Tag Archives: humor

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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It’s My Circus

3 Jul

Sometimes I think that before deciding to adopt a dog, everyone should be required to join Cirque du Soleil for a year to learn the appropriate skill set. Just this morning, I could have used some contortionist skills in order to untangle from three dog leashes. And there’s never a time when I’m putting my dogs into the backseat of my car and hooking up their seat belts that I don’t feel like I’m working with clowns and a clown car.

But most of all, I wish I had tightrope skills. And not just because my dachshunds only allow me 2 inches of space in which to walk.

Ozzy - Fastest Crossing Of A Tightrope By A Dog Guinness World Records 2013 Photo Credit: Paul Michael Hughes/Guinness World Records Location: Norfolk, UK

Ozzy – Fastest Crossing Of A Tightrope By A Dog
Guinness World Records 2013
Photo Credit: Paul Michael Hughes/Guinness World Records
Location: Norfolk, UK

Life is about balance, and when you have three senior dogs, that becomes increasingly clear. Case in point: trying to balance traditional veterinary medicine and alternative approaches that don’t involve the phrase, “Here’s a prescription for some antibiotics.”

Two of my three dogs see a homeopath. Justin, my 16-year-old, shakes like a fracking-caused earthquake in Oklahoma any time we drive near the regular vet, despite the fact that he can no longer hear or see (he must smell the antibiotics). On our last visit to the homeopath on the other hand, he fell asleep on the memory foam doggy mattress she has on her floor. With the peaceful new age music playing on the speakers, I myself was tempted to nap.

The path to alternative veterinary approaches to doggy health care started with my first dachshund, Copper, who due to his insistence that he was a stunt pilot and not a short-legged dog, became paralyzed at age 12. With a combination of acupuncture, a doggy wheelchair, and physical therapy that involved me tickling his feet so that he would reflexively kick and keep his leg muscles strong, he had 3 great more years of semi-mobility.

dog-acupuncture_1

I search for a lot of non-traditional remedies for dog-related ailments on the Internet these days and I’ve had some amazing success. Justin was plagued with chronic UTIs for years until I discovered a product online called Pet UTI Prevention from http://www.askariel.com/. He has now gone three years without a problem! He’s also taking Epi Plus from https://www.purelypets.com and with it, his seizures have been reduced from every few days to about once a month. Both of these supplements are herbal remedies, not drugs.

All three of my dogs get Ceylon cinnamon with dinner, which helps reduce inflammation and infection in their teeth and gums. In addition to a 16-year-old, I have two 13-year-olds (I just found out that Penny had been lying about her age for years and when she came to me as a rescue, she was probably 5, not 2). Needless to say, I relish the idea of dental cleanings like I do my own mammograms. Especially for Penny because her teeth form plaque on the way home from her cleaning. She has so few teeth left, she could star on Duck Dynasty. The cinnamon even helped get rid of Justin’s abscess. (Be sure to use Ceylon cinnamon as dogs can’t digest the other kinds).

Watson has a slew of lipomas and one sebaceous cyst that occasionally bursts. It is not pretty, but I’ve finally gotten over the ick factor and no longer rush him to the vet for antibiotics. I use calendula oil and regularly apply warm compresses with castor oil. It seems to help. I do the same with Penny’s lumps and bumps.

I still love and appreciate my regular vet and struggle sometimes deciding which approaches to take in keeping my pups healthy. But just having options makes me feel less like a clown and more like a ringmaster.

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Doglight Savings Time Never Ends

1 Nov

This weekend, we’re all supposed to turn our clocks back an hour. For humans, it’s a simple task. For humans with dogs, it’s impossible.

My dogs get up at 3:30 a.m. for breakfast. I don’t know how or when it happened, but no matter what I’ve tried (giving them 10 p.m. snacks, taking them for a long walk before bed, showing them the circles under my eyes, etc.) , nothing has dissuaded them from hounding me until I cave in and serve up the vittles. It doesn’t help that between my hot flashes and need to get up to use the bathroom at night, they can feel me stirring. Once I show any sign of life, the jig is up.

So now, 3:30 will be 2:30 a.m. That’s just lovely. I’ve got a plan, but I’m sure it won’t work. Tonight, I won’t feed them dinner until 6 p.m. (an hour later than usual). The only way this will work is if I leave the house at about 4:45 and don’t return until I intend to feed them. Then at 11 p.m., a snack. We won’t go to bed until an hour later than usual. I will take some valerian to help me sleep more deeply and avoid actually moving while doing so. 

At 2:30 a.m. when they inevitable start jumping on the bed and pacing the floor, I will play possum. Or zombie…. whatever it takes. When my bladder kicks in, I will try to ignore it for two hours. When Justin stands on my trachea, I’ll roll over. When Penny starts licking my calves, knowing how ticklish I am, I will giggle quietly into a pillow. When Watson stands at the foot of the bed and howls, I’ll pretend it’s all a dream.

At 2:35, when I’m up feeding them breakfast, I will compose an e-mail to The People in Charge of This Stupid Fooling Around With Time System. Then we’ll all go back to bed and try it again the next night. I’m tired already.

Move Over, Rover

28 Mar

Three years ago a girlfriend and I rented a house on the coast of Oregon for three days for a nice vacation with our five dogs and her two very young kids. It was sooooo peaceful! Okay, it wasn’t, but at least it was noisy and chaotic out of town and that’s what we were aiming for.

While we were there, rather than sleeping in a bed that my dachshunds are too short to get on and off without assistance (and no, I haven’t yet invented a portable mechanical lift for them nor have they learned to use the mini-trampoline), the four of us slept on the sofa which was much closer to the floor. The sofa in this case was a sectional with room for all of us. It worked out well.

As soon as I could afford it, I bought a sectional for our house–a sectional with a chaise one one end. I thought the dogs could have all the space they wanted on the sofa and I could prop myself up to read or lie down in comfort on the chaise end. I envisioned myself with a cup of tea and a good book, gazing contently upon sleeping wiener dogs. Of course that’s not the way things worked out (you knew that already, right?) The dogs took one look at the chaise and decided that it was the best part of the new sofa, except for the new furniture smell, so they immediately planted their flag in the corner, took over the comfy cushion next to the reading lamp, and demanded I serve them tea and cookies. Okay, not tea, but cookies.

One day not long ago, I saw a picture on Facebook of a woman sleeping on a sectional sofa with nine dachshunds. Others may have viewed the picture and thought, “Crazy dog lady,” but what I saw was that she and they had an extra piece to their sectional. I immediately measured my tiny living room and found that if I squeezed things in tight and moved one of the dog beds that no one ever uses into another room, I could have a roomier sofa too! And maybe, just maybe, I could use the chaise. I boiled a teakettle full of water.

I’ve had my extra 23″ of seating space for two months now. I still have to sit in the middle of the sofa, propping my tea precariously on my chest (which gets harder with each passing year) and my feet propped up on the hard coffee table.  Watson and Penny and an assortment of stuffed animals, pillows and blankets cover the chaise. Justin is often there as well, but sometimes he enjoys stretching all 34″ of himself out on the other end of the sofa (which, if you do the math, means that I actually have 11 inches less space than I did before).

There’s only one thing to do–save up until I can afford to replace the sofa end with another chaise. They may have me outnumbered, but I’m gonna have that tea in comfort some day.Image

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My new book

26 Mar

My new book

Date Me, Date My Dog: Finding Mr. Right for You and Your Pack is available from Kimberley Cameron & Associates on Amazon for Kindle today! It’s doggone funny, filled with good advice, partial proceeds benefit Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, Oregon, and smells like chocolate. Okay, maybe not the latter so much 🙂 PLEASE buy a copy, tell all your single dog-loving women friends about it, write a review, or all of the above. http://www.amazon.com/Date-Me-My-Dog-ebook/dp/B00C15TTVS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364302749&sr=8-3&

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

Doggy Day Spa

6 Mar

A friend of mine recently asked me to help give her dogs a bath. I said, yes, of course, no problem.  Mostly because I was thinking how easy it is to bathe my dachshunds – I simply lift them into the half-filled tub, squirt a little doggy shampoo on, and suds away. 

Debbie, however, has big dogs. Personally, I think they’re horses wearing dog tags to fool the neighbors.  She says they’re mixed breeds – perhaps one of the breeds is Shetland Pony?

Obviously, these are not the kinds of dogs who fit into your standard-size bathtub without some type of Origami-folding trick. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s not room for one horse/dog and Debbie in her bathroom at the same time. Not without removing a wall.

Nope, these are the kinds of animals who go out for a bath. So we corralled the dogs into the van and drove them to Peggy Ann’s Pampered Pet Parlor. Imagine kind of a doggy day spa, with soothing music, fresh-washed towels, and a whole assortment of aromatherapy shampoos. We chose “liver,” which supposedly calms canines and eradicates the stress of having to prevent the mail carrier from getting too close to the house.

I have to say I did find it oddly disconcerting that some dogs get to go to the spa, but whenever I want a soothing bath, I have to fill my tub with whatever I have in the house that bubbles – usually dishwashing powder – and the only relaxing sound is the sound of my toilet running.

Once we chose our shampoo, Peggy Ann asked if we’d like some cucumber. I figured she meant as a snack. I wasn’t sure if it was for us or the dogs, but I was hungry, so I said yes. Then she started to show us how to place the cucumbers slices over the dogs’ eyes. I have to admit I laughed. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, but I was afraid she would suggest a full-body salt scrub with shiatsu massage next. Or meditation and chanting affirmations: “I am a strong and intelligent dog. I deserve lots of treats, ohm…”

Debbie grabbed me by the collar and hissed, “Be a good girl!” as she dragged me off towards one of the giant tubs, with a large hose and sprayer attached. The dogs trotted behind us, munching on their cucumber slices.

 If you’ve never bathed a large animal, you should know it involves three basic steps:  Step 1:  You have to convince the large animal that a bath is fun. You do this by using your “This is fun!” voice, the same one you use when trying to convince your three-year old that the cough medicine tastes like candy. Of course most three-year olds don’t slobber all over you in the process. 

Step 2:  You must get the large animal to remain in the tub long enough for you to at least spritz him or her with water. Every time Debbie’s biggest dog, Bailey (personally, I would have named him Trigger) felt there was the least chance he could get wet, he hopped over the side of the tub, clearing both our heads like he was Keiko the killer whale at the end of Free Willy. I gathered from his behavior that Bailey did not enjoy bath time. I also started a mental list of the favors Debbie now owed me.

Step 3:  If you ever do get the large animal washed (we did after only thirty minutes and some relaxing herbs – for me, not the dogs), you must get it to stand still long enough to towel it dry.  You’d think a dog who doesn’t enjoy getting wet would love getting dry, but you’d be wrong.  Bailey ran around the spa, knocking over shampoo bottles, conditioning sprays, and a large basket full of curlers. I pretended I didn’t see the latter because there was no way I was going to give a dog a perm. Not without another swig of those herbs.

When we finally got Bailey and Maggie, the much-better behaved dog, out of the spa, they yanked hard at their leashes and dragged Debbie and I over to a muddy spot in the grass next to the parking lot. They were apparently disappointed that mud baths weren’t part of the doggy pampering package and proceeded to take them anyway. I guess they were trying to cover up the smell of liver. 

I should have taken a mud bath too, because when I got home to my low-maintenance dogs, the liver aroma followed. And the dachshunds eyed me like I was lunch. I handed them a slice of cucumber and decided to take a bath myself.

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