No Poodle Chickens Please

When it comes to people, I am eternally vigilant about racism and especially my own subconscious biases. But when it comes to other species – in particular, dogs – I’m a self-proclaimed bigot. Big friendly mutts from the animal shelter are superior. Plain and simple. Pure breeds are either wimps or hypochondriacs and hardly worth the expense of the brand name. Anything smaller than a breadbox is not a dog at all, but a barking rat. And don’t get me started on poodles.

My veterinarian has a doggie hairdresser who shares space in her practice. I once had to sit for quite a while in the waiting room several times over a period of two days. I watched perfectly respectable looking dogs (collies, retrievers, labradors, etc.) being dragged into the hairdresser’s room and, one by one, emerging as poodles. With puffy heads and tuft balls around their paws. People claim dogs don’t have feelings, but these animals were clearly mortified. After the fourth time, I had to get up and leave the waiting room to hide my laughter.

I tried googling for pictures to give a sense of what I am talking about here. I tried different search terms but found nothing. And then I tried something that ended with me laughing hysterically for about 20 minutes. Try it if you need some comic relief. Search google images for “dogs with bad haircuts”. Here’s a little taste:

 

How did I get on this subject? Well, it is my husband’s birthday. He’s been hinting a lot that he wants to jump on the chicken bandwagon. It has become fashionable in our circle of acquaintances to keep one’s own chickens and brag about how many eggs one gets each week. Now that his brother is doing it, the argument has come to a head. Right up to yesterday, my stance was “Read my lips. No chickens.” But then his birthday rolled around and I had no idea what to get him. I panicked.

Today he got a chicken feeder, water contraption, fake eggs,  a soft-boiled egg cooker, and the implicit permission to start building his dream coop.

There was one condition, though. He’s not allowed to have any Silkies – a particularly popular breed right now that lays pastel colored eggs. I think this picture will make it clear where this objection comes from:

 

Dog Four Goes to Heaven

dogs4

Don’t be alarmed about the title of this post. No, we did not lose two pets in the space of a month. But having only one dog now, we were able to bring her along on our yearly visit to our aunt and uncle in Tyrol – a place I affectionately associate with heaven.

Dog Four made instant friendships with the two canine residents of the house – two equally friendly and much better trained dogs. She gets constant attention, several daily walks, top quality dog food, a bed in our room, and lots of playtime with her new bff’s.

She’s not going to want to go home again.

I’m not sure which option is better for her: a Dog Five? Or a repeat visit to heaven next year?

Her Name Was Maggie

And we said goodbye to her today.

 

maggie2She was a great dog for over 15 years. In her prime, she ran like the wind. She squealed and whimpered with excitement whenever my husband put on the running leash. She was always great with the girls, even when they were crawling babies. She only snapped at a person once – Mean Neighbor Lady – so I could hardly hold it against her. That was back in the days when MNL used to take frequent walks – or “Daily Disapproval Tours” – to inspect the state of our house and garden. I suspected that she even peeked into windows when we weren’t home. Those inspections came to an abrupt end. Thanks Dog Three! (Full disclosure: MNL loves Dog Four and she is not so mean anymore.)

Maggie was the perfect guard dog. All bark and no bite. She would lunge at the door ferociously and immediately change her tune when she saw we were okay with this visitor. No one would have walked into this house without us here. I never felt the need to lock the front door.

I was her person. She followed me around the house for years. It was my job to make the call to end her suffering, but then I wimped out. I let my husband and the vet decide.  That was a mistake. Not the decision. Just the fact that I didn’t make it.

I’m Peter Pan and I have lost my shadow.