April 20, 2006

Farewell and Adieu...

...To ye fair Spanish newties
Farewell and adieu
To ye newties of Spain!

The nice thing about pets that you pull out of the yard is that, when you are TIRED of them, you can put them right back out in the yard. No harm no foul to the environment or even the pets. N EWSFLASH: Newts are kinda....boring. Now when they are LARVAE they are educational and interesting. They grow. They change colors. Their little larval legs develop and their tails change from flippery swim tails to long lizardy tails and they develop racing stripes. Alas, once the stripes come in, they spend 23 hours and 57 minutes every day sitting. under. logs. They don't even TWITCH.

Just looking at them sitting under logs with a tail bit sticking out here, a little newtly foot there, completely UNTWITCHING, makes my leg go to sleep in sympathy for THEIR umoving legs that are stuffed under logs. Then the rest of me goes to sleep out of sheer boredom. I like my pets a little more interactive and a little less...plastic-ish. SO.

We took the mini-log and the rocks from the aquarium and put them in the same pattern in the newt pond behind our house and allowed Fig, Spotty and Daisy Flower to roam free and breed or, more likely, sit under that same dern mini-log until old age claims them. (Posey had already and premptively gone to meet her maker for reasons that we could not assess without an autopsy. We couldn't really PERFORM an autopsy because the vast majority of Posey's mortal remains ended up inside Fig and Spotty. Apparently, the three minutes a day not spent log-sitting are squandered on cannibalism.)

The kids were sad for about 30 seconds untril I told them they could have a dog instead. Then they wanted to pitch the Newts down the toilet so we could head to Pet Smart's Saturday Animal Shelter sponsored adoption day FASTER.

Scott: We are not getting a dog.
*everyone looks crestfallen*
Scott: Okay, you can get a dog.
*everyone looks delighted*
Scott: As long as it never, never poops.
*everyone looks crestfallen*
Scott: It shouldn't have a digestive tract at all, really.

His argument was that HE would end up sole pooper scooper, no matter how many protestations of good faith promised pooper-scooping Sam and I faithfully wrote in blood for him PRE-dog. Sam promised anyway but I didn't even try. I was already kinda thinking in my head that dog poo removal, much like grilling meat and hauling furniture back and forth across the den until it "looks right", is a manly art.

So we went to Pet Smart ANYWAY to look at the shelter animals, and they had TWO houndly darlings that REALLY appealed to me, one a Basset-Beagle mix and one a Beagle-no-freaking-idea cross.

Me: *modeling both dogs for Scott* Which one would you like?
Scott: Whichever one has no butt-hole.

Alas, they both came rear-ily equipped with what were, presumably, working butt-holes, although I did try the argument that the one on the Bassett-y looking fellow MIGHT be purely decorative. Scott did not buy it. He did, however, buy everyone under 4 feet tall a GERBIL, so now we have Gerbils in the gaping hole where the newts used to sit. And sit. And sit. And sit.

Hotshot (Sam's) and Snickers (Maisy's) are messy and they run the VERY! LOUD! WHEEL! until I think about lifting my massively obese cat (who is WAY too gravity-bound and enormous to make the leap himself) up 4 feet onto the counter and allowing nature to take it's course in the form of a gerbil abbatoir.

NO, I am kidding. I quite like the little blighters. They have an inordinate affection for toilet paper rolls and whenever I open the top grill and lower one down to them, they stand up on their little back feetses and REEEEEEEEEEEACH up to grab it. Everytime I come around, they run to the hatch see what delightful thing I might have brought them, and respond with equal glee to the first and fortieth toilet paper roll of the day. They can take one out with their mighty front fangs in about 14 minutes. So goodbye amphibians, hello rodents----I am working my way up the pet evolutionary scale, heading toward dog with a bullet.

BY THE WAY, I am ADORING the poetry contest entries! And also By the way, I will post E. Lockhart's pick of B4B winners TOMORROW! HUZZAH!

Posted by joshilyn at April 20, 2006 8:10 AM

What about the parrot? Does that come before or after the dog?

Posted by: Jessie at April 20, 2006 8:46 AM

NO ONE IS LETTING ME HAVE A PARROT. It is very tragic. Parrots live 100 years and poo 40 times a day, so. Also, not getting any more babies or a horse or an Emu. DOG is really my best hope at this point.

Posted by: joshilyn at April 20, 2006 8:49 AM

Here is what you do, darling: You get a dog FOR SAM. It is SAM'S DOG. Hence, dog-poop-scooping remains a MANLY ART with a twist of "YOU WANTED A DOG, YOU WILL SCOOP THE DOG'S FECES" thrown in for good measure. Problem solved.

I myself am waiting until the children are old enough to care for a canine nearly without my intervention, and then we shall find a pooch to join our home. ;)

(Also, I don't know why it surprises me that a man with such a close relationship with the laundry wants a dog with no butthole. Still, funny.)

Posted by: Mir at April 20, 2006 8:55 AM

So if you were shorter you would've gotten a gerbil too? Isn't that height descrimination? How un-PC of Scott. Tell him you need a dog for your settlement.

Posted by: Nic at April 20, 2006 9:07 AM

No. Dogs. Ever. That's the policy around here and I'm sticking to it...Stand your ground, Scott! You've gotta fight for your right to...not scoop poop! See, now you want me for a neighbor even MORE. Admit it. ;)

Posted by: Amy-GO at April 20, 2006 9:25 AM

I had a pedigree Beagle. They howl. They howl a lot. And they are hyper. Gof ro the Basset and get a fat one. They are lazy. But they still howl. I couldn't take the howling. And i am with scott. If they didn't have butt-holes I'd be happy. Mouths either. ;) I want a bisingi (sp?). They don't howl or even bark and they don't shed.

Did you get the happy I sent? I am so excited for yout os ee it.

Posted by: Heather at April 20, 2006 9:52 AM

I think your kidlets have excellent pet-naming talents! I can't wait to see what they name the dog.

Posted by: DebR at April 20, 2006 10:00 AM

I have a Basset, I love my Basset, but he does poop. I can't lie about that. I can't. So all the good points: they are wonderful companions, wonderful lap warmers, mine doesn't tend to howl. In fact Ducky had to teach Arlo how to sing. It is actually cute. He is a protective scariedy cat.

The miss conceptions. Bassets are not small dogs - They are big dogs on short legs. They shed. The WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS ON THE COUNTER - mmmm dinner? ooh, yes, thank you. They have sensitive stomachs. Oh and there is a bit of a druel factor, but not bad.

I wouldn't trade mine for a million. 2 million maybe, but not a million.

Posted by: Cele at April 20, 2006 11:41 AM

I've been thinking about what kind of pet to get for our house... besides the baby I'll be birthing soon. But I want my son to have a pet, preferrably a dog. However I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would be the pooper-scooper since my husband is not very pro-canine.

Of course he wasn't pro-kid either until we came along.

But Gerbils, I could probably handle Gerbils.

Oh wait, no I couldn't. I used to have a Teddy Bear Hamster and she used to eat her babies. It was most disturbing to my eight year old self. I went to the pet store to get a boy hamster and I got the pregnant psycho cannibal hamster instead. Who knew?

Posted by: Heather Cook at April 20, 2006 12:44 PM

Oh, I can't wait to meet the little critters! And don't worry, you can still visit your parrot boyfriend anytime.

Posted by: Karen Abbott at April 20, 2006 1:24 PM

Another thing about parrots (and talking birds in general I guess) they may learn to answer the door and tell people to "come on in" without your knowledge. I've also met one that learned to tease the other pets and imitate the phone ringing.

I have three dogs. Keeshonden (which is just a fancy way to say 'more than one keeshond'). Yes they poop A LOT. There is a nice aroma in our yard on those hot summer days when everyone has forgotten to scoop. And they shed A LOT. But I love them anyway. They don't bark so much as talk. They are GREAT with our kids.

On the rodent end of things, I like pet rats. Very smart animals and they interact with you more than gerbils or hamsters. But most people just look at me funny when I suggest one :)

Posted by: Laura L at April 20, 2006 2:09 PM

Oh, gerbils are lovely pets! Also? Rats. We have a gorgeous sweet white rat named Snowflake. She is a dear.
But as for the poop issue, tell your husband that in the 17 months of dog ownership we have blissfully had with Carmelita (full blooded mutt o' love), I have yet to pick up a single bit of poop. The boys, the sturdy and hale boys do that.
Ok, I do have to pick up her poop when I take her on walks and she is so overcome by the SMELL and the JOY that she just has to poop on the nearest grass that isn't ours. Don't mention that. Also, don't mention the fact that vomit cleanup is all me.
I'm tellin ya.

Posted by: Kira at April 20, 2006 3:39 PM

Dog poop advice -- this is important, write it down.
"Big Dog = BIG POOP. Small dog = small poop." Since I loathe small, yippie dogs, we went a Cocker (got him on sale -- it shows). He poops ONCE a day, sleeps 23ish hours a day, and "tells" everyone that he gets no loving in our house. Yup, at least he was a bargain.

Posted by: Patricia at April 21, 2006 3:34 PM

One word of advice. Maybe two.
Once upon a time, 20 years ago. A certain 4 yr old swore on 2 stacks of Bibles and her newborn sisters life to never,ever,ever,ever open the top of the cage.Because of course bad, unspeakable things would happen if the little rodent got out. One night it was more than she could stand and while mommy & daddy & the afore mentioned swore upon baby slept, she OPENED THE CAGE. It took 3 weeks to find the little semi-rat. It should have been easy to just follow the fluff from the back of the living room couch. Where she had 3 babies nesting nicely. No, we didn't know she was pregnant when we got her. Later, we found where she had chewed a hole in the closet & under the sink and........well you get the picture. We were just glad her baby sister lived.

Posted by: desi at April 22, 2006 6:49 PM

I have a small breed that we call Connie Dog. She's a specialty mix (by a breeder) of Shiz-su, Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier. She eats Eukunuba dog food and poops small and proper. No table scraps. She's smart and only poops in her little area.

Posted by: Miss Audrey at April 23, 2006 12:26 AM

Your faithful readers speak truly, cricket. Big dog = big pile. Small dog = small pile but big irritation. But here's a thought - maybe your husband is right, because if you are using forty rolls of toilet paper a day, the strain of picking up after the dog might just undo you all. (Or are you collecting your neighbor's empty TP rolls. Shall I send you mine?)

Posted by: Amma D at April 23, 2006 5:37 AM


I have a sweet fantasy that the little "lost dog" signs I sometimes see kids putting up around the ghetto where I live are the final acts in the Dad vs. Dogpoop death struggles of the neighborhood. They quietly attest to a final Dad victory. I like it.
Your gloriously pet free Brother

Posted by: Your Brother at April 23, 2006 10:08 PM

I love your brother. Can I borrow him? Just for a little while.Just to carve me things and say funny things......then I'll give him back

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