitchen that sounded like a raccoon had somehow managed to get in my dryer. And from the sound of the commotion, the raccoon was none too happy about being there, so he was kicking and thrashing, trying to get out. After fifteen seconds or so, the noise stopped completely, which I took to mean that the raccoon had (a) found a way out of the dryer, (b) died of a concussion from bashing his head against the lint trap, or (c) decided to play possum until I let down my guard and tried to toss in some wet laundry, at which point he would leap out at me, grab me around the neck, and demand that I let him sleep on the sofa with the rest of my menagerie.

Upon hearing the commotion, my dogs ran bravely into the kitchen and stood by the cookie jar waiting for a treat. Scary noises make them hungry. I know the feeling. After his cookie, my younger dog Justin actually mustered up enough courage to sniff around the door to the laundry room, only instead of sniffing down near the floor, he sniffed up in the air (if you can call nine inches off the floor “up in the air.”)  This just reinforced my fears. Probably the raccoon had given up waiting for me, managed to get out of the dryer, and was now hanging on the back side of the door, waiting to drop onto my head as soon as I dared opened it.

So I did what any rational-thinking adult would do – I grabbed the Yellow Pages and the phone and headed for the part of the house furthest away from the possible intruder. There were no listings under “Raccoons” or “Medium-sized Nocturnal Mammals in Major Appliances,” so I called a pest control service.

“I think there’s a raccoon in my dryer,” I whispered, not wanting the raccoon to know I was calling the authorities.

“Don’t you know that raccoons are dry clean only?” the insensitive lout on the other end of the phone joshed. When he finally stopped laughing at his own joke, he assured me it was almost impossible for a full-size raccoon to have climbed through my exhaust vent and into my dryer. I hung up, humiliated but not relieved – who was I going to believe, my own two ears (or six, if you count the dogs’) or a total stranger who had probably been exposed to so many toxic chemicals he glows in the dark?

So I sat on the bed trying to talk myself into checking out the situation. “You’re bigger than it is,” I said bravely. “Yeah, but it has the element of surprise,” I countered. “But you’re smarter.”  “But I’m dehydrated, so I’ll be weak when the fighting breaks out.”

Finally, I grabbed the aluminum baseball bat from next to my bed and snuck stealthily towards the laundry room. Now why I had the bat, I don’t know. Because the truth is, I could never hit an animal – I can barely bring myself to kill mosquitoes. The raccoon could puncture a major artery and I’d be reduced to cooing at it “I’ll give you a cookie if you’ll let go.”

With eyes half-open and in my best Ninja-stance (I think it was a Ninja stance from what I’ve seen on cartoons), I threw open the door to the laundry room. There was stuff all over the floor!  It was worse than I thought!  Obviously the raccoon was in the cabinet, tossing stuff out. There was dog food and other doggy paraphernalia everywhere. And flea shampoo spilled on top of everything.

Finally I got brave enough to look up in the cabinet so that I might face the intruder eye-to-eye, only to find there was nothing there. No raccoon. No large rat. Not even an army of ants that had gone AWOL.  What I did find was that the cabinet itself had somehow managed to leap off the wall, apparently of its own free will, and had landed on the dryer. The noise I had heard was the initial crash and the sound of everything in the cabinet, falling to the floor.

I guess that just goes to show you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Things are usually not as bad as they seem. But just to be safe, I’m not doing any laundry for a few weeks.

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My Sunshine Has Sundown Syndrome

13 Jun

Justin, my 15-year-old dachshund, has Sundown Syndrome. It’s a form of dementia that occurs after dark. Once the sun sets, he frequently gets lost and runs into things… much like a drunk frat boy on a Friday night.

ImageFortunately, I found an herbal remedy for him. No, it’s not marijuana, although we did try that first. Do you know how hard it is to hold a joint in tiny little paws? And the one command you can’t teach even the most obedient of dogs (which he is NOT) is “Inhale!” It doesn’t matter how many cookies you use as bribes.

The concoction we’re using is called Senilife, a combination of Senile and Life. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been in that branding meeting, what with all the high levels of creativity sparking in the room?

The good news is that it really works well. He has a lot fewer episodes of seeming to be out of it. He and I are about on the same level now when it comes to being confused and wondering where we left either our keys or our stuffed hedgehog. You can buy the stuff on-line. It’s a capsule that you squeeze on top of your dog’s evening meal. There is also a cat version (do not tell my doxies, I brought that up!)

In fact, the little pill works so well I caught myself looking at the bottle the other day, wondering, “Are these just for dogs?” But then I noticed the side effects — squirrel hatred, motorcycle leg, excessive drooling… Side note, is there ever a time when drooling is not excessive? But I’m not going to take them. It’s not that I’m scared of the side effects; it’s just that I put a plan in place years ago to make sure no one would ever be able to tell when I cross the line from “normal crazy” to “she needs help crazy.” You show up at Thanksgiving dinner wearing a ski mask and an inner tube a few times when you’re still young and you set the bar pretty low.

Besides, my only kids are dogs and they would never put me in a home.

Canine CSI

17 Mar

I took my three dachshunds to the park today because that big round hot thing that so infrequently appears in the Oregon sky in winter had popped out and the ground was a little less sponge-like than it had been.

As we walked our 1 mile (21 in triple dog miles), I was struck by the beauty of the day — the cherry trees and forsythia are blossoming, daffodils waving their sunny heads, and people shedding their dreary hoodies and rain gear for lighter, more colorful windbreakers.

Watson, however, was fascinated only by the smells, stopping at every lamp post (and there are dozens) to sniff long and hard. Here is that I imagine ran through his mind at one of the posts:

Lamp post #33: Most recently visited by a Golden Retriever, Harold, who unbeknownst to his people, also has a little Cocker Spaniel in him. Harold had high end kibble for breakfast this morning, but… wait… someone snuck him a little bit of bacon. See, I told you not everyone in Eugene is a vegetarian, mom. Harold was last bathed three weeks ago but has recently been swimming with [insert giant sniff here] the fishes. Trout, to be specific. His family consists of two dads, a human sister, and three, no wait, four cats, one of which was recently “fixed.” And from the smell of things, Harold is 43″ long, has one ear that is longer than the other, and prefers to walk in the middle of the path instead of to the side. Okay, that’s all the data I can collect here; let’s move on.

We live in such different worlds, canines and humans. And even though our perspectives are very different, I’m just happy to share.Image

Terriers and Dachshunds, Oh My

21 Jan

For the past week, I’ve been pet-sitting a terrier mix named Arrow in my home. My dogs and I have been opening our home to her twice a year for the past four years as her people travel to art shows across the country.

Dachshunds and terriers may not seem as different as Chihuahuas and Newfies, but watching them both makes me wonder if they evolved from different ancestors. Take these examples:

Wiener dog:  Sniff every spot in the neighborhood for 10-15 minutes to make sure nothing new has happened to that spot since the last time you sniffed it for 10-15 minutes. Then slowly move on to the next spot.

Terrier: Take one quick sniff and move on. There’s nothing to see here.

Wiener dog: Eat immediately after food is put within reach, sooner if at all possible.

Terrier: Guard food bowl and wait for someone else to appear to want it. Growl a bit then eat as slowly as doggedly possible, all the while keeping your guard up.

Wiener dog: When on a walk, be sure to always walk 6-16 feet behind your human (depending on leash length).

Terrier: When on a walk, be sure to always walk 6-16 feet in front of your human. And never, ever, walk in a straight line. Serpentining burns so many more calories.

Wiener dog: Spends hours arranging pillows and blankets to achieve exactly the right combination of comfort and cover in order to take a 6-hour nap.

Terrier: Plop down on top of anything–sofa, chair, floor (Wiener dog says “Floor?”) and rest, making sure not to achieve too deep a sleep because someone may be nearing the spot on the floor where your food dish was until the human got tired of waiting for you to eat and put it up.

Wiener dog: Play “fetch” by running after stuffed animal down the hallway a few times. Never actually retrieve said animal because how else will human get her exercise?

Terrier: Play “fetch” by running up and down hallway hundreds of time whether anything is being thrown or now. Occasionally grow if anyone gets to close to your imaginary animal.

Wiener dog: When temperature are below freezing, go out, do your business, and hurry back as fast as your short legs will carry you. Lie in front of heating vent for several hours to recover.

Terrier: No matter the temps, go out and run across the yard yipping until human comes out in housecoat and slippers, picks you up, and brings you back inside. Run to where your food dish was and growl.

I think in many ways I am more like a terrier than a wiener dog, but perhaps the reason I’ve been under dachshund management for 28 years is that I aspire for a slower paced life in which I have time to sniff what needs sniffing and get really comfortable before taking a nap.

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rachelmankowitz

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