Dogs and Families


I wasn’t really sure how to write about this so I figured embedding the facebook update would be the easiest way to begin.

We returned from Costa Rica New Year’s Day (a trip I plan to write about in detail because it was spectacular) and in the Costa Rican Rainforest a particular sort of tree grows and it’s bark makes the sweetest cinnamon. Naturally the kids and I smelled it through the sealed plastic and decided that if we bought some for Granny she’d make us Snickerdoodles. It is the one and only souvenir we bought in Costa Rica. We are a pragmatic bunch.

In keeping with my general pragmatism and excitement for what comes out of my mother’s kitchen as soon as we landed I texted her to ask if they’d come to my house for dinner. My plan was to bring in Versailles and ask Mom to bring a salad. Her salads are my favorite.

This happened.

text from mom

So as I’m waiting for my Uber car I walk away from my family who are curbside at LAX and I’m trying to avoid the noise and the smokers and the oversized baggage carts because I don’t know what’s wrong at my Mom’s house but I know that something is wrong or she wouldn’t care about speaker phone.

And then she’s crying and I hear, “Lulu was killed.” And I can’t quote much else because I was fighting waves of lightheadedness and nausea and trying to imagine how the world’s most docile dog would meet a gruesome end. And my mom told me. The details are horrible so I won’t share them but my Stepfather was bitten and injured by a 145 pound mastiff and a husky who… well I’m skipping the details because they aren’t mine to share. But he was bitten and significantly injured while Lulu, a 22 pound terrier, was killed.

They came for dinner and I didn’t bring in Versailles. I made chicken and asparagus with potatoes and I made a salad too. My salads aren’t as good as my mother’s. It seemed fitting to have a mediocre salad but it felt really good to have my family under one roof. I needed to see them and they needed to snuggle our cat and dog. We all just sort of met each other’s needs.

I’ve spent most of the last two days answering phone calls and emails from friends who love both people and dogs. I have learned a lot of things:

Mace is a name brand and not an actual product. It’s tear gas and not what you’ll  want to have on hand. Pepper spray is the best thing to have on hand when you’re walking a dog because it temporarily blinds people and animals and causes swelling around the mouth, nose and throat. As a general defense product it’s effective when used on drugged people too.

Dog rescues routinely take dogs that have bitten, rehabilitate and rehome them. I have given my last dollar to rescues that rehome aggressive dogs in Los Angeles (or anywhere really).

It can take months to years to find a healthy Wire Hair Terrier in Southern California. This adds to the tragedy because a new dog would be a nice step for my family. It’s hard to wait that long for a happy step.

There’s more here but Lulu wasn’t my dog so she’s only partly my loss. Naturally we’re all concerned for my stepfather who was physically hurt and now emotionally tormented by two animals who were improperly cared for. We’re all sad and stunned and acting like freaks when we walk Junior.

I didn’t know how to start this post and I certainly don’t know how to end it. This is from my Mom’s instagram.

This Was Actually Alexander’s Idea


And I’ve effectively thrown both my children under the bus.

I do hope there’s a therapist who waits under busses for children.

I Could Have Bought 25 New Dogs for that Price


That I love Junior goes without saying. He’s sitting on my right foot at the moment because he’s a little codependent and when you work from home dogs end up expecting even more from you. Unlike humans I enjoy Junior’s neediness, he’s like a little baby that snuggles but doesn’t require diapers or sleepless nights. He specializes in adorableness.

Junior the poodle

I’ve made some mistakes with Junior, the biggest one being dental care. I just didn’t bring Junior in for a scraping every year. I was busy doing things like, oh I dunno…. running a household and raising two children. Unfortunately Junior paid the price for that in pain and I paid the price in cash. I knew I was going to write about canine dental care today so I called the vet and asked them to fax over (they don’t email) some of Junior’s bills.

I could have bought 25 dogs for the price of two dental emergencies.

vet dental work bill

vet 2

And yeah, I microchipped Junior for no apparent reason. Understand that if I hold his leash he walks next me. Let’s face it, that dog is going nowhere solo, I spent $70 extra because I was swimming in guilt.

So after all this work the vet was super sweet to me and explained that little dogs can have more severe dental issues than big ones because when they scrape their teeth if there’s any decay the tooth will sometimes just break apart. To be fair their version of kindness didn’t leave me feeling better but they did their best. I’d ignored the first five years of his dental care and these enormous bills were indicators of how much pain my sweet dog had to experience.

In addition to getting junior to the vet for cleanings every 9 months or so he now gets treats to help maintain his teeth. I’d walked past those things for years not understanding that for a few dollars a month Junior’s teeth could have been getting cleaned with treats. The folks at Vet IQ sent some Minties for Junior to sample and he (predictably) loves them. Oh also, Junior is wheat and grain free and Minties are too.

An added bonus with Minties is that they use natural breath fresheners so Junior no longer smells like an animal that spends a good bit of his day licking himself. There’s something about the density and shape of Minties that cleans Junior’s teeth while he chews. Also I was looking at ingredients and Minties includes chlorophyll, parsley, dill, peppermint oil and fennel… am I the only person who seems to remember these ingredients being in Breath Assure (which frankly some humans around me could use). 

Since Junior loved Minties enough to dance I’ve arranged for a giveaway from VetIQ where one lucky reader will get a prize pack of at least $100 of VetIQ products, everything they make is veterinary quality made in America. I know our house could use some VetGuard this time of year to keep the fleas away.

Entering is easy, good luck! Your pets will thank you and so will your wallet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m Going to Attempt the Impossible


A few months ago I bought the world’s best bath towels. I only bought three of them because they cost an absolute fortune but the sales lady at Bloomingdales assured me they’d be worth it. Here we are six months later and those three towels have held up extraordinarily well even with insane overuse because they quickly became our favorites. To be fair they were replacing some incredibly moisture resistant (also not inexpensive) towels I’d purchased from Restoration Hardware.

Last week Bloomingdales had one of their zillion dollar off sales and the Abyss bath towels were 40% off from $90 each so I was only mildly apoplectic when I bought a half dozen towels and a handful of wash cloths. When we were newlyweds and dinosaurs roamed the Earth my sister in law bought us a set of Christy Egyptian Cotton bath towels that are only just falling apart. Sometimes it’s actually frugal to buy the high end items.

Abyss Bath Towels

After laundering the new towels it was time to put them away and get rid of the junk. I also found an old sleeping bag and a comforter that no one will ever need. Monday morning I stacked the towels and the blankets on a sofa and planned to bring them to the animal shelter where they can be put to good use.

Now I have a big problem. The last time I was at the animal shelter I came home with her.

Sparky the cat

It took me a while but I’ve come to love and appreciate her. In all candor I do love Junior more but every time I hang out with the cat (not that often because she despises the dog) I think to myself, “Hey I could have another cat. This is pretty awesome and easy.”

It’s now Wednesday and there’s still a pile of crap on my sofa but I’m pretty sure today is the day that I am able to go to the animal shelter to drop something off without bringing something home.

Wish me luck.

towels sofa

Other Women Would Ask Their Mother Why She Needs a Psychic


Texts from my mother

Moms are funny and mine is no exception. I’m not sure if I told you about the time she bought a house at a seance, or about the time that they brought a healer in to talk to the cat to ask her how she felt. The house was a good house but the cat felt like shit because she was 20 years old and they mercifully put her to sleep some time after that cat chat.

I also won’t tell you about the time that Mom was going to add an angled step to the staircase so the chi wouldn’t flow out the front door. You see, if I told stories like these you’d think my mother was silly. She is not a silly woman.

I thought I would share the stream of text messages that Mom and I most recently had.

As you can see I did not know how to hard boil eggs. I texted Mom and she texted me back with directions. Thanks Mom.

You can also see that Jane sent us to the poorhouse recently with her love of oysters. She loves good food, and my hope for her is that she has an excellent job one day or else grocery shopping will be her nightmare.

The first night we were in Mammoth there was an earthquake. We sure did feel it.

This morning’s text signals a return to her youth. Maybe Mom is looking for a new house, or perhaps she’s gotten tired of taking her dog to the acupuncturist and she needs someone to talk to her? I’m not sure why Mom needs a good psychic but I have a feeling it’s going to be a good story.