Tag Archives: dogs

Poor Pet Picks

Image result for honey badgerIt’s been just over a year since our well-loved dog Buster chased a squirrel across the Rainbow Bridge. I guess my youngest son believes the official period of mourning should be wrapping up: I can take the sheets off the mirrors and quit wearing black wool every day. Recently, he started a not so subtle campaign for the addition to the family with a text that said, “Talk to Dad about getting a pet from the family of Mustelidae.” This wasn’t going to be good.

I’m sure the Mustelidae’s are a very nice family but maybe we just invite them for dinner first. Before I could Google Mustelidae, a follow-up text explained they’re ferrets, weasels and otters, oh, and honey badgers which, according to the internet, are “very dangerous and deadly to humans.” Okay, dinner is out and I’m questioning the wisdom of letting him major in marine biology.

When I pointed out that I don’t have water for an otter and my homeowner’s association surely will frown on deadly honey badgers, he pushed for the weasel. “Dangerous but not deadly to humans,” so still no.

Today’s text read, “Hey, what about getting a family tortoise. Pass it along in the family.” Nothing says let’s have a game of fetch quite like a family tortoise. But since they live for over 100 years, he says we can pass it down for generations. Which means that there will be Ciampi’s hating us into the next century. He tried pointing out, “Every normal white family has a dog, but the Ciampi legacy is a family tortoise that’s been in the family for years.” Since I’m not driving a crossover SUV or into anything pumpkin spice, I have to do something to maintain my white mom status besides asking to speak to the manager. While the tortoise is cool in a sedate, slo-mo kind of way and a much better choice than a honey badger, it’s still a no.

Son #2 is currently babysitting hissing cockroaches for his Biology lab and is smart enough not to even suggest one as a pet, so college is teaching him something. I’m not convinced there’s another good boy who could follow Buster. I’m also not convinced that Son #2 is giving up. But before he asks, no, we’re not getting a pet giant squid.

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Scouting Out Controversy

scoutsMen in dresses who aren’t even Scottish. Women in the men’s bathroom and not because the line is too long next door in the girl’s room. Boys want to be girls who want to be boys, and it all just gets so confusing. Now Boy Scouts are girl scouts but not Girl Scouts. Just girls being scouts ala Boys, although boys can’t be Girl Scouts so how is that fair? Because it has to be fair. And everyone needs a trophy.

Starting next year, Boy Scouts of America are allowing girls to join their ranks. Because how else can you earn your merit badge for Utter Absurdity? What exactly is wrong with girls being Girl Scouts and boys being Boy Scouts? Wouldn’t it just be easier to let the boys in on the cookie sales thing and let the girls do… I don’t even know what it is that Girl Scouts can’t do that the boys do, except pee against the trees when they go camping.

Honestly, I don’t think everyone has thought through this whole thing or considered the doors that will be blown open that can’t be closed again. How long will it be before a Siamese cat wins the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show because Fluffy the Persian identifies as a German shepherd. Will Lassie and Toto get cast as the leads in the Broadway musical “Cats”? And will crazy cat ladies be obligated to have dogs, too, on the basis of canine equality?

So if you ask me – and quite frankly, no one does – girls in Girl Scouts and boys in Boy Scouts or simply stop all the silliness already, lump them all together and call them “Scouts.” Whoever shows up, pays their dues, and builds a soapbox derby car is in.

Because, guess what!? Both sides are already charged to “Be Prepared” and “Do a Good Turn Daily.” Who knew, but both sides of the Scout debate have the same motto and slogan. We should probably now realize that what they’ve both been saying since the 1940’s is “Be prepared to do a good turn daily, because the world is going to get crazy and people will be weird, but someone still has to step up and sell cookies, salute the flag, deliver mulch, and help old ladies across the street. Scouts, it’s on you.

(thanks BuzzFeed for the photo)

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Buster: A Good Friend Gone

Chronicle cropped“Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, didn’t have a dog.” I’m terribly sad to say that, after over 14 years, my best friend has gone to roll in greener grass. Buster, the rare African Spotted Yard Wolf, who has, on occasion, been the guest writer here, trotted across the Rainbow Bridge this week. (Don’t bother Googling African Spotted Yard Wolves. He was so rare, he was the only one. Actually, he was some kind of polka dotted mixed breed, but we never wanted to hurt his self-esteem by calling him a mutt.)

Buster joined our family the summer before my youngest son started Kindergarten, the same son who left just a few weeks ago to start college. Back then, I had boldly taken old towels and rugs to donate to the Brazoria County SPCA. But instead of coming back home with a nice tax receipt, I came back with the same old towels and rugs plus a puppy. You seriously have to wonder if they don’t teach those SPCA volunteers some kind of subliminal mind control techniques that convince you that you need a pet, a spay/neuter package, and a bag of Puppy Chow. More likely, I’m just a sucker for a fuzzy face and a waggley tail.

He taught my young sons important lessons about care-giving, unconditional love, responsibility, respect, and the importance of picking up dog poop before you push the mower. Lessons they will carry with them always.

Buster led a full life, more so after he recovered from his squirrel mania. For a period, he was so neurotic over the squirrels in our yard, we couldn’t even say the word. Unfortunately, the dyslexic son couldn’t spell it, so they just became S-Q-U-earls. He traveled internationally, lived in Saudi Arabia, and regularly got more fan mail for his posts than I have in the entire 8 years I’ve written it. To be honest, I think if we had a funeral service for him, he’d have more people show up than would turn out for mine. He will be sorely missed.

Will Rogers said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”  My goal now is to try to be the person Buster always thought I was, so that maybe they’ll let me in there, too.

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Reward Dead or Alive?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFilling in for Jean Ciampi who thinks it’s too stinkin’ hot to work is Guest Blogger and Columnist Buster the Wonder Dog. A distinguished and grateful alumni of the Brazoria County SPCA, Buster currently advocates for animal rights (with the exclusion of squirrels because he believes they get exactly what they deserve).

Recently, I was out patrolling the neighborhood as any good and respectable dog does, sniffing mailboxes, trees, bushes. You know, checking the pee mail. That’s when I saw that someone had stuck a paper on a pole with the picture of a lost cat and the ridiculous claim of a $500 reward. My first thought was that this cat must have swallowed an expensive pair of diamond earrings before it ran away. Because unless the cat is actually a dog, there’s no cat worth that!

LostWho would pay $500 to have a cat given back? Just speaking from the dog’s perspective, I’d pay twice that for someone to load up a whole litter of cats and haul them off. But that’s just me and I’m a dog. Besides, why would you want a cat that, at best, has zero sense of loyalty and, at worst, has a miserable sense of direction? I’m thinking this cat got fed up with that family and moved in with someone on the other side of the neighborhood that has a bigger food bowl. Face it, that’s how cats are.

Of course, there’s a family that’s obviously upset. No one wants to see a helpless animal suffer – even if that helpless animal is a human. Unfortunately, there are just misguided people who actually prefer cats to having a dog. Yes, that’s stupid and those people should have their trash dumped over and strewn across their front yard to mark them as stupid. But regardless of that, this family, sadly, has an attachment to the cat that probably hasn’t thought about them even once. Because, well, that’s how cats are.

The kindest thing to do in this situation, in my humble dog opinion, would be to gently let these caring though confused people know that, for a mere fraction of that reward, they could adopt a really nice, loyal dog who would be smart enough not to run away and be their lifelong best friend. It may just be time to puppy up!

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Emotional Support Animal Fail

bad-parents-21-2In order to help stressed out college students survive their final exams, universities are starting to bring specially-trained emotional support dogs and cats to campuses. For just a few minutes, muddle-brained students can crawl out of the corner of the library that they’ve inhabited for three solid days without bathing or sleeping and pet a puppy. While I’m not sure this will help anyone overcome a semester worth of skipping classes, anything is worth a shot. You may not be one equation closer to understanding astrophysics, but you’re one fuzzy kitten less stressed about flunking out.

While this is a fine idea, there are a couple of issues here. What about the student who is allergic to animal dander? Instead of spending those crucial last hours memorizing the names and locations of every star in the galaxy along with its atmospheric density, some poor kid is scratching hives, blowing snot, and trying to find their Benadryl through swollen, weepy eyes. The idea of bringing allergen-free emotional support snakes seems to really work against the whole idea of relieving stress and it lacks the same universal appeal as baby bunnies. So, I’m not exactly sure how you balance that.

I have a dog at my house, but if anyone needs some emotional support, it might be Buster. He’s really old now, so he’s confused about a lot of things. And to be honest, when you’re old and lost in the backyard, stress builds up pretty fast. So I guess I need to get him an emotional support squirrel, right? Except squirrels practically send him into apoplectic seizures, not to mention what it does to the squirrel. Then I’m dealing with an unstable, geriatric dog and a yard rodent in stroke mode. Explain to me again how this is helping anyone.

If you ask me, this whole thing is over-rated and way out of whack. Find me an emotional support animal that can pour a glass of wine, cook a nice dinner, run the laundry and file my taxes. Otherwise, you’ve got AA dogs trying to play in the majors. As for the college kids, maybe study more and party less and you can face your exams without sobbing in the fur of someone else’s dog. Oh, and good luck with finals.

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