Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye, Sweet Girl

We said goodbye yesterday to our sweet Rudy dog, the best friend, sidekick and companion we ever could have imagined. Her cancer had spread internally, and by Tuesday night, she let us know the pain was too much. After buying nearly two additional years since her initial diagnosis, we are grateful for each minute we had with her and that we were given the opportunity to put her down with dignity, peace and love.

We have been so blessed for the nearly eight years of fun, laughter and great times we had with her, though we miss her dearly, and frankly, our hearts are broken. Those of you who knew Rudy will understand how much we will miss her sweet demeanor, loving devotion, "magical" fur, soulful eyes and loyal heart.

It will be some time before we get used to life without her, but we know she's in a better place now where she can continue to swim, run and romp through the woods without pain. We look forward to meeting her again someday at the Rainbow Bridge, where we know she'll be waiting with our other furry friends who have gone before us.

In loving memory of the best swimmer, bunny hunter, snuggler, paw licker and butt-scratch wiggler that ever lived. We will even miss your too-frequent kisses and insistent paw whacks. Thank you for all you taught us about unconditional love, courage and strength. You will always be our first baby and will forever be with us in our hearts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bad Idea Jeans, Old Lady Breath and A Spectacular End Zone Pass – Dogsitting in Three Acts

My parents are having their roof replaced this week, so we’re repaying them for countless hours of watching Rudy for us by dogsitting Bailey and Lucy (aka The Wiener Dog). If left at their house, the dogs would spend the days relentlessly barking at the roofers. And we enjoy having them, as they provide all sorts of entertainment, from covertly stealing each other's toys to doing the "butt scoot" across the floor.

The pooches are sweet, adorable and generally well behaved, but as many of you know, Lucy is actually the Epicenter of Evil, disguised in a cute little hot dog shaped package. Here we share the tale of our week, presented in three acts, to illustrate exactly how evil that wienie is.

THE SETTING: Our house


Dave and Kelly: Experienced dogsitters

(Don't we just look like we'd be capable? Yes, yes, we do!)

Rudy: Our black lab, slightly needy for snuggles, prone to separation anxiety and CLD (compulsive licking disorder)

Bailey: The "Mellow Yellow" littermate of Rudy, obsessed with our cat, but otherwise generally averse to too much inter-doggie interaction, particularly when it might result in confrontation with the bossy wiener dog

Lucy: aka "The Wiener" (see also Epicenter of Evil)

(You think she's cute, don't you? Well, don't be deceived...this is the same dog notorious for climbing on the dining room table and helping herself to "the buffet" if left unattended at holiday functions.)



No sooner do the dogs arrive than The Wiener immediately goes for Rudy’s toy basket. She likes to remove each toy one-by-one, spewing them across the living room floor in a trail of the disemboweled plush toy entrails and tennis balls scattered on the floor and under couches.

I continue about my business while The Wiener sets about trying to get at the toy that is of course at the very bottom of the basket. Typically, this involves her working to topple the basket over – which is taller than she is – by pawing at it and encouraging it to yield to her through the power of a high-pitched, whiny moan. She is usually successful.

As I blow dry my hair, Rudy plants herself near me in the guest room, nervously wagging her tail and staring me down. I tell her to go play with Lucy. She just stares intensely back at me. Bailey watches us forlornly from the hallway.

I think nothing of Rudy's odd behavior until I notice the sounds of The Wiener's attempts to knock over the basket getting louder. So loud I can hear it over the sound of the blow drier...

When I finally peek my head out to investigate, I note the wood chips scattered all over. Instead of trying to knock over the basket, she has been GNAWING away at the handle. I suppose she figured if she whittled the handle away, she'd have easier access to the smorgasbord of dog toys. Kind of genius, really.

So it seems Rudy's staring me down was apparently a (rather pathetic) attempt to warn me that The Wiener was up to no good. And Bailey...well, she was just trying to fly under the radar as usual.


While putting out the pooches, Dave makes the judgment call that The Weiner doesn't need to be tied up and puts her out to roam freely while she does her bidness. Can we say Bad Idea Jeans? I bolt for the back door expecting to have to hunt her down like the wild animal Houdini that she is, but am shocked to see her waiting impatiently at the back door. What the…? Oh, that’s right, it's raining. And Wienie hates the rain. Thank goodness for precipitation!



Other than waking us at 5 a.m. to go out, the dogs are quiet all night, with Rudy and Bailey in the living room and The Wiener of course in the bed with us. As the alarm goes off and I contemplate hitting snooze, she snuggles herself into the crook of my arm, resting her head on my shoulder. Normally, this kind of doggy cuddling would encourage me to ignore the alarm and stay in bed a while longer. But this is The Wiener dog. She begins smacking her tongue like an old lady with dry mouth (and the most severe case of dragon breath I’ve ever experienced. In case I haven’t previously mentioned it, I am convinced she’s so evil that she’s rotting from the inside. There are no amount of Mentos that can make that fresh).

“Smack, smack, smack,” goes The Wiener, as noxious fumes escape her tiny snout. This goes on for several minutes without a break. Finally, I can take it no more and figure that at least it’s great motivation to start my day. There's nothing like a smelly, noisy wiener dog all up in your grill to get you out of bed. Perhaps we can find a way to sell her services to parents who can't get their kids out of bed in the morning…


Dave, in charge of putting out all three dogs by himself, soon discovers they have gotten loose and are dashing about the neighborhood willy nilly. They bombard our lovely neighbor in a blur of friendly fur, but are eventually subdued and returned to the house safely.

I miss this escapade, but when he shares it with me later, I laugh cruelly in Dave’s face, mocking his naïveté for leaving the dogs outside unattended. Amateur!

(You know what they say about payback, don’t you? Well, she's coming back to bite me in the you-know-what, and hard...Wait for it...).


Minor disturbances at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. The first is Dave, waking to take a potty break, but in his sleepwalking stupor, neglecting to put the dogs back out into the living room and shut the bedroom door. Ahem, no, honey, it will NOT be fine to leave Rudy in the room unattended. This the dog who wants so desperately to snuggle with us on the bed that she will purposefully scrape her paw at the duvet until her wish is granted (my side: PAW…Dave's side: PAW…repeat). But Dave just mumbles something and immediately falls back to sleep. So I get up and ban said pooch from the room, ending the cyclical expression of OCD neediness, for the moment at least.

A few hours later, we set about the normal morning routine of letting the dogs out, this time one by one. (We are infinitely proud of ourselves: We are smart; we have learned our lesson!). The two labs go out and come back without a hitch. And then there’s The Wiener…

Not long after putting her on the lead, I hear her barking her fool head off in the driveway. I pad to the back door in my jammies and slippers and call to her, telling her to quit it already and encouraging her to come back in the house. (Yes, I know, how foolish its is of me to think this would actually work!). As she ignores me, she somehow frees herself of the lead and starts trotting down the driveway after the source of her annoyance.

I charge after her in my bedtime getup, attempting to entice her with treats and all manner of promises. To no avail, however, as she’s now reveling in the game of chase. She makes her way to the front yard, evading me with each turn. Every time she zigs, I zag.

Like a greased pig, I can’t quite manage to get my hands on her. Finally, I snatch her by the middle and lift her from the ground, her stubby little paws still working as if she’s on a treadmill. Unfortunately, there’s no time to gloat about my achievement because the wet ground gives way and I careen face first into the grass, sliding forward while holding The Wiener like a wide receiver cradling a football into the end zone.

We land with a thud and I note that my left side is coated with mud and grass. Fortunately, I don’t seem to be injured and have managed to maintain my vise-like grip on The Wiener, who has not a spec of mud on her. Of course.

As I stumble my way back to the house, I furtively glance around to see whether any neighbors have witnessed this grand debacle. I don’t see anyone, but imagine it’s only a matter of time before my not-so-graceful dive makes its way onto YouTube. And for that, I can thank…


Let's hope this is the final act of evil wiener world domination.