Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not That Kind of Animal Lover

If you don't mind, I'm taking a little break from ratting out my kids and instead I'm going to rat out my dog.  I love animals, and I do love our dog Oscar, mind you, but he has to be, without a doubt, the most high-maintenance animal I've ever met.  Other than Cael.  And he most certainly counts as an animal.

We got Oscar as an 8-week old puppy; a tiny handful of curly white fluff that wanted nothing more than to nap on your chest or lick your face.  He came home with us the exact same day we picked up our cat from a farm family whose cat had a litter of "mystery kittens".  After requesting a male but getting a female cat instead, we named her Olivia only to take her to the vet for shots and find out that she was, in fact, a "he".  Olivia became Ripley.  (Believe it or not!)  It was our hypothesis that by bringing them home at the same time the two animals would grow up together and not fight like, well, cats and dogs.  Our plan worked, for the most part.  They loved to nap together and share a water bowl, and even met on one particular blue square on our living room rug where the sun would shine in.  There they would sit and groom each other in warmth of the sunlight.  Sounds lovely, right?

Then there was the wrestling.  At almost twice the size of the cat, Oscar could easily have dominated him.  Instead, during their incredibly intense wrestling sessions Oscar would initiate the fight and then roll onto his back, signifying his unconditional surrender.  The cat, with his clawless and therefore completely ineffective paws, would beat him senseless with punches to the head.

In these easy days before children we loved to watch their ridiculous interactions and Joel would provide the play-by-play.  (Really, what DID we do before kids?)  Ripley had mastered the "evil eye", and one glare with tilted ears would force Oscar to shrink away as if he'd peed on the rug.  (Incidentally, I've found that this look is quite effective with the kids, too.  Even when they pee on the rug.)  But despite his pooping in the house/eating Christmas lights/falling in the bathtub shenanigans, we loved that crazy dog with all of our hearts, because he was our first "baby".

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I love animals.  Perhaps I should clarify a bit.  I love my dog a reasonable amount-- I like to take a nap with him and I like to put my cold feet in his soft fur at night.  He's a furry companion for our family and he has a pretty cushy life, but that is as far as my affections extend.  I am not a "my pets are my children" kind of person.  I don't let my dog sit up at the dinner table, I don't dress him in designer outfits and I don't speak or write letters from the perspective of my dog.  And here's why.

Behind every memory, every tender moment-- there is the dog, licking the cat's butt.

Several years down the road, Oscar has found new and less intimate ways of demanding our attention.  His anxiety of thunderstorms has lead to an increase in the already astonishing amount of urine on my carpets, as well as an astonishing decrease in my nightly sleep.  At the slightest indication of an impending storm, he is circling underfoot-- unable to function if he is not touching one of us for security.  In recent weeks, he has become a Houdini of sorts; escaping from our fenced in backyard on an almost nightly basis.  Are there visible holes in the fence?  Nope.  Was the gate left open?  Nope.  Is another dog freeing him in exchange for sexual favors?  Possible.  That mutt and I will be having a conversation if this proves to be the case.

Despite his faults, Oscar loves us with a depth and devotion I can never match, but I don't think he minds.  His day is made full and happy by a back scratch, a jaunt around the yard and a warm spot to sleep.  With his goofy dancing, overly-enthusiastic barking and obsession with all things "poop", he fits into our family perfectly. 

Just what I need.  Another Foreman to clean up after.  :)

Love, Oscar Mary


  1. You are a great story teller! With the exception of the hair Cael really hasnt changed that much in looks since he was a baby, has he? (yep that is my take away from the video, lol)

  2. Haha, thank you! No, he still has the same look, especially in the eyes. It's so funny that he and Graham looked so similar at birth, too, because now they look SO different!

  3. I pretty much couldn't finish reading after watching the video of you singing/Oscar doing his thing. SO FUNNY!

  4. Wow! The Oscar vs. Ripley-Olivia duel was hilarious...especially with Joel's commentary. Oscar reminds me a lot of the Bichon Frise, Sadie, we used to have. Her favorite past-times -- getting into dirty kleenexes in the trash cans and eating cat poop out of the gross. Baby Cael is so sweet and your singing reminded me of the good ol' days with Dr. Hearne! :o)

  5. Maggie- He's a Havanese, which is a lot like a big Maltese, but they do have a lot of similarities to a Bichon. Oscar LOVES used kleenex and rabbit poop, so I guess the similarities don't end there.

  6. So hilarious! I'm in ahh of your talents! What an amazing hobby:)

  7. Kendra- are you referring to the blog? You have a blog too, silly- we're both doing it!

  8. Oh my gosh! The video's had my family rolling in laughter. Great post.


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.