Posts tagged ‘dogs’


So Summer has arrived, apparently. (Or the things I hate/love about Summer.)

So, in a purely calendar based way, we are now 12 days in to my least favourite of the seasons; though the birds drowning in the trees may disagree. I like Winter, Spring is cool, and Autumn is just frikkin’ awesome; but Summer…Summer mostly sucks. Mostly.

It’s too hot! I don’t cope well with heat. It makes me sticky, smelly, and grumpy, while also making it feel like far too much work to do anything that might ease those issues. Being a Gothgirl, with a very healthy respect and fear of skin cancer, I find myself spending far too much time skipping from shadow to shadow.

But on the other hand – The pretty girls wear a lot less. Enough said.

I have to shave…parts – Because I too have to wear less, I find myself having to shave off a season’s leg hair growth. It’s awkward, messy, and my legs sting/itch like a son of a female dog for days after.

But on the other hand – The boys of the world are missing out on that moment when you get in to a freshly made bed, with freshly shaved legs. Oh Goddesses, the sheer sensuality of it all! As an added plus, my legs look great in shorts.

My dogs want to play out the back, not cuddle me on the couch – So I find myself abandoned, even on days where I feel like death warmed up. No, no fluffy cuddles, no hugely satisfied sigh from my Beagle when she finds just the right spot, and goes to sleep with her head on my lap. No hugely satisfied sigh from me when my…fuck knows what…stops trying to climb in to my ear, and instead settles on the back of the couch behind my head.

But on the other hand – I can play my Xbox with the littler of the two insisting on sitting between my legs, with her paws on my hands, growling at everything on the screen. Also no constant opening/closing of the back door as they insist on treating me like their own personal doorman.

No fires – I loved a good fire. I’d cheerful, comforting, warming, heartening, and many, many other words ending with “ing” which you can find in your thesaurus.

But on the other hand – No ashes to clean, no fuel to bring in, no getting up to stoke it.

Too many movies I want to see, but not enough money – Godzilla, or Guardians of the Galaxy. X-Men, or self-respect.

But on the other hand – Who am I kidding?! It’s going to be Guardians, I mean I’m completely hooked on a feeling.

Having to pretend to like going to the beach – I don’t. It’s gritty, smelly, crowded, filled with beer-gut possessing men who insist on pretending they have anything anyone wants to see. Oh, and the water in Ireland is always, always, ALWAYS fucking freezing cold!

But on the other hand – I got nothing…absolutely nothing.


Five signs that my dogs are trying to kill me.

I realise I’m nuts to own two dogs when I have pretty severe ill-health and live in the middle of a busy town. But I’m more than happy to drag myself on my belly to the local park to exercise them, and there’s also the security of two women living in a house that EVERYONE in the town knows has two dogs in it. That said, I’m starting to wonder if my dogs have it in for me. Things have happened. Worrying things. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if my dogs are in fact, cats, wearing dog costumes…

You see it all started when…

– I was cleaning upstairs last week. You see I had a really stunningly gorgeous gothic visitor calling, and wanted everything…just so. Anyway, I was finished and as I walked down the stairs I tripped over one dog, barely caught myself, only to have the other dog walk out in front of my legs. Face met door in a symphony of pain.

Learn the phrase “symphony of pain.” Situations it applies perfectly to, are going to come up a lot in this article.

– Of course there’s also the many, many burns on my arms. No. My dogs aren’t putting out cigarettes on my skin, though I suspect that if they could, they would. But Lulu, the tiny half papillion, half who-the-fuck-knows, has over the past few months found herself a hobby. That hobby involves nudging my arm with her head, WHEN MY HAND IS INSIDE THE LIT LOG BURNER! Insert sizzling noise, Amanda swearing, and a dog sidling off.  This leads over the coming days to repeated symphonies of pain anytime the burn is near anything hot, cold, hard, soft, or canine.

– Then there’s the decking. We have a large, walled in, decked area outside of our backdoor for the dogs. It’s easy to wash down with a garden hose, and keeps them from taking it into their minds to go playing in the nearby traffic (most of the time at least.). Sounds great doesn’t it? It would be but for one thing, well two things really. Winters poop, and Lulu deciding that she’s going to tear Winters poop apart, and spread it liberally across the decking, thus making a disgusting, and in the wet weather that dominates Ireland, slippery death-trap. I know, I’ve landed flat  on my back three times in the past few months. And as I lie there, surrounded by my own personal symphony of pain, I swear I can hear evil sniggering in the background.

– Don’t you love squeaky toys? The way those rubber chickens, and pigs give your beloved pets hours of joy, and happiness as they walk around holding them in their mouths, squeaking them constantly. Until your brains feel like they’ve started to run out of your nose, ears, eyes. But that’s not how they’ve decided to kill me with those rubber menaces. Oh no, a stroke just isn’t evil enough for my pair. No, I believe that they carefully place those toys, right where I’ll step on them, while I carry a cup of scalding hot lesbian tea to the living room.

Imagine the scene, Amanda, humming happily to herself carrying in one hand a piping hot cup of fruit tea, in the other four delicious biscuits. She steps through the door into the living room. The two dogs watch on with bated breath as the enemies foot lands right on the over-sized rubber, squeaky chicken. The chicken squashes, and slides on itself, letting out one sharp, ear-shattering squeak as Amanda’s leg flies out from underneath her, sending her plunging to the floor. Amanda finds herself on the floor, a goose-egg sized lump on the back of her head from the door-frame, scalds on her arms, and a symphony orchestra tuning up for a gutsy performance of something by Wagner in the key of ouch in her back.

– Finally we come to last Sunday, visitors had arrived, and the dogs were duly put out the back so that they would be unable to drown our guests in dog spit. Unfortunately the back gate was open. Lulu escaped, and made a mad dash in to traffic. Several mad dashes actually, and being a good puppy-mommy guess who was right behind her…the little bitch tried to get me to follow her under a truck.

It was when I got her back home, put her in her cage and sat down that I first came to the realisation that my dogs want me dead. After all why else would all of this keep happening to me?

You at the back, put your hand down, my clumsiness is not up for discussion today.


“What the hell did I just step in?!” A dog owners tale.

Well my holiday from writing is over, so it’s nose back to the grindstone. I went to bed last night full of enthusiasm for getting back to work. After all my webcomic goes live Friday week (January 25th). I finally have a really good laptop, capable of running all my various creative programs, on a pretty 17″ screen. I’ve, at long last, settled on my next novel to finish first drafting (that only took a full year to decide while I wrote the first ten chapters on three different ones.) I have some pretty interesting plans for my video blog, ideas which I think will make a lot of people very happy, and a lot more wish for my slow death over a hot fire. Yup, I have every possible reason for being excited about this year, this is gonna be a BIG year for me.

So it was with a serious hop in my step that I got out of bed this morning. I honestly have been looking forward to getting back to work in a way that’s hard to describe, it’s that intense. So get up, get dressed, wash teeth, dress the bed, and wander downstairs. My buoyant mood lasted right up until I walked in to my living room.

My two puppies sleep in the living room, Lulu in her cage, Winter on the couch. It’s only fair when the alternative is my bathroom, which frankly is so cold that I’m surprised when my pee doesn’t make the same sound as hail hitting a tin roof. At least in the living room there also lives my log burner, which is pretty much always toasty warm. Yeah, I’m just a big softy. Sometimes I forget to put on my slippers coming downstairs, I did this morning. So after walking in, I was almost instantly left wondering the most horrible though which most dog owners will probably have pass through their minds several times a year.

“What feels cold and wet on my foot?”

The second worst thought closely followed.

“Why is Winter hiding behind the couch?”

Then the third.

“Why does she have that guilty expression on her face?”

Well it turns out that the bigger of my furry children had been violently sick just inside the door. And on the power block for my 2 days old laptop. And on the kitchen door.

Still buoyant though. Yup. The alternative was to drown in dog vomit. So yeah…

So yeah, Happy New Year folks.

(And yes folks you read it first time right here, my long, LOOOOOOONG delayed comic goes live Friday the 25th. I can not wait.)

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Ten things I’ve learned this month about… Dogs.

Well you see I had a really awful migraine yesterday, so I got precisely nothing written. And that’s why today you’re all being hit with another list post. Though in truth this is the first in a series of lists I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. So before I end up with another migraine, or one of my dogs decides to murder me, let’s get this monster moving.

 1: Dogs will chew anything that’s left lying around for more than 30 seconds, whether it’s edible or not. And it doesn’t even have to taste good.

 2: Dogs will eat/lick/roll in each others shit with apparent glee while their owners will look  on in horror, before finding somewhere discreet to vomit…true story.

 3: Dogs believe that any humans couch, bed, sleeping bag, or item of clothing is communal property, because…

 4: Dogs believe that your body heat is communal property. Just ask anyone who’s been woken at 7am by a cold dog nose in their bed.

5: While dogs will chew literally anything, including but not limited to coal, firelighters, brush handles, really good chocolate, table legs, chair legs, each others legs, they will only eat certain dog foods, and will randomly decide they don’t like the one they’ve just been given.

 6: Dogs can not be trusted with any human food of any kind, which is in anyway within reach. “Within reach” here being defined as within 1 body length of any surface the dog can stand on. (Where there are two dogs  in a household take the body length of the bigger dog as the base measurement, they’re not above coöperation.)

 7: If it’s bad for them dogs only want it more. Kind of like that girlfriend you once had, the one who smoked, drank, did drugs, and could suck a rugby ball through a drinking straw. You knew she was bad for you, but damn if you didn’t have to have her. This also describes the average dog, and cheese.

 8: Dogs love watching flames the same way I love watching Kari Byron. Though I don’t imagine for even vaguely the same reasons. (Especially when she was rockin’ the kindergoth look, yummy!)

Oh Kari….

 9: Some dogs are posers, and some hide from camera’s. I have one of each.


Poser! But a good guard.

10: Yesterday I discovered that my dogs will look after me when I’m sick. When I could barely lie still without wishing I was dead Winter (the Beagle) wrapped herself around me and kept me warm, while Lulu the furball stood on guard the whole time I was lying down. Amanda’s heart melted….right up until she bit me on the ear. Even so dogs are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

The poser, and my shy retiring one.

The poser, and my shy retiring one.


The best cure for low blood pressure. Two badly behaved dogs!

I’ve always had low blood pressure. In my childhood I would often just pass out when I stood up too quickly. I’m always cold, just ask my Mistress. All I have to do to fill her with terror is move my feet towards her. I am a low blood pressured, cold-blooded creature. What ever the reverse of the Human Torch is (no not Iceman, although that would mean I get to have Rogue…) that’s what I am.

Well, the past 10 days or so I have had one horrific dose of something or other. To say that I have leaked from every orifice would not only be disgustingly gloopy, but also exceedingly accurate. Needless to say that dizziness which accompanied that afore-mentioned gloopyness has not been helped by my inherent low blood pressure.

Today I woke up to the sound of ripping coming, I thought, from the bus stop outside of my bedroom window. I stood up, and realised “Hey I don’t feel quite as much like I’m about to die! Huzzah! Partial recovery!”

Then I moved a few feet, the world spun, I sat down, and remembered the “partial” part. So I decided one more day of lazing wouldn’t hurt. One more day of The Big Bang Theory. One more day of drinking fake Red Bull, and eating pasta. Downstairs I go, and wander into the kitchen.

Our kitchen has a patio door, which goes out on to a decking area. This is where the two pups spend a lot of their days. Lazing in the sun. Barking at the world. And as it turns out, causing immeasurable chaos.

So I’m standing there popping my hernia medication in to my mouth, when I realise that Winter is whimpering. I turn my head. My eyes are greeted by the sight of a previously white Beagle, and a previously white Bichon Frikkin’ Frisé staring in at me visibly shaking. The reason for that shaking?

Imagine that yesterday your two dogs had torn apart two bags of plasterers sand, and scattered it from here to…where ever plasterers holiday. Imagine that they had done the same to a bag of cement. Now imagine your heroine, in a dalmatian print onesy, having to clean that mess up in 5 minute bursts interspersed with 15 minutes of wanting to die. Imagine your dogs remember this…

Imagine that Beagle now has pitch black paws, that Bichon Frikkin’ Frisé (I’m going to start a campaign to make the “Frikkin'” an official part of the breed name.) is now black from the top of his head, to the gas coming from his arsehole. Black, because they decided that today was the right day to cover the deck with coal dust from the bag of slack that has sat unmolested in the corner for the past THREE MONTHS!

Well my low blood pressure has been cured.


Losing your pet.

Just recently in Dublin City, there has opened a bereavement center for people who have lost a pet.  I’m certain that the news of this caused a great wave of scorn across the nation.  After all, there’s no shortage of cynics in this world and let’s face it, Ireland is a net exporter of the most advanced type of cynic.  The hardened, bitter type.  But I for one welcome the opening of the center.

After all when you get down to it, Mother Nature is one hell of  a sneaky bitch.  When it comes to humans and our pets, but perhaps dogs and cats especially, nature tricks a lot of two-way loyalty and devotion out of us.  Our pets become our friends, our partners in life, we trust our safety to them and they do exactly the same back.  Of course that sometimes backfires on the poor animals and leads to their unhappiness.  But back to Mother Nature.  Speaking as a dog owner, I find myself ascribing human traits on Winter constantly.  To be honest I even sometimes speak for her.

For example:

Winter sits staring at my partners sandwich.  Amanda channels Winter “Ah go on Mam, just a little bit, pwease?  Come on I is soooo cooote and you knows you wants to.”

Winter tilts her head from side to side while making small mewling noises, “See? I’ll even tilt my head from side to side the way you like me to if you do.  Yum yum?  Please?  Oh you’re finished?  You lousy bitch.”

Winter jumps onto the other couch and with a snort lies down facing away from my partner.  “Right that does it, I’m going to ignore you and sleep then.” Winter farts and drifts off to sleep in a cloud of cabbage scented vapours.

"See? I'll even tilt my head..."

Example ends.

Well, it is a very human thing to see ourselves in other creatures.  And that’s the defense I’m sticking to.

The problem that lies in our ability to project ourselves onto the pets we love is, that when they suffer, we suffer too and when they pass away, we’re thrown into precisely the same grief that the loss of any loved one forces on us.  But it actually gets far worse when we have to choose to euthanize them.  I know, I did it once.

My family once had a gorgeous Shetland Sheepdog, she was named Lady.  She was a giant for a Shelty, the size of most Border Collies, with black fur mixed with small patches of brown and white.  We got her when I was 6 years old.  I grew up with her and the first fight I ever got into was over her.  Someone a lot bigger and older than me, thought it was immensely funny to throw stones at the two of us.  I thought it was fitting that they kiss the ground at her feet and beg for forgiveness.  I take my responsibility to my pets deadly seriously.

But eventually when I was 19, I reached the most horrible part of that responsibility.  One day, one terrible day, I walked into the living room and found her rooted to the spot.  Totally unresponsive, staring into space.  Then both of her left legs collapsed at precisely the same moment and she lay on the floor.  Breathing but not there.  I’ve never cried so hard or for so long.  I just sat on the floor with her for hour after hour and waited for my mother to come home.

She couldn’t do it.  So I had to be the one to say it was time.  Even though Lady had rallied around by then, part of her was missing and that part never came back. Rather it only got worse, as she had more and more small strokes.  The three days ’til she was put to sleep were some of the worst of my life. I just watched this part of my family, the dog I had grown up with and loved die by inches in front of me.

But none of that compared to guilt I felt afterwards.  I still feel it, though time has blunted it somewhat.  I was after all, the one who chose to take her life from her.

It took over a decade ’til I wanted to let another dog into my home.  My family of course had another dog since then, but I never connected with her.  Now though I have Winter and I am glad for it.  She hasn’t taken away sense of guilt or the sadness.  And even though my little beagle isn’t even a year old yet, sometimes I catch myself worrying about that moment coming again in the future.  But I’m happy to have that unconditional love and adoration in my life again.

All that love. Earlier she ripped its leg off.

So as I started with, recently a bereavement center for pet owners has opened in Dublin and some cynics will laugh at it.  I never will, the grief for a loved pet is as real as any other and I think sometimes they’re an even more deserving a focus of our sadness.  They at least always love us, even when we don’t deserve it.


Puppy Partners.

I probably have a fairly unusual view-point where humanities relationship with dogs is concerned. What ever the source of their domestication may have been we have made dogs almost a part of our own species. We trust them with our own young, with the security of our homes, with a large portion of our happiness and in return they give us absolute trust.

In essence I feel that human beings have a huge debt of responsibility towards these creature which as a race we have made our partners.

Nature has played an interesting trick on both of our species with regards to our mutual relationships. Most dogs that I personally have had contact with adore human children and tend to ride herd on them. This is then matched by the fact most humans melt when they have a puppy in their arms or when they see a certain toilet paper advertisement on the television. We adore each other and that on its own makes it relatively easy for us to live together and to work together for mutual advantage.

But turn on your television most days and you’ll find a show somewhere involving a bad owner who has ruined or near ruined the dog that is their responsibility. I’m afraid that the reason for so many dogs with bad behaviour lies very much at humanities feet.

All dogs like to know their place and to know what they should be doing. In short they like to have a job. Up until recently most dogs had jobs in addition to simply being pets. They were herders, hunters, guards, watchdogs and even used those amazing noses of theirs to sniff out fires. So the people who most often had dogs knew to teach them to serve a purpose beyond looking cute and licking noses.

But by this point in time we have had a couple of generations of dog owners who quite simply don’t know how to be dog owners. They don’t know that dogs need to be responsible for something in their environment to feel fulfilled and so they don’t give their dog that duty to fulfill. Indeed they don’t even know how to show their dog that they are a partner.

Being  just a pet isn’t enough for many dogs, maybe even most dogs. But they don’t need a lot more, even being shown that when you leave home they’re to be on guard is enough.

So do you own a dog?  If you do be responsible to them and allow them to be responsible to you and your family. Make them partners in life not a toy with a heartbeat and we’ll all see a lot fewer unhappy pets and owners.

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