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Must Love Dogs

  • January 20, 2009

Lauren and I went to see Hotel for Dogs on Sunday afternoon. Dave and Matthew thought Paul Blart: Mall Cop was more their style so we split up after lunch at Champps (where all the waitresses had Amy Winehouse beehives for some reason. Amy Winehouse is totally fugly so either I’m getting really effing old or I missed some sort of hair memo. One Amy Winehouse impersonator came perilously close to dragging her skeevy dreads through my Greek salad and I wanted to gag. Hairnets. Good idea, yes?).
Anyway, I really enjoyed Hotel for Dogs. It was a bit formulaic and predictable but it had a happy ending. I cried anyway even though I knew they were HOLLYWOOD DOGS and not in any real danger. My loathsome PMS had reared its ugly head again and had I been at Marley and Me it would have taken a team of men in white coats and a big ass tranquilizer to get my emotions under control (I read the book – I know how that one ends).
After the movie we went to dad and Debby’s for dinner and I was bragging about my 10 lb. weight loss. I said I still wasn’t sure what had happened that made another trip to Weight Watchers necessary. Usually I only go there after I’ve had a baby and this is the third time I’ve joined. I only have two kids and even my rudimentary math skills told me that didn’t add up.
Then, I had an epiphany. I may not have had another baby but I had a Chloe and that’s awfully close in my book.
Chloe is the first pet we’ve had as a family. Actually we had a couple hamsters before that (starter pets, if you will) but they have a pretty short life expectancy and I don’t recommend them unless you want your children to experience the traumatic death of a pet every 18 months or so.
A little over a year ago, right after the last hamster died (R.I.P. Murphy), Dave and the kids started hinting around that a puppy might be nice.
I wasn’t so sure. I love animals. I mean like, really love them. I was quite attached to the hamsters. But a puppy was a huge responsibility I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also knew I’d be the one taking care of it.
Slowly, they wore me down.
Dave did quite a bit of research and compiled a list of suitable dog breeds for our household. The Cairn Terrier (like Toto from The Wizard of Oz) was one that Dave thought would be great for our family.
My big mouth and I mentioned that a veterinarian had listed an ad in the Sunday paper about a litter of Cairn Terrier puppies he had available.
Dave called and spoke to the vet and suddenly we were on our way to take a look. I knew we’d be coming home with one. I may have had some reservations about getting a puppy, but you can’t stick me in a room full of them and expect me to walk away empty handed. I love cute, furry, cuddly things almost as much as I love wine.
Dave and I decided we needed to come up with a code word in case the vet turned out to be a deranged lunatic. If we noticed anything worrisome about the vet or the puppies, we wanted a way to communicate that operation “we’re getting a puppy” had encountered a problem. I don’t know how in God’s name glockenspiel became our family code word but that‘s what we decided on (just try to work it into a sentence).
The vet turned out to very nice and totally normal. He brought all three puppies into the room and we played with them for over an hour.
We selected a calm female puppy and named her Chloe. We left with a little 1.4 lb. ball of cute and drove straight to Pet Smart.
The first nights, and the first three months, were hard (mostly on me). I had never potty trained a puppy before and I thought I was all done with the getting up in the middle of the night nonsense.

I spent most of November, December, and January standing in the front yard, in the snow, while Chloe did her business. I walked through knee high drifts in the back yard while the invisible fence guy and I taught Chloe where her boundaries were. And I took her out in the middle of the night when she cried.
We hung a bell by the door and taught Chloe how to ring it when she wanted to go out. Things got a lot better after that but it was several months before I let Chloe roam the house without worrying that someone would step on her or she’d pee or poop on the carpet.
When people came over we showed everyone all the tricks Chloe had learned in puppy school. We e-mailed pictures and slide shows to our friends and family. We regaled them with stories about all the cute things she’d done.
See, it’s just like when we had human babies. We assumed everyone was as enthralled by our puppy as we were and we bored them silly with our pet anecdotes.
Chloe is an important member of this household. Now I have three kids to check on when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I often sneak Chloe into bed with us even though Dave says he can’t sleep with her cuddled up next to him (yes he can, I’ve seen him). He loves her as much as the rest of us.
I’m just kidding about blaming Chloe for my return to Weight Watchers. I’m pretty sure the cosmopolitans and pizza had something to do with it. I just needed to make time to get in shape for swimsuit season. And with three kids (4 if we count Dave) that’s sometimes hard to do.

Maybe Chloe had a headache

  • November 19, 2008

When I walked into the house this morning after dropping Lauren off at school, I thought it was strange that Chloe did not meet me at the door. Usually she comes tearing around the corner and starts jumping on me like she hasn’t seen me for days. I called her name and when she didn’t come, I went to investigate.

I walked up the stairs and heard a strange sound coming from Lauren’s room. Chloe was on the floor going to town on a cardboard box full of Jr. Tylenol that had been on Lauren’s desk, leftover from her bout of strep throat and an ear infection last week. I picked up the box and noticed that 5 of the chewable tablets had been chewed right out of the packaging. Chloe was still bouncing up and down, tail wagging at this point wondering why I took away her awesome grape snacky-snacks. I ran down the stairs with her and called the vet. My fear was confirmed when the receptionist panicked after talking to the vet tech and screamed at me to “bring her in right away – don’t dawdle.” Chloe and I hauled ass.

Chloe is the first dog we’ve had as a family and the first one I’ve been around since Amy, Janice, and I lived together in our sweet bachelorette pad in the late 80’s. The three of us shared a dog named Sidney who was fond of dragging our shit out her doggie door into her poop filled pen. We were forced to pick through it looking for our purses, cigarettes, shoes, and once my bra. We learned not to leave anything on the floor or within the dog’s reach. She would, and did, take everything.

But Chloe isn’t really a stealer. Sure, she’ll make off with the occasional Webkinz and she loves dirty underwear but she never touches my shoes and hasn’t torn up anything worse than a new box of Kleenex. However, we feed her all kinds of crap from our plates and have turned her into the worst beggar EVER. She must have smelled the Tylenol and figured it was something that would taste a whole lot better than her dog food.

Anyway, when we got to the vet they took Chloe back right away and Ashley (who is my favorite vet tech) told me they were going to administer Morphine so Chloe would throw up. I was on the phone in tears with Dave when Dr. Bunn came out to get me. He took me back to an exam room and told me that after Chloe puked they would give her activated charcoal and then pump her full of fluids because “the solution to pollution is dilution.” Which I totally understood because that’s EXACTLY what I do after drinking a shitload of red wine.

I went home and an hour later Ashley called to say they had given Chloe the charcoal and about half the I.V. fluids. As soon as Dr. Bunn gave the all clear, I could pick Chloe up and bring her home.

They take great care of us at the vet clinic. Quite possibly it’s because I paid $76 for Matthew’s HAMSTER (who had about 4 months of life expectancy left) to have an office visit and a steroid shot after Lauren dangled it by it’s tail. I think when it comes to paying vet charges they have figured out we are a SURE THING.

It’s obvious each and every one of them at the vet clinic loves animals as much as we do. I have nothing but good things to say about Ashley and Dr. Bunn. They rock. They did an awesome job today saving a very important member of our family.

And next time there is a pet debacle at our house I’m pretty sure I know who will get our business.

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