Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Beasts of the Backyard

MH900446578It’s why we live on the Texas Gulf Coast, those rare perfect weather days.  The temperature is 75, the fields have been mowed and I smell fresh cut grass and  hear flocks of geese as they fly in formation from the inland lakes back to the reedy marshes of the Gulf.  Of course tomorrow the temperature could be 80 or 40 with rain and 50 mph winds, but today is beautiful and my dogs are making me laugh.

My dogs love it as well and spend a good bit of their day lying out in the sun in the cool temperatures – as long as I leave the back door open. For some reason, however, if I close the back door, they rush the door and start banging on it to be let in. Once inside, they fight over who gets to lie in the slim beam of sunlight on the floor. I have two theories about their reasoning in this matter. Either they think that if the door is closed they will miss out on a possible snack because they can’t hear us opening the pantry door (because the last bite of any snack is always shared 7 ways) or they think if the door closes, then they will be abandoned to the outside forever. The first theory has some validity, but the second is just absurd, which guarantees it’s the right one. Now, these are dogs that have lived inside our house since the day they came to our home, they each have their own bed, they lay on our couches and watch TV and there is abundant food available to them at any time. However, let that door close and suddenly they act like orphans from Oliver Twist. “Please please don’t abandon us to the wilds of the backyard, cruel mistress. Our soft padded feet are meant for better things and we are without our sweaters. We are delicate flowers at your mercy and have no snacks.”

It’s just not nice weather days when they act ridiculous about the backyard. Let there be someone working out back which means I have to keep them in the house (in order not to annoy the workers with the substantial amount of canine digging assistance that will be offered) and you will see 7 noses of varying sizes pressed against the glass like they’ve never been allowed outside a day in their life. This, of course, is after they’ve acted like blood thirsty devil dogs snarling and barking when they first see the workers. This is for my benefit for truly their only concern is if the workers brought lunch and know the last bite rule.

The cat doesn’t help the situation. He will parade up and down the porch, preening where they can see him through the glass, like he’s saying, “Look at me, free to be outside, trusted by our dear mistress. Oh, you poor poor pups, I am so very sorry you can’t enjoy being out here for it is indeed lovely to be free.”  This is the same cat that we rarely see from sun up to sun down now in full glorious display on the porch just to torment the dogs.  Thank you Mow-Mow.

Before the dogs go to bed they go out one last time and with the opening of the back door, turn into nocturnal feral hunters of the vile night creatures hiding in the backyard.  I am fairly certain, however, that neither the slugs nor orb spiders are planning a take-down of man or dog-kind anytime soon, but that is a moot point so we move on.   They run through the flower bed,  around the pool, they stand at the far fence corner and bark and snarl threats at the darkness and then run to the other corner and do the same thing and then it’s back to the flower bed to begin again.

At this point it is obvious they have no intention of coming in even though I am standing barefoot in my pajamas waiting.  As usual, the tattletale of the bunch, Peaches, comes back to let me know the others are savages and we should just go in and let the night have them.   I sigh and get out the flashlight and take a step out into the dark, trying not to step on the slugs, and start threatening bodily harm to 6 dogs.  Hopefully no one hears me and takes it serious and calls the SPCA.  I only threaten 6 because Peaches is right beside me making sure I know, yet again, she is a good and obedient dog. Finally, I hear bushes and palms rustling and the padding of paws in the grass – success.  I head back inside and  one by one the beasts slink back inside.  They know I’ve had enough and a bedtime treat is  unlikely, but as they go by with their heads down, their tails are in the air and there are secret smiles on their faces as if to say “It was worth it.”

Goodnight to all.  I wish you grace, contentment, a sharing heart, and compassion for all living things in 2012.

©2011-2012 itsa5doglife  All Rights Reserved

Peace on Earth and Bad Dogs

????????On Saturday, people who I love will gather at my house and celebrate Christmas Eve.  We’ll have delicious finger foods, wonderful desserts including a blueberry pie with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.  If you don’t live where they sell Blue Bell, my deepest condolences, you really should consider Texas as a vacation destination just for the ice cream.   Tomorrow I will be cleaning and organizing like a fiend and that will include dusting the tops of tall things I usually don’t worry about for the people who are taller than me and can see them, and the dreaded cleaning of the fridge because people will be opening it.  It will get it done, all will be fine.

Today, however, has been a different story.  It started out okay; I went to my favorite grocery store to pick up some last-minute items, some rolls, stocking stuffers and items for our gift exchange game, rolling my cart down the aisle to Christmas carols, feeling very Christmassy.  I enjoyed the trip, all went well.  I came home, put everything up, steam cleaned my rugs, washed some other rugs and basically just did a few things, and finally decided to go and get my nails done.  That was nice and I love my sparkly red fingernails and toes which is very unusual for me as I am not a girly girl, but it looks festive for Christmas.  Still feeling Christmassy.

My dogs had been outside for this short time while I was gone, so I came in first, let them in, patted each of their furry heads and went out to the building to talk to my husband for no more than 5 minutes.  I walk back through the mugginess and light rain to the house, thinking about  filling up the stockings, and as soon as I enter the living area I see it.  Two of the gift bags from under my tree are now confetti and to add insult to injury, someone (I have my suspicions) peed a circle on my clean rug and the Great Dane has peed on the corner of the couch.

Let me explain something, this tree has been up for 3 weeks and the presents have been under it since last weekend and nary a dog has even glanced in that direction.  I have been so impressed and proud of them, but it was all a rouse.   And, this was no peeing emergency; they had just come in from being outside for over an hour.  Ugh.  Apparently, it was only the shiny bags and bows that needed killing because the gifts inside were unscathed, even if Sophie the giraffe’s packaging didn’t fare so well.

I guess the really galling part is that none of them, other than Peaches who is the tattle-tell of the bunch, had the decency to act appalled at their wanton behavior.  One of them even had the audacity of think I was playing a game while picking up the minute particles, now stuck to the wet rug that had not finished drying.  I take a deep breath, pick it all up, and discard the debris.

It’s all quiet now, most of them are laying on their beds like all is right with the world, which, I guess in their world it is because Operation Gift Obliteration was a success – they got in, they got out, and I don’t have a clue who to blame, although if Peaches could talk I would have known immediately.  Shasta is lying by her bowl, guarding it, Lady Bug is lying at my feet and my husband just shook his head when I told him.  The cat Star Christmas Lights Hanging from an Eavehas no comment.

I’ve re-wrapped the presents, stuck on a new bow, and made a barricade around the tree and announced to them that their reign of terror is over because my brain is bigger than theirs and I have opposable thumbs.   I’m tired now, one of my fingernails is smudged and I’m drinking wine out of a small plastic mug.  I think I’ll make some chicken fingers, with gravy because everyone knows cream gravy combats stress, and later I’m going to have some Blue Bell ice cream with my husband while we sit and watch whatever re-run is on TV – all is right with my world again, at least for tonight.

Peace on earth and goodwill to all, even bad dogs.  Merry Christmas.

©2011-2012 itsa5doglife  All Rights Reserved.


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