Mind Your Own Dog’s Business

I’m sure we’ve all been there – strangers telling you how to raise your dog child. It takes every bit of strength you have not to unstrap your pup’s training collar and wrap it around the accuser’s neck “too tight” while repeatedly pushing the button on the highest setting. Okay, while the incident today wasn’t exactly an unwelcome tip as to what’s best for Ella, it was borderline a question of how well I know my own child’s elimination habits. 

Our bike ride started out the same as any other, except for the slight blanket of snow on the ground. There were fresh dog and human tracks along the path that Ella had her nose glued to the whole way to the corner of the subdivision. When we reached the corner, we made a left into the neighborhood, Ella right beside me on my bike as always. Barely making it past the stop sign, between the neighborhood sidewalk and road, she quickly squatted as lady-like as was possible with a public audience. Not more than five seconds later, she was up and off again, her sniffer working overtime. 

It just so happened at that moment, a guy was pulling into the subdivision and into the first driveway in front of us. We hadn’t even made it beyond the brick wall tht marked the entrance to the neighborhood, before he had his window rolled down yelling, “hey, did your dog just poop back there?!” His tone was about as arrogant as could be, like he was trying to impress some uninterested woman by starting a fight with me. “No, she just peed,” was all I said back. He ended the conversation with an “oh, okay,” but I was already pedaling past his driveway. I didn’t turn around to look, but I am confident he probably went to check for sure that I wasn’t lying. Afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel like Ella and I were being scrutinized by pairs of eyes looking out the windows of every house we went by for the duration of our ride.

Now, I understand it’s a $500 fine for any person you catch not picking up thier dog’s poo piles, and the guy didn’t know me or Ella (and never will with that act), but I’d much rather have to scrub fully digested kibble out from under my fingernails than pay a $500 fine. Luckily, the only time I’ve forgotten a bag on a walk was during the fall, and I’d never been as thankful for all the dead leaves. They work just as well, are free, AND are fully biodegradable.

Not everyone does pick up after their dog. We see petrified turds all the time along the sidewalks. We weren’t even close to his yard, and technically the area of grass between the sidewalk and road isn’t even his property anyway. But if you see a dog in the process of relieving itself, be sure it’s in the posture circled below before you go accusing and making a scene if the owner doesn’t bend down to pick something up. Just mind your own dog’s business and don’t be like the guy Ella and I had the pleasure of meeting today, or you could end up with a full bag of fire on your front porch. 

Understanding Underwear

Women are an unexplained mystery I think ranks right up there with the likes of the Bermuda Triangle and Bigfoot. Just when you think you finally have them figured out, they find a way to throw you off track and keep you guessing. But what’s even more of a mystery than women? The motivation behind their underwear.

The other week, after taking a trip to Victoria’s Secret with Erica (my wife), I asked her what compels women to wear fancy underwear. I’m still as confused as ever even after talking to her, but according to what she said, women like their underwear to match their total outfit. Like an accessory. An accessory that no one ever sees. Makes sense, right? Let me go buy an expensive sports car and always leave it parked in the garage with the cover on.

And of course, we all know Victoria’s Secret underwear is not cheap. I mean, we are talking upwards of $25 per pair if it’s not on sale. And she wonders why I wore the same ten pair for eight years until they had holes in them. It was so she could afford to buy new underwear every few months after she got bored of the hundred pairs she had. Thank you Roy Raymond for being embarrassed to buy your wife lingerie in a public department store causing you to open up the first Victoria’s Secret. I’ve personally seen the “get me the heck out of here before I die of boredom” looks on hundreds of men being dragged through VS by their wives. So really, Roy, all you managed to do was make women’s underwear really REALLY expensive while keeping men just as embarrassed to discuss their wives’ unmentionables with female strangers. But I digress. 

As Erica and I progressed further into the conversation, she also mentioned women like their underwear to match the outfits they wear because it makes them feel as if they have their life together. So, for all you children wanting to be ghosts this Halloween, make sure you wear your glow-in-the-dark Casper undies, and it’ll be the best you’ve ever felt. Guys, just remember not to go up to that woman in the grocery store who seems to be a complete mess and tell her she should have matched her underwear today. 

Still confused as to why women like to wear their underwear adorned with all the little bows and lace since no one sees them, I asked Erica again why all the hype for fancy underwear. She then tells me that I get to see them. Why, yes! Yes, I do see them. Usually once a week while I’m helping fold laundry. All kidding aside, she also said that women often change in front of each other and so they tend to see each other in their underwear. Now, to me that made more sense. Fancy underwear is a competition between women to see who can wear their grandmother’s recycled doilies the best.

In the end, I didn’t learn much of anything as to why women wear the underwear that they do. It just makes them feel good to do so, and as men, I guess we really don’t need to understand why. What’s most important is having conversations with your wife about topics that interest her, and enjoying all of the time you get to spend together, even if it means going shopping with her for some new panties. And, you never know, showing an honest interest in her likes just might end with a special gift to you from Victoria’s Secret. Thanks, Roy. 

Ella, Too

It was a chilly day in May 2014 when Erica and I made the trip to an animal rescue located in a small town a little over an hour from our apartment. The drive seemed like it took days. We had been full of excitement, and lacked patience knowing that we were about to pick out a puppy who would spend the rest of its life with us but wouldn’t be ready to bring home for another week. Nonetheless, we were still pretty ecstatic to meet our soon-to-be dog child.

During the few months prior, we had stopped in at multiple shelters and rescues looking to find the perfect dog that we could take home. None of the animals really seemed to share that connection you have when you know it was meant to be, and so we continued to look. We also ran into the trouble of rescues not letting us adopt due to the fact we lived in an apartment and didn’t have a fenced yard. This was frustrating. We knew that we could provide a great life for any dog regardless of not meeting the rescue’s criteria, but it didn’t matter. Some of these places seemed to be willing to hand over a dog to anyone who owned a house and fence. You could run a dog fighting ring in your back yard, but as long as the yard was fenced, feel free to adopt as many dogs as you’d like! If you would treat the dog as your own family and raise it with the utmost care and love, but lived in an apartment, forget about it. You obviously would never take it outside of your small living quarters to run and play.

With my mom’s many rescue connections because of her job as an animal control officer, we were able to visit this last rescue knowing the apartment thing wouldn’t be an issue. We pulled into the drive, and as we got out of the car and approached the front door of the house, we were greeted by a kind woman and three happy dogs. They had seen us pull in and took us right into the garage where the rescued dogs were kept. Multiple areas in the garage were closed off with small fencing to create separate pens, and each pen contained anywhere from three to six puppies of different breeds. Some were ready for adoption, and some were even younger with a few weeks left to go. In each pen, there was an area boarded off full of cedar chips for the puppies to potty train. Each pen also contained a few boxes full of blankets where the pups could hide in and sleep.

As we walked through the garage, we came to a pen containing six little black lab mixes. Three boys and three girls all doing their own thing. Unsure of how much interaction we were allowed, we waited for the woman to tell us it was okay to get into the pen with the dogs. We then opened the gate to step in and were suddenly rushed by the most enthusiastic bunch of little wagging tails and floppy ears. Erica – never having a dog for a pet while growing up – squatted down as the pups jumped all over her, and with the biggest smile on her face, began to soak up every second of playtime.

While we played with them, we pointed out what we liked about each of their tiny, individual characters, and which one we thought would be right for us. Two of the boys were very energetic, jumping all over us and biting at the key lanyard hanging from my pocket, while the third boy was more calm, laying on the blanket in the box. One of the girls was the same as the two boys. Lots of energy and a fascination with biting human fingers. A second girl was the same as the one boy laying on the blankets, just relaxing like no visitors were there to see them.

And then there was the third girl. Not too rambunctious, and not too lazy. She seemed to love playing with the empty toilet paper rolls strewn about the pen, and enjoyed stretching on her hind legs while resting the front two on your lap to reach up and lick you on the face. This one particular pup was full of kisses, and so full of love. Her markings compared to the others made her even more unique. She was solid black with patches of white on all four paws, her chest, on the front of her neck, and a grayish-white chin that made her look as though she was an old dog that had already lived life to the fullest, but living it in a puppy’s body.

img_2409

As we held her in our arms, she looked straight into our eyes, soaked our faces with kiss after kiss, and we knew that she was the one who would be coming home with us in a week. We continued playing with her, and it just felt like it was meant to be. I don’t remember how long we stayed to visit our new baby, but Erica and I both had a hard time leaving her there when it was time to go.

img_2410

The next week dragged on, and with a whole new excitement, we drove back to the rescue to bring Ella home with us. She whined at first, but it didn’t take long before the lull of the moving car rocked her to sleep.

It’s been almost three years since that day we brought our puppy home, and Ella has lived the best life a dog could ask for. She gets to go to the dog park on a regular basis, rides everywhere in the Jeep with her head stuck out of the window, goes on trips to the mall, swims and dives for rocks, goes camping, sleeps in our bed every night between Erica and I, and so much more that you’ll definitely be hearing about during the life of this blog. We didn’t know it at the time, but the day we brought her home changed our lives forever. Imagine yourself as a piece of clay on a potter’s wheel. You meet many people in a lifetime who will help shape you into who you are and what you will become. It’s absolutely amazing how one animal so full of love, and yet so full of simplicity, can take that drab vase you’ve become and add a color and pattern to your life that you never knew existed. For us, this is who Ella is. 


 

You

My wife, Erica, was still in high school when we met. She was just getting ready to start her senior year, but wasn’t sure of where she had wanted to go to college. Although where she wanted to go was undecided, she did know that she wanted to major in Radiology. After we met and she began her final year of high school, she had narrowed her college choices down to Ferris State University and Oakland University. At the end of 2012, with me getting a job at Chrysler in Auburn Hills, she decided on Oakland University.

I’d like to think that me getting a job just a few miles down the road from the school influenced her final decision, but she tells me that she had been leaning towards Oakland over Ferris anyway. Even so, to me, it was just another sign that we were meant to be together.

Erica finished up high school and continued to live at home the remainder of the summer before moving into the dorms at Oakland in the fall of 2013. She studied there for a year while satisfying her love for animals working at PetSmart’s Doggy Daycamp. She enjoyed working and playing with the dogs, but after awhile she decided it was time for a change in both her job and the career path she was headed down.

After the first year at Oakland to pursue Radiology, Erica changed her major to nursing, and moved her studying to Macomb Community College. At the same time, she also landed a job as a Nursing Assistant at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and has been there since.

I do not remember exactly what spot in Erica’s timeline when Ella arrived into our lives, other than it was in May 2014, and Ella was my wife’s first dog. But, I do know that Ella brought out something different in her. A side of her that I hadn’t seen up to that point. The way Erica was with Ella was exactly how I could picture her someday with a child of our own, and how well she treated that little, white hair chinned pup made me fall in love with both of them even more than I already had been.