The mower

The other evening, the boys were outside in their natural habitat, hunting for bugs and eating the tall prairie grasses in our yard . . .

But then, just as they were getting the most satisfying of nibbles on the most succulent of prairie grasses . . .

A jarring disruption occurred . . .

It was the daddyman, celebarting Daylight Savings Time with his new reel-mower:

The newly mowed grass sure looked nice, but it made for some sad, sad Chickerdoodles!

Chix-a-Lot Friday: Who you callin’ grumpy?

Well apparently it’s come to the attention of certain people that I can be a bit of a grump. Humph.

Well I may be a little grumpy now and then, but I know who my friends are. My friends are the people who, rather than thinking of my moodiness as a flaw, celebrate it. Like my friend Burns. She loves grumps, including me. She loves them so much, in fact, that for the past couple of years she has taken to knitting these cute little dinosaurs called Grumpasauruses. My mama and I love them because they are both cute and grumpy, just like myself.

Well Burns must have known how well I identify with her Grumps, because the other day we got a package in the mail from her, and what was inside? A mini-me, a Chick Grumpasaurus! Isn’t he awesome?

The minute he arrived, I had to check him out thoroughly, and I was impressed.

He’s got my spots, my brown tail with a white tip, my grumpy expression, my squinty eyes, and even my famous Chick ears! Just look how much we are alike:

I asked mama if I could keep him for myself — since obviously he was a gift for me — but she said no, that she was afraid that the Dude and I would want to play with him and accidentally hurt him. Well what she didn’t realize is that she hurt me by accusing me of such sad things! I told her as much, and we compromised — she let me take a little nap with him and practice balancing him on my head, and then he retired to his very own spot on our mantle, where he will watch over us every day. Mama says we can even feed him my potato and duck kibbles every now and then so he doesn’t get hungry up there!

Thank you for loving us grumps so well, Burns!

Dad’s take: A songwriter’s muse

Chick has long been the muse for my bathtub songwriting.  He inspired me to pen updates to old standards, such as “Chick[en] on My Mind,” “American Bull,” and “Every Chick Has Its Thorn.”

The songs were always simple but catchy, never imparting more than three key pieces of information about Chick: (1) Chick is a dog; (2) Chick is white; and (3) Chick weighs 50 pounds.

As you can see, I don’t have a lot of talent in this department.

 

So, it’s taken me a while to find the right inspiration from the Dude.  Well, it happened this weekend on our little road trip out to the Hill Country.  The tune, best played on a ukulele, draws from American roots music, and tells the story of the Dude’s first road trip.  It’s called, “Dude, Please Don’t Puke in My Daddy’s New Buick (Again).”  It’ll be available any day now on iTunes.
Check in tomorrow for more about that road trip…

Out-of-town escape!

We’re headed out of town!

The boys have packed up their backpacks and their tiny guitar, and they’re ready for our adventure. We’re heading out to Fredericksburg Texas with the boys’ grandparents — we’ll be doing some hiking, some relaxing, some stargazing, and some front porch sitting. We’ll be so far out there that we won’t even have the interwebs, so we’ll see y’all back on Wednesday!

Reality Bites: the consequences of falling in love

When B and I met in 2004, he had his sights set on law school in general, and Texas in particular. I was pretty settled in my DC life — I hadn’t ever lived anywhere else. In a few short weeks, it became clear — he was moving to Austin, and so was I.

I didn’t have a plan, and at the time it felt like I was giving up a lot to make the move. It was exciting, but scary. I was dazzled to have B in my life and be so sure about that puzzle piece, but felt a little crazy giving up what seemed like so much. But I jumped in with both feet, and life has been one amazing ride.

Eight years later, we met Snickerdoodle. As we have done with a handful of foster dogs in the past, we started joking a few days into his stay with us: “I’m going to keep him.” Only the more we joked about it, the more we realized that we weren’t sure if we were joking.

Obviously, the Dude fits in to our family quite well. Our own Chick took to him pretty much right away, which is a real rarity for him. Over the past weeks as we’ve walked into a room to find them laying on top of each other in a sweet, napping dogpile, we’ve gotten to thinking — is it possible that we have chosen the Dude for ourselves, and Chick chosen him for himself, too?

As with any other big decisions, this one comes with consequences. The biggest? The fostering career that we have put so much of our hearts into will have to go on hiatus, at least for a while.  As much as we love the idea of a houseful of dogs, we just can’t properly care for more than two — the Chick and one other.

This scares us a whole lot in some ways. Because everything will be different. And it excites us a whole lot in other ways. Because everything will be different.

Stay tuned to follow along on this ever-wild ride.

 

 

Chix-A-Lot Friday: I am a really big deal (and another package for the Doodle)

I already suspected that I was a really big deal because of the way people always dote on me and tell me how handsome and clever and charming and sweet and soft I am. But now I KNOW I am a big deal. Wanna know how?

Well my foster brother Dude is sick with the heart-eating worms, so he’s been getting lots of extra treats and pets and packages in the mail from blog-friends. But here’s the thing: I am not sick with any kind of worms at all, but I am also getting extra treats, pets, and packages! Obviously there is no sickness-reason for me to be getting special things, so I must be getting them just because I am such a big deal — right? And believe me– I am not complaining.

Last week we got another package in the mail from one of our blog readers, a nice lady from a cold place in the North. Her name is Kate. Mama gets packages all the time with business stuff and rescue stuff and shoes and books and other things, so I didn’t think much of it. But the second that package came through the door and I gave it a quick sniff, I knew. I could smell that the address label said not “Mama” but “Sir Chick and Snickerdoodle” on the front of it. Hooray for me!

So the Dude and I stared her down patiently waited until she opened it. And when she did, we couldn’t believe our eyes. We were so amazed by how beautiful the insides of the box were that we nearly forgot about the jars of treats that were underneath all the beautifulness. Mama must be some kind of magician because she took all that beautifulness, untangled it, and hung it on the wall, until it looked like this:

I bet you don’t even know what that is, right? Well I will tell you! It’s like an advent calendar, only for counting down not till Christmas, but till Dude has officially kicked all of his wormies!

There is one card for each day between last week and the day that the Dude can officially play tug-of-war and go running with me.

Inside each card, there is a happy thought for them people, and another for us dogs. Like this. (I will let you guess which happy thought is for them humans and which is for us dogs):

And boy oh boy, our gift-giver sure did hit the nail on the head! How did she know that mama loves lunchtime margaritas, and that we love packages in the mail with doggie treats inside? She must be a mindreader!

So every evening, mama plucks another card off our Dude-vent calendar and grabs two cookies from the cute jars that Kate sent us, and we go into our very favorite room– the movie / office / dog / guestroom / home of The Dora. Mama asks me and the Dude to lay down on the rug, and reads us our happy thought for the day. Then we each get a cookie.

We can’t get over the yumminess of the cookies, the thoughtfulness of our blog friend Kate, or how beautifully our Dude-vent calendar matches our favorite rug in our favorite room. Mama says nobody has ever done anything quite so creative for us before. She even got a little leaky-eyed when she opened up the package and saw all of the beautifulness inside and read all of those words on the big piece of paper. And now eveningtime is our favorite time of the day! Thank you Kate, we just know that Mr. Dude’s recovery is going to speed on by!

Chickerdoodle cookies to mend a dog’s heart

The party just doesn’t end for the Dude and the Chick, does it? The gorgeous, hand-knit scarves they received from a special facebook fan aren’t the only gift the boys received to help Doodlebug heal from his heartworms. The other day in the mail, we received another package — this one from our dear blog-friend Alana (and her two beautiful pit bull type dogs, Molly and foster-ish Brodie). Check out this package full of treats!

They’re not unappreciative, but the boys passed right over the toys: a soft, fuzzy, squeaky heart for the Dude to serve as a role model for his own ailing heart and a rope toy for the Chick-man so he can get out his crazies playing with mama and dad instead of bugging his brother who has to remain calm for the next six weeks. Why did they ignore their lovely new toys? Because of the scrumptious, handmade cookies that Alana, Molly, and Brodie made for them.

Fantastic, right? They even look and smell like human snickerdoodle cookies — but these are a special creation just for our boys — Chickerdoodles!

A seasoned mama to big, block-headed dogs with a huge appetite for cookies, Alana must have known that treats are the absolute best way to get a couple of greedy boys to pose for photos with their bounty.

A big thank you from Texas to Alaska for the goodies, friends!

 

A little gift to raise the spirits

It’s been rainy in Central Texas lately, which is a real blessing. We’re in the midst of a historic drought, so a little bit of moisture for the earth makes us pretty happy.

It’s also been raining gifts and surprises in our house over the past few weeks, since the Dude was diagnosed with severe, late-stage heartworms. We’ve been amazed at the kindness and generosity of our blog and facebook friends, who have sent cards, notes, emails, photos, and even a couple of little packages to help the Dude make it through his nasty ten-week treatment (and help the Chick be the sweet, loving big brother he needs to be).

A few days ago, we got this package in the mail from our facebook-friend Rachel from Tumball, Texas:

It was a beautiful card with a historic photo of a pit bull type dog dressed up in a jaunty top hat, pipe, and party suit, and a pair of custom, hand-knit, perfectly sized scarves! Naturally, the boys –who LOVE to dress up — couldn’t wait to wear them on the first chilly occasion they god, and pulled them out this weekend for the 10-minute “snow” storm we had.

The scarves are so cozy and chic that they make the boys feel like 1920s artists and writers, sitting around at an outdoor french cafe drinking cognac and tea, arguing about love and politics!

Thank you Rachel!

Chix-a-Lot Friday: Big brother worries

Yo, it’s me: Big Brother. You may be wondering: what am I doing here, sniffing this empty dog t-shirt that I got as a gift from my foster-great-aunt Margaret (thank you Aunt Malgosia)?

Well, I’m just practicing being alone. For what, you might ask? For next Monday, I will tell you. When my Foster Kid, the Dude, has to go in to the vet’s office for his second round of heartworm treatment.

It’s been almost four weeks now since the morning he woke up coughing blood and had to get his first injection to kill the evil worms that are trying to eat his heart and soul (go to hell little wormies, we quite like the Dude’s heart and soul and would prefer to keep them for ourselves, thankyouverymuch). And mama says that means he’s due for his next round. I’m not sure what’s so round about these special heartworm shots (all the shots I’ve ever seen are pokey and come in a tube and are most definitely not round). But anyhow, this next time he has to go to the vet on Monday, get a shot, and then stay there for a whole 24 hours and get another shot. After that, they’re going to keep him for even more hours so they can monitor him and make sure he’s doing ok.

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds like an awful lot of hours for a dog to be at the vet’s office. I’m thinking about sending him a care package to keep him company, and maybe putting myself and his “Foster Kid” t-shirt in the package too. I wonder if we’d help him make it through ok!

 

Is it love?

Dog people love to anthropomorphize their pets. We have all done it.

Chick feels guilty for stealing the trash.

Doodlebug is proud of this new Sirius Republic bowtie.

People love to project our own dreams and emotions onto dog-dog relationships, too. We throw big words around — Love. Hate. Jealousy. In the case of our dogs, we do it too. We invent personalities and draw conclusions about how the dogs feel about each other, even though in reality we can rarely know for sure. In our own house right now, the Dude seems like the goofy, child-like little brother who is obsessed with his Yoda, Chick. Chick is older, wiser, too-cool-for-school, and tolerates the young ones with a stoic patience that only the most magical of dogs possess.

Of course, we wish with all of our might that he adored each of the dogs that come through our home, and actually preferred having another dog in the house. But does he? Hard to say. There is no doubt that in a choice between people and dogs, Chick has always chosen people. He learned early in adoptive life that people are the ones who control all the food, beds, walks, toys, and games, so we’re more interesting than other dogs. And fosterdad and I prefer it that way.

And yet, from time to time a dog comes along who Chick not only tolerates, but genuinely seems to enjoy the company of. When former foster Stevie Wonder would try to snuggle on Chick, he would tolerate it sometimes, and run away other times. But he never seeked it out. With other dogs, he has been more willing to cuddle, though I wonder if it was more that he wanted a piece of the prime real estate where the other dog happened to be sleeping, and not the warm furry body that he was seeking out.

But his relationship with Snickerdoodle has us wondering whether this is a different kind of thing for our grumpy old man.

Pre-Dude, Chick’s favorite resting spots were the bed in our master bedroom, the Stevie-chair in the living room, and underfoot in the kitchen. The Dude right away took to sleeping on The Dora in our guest room. Pretty soon, we started finding Chick in there, too.

Is this love? Maybe.

And there’s more. It used to be that Chick was clingy and needy to an unhealthy level. Wherever we were, he needed to be no more than four feet away. Now when we come home, if they’re in the middle of a particularly satisfying nap on The Dora, they will both come greet us, and quickly retreat back to their dogpile in the guest room. It’s new ground for us, and we’re trying to figure out whether it means anything at all. What we know for certain is that it is both unprecedented and oh-so-adorable.

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