Blended Families

After I got married, my dog Quagmire found himself as part of a three-dog family for the first time ever. And he’s having adjustment issues. He’s been rather spoiled for the past few years. He’s been the center of my world, the apple of my eye. My snuggle partner in crime.

Now, all of a sudden, he’s the tiniest dog in a pack. I’m not even sure Junior, the Australian Shepherd, is aware that Quag is a dog. “What is this little rodent-sized creature that’s nipping at my heels?” he seems to say.

Quagmire can walk right under him without even having to lower his head. Not that he would. Because he’s way, way too busy trying to be Alpha. The two of them are very confused with one another. Quagmire growls. Junior, being deaf, ignores him, and tries to herd him from room to room. And that makes Quagmire growl even more.

Sweet Nelly, the third dog in this menagerie, tries her best to stay out of it. She looks at me with pleading eyes, as if to say, “None of this is my fault.” The curse of being a middle child.

If the Brady Bunch taught us nothing else, it’s that there are bound to be growing pains with every blended family. But when I see Quagmire following Nelly around in awe, or when he snuggles up against dear husband and contentedly snores while we watch a movie, I know that somehow, some way, it will all work out perfectly, and that some bright, shiny day, hopefully in the very near future, he’ll stop trying to mark his territory on our lovely hardwood floors.

Our Menagerie

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!

The Great Cupcake Caper

So, we had cupcakes at our wedding. Several dozen. Lemon, Apple Crisp, and Salted Caramel, from PinkaBella CupCakes. (Highly recommended. Good enough to make you swoon.)

My husband is very environmentally conscious, so he brought a trash can to our outdoor venue, and afterwards he brought it home, full of cupcake debris. Plates. Cupcake liners. Napkins. He wanted to make sure that we left the park as pristine as we found it. It’s part of his charm.

During all the excitement in the aftermath of our wedding, that trash got left in our garage for later disposal. We were too busy celebrating with out of town guests to think about it much.

Unfortunately, we also forgot about the slow-moving iceberg that is Junior, our big, old, deaf, Australian Shepherd. He tends to drift from pillar to post, often under foot. Being deaf, he can’t really respond to voice commands. He is smart, though, and knows hand signals. But mostly we kind of let him do his sweet old thing and hope for the best.

But did I mention that he’s smart? He knows how to float under the radar. Often you’ll turn around and there he’ll be, right behind you. Smiling. It can be very disconcerting.

So, it took us quite some time to realize that Junior was missing while we were catching up with our guests. After a quick search, we discovered that he must have quietly followed someone into the garage, and then stayed behind when that person came back into the house.

And he certainly enjoyed his “me time”, because when we went in there, there was cupcake garbage from one end of the room to the other, and there was Junior, grinning from ear to ear, basking in a sugar high of epic proportions.

Fortunately, he didn’t consume any chocolate, but still, frosting and paper is probably not part of the canine food pyramid. (Unless you consult said canines, of course.)

We watched him closely the rest of the evening. But he was happy as a clam, and when it came time for sleep, he tucked himself in on his bed beside ours, and off we all went to dreamland. All was right with the world.

That is, until about 2 a.m. That’s when I heard this noise that I’m really impressed could be produced by a living creature. It was like a belch on steroids. BurrrrrrrrRawwwwuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrughhhhhhhhhh.

I thought at first that I was having a nightmare. And then the room filled with the smell of frosting. It even woke dear husband out of a sound sleep, and believe you me, that takes effort.

I was kind of afraid to look. Because I wasn’t sure if it was a belch. Visions of… well, let’s not talk about it. You might be reading this over breakfast or something.

Fortunately, it turns out that this horrifying noise did not produce a deposit of any kind. But just to be on the safe side, dear husband took him outside for a bit. I just lay there and giggled helplessly until they returned. (And long after that, if I’m honest.)

Every belch has its silver lining, though, because I was beating myself up over the fact that I’d no doubt be indulging in entirely too many leftover cupcakes in the week to come, but this little caper put me off cupcakes for, oh, at least a week and a half. So we gave away the ones that remained.

I’m sure Junior is heartbroken.


Claim your copy of A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude today and you’ll be supporting StoryCorps too!