My Favorite You

We had been binge watching The Crown all evening. I was relaxed in my recliner, with the Christmas lights all around me competing with the glow of the television and the golden flickering fire. I was in my fuzzy jammies, with my dachshund, Quagmire, gently snoring against my hip, covered by a fuzzy blanket. I think I may have nodded off a few times myself. I could have stayed right there for the rest of my life.

But alas, I had to go to work in the morning. So at the end of an episode, I gently raised my seat back to the upright position, eliciting a sleepy moan from Quagmire. I peeked under the blanket, and he burrowed deeper.

“Sorry, buddy. Time to go pee.”

No response.

So I picked him up, and he draped himself over my shoulder like a bag of wet cement. Except he was warm and relaxed and cozy, and miraculously still asleep. I stood there for a moment, giving him cuddles and kisses.

“Of all my favorite you’s, this is my favorite you,” I whispered, as I carried him to the back door.

I set him down on the back porch, and for a moment he seemed like he wasn’t quite sure where he was. But then he trudged groggily down the ramp and did his business, and came back immediately to lean against my calf. I closed the door and picked him up again, and carried him into bed and tucked him in.

After brushing my teeth and making sure all the doors were locked and that the on lights were on and the off lights were off, I came back to the bedroom to find Quagmire still snuggled right where I had left him. I climbed into bed, making sure I didn’t crush him, then arranged him pointy side out. We spooned as I drifted off to sleep, feeling as though all was right with the world.

The next day, I thought about how I don’t say this often enough to the people I love in my life: “Of all my favorite you’s, this is my favorite you,” and then go on to give details. I need to start doing that. People deserve to hear it. Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution. That’s one I think I might actually enjoy keeping.

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Dog Mom Diaries

My dog Quagmire is soft and warm and relaxed at 5:30 am. It’s so sweet. I almost hate to disturb him. Almost. Then I remember the millions of times he’s woken me up out of a sound sleep without even a hint of remorse. So…

“Wake up, Fuzz Head.”

He groans. Burrows deeper into the blankets. Gives me the hairy eyeball.

Quagmire is not a morning dog.

I pick him up. He’s as limp as a dishrag. He’s hoping that if he plays dead, I’ll leave him alone.

“It’s time to go pee.”

As I carry him toward the back door, I notice that the rain is coming down in buckets. And it’s cold. Great.

I open the door and put him down. He looks at me as if I’ve taken leave of my senses. He attempts to come back inside.

“Errr.. no. Go potty.”

Maybe I have taken leave of my senses. I’ve only had about 2 hours of sleep myself, as is pretty much standard on Friday mornings, given my insane work schedule. The room is kind of spinning, if I’m honest. I need caffeine. But first, I need this dog to go outside.

He attempts to scoot past my legs. “Quag. Mire. Go. Pee.”

He reluctantly steps out onto the covered deck. He considers doing his business right there. But he forgets that I can read his mind. “Nooooo. Go potty.”

Appearing really resigned and grievously put upon, he trudges out into the downpour. I am so grateful that I’m not a dog. He can’t grasp that this is for his own good. He just knows that no one should have to get one’s paws wet.

He does his thing and runs back inside. He shakes. I towel him off and give him a hug. I put him back to bed, and he falls back to sleep instantly. Okay, maybe I do wish I were a dog.

I put on my raincoat. I grab my backpack. I trudge out into the downpour.

Somebody has to bring home the kibble.

Quagmire
Quagmire

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So Glad My Dog Can’t Talk

My dog wakes me up every morning around 5 am to go outside and do his business. Who am I to complain? I have to get up at least once myself, most nights. So, on days when I’m not working the day shift, I get up, shuffle to the door, let him out, doze off a little while leaning on the door frame, let him back in, then go back to bed.

His method of rousing me is to either do a little shake and rattle his collar, or he’ll hop down onto the wood floor and do a tap dance. Click, click, click… “All right, already! Jeez…”

Even if I do get back to sleep, he has decided that I cannot, under any circumstances, sleep past 9 o’clock. He’ll hop up on the bed and lick my face. I’ll roll over. He’ll run to the other side and do it again. I’ll cover my head with a blanket. Then he’ll lick my hand. I’ll say uncharitable things to him. He’ll ignore me. By then I’m so annoyed I can’t get back to sleep anyway.

I love my dog. But he’s the bane of my existence. It could be worse, though. He could talk.

“Ma. Ma. MA! Wake UP! I’ve gotta go! I mean, I really, really, really have to… oh. You’re up. Cool. Come on. Hurry. I’m not kidding. I really have to go.”

“Squirrel! SQUIRREL! Oh. No. That was just a leaf. Sorry. But it looked just like…SQUIRREL!”

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!”

“I’m hungry. Starving. Feed me. I want food. Food. Yeah. What you’re having. That would be great. Food. Why won’t you feed me?”

“INTRUDER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!! This is bad! This is really, really, really, really bad. So very bad. Time to panic!”

“Can I come in? Can I come in? Hey! Can I come in? Can I?”

“Pet me. Pay attention. Scratch me right there. Hey. Why are you staring at that screen? I’m right here!”

I love my little Quagmire, but if he could talk, he’d drive me up a wall.

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It’s Not That Complicated

I go to work. I come home. I start dinner. I sit on my back porch in my fifteen dollar red plastic Adirondack chair, and put my feet up on my brown plastic thrift shop stool.

My dog Quagmire jumps on my lap. Sometimes I ask him to tell me about his day. He’s never very forthcoming.

I enjoy the sunshine when I have it. I enjoy the rain, too. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I just sit and think about the fact that I’m not spending any money at this exact moment, and that’s a relief.

When dinner’s ready, I eat it, in my Adirondack chair, this time sans Quagmire, unless you count his baleful stare from the back stoop. (He’s been fed, but to hear him tell it, it’s never enough.)

I look at the lawn and tell myself I really ought to mow. I water my flowers. I do that much.

I go inside and put my dirty dishes on the growing pile in the sink. Maybe I take a bath. Maybe not. If I have a pimple, I pop it. Etc.

I change into a tank top and climb into bed. Maybe I watch Hulu. Maybe I check Facebook. Maybe I text a friend. Sooner or later I just spoon with Quagmire and go to sleep. As I drift off, I think about how lucky I am.

The next day, I wake up, get dressed, poach myself an egg, feed the dog and go to work. My life isn’t exciting. But it’s enough for me.

adirondack

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Viral Days

It’s funny. You can float along in cyberspace, completely anonymous to all but friends and family, and then all of a sudden, BAM! The limelight blasts you right in the cornea.

It’s happened to me a few times. It’s always unexpected and seemingly random. And it feels very strange. I had one of those days recently. Two things happened at the same time.

First, I wrote a blog entry in response to something that had been posted on the website of The Stranger, a local alternative news publication that I actually happen to like quite a bit. But they stepped on my drawbridge toes, and I had to speak up about it. Out of courtesy, I shot them an e-mail to let them know that I was mentioning them in my blog.

The next thing I knew, my blog was getting a lot more views than was normal. This year I’ve been averaging 135 views a day. But on this day, I got 470 views, and the next day I had 283. What was going on?

A quick bit of Google sleuthing made me realize that The Stranger had in turn blogged about my blog! So I was getting an influx of readers from their site. They hadn’t even told me. They didn’t even talk to me about it. But there you go. A few more seconds in my 15 minutes of fame.

The other thing that happened I kind of brought upon myself. I posted pictures of my dog Quagmire on a Dachshund Facebook group page. All I did was ask folks how old they thought he was. Well, my goodness. The post has been “liked” 390 times so far, “loved” 209 times, and shared 3 times.

It’s also gotten 178 comments. The consensus seems to be that he’s “cute” and “sweet” (little do they know!) and that age is just a number. Many say that Quaggie is lucky to have me. (Yay!) They also say that their dogs started getting grey as early as 2 years old, or as late as 11, so his milk mustache is not an accurate predictor. The vet says he’s anywhere from 5 to 9 years old. The average guess on the site seems to be that he’s around age 8. (Quagmire is keeping his own counsel.)

Either one of these two incidents would have been mind-blowing. Both happening on the same day was… surreal. Thanks everyone! Now, please forgive me if I crawl back into my cyber-hole and marvel from afar.

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My Magical Dog

At the risk of sounding completely unhinged, I’m beginning to think my dog Quagmire has supernatural powers. I’ve written time and again about his ability to conjure up a variety of different food from seemingly nowhere. (Check out my most recent post about that, which will in turn link you to all the others.)

This time, we were lounging in the back yard. I was reading a book, and he was snoring in my lap. Suddenly he woke up, yawned, jumped down, and toddled over to the shed. He did a quick jog around the tiny structure, and when he came out the other side, he was carrying a cherry tomato.

Please understand that there is nothing behind the shed except some more back yard. I swear it. I had been back there an hour previously. It was cherry tomato-less at the time. He just ran behind the shed the way a magician swings his cape, and poof! He invoked a tomato. He was rather proud of himself (as well he should be).

He also does things like disappear. He’s sleeping beside me in bed. I’m reading. I get to the end of the chapter. I look up. He’s gone. The bed is still warm, but he’s sound asleep in the living room.

And he sees things that aren’t there. He barks at them viciously. He growls. He’s very protective of me, which is nice. But I must say it’s no fun when he does this at 3 a.m.

I suspect he can levitate, too, because he often gets ahold of things that should have been out of his reach. Dachshunds are nothing if not vertically challenged. But it doesn’t seem to slow him down. He once brought me something I was pretty sure I had left on top of the refrigerator.

And when anyone besides me crosses my threshold, he manages to turn into a Rottweiler. Just ask my extremely tolerant next door neighbor. He went for her calf and she has the scars on her leg to prove it.

This dog makes it impossible for me to have guests. He’s completely out of control. But when it’s just the two of us, he’s the sweetest thing ever. He’s the bane of my existence, and he’s also my best friend. I love him. That’s one heck of a magic trick.

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Yeah, I know, Quagmire looks all innocent with his milk mustache, but trust me, he’s got secrets.

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More Puppy Produce

In the past, I’ve written about my dog Quagmire’s uncanny ability to bring me foodstuff out of nowhere. Bananas. Watermelons. Peaches. An egg. I never got to the bottom of that mystery. I was kind of hoping it would come to an end once I’d moved. I figured, once the supply lines were cut, whatever, whomever, and wherever they happened to be, things would become normal.

Apparently not. We hadn’t been in our new house for a week when Quagmire emerged from the bushes with the dried husk of a butternut squash, full of seeds. The thing was almost as big as he is. And he was so proud of himself. I almost felt bad having to confiscate it.

Since the husk was cleanly cut and devoid of all but the seeds, I could only assume that the former occupant of the house had been drying them for planting. “Okay, dog, I’ll let you have that one incident,” I thought.

Then he started bringing me crab apples. It should be noted that there’s no crab apple tree anywhere in my yard. Where the hell were they coming from? I asked my neighbors if they were feeding Quagmire, and they assured me that they weren’t. So here we go again.

I decided that this would require some stealthy investigation. For a week, I stopped sitting in the back yard. I let Quaggie think that he had the place to himself. What he didn’t know was that I was watching him from the kitchen window.

For seven days, he didn’t do anything unusual. He played with his stuffies. He barked at the mailman. He peed on my pansies. He basked in the sun, and wriggled in the grass on his back.

And then finally one day he seemed to have a false sense of security that mommy wasn’t going to come outside and ruin his fun. He ran out the back door and made a bee-line for the bushes.

And he disappeared.

I thought I had thoroughly inspected the entire backyard fence  line before we moved in. But I discovered that deep in the shadows, aligned exactly with the trunk of a bush, was a Q-sized hole in the chain link.

It almost looked as if it had been deliberately cut and bent back, and there was a well worn path that led right through it into my neighbor’s unfenced yard. Yup. My dog had been cruising the neighborhood, and, apparently, harvesting crab apples.

This, of course, horrified me. He could have run away. He could have gotten hurt. He could have gotten into something that would make him sick. He could have gotten into a fight or been hit by a car or… Omigod. I’m a terrible mother.

But then, in a weird way, it also made me smile. Because he always came back to me. He didn’t have to, but he always did. And this time was no different.

My dog loves me.

And then I blocked the hole in the fence.

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Moving from a Dog’s Perspective

Hi, I’m Quagmire! My mom would describe me as a little black Dachshund with a milk mustache and a serious screw loose. I’ve been known to lunge at a cop’s ankles, but hey, I have no front teeth, so I’m only trying to prove a point. I’ve also brought some strange grocery items into the house, and I refuse to admit where they come from. (More on that here.) But for all my quirks, I know I’m loved. For a dog, that’s really all that matters.

Mom is allowing me to be a guest writer on her blog today because I think she realized I have a need to vent. I recently had a very strange week. I think it will help if I can talk about it for a change. You people don’t seem to understand me when I bark.

For about a month now, I’ve watched as mom has put things into boxes. And she seemed very stressed out. It didn’t seem like boxing stuff up was helping. I tried to tell her that, but she wasn’t listening.

Then, very recently, those boxes started disappearing. I mean, it was really kind of creepy. I’d go outside to play, and when I’d come back in, things would be gone, and mom would be all sweaty. I started getting stressed out, too, and clingy. Very, very clingy. I was afraid that mom might disappear next!

Then one day, these intruders came into the house! I tried to protect our territory by barking and growling, and for my trouble, I got closed into the back yard! When mom let me in again, every piece of furniture was gone! And mom seemed happy about it. Now when I barked, I could hear an echo. How strange.

Next thing I knew, I was being stuffed into our car. Stuffed is the right word. There wasn’t much room. It was full of boxes and stuff. I kind of felt like I was part of the stuff, so I insisted on sitting on mom’s lap as she drove. Normally she’d never allow that, but I think she could tell I was really freaked out.

Next thing I know, we pull into this driveway, and mom carries me into this back yard, sits on the grass, and says, “Check it out, buddy! This is all yours!”

I wandered around, sniffing all the new sniffs, and checking the perimeter for security breaches. There were none. (Darn.) I was thrilled to see there were plenty of little hidey-holes for when I want to be in stealth mode, and there was lots of soft grass for when I feel the need to wriggle around on my back.

And then… gasp! I discovered that there’s another dog on the other side of the fence! His name is Hendrix, and we are now fence running buddies. He gets me when I bark, and keeps me up on the good gossip. We plan to play poker when our parents aren’t home.

I was thrilled to see some of our stuff on the patio. It’s always nice to have familiar smells. But I did have a brief moment of panic when mom left me in the yard. And suddenly I could see those same intruders driving up! Mom! Make them go away! They stole everything from the house last time! Let me at ’em! Call the cops!

But I must admit I’m easily distracted. (Mom says I have the attention span of a hummingbird. So sue me.) I went back to playing with Hendrix.

I guess a few hours passed, and suddenly mom came out the back door of this house. What was she doing in there? She didn’t even let me do a preliminary security check!

But when she let me in, it was like Christmas morning. All our stuff was in there! Boxes and furniture everywhere. She let me inspect every nook and cranny.

I was really happy to see our bed, especially when I discovered that when I’m on it, I have a perfect view of the street. That will make my job of keeping everything under control a lot easier.

After all this excitement, as you can imagine, we decided to take a nap. As I drifted off to sleep in her arms, I heard mom say, “We’re home, Quaggie! We’re home.”

Since I know that home is another word for love, I am one happy dog.

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Some assembly required.

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The Size of the Fight in the Dog

So, I’m trying to get out of my rental lease early, in order to move into my new (to me) house. That means I need to swallow really hard and allow potential renters to root around in my underwear drawer in my absence. My dog Quagmire is less than thrilled by this process.

You’ve got to understand, Quagmire is a little bad ass. He’s been through a lot in his life. He refuses to talk about it. But he was found running the streets, half starved to death. He wasn’t fixed, and he’s middle aged, so the only thing I can guess is that he escaped from, or was ejected from, a puppy mill.

Needless to say, he’s not a people dog. He is bonded to me, for sure. That little Dachshund manages to keep me warm at night. But no one else is allowed in our house. Not if he has anything to say about it.

He once bit a cop on the ankle. Well, technically, he gummed a cop on the ankle, because I had to have his front teeth removed when I adopted him. They were all cracked. Someone must have kicked him. But the cop had no way of knowing that. I’m grateful that he didn’t discharge his weapon.

I haven’t had many visitors since Quagmire moved in. He gummed a friend of mine who never liked dogs in the first place. If anyone so much as knocks on the door, he barks and lunges and growls.

In essence, I’m living with a wiener-shaped Pitt Bull with a major chip on his shoulder. Well, as the saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. So good luck, potential renters! You are about to encounter a furry little ninja! Try not to take it personally.

Update: We found a renter just yesterday! I don’t know who is more relieved, my dog or me!

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Quagmire Lays an Egg

Okay everybody, someone is really trying to mess with my head. Not since the movie “Gaslight” has anyone been as manipulated into questioning his or her sanity as I have been lately.

To bring you up to speed, 10 months ago I wrote The Great Banana Mystery, in which I described the antics of my dog Quagmire, who brought me intact bananas on two consecutive days. Bananas from, seemingly, nowhere.

Then, two months later, I wrote The Plot Thickens, about Quagmire bringing me a slice of watermelon, when I had no watermelon in the house.

Three months after that, I wrote Things Get Fruitier, when Quagmire brought me a peach. Again, no peaches on my grocery list.

Now, five months after the peach, I am at the end of my rope. I went outside for two short minutes to put my trash can at the curb for pick up, and when I came back inside, I found an egg, still in its shell, sitting in the middle of my living room floor. I swear I’m not making this up. I can’t even imagine making something like this up.

After a quick inventory of the eggs in my fridge, I discovered that they were all accounted for. So… what the hell????? What… how… I can’t even form an appropriate question.

I actually hesitated to dispose of it for a minute there. For all I knew, it was set to detonate. Or worse, it might disappear in my hand. I’ve watched too many episodes of The Twilight Zone in my lifetime.

Quagmire also brought me half an apple recently. Fortunately, I soon realized that the little monster had stolen the apple from my backpack and must have taken it outside to munch on before showing it off. And that damned apple had cost me $1.99 a pound.

So this dog has a history of food theft, to say the least. Thank heavens his little legs are too short to get him up on the counter, or lord knows what I’d come home to every day.

But… an egg? I mean… No words…

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Yeah, Quagmire looks all innocent…

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