San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

The Runaway

We don’t even like our dogs. So why do they get such a hold on our hearts?

Our beagle Chester is a grumpy old man. A grumpy “Get off my grass, you crazy kids!” kind of old man. He was an old man when he was still a puppy. I mean, who ever heard of an introverted beagle?

When you say “beagle” most people get all mushy and tell you a tale about a beagle they had once that was the “best dog ever.” “Beagles are great with kids,” they say. Beagles are so playful,” they say.


Chester alternates between sleeping on his pillow, growling at anyone who comes close, barking for 3 hours straight at the neighbor dog and tipping over the garbage can. No happy kisses. No cute antics. Just glares and huffy standoffish-ness.

When he was 8, we got him a puppy-brother, which wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to him. But it did make him look like the good dog, because at least he wasn’t chewing the table legs and attacking our toes when we sat on the couch.

I guess being the good dog got old or something. Because, the other evening, when one of the kids didn’t latch the gate properly after retrieving a ball, Chester took the big break and set out to explore the neighborhood.

Chris, always the delegated dog-finder, walked around the block and then took the car to search further afield. No Chester.

It ruined my night. That dumb, rude dog ruined my night.

He doesn’t cuddle. He doesn’t even act like he loves us, unless we’re going to feed him or he’s been boarded at the kennel for a week.

But I went to bed sad that the dog was missing.

There was no Chester and no news in the morning. The city’s lost-dog department didn’t open until noon. There was nothing to do, but mope around the house.

Then, like a miracle, our vet (who’s number was on his tags) called to tell us a lady had found him. They gave me her number and we arranged to go get him.

There was much rejoicing in our house (and I’m assuming at Chris’ office, when I texted him the good news).

When Chester saw me, he ambled up and gave me some obligatory kisses. He was happy to jump in the car and come home. But he really acted like nothing had happened. He had been out all night, crossed 3 busy streets and wound up a couple of miles away. But no big deal, apparently.

photo(30)He didn’t follow me around, happy to be near me again. He didn’t seem grateful or sheepish or… anything.

So I tried to pay him extra attention, because SOMEBODY needed to acknowledge the trauma we’d all gone through. He groaned when I hugged him. He growled when his puppy-brother tried to say hello.

Finally, we just left him alone to sleep. Because he obviously wasn’t interested in any family bonding.

I laid up at night worrying about him and he just wanted to come home and sleep on the couch like nothing.  (Is this what parenting teenagers is like?!)

I’m glad he’s home. I’m just not sure WHY I’m glad.

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Devious Dogs and Countermeasures

photo(5)We always get dogs and then wish we hadn’t gotten dogs. Because dogs are super annoying.

We thought we’d learned our lesson with Chester, the grumpy old beagle. But then we needed to get Oliver, my therapy dog. So lesson-learned turned into lesson-forgotten.

And once you get a dog, you have to keep it.

(I mean, I understand that sometimes it’s impossible. Like if you adopt a dog and then realize your throat starts to close up every time you’re around it, that’s something to consider. Or if your landlord threatens to evict you… I get it. But if it’s just that you realize they poop a lot? Not a good reason.)

Because when you get a dog, you’re committing to care for it. JESUS wants you keep that dog, because he made people to be caretakers of the earth and animals (but hopefully not plants, because I always kill plants on accident). And dogs are people too (not really), and they have feelings (really). And if they get ditched, they are sad and confused.

So dogs are for life.

But they are annoying. Because of them, we had to get a new garbage can.

What we used to have was the kind with the swinging top. And I wasn’t in love with it or anything. Because it always swung shut just as you were dumping the coffee grounds in, and then you’d end up with grounds on the lid, on the floor, in your shoes, etc. And the kids only half-heartedly pushed it open as they threw away the foil from the tops of their yogurts. So there were always yogurt foils stuck to the lid.

Basically all the garbage was on the lid instead of in the garbage can.

So it wasn’t the garbage can of our dreams. But when I go to the store, there a lot of things on my list before buying something new to throw waste into.

Chester, the beagle, had become pretty adept at swiping stuff out of this trash can. But he tried to be subtle. If we weren’t looking, he’d poke his nose in and quickly sneak something off the top of the garbage pile.

But lately… Lately, he’d lost even the hint of subterfuge. Also, apparently his neck had grown 3 sizes longer. Because I started to find pieces of garbage strewn around the house when the can was barely half full.

Oliver, the Yorkie, loved it. He was too short to get in the can himself, but he was happy to take the remnants of anything Chester pulled out. For all I know, he was egging Chester on. I just kept picking up garbage and dealing.


Chester got a diaper. A poopy one.

That was the last straw. I mean, I don’t know what that stuff in diapers is, but it’s awful. Like little gel-balls of sticky evil. You can’t vacuum it up. You can’t wipe it up. I don’t even know…

So I told Chris that it was time for a new trash can. One with a foot peddle to lift the lid. I highly doubt that Chester can figure out how to get into that.

If he does, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.

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