Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Dog vs. Boyfriend

Posted: July 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

  vs.

I’m about to begin my senior year of college. Well, sort of, but I won’t get into all of my staying-late and I-have-enough-hours-to-have-graduated-my-sophomore-year-of-high-school gripes right now. But in lieu of this unavoidable fact, I started thinking back to who I was when I began college and who I am now.

That person is really rather different.

For one, I’m a nursing major now, instead of an English-major-who-might-go-to-PA-school-if-she-doesn’t-do-what-all-English-majors-do-and-just-go-to-more-school-so-their-great-great-great-grandchildren-will-still-be-paying-off-her-school-loans. (Although I still like long hyphenated phrases).

I study a lot more than I used to.

Also, I wear dresses and skirts now and my hair is longer, which I guess means I’ve finally given up my elementary school dream of being a vicious-awesome tomboy.

However, one of the most substantial differences is this:

I would much rather have a dog than have a boyfriend.

When I first started college, I went in with the firm and unwavering determination to find a boyfriend OR ELSE, OKAY?! I was a little scary, in truth. I liked about half of the male population at Harding my first semester, and you think I’m joking. Those first few months probably would have made a really good B-lister rom-com that all the girls at Harding who were exactly the same way would have loved. (I know this because I’ve watched all of these movies with my friends. Hooray college.)

But I have seen the error of my ways and come to a much better understanding of life. Dogs are simply better than boyfriends. Don’t believe me? Allow me to convince you.

Reason Number One

Dogs are uncomplicated. Dogs need five things: food, water, exercise, sleep, and you. (Well, six things if you don’t fix them, so you know—spay and neuter your pets, kids.) And the thing they need the most of is you. Boys need food, water, exercise, sleep, a mid-afternoon snack, football, time alone, guy time, video games, movies, nachos, more football, magazines, girls, and undoubtedly nameless unfathomable things that girls don’t know about it. The list goes on and on.

Reason Number Two

Dogs do not give a cat’s tail if you are in a bad mood or not. It’s wonderful. You can sit and complain to them about absolutely anything you want, from the fact that Gossip Girl is in re-runs, again, or how you don’t have any friends or how your best friend didn’t sit by you in class today or how the library didn’t have the book you wanted or… you get the picture… and it doesn’t matter to them one iota, no matter how long you go on (so long as you take them to the bathroom after a few hours). You can even pet them while you complain. Just try complaining for six straight hours about how much you hate your chemistry teacher to your boyfriend while petting him simultaneously.

Reason Number Three

Dogs are easier to potty train. You teach them to do their stuff outside and that’s the end of it. Try teaching your boyfriend not to splash or leave the toilet seat up. Again, just try. Let me know how it goes for you. Not that they don’t want to, but unfortunately, milkbones don’t have quite the same effect on significant others as they have on the canine species.

Reason Number Four

When dogs use too much tongue, it’s cute. When guys use too much tongue… yeah.

Reason Number Five

Dogs have fur, and fetch, and let you give them tummy rubs, and do tricks if you give them treats, and are cuddly, and… huh. That is mostly the same, except the cuddly part, although I’ve met a few guys in my time who are rather a lot like teddy bears….

Anyway, it’s not that I have anything against guys. Obviously. Guys, especially tall guys, give great hugs (which dogs can’t do), and generally smell nice (which dogs almost never do), and are usually a good deal more straightforward than girls (whereas dogs can’t talk and have no opportunity to be straightforward or otherwise). Also, if you take a guy for a walk, you don’t have to pick up their poop, and after a summer of working at the Humane Society, that’s really quite a plus. One day, I hope to find one—a guy—who is really, really awesome. But, at this point… they don’t have anything on this:

And that, my friends, is why you’ll find me at the animal shelter instead of hanging out in Keller or Allen or Harbin lobby this next semester. Cheerio.

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Since you guys seemed to like the post I made a few weeks ago about goings on in the lovely Kim Kove (what a retarded name…), I decided to make another post on the same subject.

This time, we’ll be discussing the wildlife of this varied and rich ecosystem. (But in case you’re wondering… yes, our neighbor’s trailer is still there. My parents think it will eventually leave… but I don’t. We’ll see who wins.)

First, we’ll be visiting one of the creatures that also frequents the Harding campus in great droves: the grey squirrel. The Kim Kove variety are somewhat smaller and thinner, undoubtedly due to the lack of Chick-fil-A fries and half-rotten caf food (it’s only, I dunno, a quarter rotten when first taken out of the caf) left on the front lawn. However, there is something special about our Kim Kove squirrels.

They’re intelligent.

They use tools.

And, most of all, they use their intelligence and their ability to create tools to make weapons.

You think I’m kidding, but over Spring Break, Dad and I were outside grilling Whiskey River Burgers, which are about the most amazing thing since chocolate, when all of sudden we heard this crazy screaking noise. I know that’s not a word, but that is what it sounded like. Then we discovered what it was. A squirrel was sitting in our plum tree, gazing down on us, sharpening a massive stick into a point. Just watching us, as if daring us to continue to existing in his territory.

And you think living in suburban Alabama in boring. We have organized squirrel gangs, k? And what do you have?

Then… we have birds. But not just any birds. Demon birds. My first real remembered experience with these valkyries was a small incident, but an omen of things to come. I was sitting on the back porch when I was in, oh, fifth or sixth grade, and I got pooped on. Lovely. Sort of scarring for an awkward preteen but not that big a deal.

However, due to the fact that Dad has never quite gotten around to wiring off the little alcove in the overhang on our front porch, we have two birds that come every spring and stay until late fall to make babies in this high rise of a nest that gets bigger and featherier and poopier every year. And not only do they and their mutant children cause a two-foot-deep layer of bird manure to gather on our porch, but they don’t really like people being on their porch. Not at all.

For instance, the other day, I walked outside to see just how dead our herb garden has gotten in the unseasonable dry heat we’ve been having lately. I didn’t even get all the way out of the door before I was dive-bombed like a target in swallow military training. Dive-bombed, guys. Absolutely horrendous, having tiny, impossibly fast, beaked, angry birds attacking you. These little dudes give the iPhone app a run for its money.

But they aren’t the worst. The worst is the one that I call The Happy Bird. You know how birds generally sing, you know, during the day? Well, this one sits outside my window and starts singing at, oh, midnight, usually. Very happily, and very loudly. Way too happy and way to loud for that position on the clock. A few nights ago, I scared my parents out of their skins banging on the window around 1:00 in the morning trying to make it stop, please heavens above make it stop.

Still, the most fearsome beast of the Kim Kove habitat is neither the the squirrel regiment of the Bloods nor the psychotic birds. No, the monster that is the most terrifying, the most horrifying, the most heartless and the one that keeps normal citizens from being able to take a simple exercise walk around the neighborhood is the Skeeter Dogs.

See how preciously adorable this dog is? Well, look closer. It’s really a devil in puppy’s clothing. You’ll be walking along, minding your own business, beebopping to Supertramp and Rihanna on your iPod, when out of nowhere, you are surrounded by a howling, bloodthirsty mob of Skeeter Dogs with slathering jaws and teeth that are just longing to rip your ankle tendons and leave you lying in the middle of the road, a fleshless carcass. So, in order to protect yourself, of course you start throwing rocks, hoping to scare them off.

Then the witch that owns the leashless horrors will undoubtedly appear and scream her head off about What Are You Doing to My Poor Precious Puppies? And you want to reply What Are They Doing to My Ankles? Haven’t You Read the Leash Laws??

Anyways. Haha. There was actually quite a sweet small little terrier that came up to me just the other day before going on his business, but you understand.

So—what are the denizens of your neighborhood?

Since I have nothing coherent to talk about during this blog post, I’ll just tell you what’s been going on in the world of me.

Tomorrow, I have my official training session at the Birmingham Humane Society, which means that I will finally, finally, finally get to play with some dogs. I don’t think that I can verbally express how much I miss having Merlin around, or how much I just want to be with dogs. Please, let me get covered in dog fur and slobber and dirt for a couple of hours. Please, let me get dragged around a trail with a wag-tail high energy fuzzy demon on leash. Please, let me get to carry a plastic bag around while walking said demon to pick up his poop. Seriously. I just want to have some dog time.

I have officially read nine books so far this summer. My goal is to get to fifty, which is kind of a tall order, but if anyone is up to it, then I am. Also, one of my library books kind of exploded the other day. It was completely unnecessary and I have no idea how it happened. One minute, it was sitting in the car seat next to me while I was texting Lisa whilst waiting the the Humane Society parking lot for part I of orientation, and the next second, over half of the pages were splattered across the seat. Not really sure how I’m going to explain that one.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m currently in the middle of four books, some fairly inane fantasy fic book called Atherton: House of Power, a decent Diana Wynne Jones called House of Many Ways (which I’m still waiting for to get interesting), a rather typical teen drama called [Insert Typical Teen Boy Name] and [Insert Typical Teen Girl Name]’s Epic Road Trip (which I’m not even sure I’m going to finish), and the old classic Ender’s Game on audiobook.

Today I cleaned my room, because last night Mom told me she was ready for me to go back to college so my room would be clean again. This made me sad, so I’m going to try to keep it cleaner.

Tomorrow is also the first-half-of-the-season sort-of-almost finale for Doctor Who, which will be on hiatus until enough time has gone by for my hysteria to die down, or something. So basically, tomorrow is going to be an awesome day.

Because I literally am just rambling on, I’ll tell you about my new favorite game to play. It is called, Pick A Place to Live in Different States for After I Graduate and Work Out All the Necessary Parts, Like Where to Live and Where to Work and Does It Have a Nurse Residency Program and Where to Go to Church and Are There Parks Nearby Where I Can Walk My Future Dog. I mostly play it at work when there are two and three hour stretches where consecutive patients decide not to show up for their appointments.

In general, here are my criteria:

  • Needs to not be in Alabama, Mississippi, or Georgia. Tennessee might be acceptable.
  • Needs to be somewhere interesting topographically, as in mountains, lakes, or desert.
  • Needs to not be too big. Smaller is better.
  • If it’s got to be big, then it needs to offer some pretty awesome stuff in the other categories. Also, the crime rates shouldn’t be outrageous because I’d really prefer to keep my car and not walk out of my apartment one day and find it gone.
  • Needs to be relatively warm. Like, imagine an equator drawn from about the middle of Virginia across the nation. And nothing in Oklahoma or Kansas. Yuck.
  • Warmer is better. Just thought I would point that out.

Here are my first couple of options. I’ll even let you vote on them. Where do you think I should live if after I graduate?

Any other suggestions would be welcome. You’ll be saving me from endless hours of staring at the wall at work… trust me.

I could tell you about horseback riding lessons today, and how we learned to trot and how badly my pelvis hurts right now. I could tell you (endlessly) about the last Doctor Who episode and how much I love it and how completely devastated I am that there is to be a months-long hiatus right in the middle of the season. I could tell you that I’m staying up too late and that I know I’m going to have insomnia, again, even though I didn’t sleep a wink last night and didn’t nap today.

But instead, I am going to give you a list of ten things about me.

Occasionally, I like to make blog posts like this. I’ll be totally honest with you. It’s ruthless self-indulgence. I’m a girl, which means I have spent a good deal of my life staring into the mirror or cross-examining my personality to find every last single flaw and trying to decide just how much I really should hate myself. If you’re a girl, too, you know what I mean, and if you’re a guy, you’re probably just scratching your head and making monkey noises.

Luckily, I have not felt that way in quite a while. Therefore, I am going to list ten things about myself to share with you, even if they are random and seem completely unimportant to anything in the world at all. They’re just… me, and I like these things. Well, that’s not quite right. I don’t necessarily like all of these things, and some things I would like to change. But I accept them, if you know what I mean. They’re me, and I’m okay with that.

That feels pretty good.

  1. Nothing makes me quite as happy as petting a dog. This is one of those emerging traits about myself that has been true for a really, really long time, but that I’m only just beginning to quantify, mostly, I think, because the absence of Merlin has left such a horribly gaping hole in my life. I love traveling, love it so much that my desire to be somewhere Away sometimes actually physically hurts, but I think if I had a choice between spending a year traveling the world and having a dog, and I had to choose between the two… I might actually choose having a dog.
  2. I do not like it when adults at church or in any other setting tell me I’m beautiful. Go ahead, compliment my curls. I can reply with, “Thanks so much! I love them too!” But don’t tell me I’m beautiful, because you can’t say, “Thanks! My face is so rockin’ awesome!” There’s nothing to do but murmur thanks and continue to smile blankly at them, and you know that they don’t see you as a person, but a really nice painting that has come a long way since the awkward sixth grader with buck teeth and impossibly bushy hair. This probably sounds horribly grouchy and ungrateful, but there you go. I’d be boring as Alabama state history if I were perfect.
  3. Whenever I read something funny in a book, I immediately feel like I have to explain it to whoever is closest to me. I don’t think anyone else has ever found it nearly as funny as I do. I’m not really sure why I still persist with this habit.
  4. I have, mostly without meaning to, defined my entire post-pubescent life by my fears. I told my first mistake boyfriend once that the thing I was most afraid of was being responsible for someone else’s death, which really translated into hurting anyone else. You could tell it, too, by the way I acted. Similarly, you could tell when that ultimate fear shifted into the fear of being alone, and when that fear violently changed into a fear of being controlled in any way, and so on into the present. It’s one of the things I want to change, the way my actions are so often dictated by what I’m most afraid of, and how I can trace my life based on these fears.
  5. I love lists. This makes me a real writer, right? Right?!
  6. I love the freckles that pop up on my shoulders during summer time. I once read a guy’s blog where he talked about how the freckles on top of redheads’ shoulders freaked him out. I think this just solidified my love for them, because anything that gives me a feeling of ha! screw you! always makes me happy. Even if this is probably not a good thing.
  7. In general, I would much rather be immersed in a book or wandering around outside or being with an animal than having real human interaction. I’m an introvert. I am a Good Introvert, which means that in general I know how to interact with people and I’m usually not shy and I can handle my way in a crowd or in a leadership position. But I like being Alone, usually in larger doses than I like being Together.
  8. My personal life almost never makes me cry, but I can cry at almost anything else without any warning at all. For instance, the other day, I flipped open to a random page of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I didn’t even read the page or register the pictures. I just immediately started crying. We won’t even talk about when advertisements for poor animal shelter puppies come up on TV.
  9. When I walk down the hall from our living room to my bedroom, I am always staring at the floor for half of the walk to my room and then over-correct and walk so straight for the second half that I’m practically staring at the ceiling. I only registered this, like, two weeks ago. But I think I’ve been doing it my whole life. Go figure.
  10. I am probably the easiest person in the world to startle. I have nearly jumped out of my skin twice since we got home because of balloons. I see them move out of the corner of my eye and I—freak—out. I hear them moving behind me and think someone’s there even no one is home. And between Mom and Dad’s anniversary and Carter graduating, our house has been a practical scare fest. Plus Carter finding it hilarious to jump out at me and bang on the bathroom door. The only way I manage to keep this from happening at school, too, is by scaring everyone else first. Poor suitemates….

. . . . . . . . . .

For those of you who know me, or who have ever met me, or who even just read my blog, you know that I can be… a little dramatic. My emotions tend to polarize somewhat to either end of the spectrum, so if something makes me happy, like riding horses, then I am really happy, and if something makes me sad, then I am really sad, like when Merlin died back in February. Sometimes it can be thoroughly irrational, too. I once cried for about an hour about a shower head.

I’m a little crazy. It’s okay, though; I like being crazy, because it does make life a lot more interesting. I mean, really—when was the last time you wept because of a shower head? Okay, I’ll admit… I did get on meds after that incident, but you know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, I have been tearing through books like a PMSing teenager through chocolate this summer, and about half of these books have been by one of my favorite authors, if not my most favorite, Robin McKinley. Most of them I’ve read before, but that’s the sign of a good book, that you feel compelled to revisit it again… and again… and again. (If I could count up each time I’ve read one of the Harry Potter books, it would probably total up well over fifty. Not kidding.)

But one of the books was new. McKinley came out with a new book last year called Pegasus about the special relationship between two different races, humans and pegasi, in the fictional country of Balsinland. I really liked it. It was definitely her best recent book. I also found it interesting that the last three books she has released have centered on difficulties in communication between different species, or at least profoundly different human beings (dragons and humans in Dragonhaven, humans and pegasi in Pegasus, humans and, uh, fire priests in Chalice).

Anyways, I got to the last chapter and… everything exploded. The bad guy won. All of the progress that had been made in the book completely went down the drain. The two main characters, a bonded human girl and pegasus who were basically two halves of a whole were separated and told they could never be together ever again. And then it… just… ended.

I pretty much threw the book across the room. The book had betrayed me. This has happened once or twice before, but usually you can sort of feel it coming. Generally, I don’t like the book that much to begin with, or it just has that rambling feeling of this-is-never-going-to-wrap up, or the whole story is so hopeless you know it’s going to end with many tissues and heartbreak. Or it’s about a dog, which is a surefire signal that the dog is going to die at the end, which is why I never read books or watch movies about dogs despite my great love for them.

This one, on the other hand, totally knocked me out blind. I did not see it coming. This was something of what was going through my hurt, confused, and blisteringly despairing mind after I’d reread the last page for the fifth time trying to see if I’d missed anything (I hadn’t):

Robin? Robin? What have you done? I trusted you! I know you rarely end your books with sparkles and lollipops but… This? This?

And McKinley never, ever, ever does sequels, as a rule. And I have known this ever since I finished her Sunshine, and wanted more, and The Hero and the Crown, and wanted more, and Outlaws of Sherwood, and wanted more…. You get the picture.

So after throwing the (library) book around a few more times and contemplating setting it on fire, then maybe sending an entire pack of owls carrying Howlers to McKinley’s house, and perhaps personally running screaming into the woods in my inability to accept such a base destruction of my basic worldview—that books are the best friends in the world!—I decided to take the dive. To go to Robin’s website. To see if, indeed, her rule might be broken for just this once to rescue Balsinland and Ebon and Sylvi, the pegasus and the girl, from lifelong misery. Which, probably, would not be that long at all, since it really seemed to be a Dragonriders-of-Pern sort of relationship in which one can’t exist without the other.

And… guess what? There is a sequel! Coming out next year!!!

I just about fainted from relief. I’m not kidding. My blood pressure had been so high up until that point that when it suddenly calmed down, I got a little dizzy. It’s sort of like finding out that the guy you’ve liked since elementary school has finally wised up and realized that you’re the best thing that ever happened to him (or how I imagine that scenario, anyways).

I went around and told everyone in my house that it was okay, I wouldn’t be giving in fully to my madness and spending the rest of my days locked up in a mental ward because of The Book That Sent Me Over The Edge. None of them really looked like they cared but… guys. This was a big deal.

Anyways… I write this mostly because absolutely nothing of interest has gone on for the last few days. That’s the biggest news I’ve got. And, also, I am currently trying to push down the roiling sea of seething jealousy for my brother, who is a week away from his trip to Greece, and for Kelsey and Brittni, who are currently in Scotland, and the Harding Hippies, who are living on an island off the coast of Seattle for the summer in a barn, and everyone else who is not in Birmingham this summer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Birmingham, but man… I’d really rather be somewhere awesome.

Horseback riding tomorrow. That makes me happy. And then orientation for volunteering at the local animal shelter, where I will get to WALK and PET and PLAY WITH DOGS. So that is excited.

And also, Mom and I made homemade pasta today, which proceeded quite uneventfully, which means that there is no hilarious story but that it will taste good in my tummy for supper tonight.

Oh… I dreamed that I was Voldemort the other night. Talk about disturbing.

Three days to go until I next get to ride a horse. I’m pretty much counting down the minutes.

This morning Mom and I got up (early) and went to Pepper Place, the pretty delightful market in downtown Birmingham that is held during the summer months. It feels highly European, which of course makes my brain go a little fuzzy along the edges with unashamed longing, with its booths of vegetables and unique jewelry and fresh flowers, but there’s also a distinctly Southern flavor to it. I mean… you are most likely not going to be getting straight-out-of-the-ground sweet taters and muscadine jam in Florence or Paris. Most of you probably don’t even know what a muscadine is… and to be honest, I don’t really know what a muscadine is, either, except that it makes really good jam and wine.

But the best part of Pepper Place, beyond all shadow of a doubt, is the dogs. 99% of of them are amazingly well behaved (and the tiny, yippy, ratty ones aren’t even to be considered dogs, in my book) and there are all shapes and sizes. And let me just tell you—I simply cannot resist. I’m not sure how many times I said, “Mom, look at that dog!” and “Oh, that one is so cute!” (and Mom said, “Kellum, dogs are your obsession, not mine). My favorite, however, is “Can I please pet your dog?” to which to owners inevitably say “Oh of course!” and then I get to pet the Labrador-Great Pyrenees mix or the Malamute or the golden retriever or the (my favorites) Labradoodle puppy or standard poodle. I’ve never even thought about poodles before (because, you know, poodles are snob dogs), but… I think I might like one. Without the ridiculous poof balls on its head and stuff—I don’t believe it haircuts for dogs.

So what does this bring us up to? I want a miniature Australian shepherd, a St. Bernard, St. Charles cavalier spaniel, a standard poodle, a Labradoodle, maybe a Corgi or a miniature Pinscher, a Koikerhondje, a Toller… oh boy. The list just goes on forever.

Yesterday I got my summerly ridiculously ridiculous hilarious sunburn…. It’s on just the tops of my thighs and stops exactly where my shorts stopped, then in the shape of my tank top, even with a little V from my necklace. The only part of me that didn’t burn that should have was the tops of my feet, which instead just tanned beautifully… in the shape of my Chacos, of course. Because I always tan/burn in my Chacos, because I love the tan lines. Go ahead, you can laugh.

Also, can I say—my brother Carter just graduated from high school. Do you have any idea how old that makes me feel? ANCIENT. That’s how old. He ought to still be in about seventh grade, which is where he kind of got stuck in my mind somehow—I think that’s when he first started getting cool. And he’s going to Harding with me next year, which will be excellent, for we will be best friends forever etc., etc. We even have chapel seats together. Haha… this is most my plan, not his… obviously.

Here’s a picture of a dog. Because I love dogs. And one day, I shall have one all my own….

Of dogs, and cats, and horses

Posted: July 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The last two days have passed in a rather wonderful haze of animal fur and slobber.

Right now, our dear dog Merlin is lying at my feet, looking content and happy that the world exists and that his family exists in it and that he exists within his family. He does not care that he is in stage three heart failure, plagued by arthritis, and on more medicines that the four humans put together. He’s just happy to be here.

(Zacchaeus, that miserable excuse of a cat, just went outside, since we decided to let him out before he shredded the ficus tree. He does, however, now come when we whistle, usually appearing as though he did not want to come but for some reason cannot resist. Therefore, we call it the Imperius Whistle.)

Yesterday night, I spent the night with Molly at the home of the people for whom she is house-sitting this week. As the wife in this family runs a system of dog shelters, they have two rescue dogs. One, Eli, became particular friends with me. Never have I seen a dog more friendly, more cuddly, or more prone to laying in either extremely odd positions (head in your lap pointing back towards his rear, butt sticking straight up in the air), or right on top of you, squishing the breath straight out of you and forgetting that he is a big dog and not a Pomeranian. Also, never have I seen a dog so completely convinced that he is cute, while simultaneously having almost no hair on his body (though normal amounts on his head and paws) because the groom shaved him down and he has a thyroid condition that keeps his hair from growing.

Liza and I hung out practically all day today since she was the only person to show up to Girls’ Bible Study (but it was okay because we had fun). During the afternoon, we went across the street from the Gammons’ (where I live part-time this summer) to her aunt and uncle’s house to swim with her sister, Adeline. However, most exciting was the aunt and uncle’s horses, which I got to pet, and feed water melon, and get bitten by, and get breathed on by. One was pregnant, and the aunt promised that she would call me when it starts going into labor, so I can see the birth!

I love animals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

—Ben Williams