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Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Boo and I went to a pet store this afternoon to buy food for Jasper. We buy him that fancy-ass stuff from an independent place that also does all kinds of good things for animals. They have this cool cat cage that winds around the pet store, and they usually have one or two young cats in there, all of whom Boo falls madly in love with. Sometimes, the employees let her hold a cat, and gets to hear all about how we used to have two cats, but one died and now the other one is lonely, but Daddy doesn’t actually like cats so he says if we get another one, he’ll move out and mommy says since cats can’t do dishes we’re keeping Daddy.

This time, they only had one cat and she wasn’t too friendly, just chilling in the back of the cage. So Boo went wandering and discovered the rats. Turns out she loves them as much as I do. What she fell in love with, specifically, were two baby hairless rats. They really were cute. Boo stuck her finger in the cage and one of them delicately took ahold of it and began to lick her finger, which no doubt had traces of all the sugar they fed her at school today for Purim.

Let the begging begin. If it were up to me, I’d have given in, but there’s dear old dad to consider. Boo was not amused. “If our whole family voted, then we’d get to get a rat!”

I said, in a voice of mock outrage, “Yeah! That Dad! That bad Dad. What good is he anyway?”

Boo was silent for a moment, then said thoughtfully, “Well, he does give a pretty good back scratch, but that’s about it.”

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I love my husband. I think he ranks right up there as far as husbands go. The man is a saint, putting up without (serious) complaint, with my illnesses and scatterbrainedness. He strives to see the good in everything and very frequently succeeds. Even though he knew it would mean more work for him, he got a dog because he believed a dog would be good for his children (and found out that he loves the dog probably more than they do). He doesn’t love cats, but he allowed me to get those for the kids too.

But he hates rodents. And snakes. If I were creating the perfect husband, I’d take J and make him more animal-friendly. But he isn’t. I didn’t realize this before I impulsively bought a tiny cute mouse with Maya when she was 3 years old. Cheapest pet ever – $10 all in for animal, cage, food, etc. He was horrified. It never ocurred to me that something so small could horrify a grown man. It was nothing compared to the horror he felt when our ‘baby’ mouse had her own babies about a week later.

He shuddered through the mouse’s short life cycle and it was clear, once she went to mousie heaven, that I was never ever to bring a rodent into this house again. I already knew about the snakes, since I’d told him about my pet snakes I’d had as a teenager and in university and he’d made it very, very clear what he thought of that idea.

So I’d love a pet rat or two. I was surprised by how taken I was by the ones I met the other day. And I’d love a snake. They have all kinds of pretty and interesting ones available now, not like the garter snakes I made do with when I was a kid. But I love my husband more.

If he ever snaps and leaves me, though, I’ll go out and get another cat and a couple pet rats to keep me company.

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Small cute things

beau1Part of my job – the most enjoyable part – is putting out a weekly e-newsletter to all the parents of the school I work at (the grammar geek in me wishes to write ‘the school at which I work’ but I’m afraid that sounds all pretentious).

Anyway, I just discovered that a grade four classroom is the temporary home to a pair of rats, borrowed from one of the teacher’s kids. The rats are there to teach kids about animal habitats, etc. (I know – wow, smart rats. Okay, they are there to help facilitate the teaching.)

I popped into the classroom at recess to get photos. The teacher opened the door and let the rats come out to visit me and – awwww, so cute! They are both female and very friendly. They came out and wandered around the desk. The brown one crawled around in my sweater and cuddled up in the crook of my arm. The teacher told me that some kids were nervous about them at first, but now all love them and many are begging their parents for their own. Forget the kids, I want one. They really were so cute. I so don’t get why people don’t like them (okay, I get it a bit with male rats, because their testicles are about a third of the size of their bodies, blech). I’ve heard people say it’s the tails, but they seem incapable of explaining exactly what it is about the tails. I guess you get it or you don’t.  Anyway, they were very sweet, and I wanted to keep them.

I could only put a couple photos in the newsletter, and it was hard to chose. So I made myself fell better about that by posting them all here, instead. This is Nesumi stealing bandaids. She collected all of them, one at at time.

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The rats trying to steal lesson plans:

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Nesumi:

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Teamwork:

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My lovely doggy is being a bad boy. It started a couple of months ago, when I started walking with a nice woman and her nice Golden/Newfie mix, Max. We would find ourselves at the dog park at the same time a lot, and the dogs are both only a year old, so all seemed good. Only Jasper developed a obsession with Max. He is madly in love with Max.

Whenever we meet up, Jasper starts pulling on Max’s ears and biting his butt. He even has tried nipping at Max’s heels. Incessantly – in a desperate bid to get Max to play with him. (Jasper loves nothing more than to be chased, and indicates this with bum-biting.) But worst, he humps poor Max as often as he can. Since Max has problems with one back leg, that is bad. And just generally annoying. The humping really kicks in if Max dares to pay attention to any other dogs, as though Jasper is trying to make it clear that Max is his and his alone.

We hadn’t run into Max and his mom for a little over a month, and then when we were at the dog park on Saturday, in this huge field with at least 100 other dogs. Jasper suddenly darted away from me through the crowd and, sure enough, he’d spotted Max.

I was putting up with it – we’d joke about Jasper’s stalker behaviour – but then I walked with a former teacher of Maya’s, who happens to have an aged Golden. The Golden didn’t feel like running after Jasper, who responded by becoming utterly annoying and tormenting the poor old guy, pulling and biting at him, and then he started with the stupid humping. The Golden and his mommy were less than amused.

I realized his annoying behaviour is getting worse and I don’t want one of those dogs that everyone else at the park talks about – “Can you believe she lets him do that?” So today when we ran into Max, the moment Jasper started being annoying, I grabbed him and put him back on his leash, forcing him to walk close to me for a bit. Then I let him off and he went straight for Max again. Back on the leash. Repeat.

Teaching him to distinguish between his ball and his rope, then touch the correct one on command is far more fun, I have to say. And way cuter.

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It was one of those perfect winter days today, where the snow fell in big, slow flakes and made everything look beautiful. There was no wind and it was mild. I took Jasper for a long walk, then got the kids and when we got home, Asher and Boo played outside for a long time with the dog. It was idyllic and fun and helped me breath properly again. Here are pictures. Lots of pictures.

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He loves to smush his whole face in the snow.

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I don’t want to go on about it, but the reason it was so nice to watch everyone romp around was that my cat, Theo, died yesterday at the age of four, very suddenly. He developed crystals in his urine, his bladder got blocked and his kidneys were damaged beyond help by the time I got him to the vet. He died in my arms shortly thereafter.

He was a marvelous cat. He was utterly-unfeline-like in his friendliness and love of everything. He purred at his vet appointments. At one, he had to take a medication that had the side effect of calming them down and when the vet walked in, he was lounging on her counter, purring happily. She said, “Wow, that stuff really mellows them out sometimes.” I told her, “He hasn’t taken it yet. This is just his personality.” Even my mother liked him, and my mother hates cats.

I miss him so much.

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and kitty badness.

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Doesn’t she look sweet? She is, mostly. She loves to cuddle up and smush her face into my hair. She likes to crawl under the blanket with me and snuggle under there on my chest.

She also loves to chew on string, cords, anything long and skinny. She’s chewed cords off blinds, neatly snipped apart my yarn as I’m knitting more times then I can count, and no necklace cord is safe. But she reached new heights of destruction today by efficiently scissoring right through the earbud cord for Maya’s new iPod. She didn’t even show the kindness of just hacking off one earbud so we could at least listen in one ear until we get new earphones.. Nope, she severed it right at the jack. Little shit.

I’d just discovered the world of podcasts, too, and had been working my way though the Savage Love archive, amusing myself listening to Dan call people up and talk them into dumping their boyfriends or coming out of the closet that minute.

On the other hand, Snowpuppy is being just delicious. He has lost none of his love of the snow and still likes to bury his whole face into it, then burst out and run madly around. I haven’t got any really good pictures yet, but I did take this one after he’d hung out for a while outside during the last snowstorm:

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He’s so freaking cute to watch that I have taken to letting him off leash more often as we walk around the block, because I like to see him bounce around on people’s lawns. He’s getting very good at staying on the last few feet of them, and while he does pop out onto the road occasionally, he does obey, “Side” and come back when I order.

I have to say, this whole dog-training thing paid off in a big way last night, beyond ensuring he doesn’t eat my dinner when I get up and the unbearable cuteness of seeing him poke a ball with his nose when I tell him to “touch ball.” When he lingers at some interesting smell too long, I just walk ahead because he can’t bear to let me get too far away from me and will come galloping after me in no time. Last night, though, in his snowy joy he galloped right past me just as we were reaching a turn in the road. Coming from the other direction was a car, also turning. In the dark, there was no way the driver could see Jasper racing down the road and in his exuberance, Jasper hadn’t noticed the car, either.

I saw in a flash that car and dog were on a collision course and instinctively yelled out, “Jasper, WAIT!” as he hit the edge of the road ahead of me (I have trained him to wait at the edge of the road, or anywhere ahead of me when I tell him to until I release him). I was hugely gratified and relieved when he skidded to the quickest stop I’ve ever seen, and then even came trotting back to ask what was up.

Disaster averted! Thanks to all that training work. Of course, someone sane might argue that it also would have been averted had I not been so stupid as to let him run around in the dark off-leash, but we won’t go there now, okay?

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