An Old Dog’s Letter to His Peoples’ Next Dog

I know what we’re all thinking. NO ONE can replace me. I am the First Dog. But, still, my absence will leave a horrible hole in my Peoples’ lives, and they must try to fill it somehow. I don’t know how long they’ll wait after I’m gone. It could be weeks. It could be months. It could be years. But at some point, they will want to open their hearts to another hound. Here’s some advice to whoever has to try to fill my embarrassing doggy boots.

When we first started out, it was just the three of us. Me, Dad, and Mom. It was pretty awesome. I moved in, and immediately we were a family. We’d go on walks together, we’d snuggle together, we’d feed me treats together. After 5 years of racing, it was heaven to have my own, comfy bed that I shared with Mom but refused to let Dad sleep on.

About that. Mom and I had to let Dad pretend he was in charge. This is important- Dads like to think they have any authority. But honestly, when it’s bedtime, you give Dad the “look”; Mom gives Dad the “look”, and guess who’s sleeping on the couch? That’s right: Dad. If he thought for a second he wasn’t in charge, he would be trying to act dominant (so cute!) and kick you out of bed.

Another thing: they give treats for sporting events. If the Cubs get a home run, or win the game, you get a treat. If the Bears get a touchdown or win the game, you get a treat. You should probably try to convince the People to become fans of some other teams instead.

Eventually, Mom and Dad added more humans to the family. They came one at a time, and started out little and boring. The little humans weren’t bad- there was still room in Mom’s lap for me and the little human to snuggle. They’re weird, though- during walks, Mom pushes them in this big wheely thing. I still haven’t learned to pay attention to it, and often run into it on our walks. That thing comes out of nowhere! It’s a little embarrassing, since I’m supposed to have a 270° field of vision. However, that’s not the most important thing about the little humans. Little humans grow, and after a few months, they get REALLY interesting.

Mom and Dad started training the little humans for their true purpose- Food Dispensor. They put the Food Dispensor into a table like thing, and provide it with food. This helps the Food Dispensor learn which foods to throw to me, the Dog, and which foods to keep for itself. Parents start off slowly training your Food Dispensor, but gradually build up. Food Dispensor learns that things like cracker, cereal, and chicken are good to throw, while hopefully avoiding bad things, like onions and carrots. (Side note: if your Food Dispensor should ever accidentally throw you a carrot, the proper thing to do is to chew it up, then mash it into the carpet with your paws.)

When you move into MY house, you can thank me for Food Dispensor Senior’s and Food Dispensor Junior’s excellent training.

One really weird thing People do is they sometimes move. I don’t mean they get up and walk around. I mean they pack up all of our stuff, and go live in a brand new house. This is very stressful, because you just don’t know what is going on. Also, people are really bad at using cardboard boxes. You and I both know that cardboard boxes are meant to be torn to shreds. People put things in the boxes and save them. Weirdos.   Even though the process of moving is stressful, it’s okay, because you’ll get to go with. You’re a part of the family, and will always be part of the family. Sometimes the People will leave you with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days while they’re on vacation, but they’ll always come back. Plus, you get to spend a few days with Grandpa, and Grandpa always has lots of treats. Win-win.

Now, it may sound like living with my People is the sweet life, just petting, eating, and walks. Don’t get me wrong- living with my People is great, but YOU have some responsibilities, too. For example, it is very important that everything that needs to be peed on outside gets peed on. This will be all on you. Humans apparently don’t know how to pee. Another thing is that humans like collecting your poop. It’s weird, but we still love them anyway. So, whenever you poop, expect a human to collect it in a baggy for safe keeping.

Besides keeping the People properly supplied with excrements, you will have to love them. This is very easy. They will pet you, and feed you, and love you. Loving them in return is easy. When Mom cries (and it will happen), be there for her. Let her pet you. Show her you love her. A nice, juicy burp in the face always makes her smile. When Dad is stressed, have him give you a belly rub. Seeing that you are neutered and he’s not will make him realize how good he has it. Be patient with the Food Dispensors. They are young, and they are learning. But most importantly, they drop a lot of food, and floor food = Dog food.

In short, New Hound, take care of my People. Love them, as they love you. I spent the first five years of my life racing before they were ready to adopt me. I spent the next seven years training them how to be excellent humans. They deserve the best, which they got, in me. You need to keep that legacy going.

Paws and Tail Wags,

Kiba

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Toddlers and Phones

English: Nokia N8

English: Nokia N8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toddler Girl is incredibly smart.  Like all kids these days, she’s also incredibly intuitive with technology.  She knows how to use a computer mouse, how to use a touch screen smart phone, and that remote controls turn on TVs.  She’s still not exactly perfect.  For example, she has some issues with telephones.  She seems to think that the person on the other line is in the phone.

Here’s a conversation she had with her grandpa last night:

“What are you doing, Toddler Girl?”

“I shaking you, Papa!  Come out of phone!”
Mean ol’ Papa wouldn’t come out of the phone though.  I guess he’s being shy.

There are lots of other examples.  She’ll rub the phone on Greyhound so the caller can pet him.  She’ll bring the phone around the house, showing off all her toys and games.  She’ll dance in front of the phone, putting on a show.  It’s really adorable. It’s a shame the caller can’t see her.

Germs Fighting Germs

Low-temperature electron micrograph of a clust...

Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria, magnified 10,000 times. Each individual bacterium is oblong shaped. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Greyhound.  He’s wonderful- he’s sweet, and calm, and happy.  Unfortunately, he’s got a sensitive tummy.  Most of the time, this manifests itself as gassiness. It’s not fun to be around, but it’s not (always) completely unbearable.  Sometimes, though, his tummy troubles present themselves in other ways.  Like today.  When he had diarrhea.  In Baby Boy’s bedroom.

That wasn’t fun to clean up, I have to say.  And whenever there is that type of, ahem, mess, it’s very easy to be paranoid about all the germs.  Fortunately, armed with my PhD in microbiology (seriously) and a bunch of cleaning supplies, I set about to de-germ Baby Boy’s carpet.

The first step was to soak up as much of the mess with paper towels, which were then immediately thrown out (in case you were wondering if I keep my paper towels after I use them, I do not.  I know it’s not very eco-friendly.  Don’t blame me.  Blame Greyhound.)  I used a little bit of Nature’s Miracle to help get up as much as a could, without throwing up and making a bigger mess.

Then, I got out my carpet cleaner.  This machine is very nice- it has an internal heater to help increase the water temperature.  Higher temperature means more germ killing.  I added the recommended soap into the carpet shampooer, and got to work.  I chose to use the shampooer because I wanted the scrubbing action from the brushes.  You can’t just put soap on the poo and hope the bacteria die.  The friction is part of what helps kill them all.  That’s why you have to rub your hands together vigorously when using liquid hand sanitizer- the friction helps it work effectively.

After shampooing, while Hubby was cleaning the actual shampooer, I moved onto the last stage in my assault against poo-germs.  I used a product called Bac-Out, made by Biokleen, to saturate the carpet.  Bac-Out is made with active bacteria, which have enzymes that break down organic molecule, including those molecules that the bad germs need to live.  The germs, then, die.  It may sound silly to add bacteria to kill bacteria, but it’s kind of a normal thing.  Think about it.  In and on your body, you have about 10 bacterial cells for every one human cell.  These resident bacteria, or normal flora, as the scientists say, help protect you in a number of ways.  One thing they do is make your body inhospitable to other microbes.  Any woman that’s ever had to take antibiotics will tell you that killing off normal bacteria allows yeast to grow more easily, resulting in yeast infections (eating yogurt while on antibiotics can help with this).  The Bac-Out worked wonderfully.  Not only do I know that it will kill any of those remaining nasty bacteria, but the enzymes will also help destroy any residual poop, and help get rid of the odor.  Baby Boy’s room already smells normal again.

So, next time you have a nasty pet or other accident, hot water, scrubbing, and Bac-Out can come to your rescue, too.

Caprese Kale Salad

One of the great things about autumn is the food.  So many wonderful, healthy vegetables and fruits are ready.  Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins, iron, and fiber.  More importantly, it is yummy!  I love making salads with kale– they’re so filling and strong.  Today, I made a caprese kale salad.

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Ingredients:

1/2 large bunch of kale, roughly chopped

1/4 medium onion, finely diced

1/2 cup tomato, chopped (I used small heirloom tomatoes, but use whatever looks good)

1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, finely diced

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt

 

Add all the veggies and cheese to a bowl. Drizzle on olive oil, balsamic, and salt to taste.  Eat!  It’s that easy!  The beautiful thing about kale salads is how versatile they are.  If you leave out the mozzarella, the salad is vegan and paleo-friendly.  Prefer red wine vinegar?  Go for it!  Want a little bit more protein?  Add a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans. When I make food, I make it to my tastes, and you should do the same.  (Note: I mean, don’t make your food to my tastes. Make it to your tastes.)  This recipe generally gives me two hearty lunches.  Sitting in the fridge only lets the flavors mingle together better, and everything gets yummier.

Using Up Leftovers From Taco Night

Hard-shell taco with meat, cheese, lettuce, to...

Hard-shell taco with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taco Soup

Soups are one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers.  It’s so easy to take all your prepared ingredients, throw them in a pot with some broth, and have a warm, homemade lunch in minutes.  Leftovers are pretty much the only way I can have a hot lunch, with two kids and a greyhound keeping my hands full!

This is a tasty way to turn last night’s tacos into an easy, warm lunch!

Ingredients:

Taco leftovers (some ideas follow):

Seasoned meat (chicken or beef)

1 C shredded cheddar cheese

1 C Leftover taco rice (This is one of my favorite recipes, or you can use a box mix)

½ C chopped fresh tomatoes

½ C seasoned black beans

1 Can Progresso Recipe Starters Cheese Sauce

1 14oz Can Vegetable or Chicken broth

1-2 cloves garlic (or garlic powder to taste)

¼ large onion, chopped and diced (or onion powder to taste)

1-2 Tbs chili powder

1Tbs olive oil or other vegetable oil

Directions:

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot.  Add onions and garlic (if using) and sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through, stirring occasionally.  Heat about 10-15 minutes to cook everything through and melt the cheese.  Ladle into a bowl, and top with crushed up tortilla chips.

Top Ten Changes When You Become a Parent

There are probably about a million of these lists hanging around the internet, but I wanted to add my own two cents on the topic.

10.  Your joy/hatred of Daylight Savings Time is reversed.  Before kids, you loved the Fall Back, because you got an extra hour of sleep.  After kids, it just means that all your days will be starting an hour earlier.  They just don’t get the concept of “extra sleep.”  It’s the reverse in the Spring.  When you set the clocks ahead, the kids sleep an hour later, which translates into YOU sleeping an hour later.

9. The closest you get to vacuuming is having the dog eat all the food the kids spilled on the floor.  Somehow, there are people who have kids without a dog.  How do they get the crumbs picked up?

8. You are convinced that PBS Kids is out to get you.  Caillou, Daniel Tiger, and the latest show, Peg + Cat.  PBS Kids hates you. It’s the only logical explanation for the torture they make you endure.  And yes, I know, you could turn the TV off.  But sometimes, you need 15 minutes to eat/shower/use the toilet/clean all at the same time.

6. The man in your life’s playlist is full of Disney Princess songs.  This might only apply to people with daughters, but boys like a lot of those songs, too.  Who doesn’t love Aladdin?

5. A quick trip to the store for one item takes about 30 minutes.  5 of those minutes are actually spent shopping.  The rest of the time?  Packing up the kids.

4.  You got a smartphone for the sole purpose of toddler entertaining.  It may seem like excess or bizarre, but is sure makes waiting at the doctor’s office easier.

2.  Someone asks for orange juice.  You get said orange juice.  Then you are subjected to yelling and a tantrum for bringing orange juice.  Repeat.

1. Your Top Ten List sneakily only has 8 items.  Who has time for ten?

Halloween

Last night was Toddler’s first time trick or treating.  She went out with her cousins, her Daddy, and her aunt.  Baby Boy and I stayed at my sister’s house to pass out candy.  Toddler had a great time trick or treating, getting candy and having people tell her she’s cute.  She did, however, refuse to wear her costume for trick or treating.  We were kind of surprised, because the past couple weeks, she’s been madly in love with it.

Anyway, she slept in her costume last night.  Hasn’t taken it off since we got home.  Sigh.