Tag Archives: animals

Grilled Cheese, Pie and Some Kids With Really Bad Hair

So…we meet again.

I’ll be honest in saying that I’m still trying to get my thoughts together on a more introspective post, but lately my thoughts by the end of the day involve introspection along the lines of, “I would like a second opinion on the fact this jar of hummus is labeled as eight servings” and “Why does the letter ‘W’ have so many damn syllables?”


In other words, my brain is fried.

To be honest, these past couple of weeks have been a real emotional roller coaster. I’ve had some awesome unexpected things happen with work–I’m still one of those annoying people who loves my job–and my writing, but then I’ve also had some really unexpected crappy things happen.

We’re not talking life or death–I’m trying to keep perspective–but rather things beyond my control like a flooded basement with six inches of water and thousands of dollars of clean-up and sewer line replacement that wasn’t in the financial or emotional budget.

Let’s just say I’ve had more men going through my house this past week than I’ve had the past eight years combined. Unfortunately, none of them look like Bradley Cooper, unless Bradley Cooper suddenly morphed into a middle-aged, dirt-covered foreman with the stereotypical plumber’s crack.

Anyway, it kind of threw me because for the first time in a long, long time, I was feeling…happy? Content? I still have a long ways to go–and I need to save this ramble for that introspective post I’m pretending I will write–but I’m actually kind of okay. Not too high, not too low, but just settling into a new and slightly uncomfortable/unfamiliar normal. Then all this crap happened.

But, through the help of some friends and carbs, I’m trying to accept that something bad luck is just that–bad luck–and that good things happening are just good things happening. Sometimes it’s the result of hard work and sometimes it’s just a good thing. You have to accept both and not let either of them go to your head too much. It’s a constant work in progress.

But I digress–as usual.

Speaking of work, I thought I would drop a few links on you from 22 Words in case you want some good weekend reading. I’ll be back at some point with a more coherent post, but for now–what the hell is up with “W,” you know?

Detention Slips That Prove These Kids are Too Hilarious To Care (and hilarious comments on my Facebook page.)

30 Haircuts So Bad That These Kids Might Actually Hate Their Parents Now (We’ve all had a mullet…admit it.)

Hilarious Grocery Store Fails You Won’t Believe Actually Happened

30 Innocent Spelling Mistakes that Make These Kids Seem Completely Inappropriate 

20 Restaurants Where You Can Torture Yourself with Tasty but Insane Food Challenges (I’ll pass on 7 pounds of Italian food, thanks.)

Company Logos with Hidden Images You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t See Sooner

40 of the Most Amazing, Mouthwatering Pies You’ll Ever See 

The Most Breathtaking and Dangerous Flowers in the World (Mother Nature is pretty kick-ass.)

Ridiculous Pet Products that Prove Some People Are Crazy (Three words: Dog sex toys.)

True Animal Heroes Who Saved People From Certain Death

35 Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches that  Celebrate April as National Grilled Cheese Month (Seriously. So much delicious. The end.)

And finally, I’m honored to say that I’m included among a fabulously talented group of women as a 2015 BlogHer Voice of the Year Honoree for my “10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping” post. I’m not tooting my own horn–I think it’s broken–but rather humbled and grateful and extending my congrats to everyone there on that list.

With that said, rambling over. See you back here next time.

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Postage from PETA

To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Sunflower Smith and I am the communications liaison for PETA-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I’m writing you today (on this 105-percent fair trade paper with an animal-free pencil I carved from repurposed oak that passed from natural causes) to express our collective opinion—no, our stance—that several common clichés be banned from the English language.

Why? Because of the cruelty towards animals that they reflect.

Language is a very powerful tool, and by suggesting that one “beats a dead horse” or that it’s “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey,” people are reinforcing barbaric behavior.

We have a comprehensive list we would like to submit. For example, “The early bird gets the worm.” Yes, the bird gets fresh food, but what no one talks about is what happens to the early worm. Death! That’s what happens to the worm!

I’ll shoot you that list via email next week.

But today I would like to use cats as our most pressing concern. Not only are they often mentioned being “on a hot tin roof”—disturbing for both the fact that they are roaming outdoors and that they’re being forced to endure harsh conditions—but they are also said to have “nine lives,” which we all know just isn’t the case.

However, the repetition of that phrase has led people to place felines in the linguistic lagoon of doom through a reinforced order of cliché operations, working under the assumption that they will survive.

Example A: “No room to swing a cat.” Why can’t you say, “No room to swing a toddler?” They like swinging much more than cats. Or just say that there’s not that much room? Exactly. Laziness.

Example B: “Let the cat out of the bag.” Why is the cat placed in a bag? Are there air holes? Death!

Example C: “Cat got your tongue?” Although we admire the tenacity of the cat in fighting back, we disagree with the notion that cats are violent creatures that seek physical revenge. They most likely would just choose to ignore you.

Example D: “More than one way to skin a cat.” I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Instead I’m choosing to use the phrase, “There is more than one way to brush a cat,” as you can do it the traditional way or you can directly apply the lint roller and cut out the middleman. No death! No hair! Win-win!

Example E: “Curiosity killed the cat.” So being inquisitive is a negative thing that should carry a warning of death? Without curiosity, we wouldn’t have new ideas or covers for electrical sockets! We prefer the phrase, “Curiosity enlightened the cat.”

You know what killed it? Putting it in a bag or swinging it around! (See above.)

So as you can see, these are just a few of our feline examples. Next we will have to address things like, “Killing two birds with one stone.” First of all, when in history was there an overabundance of birds and a shortage of stones? Second, death!

This is obviously a very pressing matter that requires your attention as soon as possible. Together we can reprogram the collective public belief that cruelty towards animals is okay when used to try and express a vapid human sentiment.

In other words, we can “teach an old dog new tricks.”*

Thank you for your time,


*We approve of this phase because it reflects our belief that canines exhibit the intellectual power to learn additional skills at an advanced age. While humans might not be as smart, we hope to at least shape the young minds of the future.

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The Negotiator

The other day I came home to a chipmunk domestic in my yard. It was like COPS: Small Woodland Creature edition, minus the mini wife beater tanks and camera crew.


Considering there was plenty of food under the feeder for all to enjoy, it made me wonder what could tick off these little buggers so much that they would scream and chase each other around the yard. Does he always leaves the seat up? Does she only cook up corn? 

Yes, I spent a few moments pondering this.

Perhaps I’ve just been watching CSI: NY for too long. It’s pretty much the only “serious” show that I’ll watch on TV, due in part to the fact I feel a special connection with Gary Sinise after he and his Lt. Dan Band—yes, it’s a thing—were the entertainment at a Halloween party about five years ago.

But I do like the characters and the show, despite the fact each episode would only last about 20 minutes if you took away the music and shots of the medical examiner looking fascinated every time he picked up a scalpel (accompanied by aforementioned music.)

While I don’t live in New York and am fairly confident that I’m not part of an underground Mafia ring, I am a little hyperaware of certain things.

I think people sitting in their cars in empty parking lots look creepy—even if they’re just taking a lunch break, going into a bank makes me feel like I’m part of “Oceans 11” minus the hot guys and I assume anyone who pulls up behind me at an ATM is the Unibomber out for a jaunt.

But if (god forbid) something did every happen to me, I’m pretty sure I would be the world’s worst hostage.

The perps would most likely “remove me from the situation” quickly or surrender to authorities ASAP, preferring jail to my incessant requests to get home in time to watch the new “Chopped.”

Along with the wrath of me missing my TV show, they would have to contend with the fact I drink water all the time. Drinking water all the time combined with a bladder the size of a Cheerio means I have to go to the bathroom every five minutes.

And hell hath no fury if this “situation” falls within any of the five windows during the day in which I engage in my feedings.

If for some reason things did get carried away and a ransom note was required, the criminal would have to let me put my artistic OCD skills to use in cutting out all the letters from magazines myself. In addition, I would need to edit and possibly revise said ransom note before it could be sent out to authorities.

If it has my name on it, I want it to look good.

At any rate, the news description of what I was wearing when I went missing would probably cause my family to pretend they don’t know who I am. “Yoga pants, a sweatshirt and a streak of hummus in her hair? Nope, I don’t know her.”

That would be unfortunate, because I’m pretty sure the criminal would ante up funds simply to send me away if my above requirements weren’t met. After all, I have chipmunks to feed, and apparently you don’t want to piss those guys off.

You never know what they can do.

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Pet Cemetery

Neighbor’s cat passed away. Just buried it in my backyard. He’s wearing a sweater. Carry on.

This was my tweet the other night as I sat at my dining room table, just a bit before dusk, when I looked up and saw my mom and two friends walk out to my garden with a shovel and a large lump wrapped in a blanket. I knew what that meant.

It was time for a pet burial.


This isn’t him, but it looks a lot like him—only, you know, alive—and I needed a visual.  Play along.

A Little Background

My mom has a pet cemetery that is currently home to everything from our cats  and birds to friends’ pets that needed a final and proper resting place. All are buried with their favorite “thing,” be it a toy, a blanket or a treat.

This includes my late neighbor’s dog who we buried a couple weeks ago on a dark rainy night, clomping through the muddy back yard with a shovel and a bundled up blanket. We concluded the event by serenading her with “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as it was in my head for some reason and “raising the roof” fit the mood.

Surprisingly, my mom’s neighbors haven’t called the cops. Yet.

We haven’t run into many issues, save for having to keep my bird in the freezer for three days or having to cut holes in a shoebox for my pet rabbit when I was in elementary school. Evidently rigor mortis couldn’t wait to set in until after I got home from wherever it is six-year-olds go, so the little rabbit’s legs were sticking straight out by the time we tried to put him in the box.

We cut some holes. We worked around it.

Some people might think we’re crazy—I wouldn’t argue with that claim—but I would argue it’s not because we care about our pets. They become members of the family and deserve a proper goodbye, just as we deserve to mourn them. We plant flowers, we place markers, we know that they were loved.

Sam I Am

That brings us to me sitting at my dining room table, watching this cat burial.* *It was cold. I stayed inside. Respects could be paid later, as he wasn’t going anywhere.

The normal view of my birdfeeder—often surrounded by squirrels drunk on fermented fruit and power—was instead filled with my mom and my late neighbor’s two best friends. They were there to bury Sam, a 16-year-old 25-pound cat who had lived with all of them at some point.

Seeing as he lived next door to me for a while and liked me better than crazy neighbor lady anyway, it was thought a proper burial spot would be in my garden.

Things appeared to be progressing normally until I saw my mom hand Sam off to Jeff and pull something bright red out of a bag. There was a little bit of discussion before Jeff unwrapped the blanket and held Sam up by his armpits.

At this point I was intrigued.

The next five minutes involved my mom carefully trying to finagle what appeared to be a bright red dog sweater over the head of a dead cat as Jeff tried to keep Sam up in the air and maneuver his legs through the holes.

When at last it appeared Sam was “warm and styling up in heaven,” as my mom would later tell me, he was raised up in the air for final approval before being wrapped back up, placed gently in his new dirt bed and sprinkled with catnip.

A stone angel marker now designates this space, both to commemorate his furry little soul and to warn me not to dig there when I plant my spring seeds. There was a minor incident a couple years ago that involved planting flowers and hitting a shoebox, so it’s better safe than sorry.

But don’t worry.

Nothing larger than a 30-pound cat has been buried at my mom’s.

When the day comes, Gram is safe.

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Buy the Book. Save a Kitten

I’ve had a lot of people tell me I should write a book. And while I don’t like people telling me what to do, once in a great while I will humor them.

So I wrote a book.

You should probably buy it


Thank you to Amy for her help with the covers.

Before you go thinking anything fancy, let me tell you that it’s self-published and the whole process has take more time and energy (and money) than I planned on. The pictures aren’t exactly stellar and I’m sure there’s at least one rogue punctuation mark somewhere.

But I decided I wanted a collection of my words I could hold in my hand and give to my mom,  something I couldn’t accidentally delete while looking for a vegan cheesecake recipe on the Internet.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00060]

This is the front and back cover and it looks better in person, so you should probably just buy it.

So, the result is this book—150 pages of posts from the past two years that you can read while you’re on the crapper, either in paperback or Kindle format from the CreateSpace store orAmazon.

But that’s not the cool thing.

The cool thing is that if you buy this book, you can help save a shelter animal (this is where the kitten and/or dog and/or one-eyed hamster come in.)

I didn’t publish this book to try and make money, as that is a laughable notion. I published it so I could share my crazy view on things and maybe make you laugh, smile or feel a bit more normal. So if you invest a little bit of time and money into reading it, I will give a little bit of time and money back.

Any profits that are made from this book will go directly into an “Animals Have Issues” fund for the Humane Society and used to fund our annual gift.

You know I love my shelter animals, and more than 8 million animals enter shelters every year. As you know, you get what you give, and for the cost of some overpriced coffee, you can get something cool and give back something tangible (and avoid having to listen to someone in front of you order a half-caff, skim, sugar-free, extra hot mocha with 1 3/4 pumps of calorie-free syrup, extra oxygen and 75 sprinkles.)

So with a click of the mouse, a sharing/StumblingUpon/Tweet of this post, we can build up some kick-ass support for some animals that, well, have issues of their own and need some help.

Sound like a plan?

So in case you’re like me and need things spelled out for you:

  1. Buy the book either here or here and the Kindle version here
  2. Tell a friend or ten
  3. Write a review on Amazon and help me get the word out
  4. Save a kitten and a puppy and some abandoned one-eyed hamster
  5. Enter the pantheon of awesomeness

Disclaimer: Amazon is still building the page, so there’s no description or “look inside” feature yet, but you can still buy it and I’ll update this when it’s done.

Also, I’m still trying to figure out how to pimp the book out with a picture/link on the front of my blog. It seems WordPress doesn’t allow the convenient link from Amazon, so I’m trying to figure out an alternative without violence (help!)

I promise not to hit you over the head with this for too long—I’ll be back to my regularly rambling neurosis soon enough.

But for now?

I wrote a book.

It’s the holiday season and this makes a fast and easy gift.

You should probably buy it. 

Buy the book. Save a kitten.  

*Press materials available upon request

CSI: Pond/Fountain thing

For the past couple of weeks I have been enjoying the soothing sounds of a gentle waterfall. No, I have not neglected to fix my runny toilet once again, but rather I speak of the fountain/pond in my backyard oasis.

We—and by “we” I mean my mom—got it running once again with the help of a new pump and some elbow grease, and the gentle tinkling of the streaming water has been providing a relaxing background as I swat off the bugs of summer.

Well, that went down the crapper.


The damn things sprung a leak—again—and has since emptied itself out to reveal a new spot for annoying white fuzzies and tree debris to congregate. I’m not quite sure why it happened, but I would like to blame something other than the fact that it simply sprung a leak.

Enter CSI: Pond/Fountain thing and the short list of suspects.

The Diva Chipmunk

When I left for work the other morning, there was a chipmunk frolicking near the crime scene. Due to my excitement at getting to work at 6:30 a.m., I failed to inform him that I was not running a private spa for small woodland creatures. It’s possible that if he chose to swim laps with unpedicured nails, the liner of said pond could have been torn.

However, I feel the small woodland creatures enjoyed the pond as much as I did and doubt this was an impulsive act to display disappointment in my failure to supply little fuzzy robes, acorn appetizers and complimentary slippers. I have eliminated all diva chipmunks as suspects.

The Masked Menace

While I have a soft spot for small woodland creatures, I have no such feelings towards large bastard raccoons that destroy my birdfeeder and refuse to fear me.


The first time I looked out my window and saw this thing climbing up the stairs, I thought it was a bear. (Never mind the fact that we don’t really have bears in my area.) This beast is huge, and when I ran out flailing my arms and making crazy sounds, it simply moved one step lower and looked positively bored. I swear I heard it sigh before slowly retreating, only to return the second I went back into the house.

So while I would love to nail this sucker to the wall for the crime in question, considering there is no food involved, I don’t think it would have the motivation—other than to piss me off.

Ernie the Gnome

With Ernie, jealousy could most certainly be motive. Uncle June gets a fair amount of mini-face time on the blog, whereas Ernie only appears in warm-weather situations.


It’s very possible that these feelings of inferiority could have manifested themselves into a vindictive act of vandalism, but alas, he would have been destroying his own little humble abode. I feel he must be eliminated from the suspect list as well—along with the turtle.

Long Shots

I thought about blaming the neighbor kids, seeing as they have been wandering around the neighborhood with their improvised nunchucks and potent pellet guns. But they haven’t really ventured into my yard since I moved in, at which point in time the  little mouth breathers rode their bikes across my front lawn and dug holes in my backyard because the old owners apparently allowed that.

I calmly told them that I didn’t allow that behavior and was not above installing an invisible electric fence to prevent a repeat occurrence. I then added that both Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy had died tragic deaths as a result of their reckless excavation and bicycle operation through my yard.

With that said, they now call me “Miss Abby” and only come over when selling overpriced products for various Scout troops and cults they belong to.

So they’ve also been eliminated as suspects, leaving me right back where I started from—an empty pond and empty leads. But this investigation has not been for naught, as I’m thinking the neighbor kids might be included as possible allies in the war against the raccoon.


Let’s put those nunchucks and pellet guns to good use, shall we?

*No animals were harmed in the writing of this post, nor will they be harmed in the future. I can’t speak for any psychological damage that may have resulted from finding out the Tooth Fairy is not real.

A Good Nine Lives

Wendell, my Fuzzy Little Soul Sister, reached the end of all nine of her lives this week.

She was 16,  but I’m still sad.

However, this isn’t a sad post—I promise. When it comes to death, I think a little bit differently than most people. I can usually frame it in a “circle of life” type of way. It’s inevitable, and instead of fight it or fear it, I tend to accept it.

But I’m still sad.

Anyway, Wendell the One-Toothed Wonder Cat’s situation just called to mind memories of pets gone by and some interesting circumstances surrounding their departure.

Keep in mind the fact that my mom is Dr. Doolittle and it’s normal for us to spend two hours coaxing a chipmunk out of a drainage pipe in 90 degree heat (he made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused), chasing a loose goat through briar patches (I made it out safe, if not a bit dazed and confused) or picking up stray dogs on the way to job interviews (I got nothing for this one—so much for symmetry).

We’ve had tons of animals throughout the years, but these are just a few examples.

I will keep the stories short and sweet, unlike that disclaimer.

  • First there was Mitten, aka “Bun,” my rabbit when I was in preschool. The creativity for his name was inspired by the fact that he was a bunny with a white mittened foot. “Bun” met an untimely death at the hands of a homicidal cage cleaner—aka “dad”— that “accidently” used harmful chemicals to clean. I was at a friend’s house and by the time I got home, the body was already stiff. Determined to bury him in our backyard pet cemetery, holes were cut in a shoebox so his legs could stick out. I think we get points for creativity there.
  • In kindergarten, I received the best dog in the world and named him Cromwell (obviously more sophisticated than Mitten.) I don’t have a picture of him because I have no scanner, but he was a peak-a-poo and the cutest, most loving thing ever. There was an incident and he had a little crooked nose, but he was awesome. He lived to be about 3,000 in dog years, and when he passed away we had him cremated. He came back in something the size of a business card. I’ve seen more ashes on a sidewalk outside Starbucks.
  • Gonzo, a beautiful cockatiel, joined the family a couple of years later and lived to be about 3,000 in bird years. As I’ve mentioned, the little feathered bastard choose to pass away while I was on my first business trip ever (New York) a few years ago. My mom had to keep him in the freezer until I could come home and we could have a proper burial. It was very traumatic for all three of us (especially Gonzo.)
  • Speaking of the freezer, I also had to freeze a dead fish for some people I was housesitting for. That was awkward.

There are many more stories I could share—a cat getting it’s head caught in the rails of our dining room chair and me having to butter it to get it out (not unlike my mom buttering my own head when I was little and got my head caught in the rails of the stairway) or an accidental archeological find while planting flowers in the pet garden, for example—but I’ll leave you with just one more.

  • I would often dog sit for some people down the street. (Don’t worry—there is no freezer involved in this story.) They have a big dog and a little mutt that is about 3,000 years old in dog years—Burrie. When I was first introduced to the dogs, I was told that Burrie squatted when he peed instead of lifting his leg. That’s not that weird in and of itself, but the reason he squats is because he doesn’t have a penis. Apparently he was hit by a car when he was little and it was ripped off, never to be seen again. He was taken to the shelter and was going to be put down, but this family paid for his surgery and adopted him. I was told by the husband that if his penis ever gets ripped off, he just wants to be put down.

At any rate, Wendell will be missed.

She was buried in the garden cemetery among the many animal companions we’ve loved and lost throughout the years.  We’re all sad, but I can’t wait for the flowers in that garden to bloom—especially the catnip.

Plus, it helps to remember that things could always be worse…

(But I’m still sad.)

Assuming their heads aren’t falling off, do you have a pet story to share? Mishaps? Cool tricks? Great name?

Potty Mouth

Alternate title: To pee or not to pee, that is the question…

I was in a clothing store the other day when a mother and her offspring came into the dressing room. Her little angel was shoved into the stall with the instruction to “be a big girl and come out with that dress on.” A minute later the “big girl” replied with, “Do they have toilet paper in here?”

I’m not kidding, and I’m also still not remotely interested in shopping or other people’s children.

Anyway, the mom freaked out and averted crisis, leaving me with her “Didn’t I ask you if you had to go before we left?” and the idea for this blog post. You can thank the incontinent angel.

Thanks to early (undiagnosed) onset of OCD, my mom never had to worry about asking me if I had to go to the bathroom before we went anywhere. It was—and still is—one of my compulsions.


Now let me explain.

Although I do have a bladder the size of a Fruit Loop and drink tons of water, it’s much more mental. If I’m going to be going somewhere or doing anything, I have to go to the bathroom first. Physically I might not have the urge, but I’m worried that I’ll have to go when I won’t be able to. Thus, I take preventative measures.

Going to bed? Go to the bathroom.

Going for a walk? Go to the bathroom.

Headed to a meeting? Go to the bathroom.

Ready to eat? Go to the bathroom.

While it’s normal to attend to basic human functions, I realized early on that I had a slightly dysfunctional take on the peeing situation.

When I was little, my mom would tuck me in, I would say the same exact prayer in the same exact way and place (another OCD thing, as I still say that prayer even though half the people and pets in it are dead now and I’m not religious) and it would be assumed that I was fast asleep.

However, I was paranoid and would compulsively get up and pee after going to bed. It got to the point where I would be sneaking out of my room and going 10-15 times, quietly trying to shut my door so that my parents didn’t hear me get up. Sometimes it worked, but other times the damn click of the doorknob alerted them to my covert urinary operations.

We discussed this issue and to be honest, I don’t remember how we scaled it down from 20 times a night to one or two. Maybe I got lazy or bed restraints were involved. Either way, it eventually diminished and morphed into some other dysfunction over time.

But I still have a bathroom thing.

Plane trips and movies freak me out, as I’m never sure if I’ll have immediate access if needed. I still plan long walks and activities on whether or not a bathroom will be nearby. It’s not that I don’t trust my strong and youthful bladder, but it’s just one of those things I need for reassurance, one of my neurotic quirks (I prefer that term to compulsions, thank you very much.)

I do remember the first time I tried to “hover” though.

My mom was quick to school me in anti-public restroom behavior, and we were shopping somewhere I can’t recall (but I can assure it it wasn’t in a dressing room.) I remember I was wearing this denim shirt and dress combo; the skirt had three ruffle things, all a different color. Don’t ask why I remember this, but I do.

Anyway, I pissed all over my skirt.

Hover fail.

Thankfully I’ve perfected the maneuver since then, but there are occasional incidents when I realize I peed on my hand when wiping without any idea how.

Now I’m just oversharing and embarrassing myself.

Let’s blame it on shopping and children.

If you’ve made it through this post, you deserve something special, so I present to you a baby raccoon taking a bath. It’s completely unrelated, but I just wrote about peeing and it’s cute. Hopefully that balances out.


Dog Day Detour

Since I covered sex and religion in my last two posts, I thought I would switch it up a bit and attempt another RDC prompt. Don’t worry though—an upcoming post is dedicated to plastic women with big boobs.

This week’s Red Dress Club assignment is to write – fiction or non-fiction – about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

red writing hood

With a phone interview in 10 minutes, I was almost home when a dog on the street brought my thoughts back to Earth. Skin and bones, a soiled white, the ragged Pit Bull stood as a stark contrast to the neighborhood.

I slowed down my truck. She slowed down as well.

I looked at the clock. She looked so confused. 

First lesson: Think with your heart and not just your head.

This dog was obviously dropped off on our street, callously left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar territory.

She didn’t know this. I did.

Pulling in the closest driveway, I got out and realized I had nothing I needed. No collar, no blanket, no leash.

She didn’t know this. I did.

Second lesson: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I did have dog treats and something that resembled a leash of sorts in the backseat of my Blazer, but with no collar I was forced to get creative. She must have sensed my good will, or the opportunity for free food, as she was sweet as could be and cautiously approached me.

Her nails were jagged and long; her delicate face was soiled and scratched, eyes filled with a look of confusion and hopeful trust; her ribs jutted out like prison bars.

I gave her a treat.

There was no struggle when I threw my makeshift collar/leash around her neck and led her to the truck. I dropped the hatch and spent the next five minutes trying to convince this dog that jumping into the back end was the plan.

She didn’t know this. I did.

After hefting her front paws on the tailgate, I was able to boost her massive frame into the back. I gave her a treat.

Off we went.

Third lesson: Homeless dogs will not be content being shoved in the back of a Blazer—and they stink. A lot.

Three seconds into the journey, my canine companion decided to fling herself from the back of the Blazer to the passenger’s seat.

She wasn’t into sticking her head out the open window on her side, but she was into sticking her head out the window on my side. Nails digging into my legs, dirty hair shedding across my lap, the makeshift collar doing nothing to restrain her.

We eventually made it to the Humane Society, where after some paperwork she was turned over to the competent staff that would eventually clean her up, trim those nails and prepare her for her new life.

Fourth lesson: There are still people who understand that life happens—usually to me at the most inopportune time.

I drove back home and prepared myself for the call in which I had to explain to a prospective employer that I missed our phone interview because I was detoured rescuing a homeless Pit Bull from the not-so-mean streets of northwest Grand Rapids.

I didn’t think giving her a treat would work.

She understood. We rescheduled, most likely under her assumption that even if I was making up the story, those creative powers could be editorially harnessed and come in handy on the job. I’m not sure.

Either way, I got the job.

The dog got a home.

Detour taken.

Lessons learned.

My Fuzzy Little Soul Sister

This is Wendell.


I don’t really have a more recent picture of her, but this one pretty much sums up her enthusiasm.

Wendell is 16 years old, and even though I moved out of my mom’s house a couple of years ago, I still consider her my cat.

She was homeless and rescued as a kitten, taken in by my mom and named after a song about a homeless man—Mr. Wendell—from an obscure band that was popular for an hour when I was in sixth grade.

I’m pretty sure her senility has kept her from noticing my absence, but it could just be her arrogance refusing to acknowledge my move all of three miles away. When I stop by she will occasionally make an effort to say hello, if it’s convenient for her, and it recently occurred to me that even though she only has one tooth, matted hair and a crooked crotch—we’re actually a lot alike.

Behold the evidence:

The Hermit Stage

We enjoyed her company for a good 8-9 years before she decided to disappear for a spell, surfacing only to occasionally eat, use the litter box and let us know precisely how uninterested she was in our existence.

As she aged, she went through a “rebirth” of sorts and emerged as a spry yet slightly senile and skinnier version of her former self. For the past couple years she’s been happy, fun and entertaining again, if not a little prone to selective hearing and occasional  undereating.


When it comes to dealing with others, she takes no shit. Don’t bother me her when I’m  she’s sleeping, don’t bother her when she’s eating and don’t bother her if she’s going to the bathroom. If you follow those rules, you’re probably safe.

She’ll let you know if you’re not.

Social Skills

She’s perceived as antisocial at times, but is really quite the opposite and has a great heart.

When people try to get close to her, she often runs away until it’s convenient for her. But if ignored, she will make her presence known through subtle physical cues—a vocal range of noises that make sense only to her and/or awkward physical gestures that may include swipes with unmanicured claws or vain attempts to bite that result in a pathetic painless gumming.

* For the record, we will apply the gumming and clawing to me in a metaphorical sense, as even though I don’t get manicures and have all of my teeth, I have yet to resort to blatant physical attacks. 


Picky Palette

Even though she’s thin, she will only eat organic dry cat food and occasional treats as her mood will allow. While she’s been offered a variety of brands and options to try, she’s dead-set on organic or nothing at all. Budget be damned. 


We differ in that she does enjoy sweets and meats, in moderation. 

Thrill of the Hunt

She loves it.

When the mood hits and a bug appears, she will delight in chasing a fly around. Batting it here and trapping it there, she will let it escape before claiming her dominance once again. Once she gets it—the fly and the reassurance that she still has it—she gets bored and moves on.

Extracurricular Activities

Catnip makes her happy and she’s very content to lick herself (and appears to neither desire nor require a partner in this activity.)

*No comment.

Easily Amused

She finds joy in eating, sleeping, laying in a patch of sun and aimlessly chasing after the light from a laser pen or a reflection on the wall. And as we know, I do as well. 

Of course we have our differences—namely the fact that she’s a cat with only one tooth, matted hair and a crooked crotch—but some are more subtle.

  • I have two legs and she has four, four that are quite hairy. While I’ve never “enjoyed” shaving—and would question anyone who does, quite frankly—I take this female burden in stride. She opts to play the feline vs. female card and has never voluntarily had her excessive body hair removed.
  • Financially speaking, she’s basically played the “I was homeless and orphaned” card for 16 years, meaning she’s never had a job, paid taxes or contributed monetarily to the household. While we differ in that respect, I have to give her props for pulling it off so well.
  • Finally, she doesn’t enjoy the outdoors. Attempts to put her on a leash and roam the backyard have resulted in not-so subtle physical cues—a vocal range of ungodly loud noises and ninja-like physical gestures that included swipes with unmanicured claws, bites that resulted in somehow breaking skin with the one tooth that she has and an unpleasant spraying of urine (hers, not mine.)

Although we have our differences, I love the little one-toothed wonder. So when I stop by I occasionally make an effort to say hello—if it’s convenient for her, of course—brush her a bit and offer some catnip.

With us Leos, flattery won’t get you everywhere, but it can get your furry foot in the door.

After all, it takes one to know one.