emergency meeting with Dobby and Ambrose

Boys!  Come into the living room and sit down please.  Thank you, Kevin, Max, you're excused.  I just need to speak with the other two.

Kevin:  Brose!  Move!  I'm sitting next to the Nice Lady.  It's my spot!

Brose:  Kevinbuddy, I think she said she wants to talk to me and Dobbs, I don't think she said you.

Gentlemen.  One of you can be on each side.  Kevin, you can only stay if you promise to be quiet.  Max, stop scratching the couch, I don't know what that accomplishes.  You should use this time to chew the bones that the other guys never let you have.  

Dobby:  I'd better go help him get one of those bones up on the bed where it's safe from Chuckles.  They're really too big for him to handle.

No Dobbs, you're the main reason for this meeting.  Sit and stay.

Dobby:  Moi?  I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. *bats big brown eyes*

Not gonna work buddy, Again, sit and listen.  There are a couple of things that happened last week that we really need to address.  First I'd like to discuss the unauthorized outings that seem to be occuring again now that we've been having some sunny days and you like being outside.  I know that you know that these out of bounds, unaccompanied outings are strictly forbidden.  And I thought that we had put a stop to you digging your way out from under the fence.  The combination of putting the flap block on the dog door and placing a dowel in the track to stop the slider from sliding and bricking up all of the holes that you dug were working quite well.  However, you seem to have found a partner in crime.  Both of those deterrents have been circumvented by our new family member.  Stop looking around the room!  Everyone knows we're talking about you Brose.  Ambrose!  Listen up!  This part pertains to you.  

Ambrose:  Oooo!  Me?  My turn?  I have questions!!  What's an unauthorize outing? What's a dowel? How come the flap is always down when you're gone? Why can't we go outside when you're gone?  Where do you go all the time?  Why don' you take us with you when you go everyday? Why can't we go to the park everyday?  

Brose, I need you to open up your big bat ears and just listen for a few minutes.  I'll try to answer your questions when we're done.

Let's start with how Dobby keeps getting out of the house.  It seems that someone has figured out how to take the dowel out of the track and then push the slider open.  I'm pretty sure that Kevin isn't involved in this activity.  And since this is a recent occurence, I think it's a safe bet that this is Ambrose's work.

Kevin:  I'm the good one!

As much as it pains me to say, yes you are.in this particular instance.  Dobby!  What have we said about eye rolling?

Ambrose:  I know this one! Pick me! Pick me!

Brose, put your paw down.  Let's move on.  In addition to opening the door, it seems that one of you is digging up and moving the bricks and landscape blocks that I put down to stop Dobby's digging his way out.  Again, this is a recent thing and I think we all know that there's only one of you who is big enough and strong enough to accomplish this task.  Brose, is there anything you'd like to tell me?

Ambrose:  Getting the door open is a fun game!  I figued it out! I like puzzles!  First I found out that the wood thing was stopping the door from opening. So I took it out.  I only bit it a little, I didn't chew on it. Then all I had to do was get a foot into the crack and push the sliding door open.  That part was easy!  Then we all went outside and Kevinbuddy and me started playing.  Dobby asked me to move the bricks and blocks.  That was pretty fun too.  But I didn't dig anything I swear.  You told me no digging in the yard. Dobby did the digging.  I told him he'd get in trouble but he laughed and laughed.  Then he disappeared.  Kevinbuddy told me not to worry, that Dobbs used to do that all the time and that you always bring him back.  And you did!

Thank you for your honesty Ambrose.  It's always best to tell the truth.  Doing things you're not supposed to do upsets me, but lying really makes me angry.  My human puppies can vouch for this.

Dobby, what do you have to say for yourself?

Dobby:  I'm taking the 5th.  I refuse to testify. That''s in the Constitution.  You can look it up if you don't believe me.

This isn't a trial, you're not being asked to "testify".  And I don't believe that the US Constitution covers dogs. I just want to hear what you have to say for yourself.

Dobby: I have places to go!  People to meet!  I'm a free spirit and my ancestors are nomadic, creatures, it's in my blood.  Hey!, nO EyEroLliNg.

You're right about the eyerolling, it was an uncontrollable result of listening to your bullshit. I apologize for that. But let's not get off track. Let's unpack your excuses shall we?  First, I already take you to all of the places you need to go.  Next, thanks to all of your past jaunts, you already know everyone in the neighborhood as well as several people who were just passing through and stopped to pick you up so that you wouldn't become street jam. And as far as your nomadic ancestors go, I'm assuming you're referring to wolves.  You sir, are about as far removed wolves as I am from the first humans who domesticated them.  We live in an urban environment, there are cars and I know for a fact that you refuse to learn to look both ways when you cross the street.  And finally, you are absolutely NOT a "free spirit". Please stop humming Born To Be Wild.  It's not helping my mood one bit.  

Kevin:  how come you're rubbing your eyes Nice Lady? Is it nap time?  I love nap time!  So much cuddling!  I really like to cuddle.

I'm starting to get a headache.  Why do I always get a headache during these meetings?

Dobby:  just one of life's little mysteries...

You know what, let's wrap this up for today.  A nap sounds really good.  I do still have a couple of things we need to address, but I'll save them for the usual weekly meeting.  We really do need to discuss the butterscotch baking chip incident from last week.


monthly check in with Ambrose

.Ambrose!  It's time for our check in.

Brose:  our what?

Our check in.  We do this every month, remember?  It's another recurring event on your calendar.  I set a reminder for you, didn't you hear it go off?  Never mind, let's just get going so that we can get to the park.

Dobby:  did you say park?  I'm ready!

We'll go as soon as Brose and I are done.

Dobby:  what's this about?  Did I miss something?  Did Chuckles eat a notice off of the bulletin board again?  

No.  Not this time.  This is just me and Brose.  We need to go over how things have been going for him, talk about how things are going with the family, hear his concerns, set some goals.  It's the same as I do with you.  And the other guys too.

Dobby:  give me one second to hide this bone and then I'll be right in.

No, as I said, this is just me and Brose.

Dobby:  but I have input!

Yes, always.  Save it for the weekly group meeting.  Make notes on your "input" and I'll add your items to the agenda.  You could do me a favor while you're waiting.

Dobby: ok ok ok,  What is it?

I'd like you to talk to Kevin and try to explain to him again that getting in the car only leads to good times.  You know how he is about the car.  Dragging him and having to lift him in is getting really old.

Dobby *under his breath* You're getting really old.

Excuse me sir, I heard that.  Shall we review who fills the food bowls and buys the treats?

Dobby: fine, FINE!  I'll go talk to Chuckles.  Won't do any good , but I'll do it.  I'll do it because you asked.  And because you're the only one that can open the cupboard doors.

Shut the door on your way out please, gently.    *SLAM*.

There, let's get going shall we Brose?  Let's start with how you think things are going.

Brose:  it's good!  SO Good! I love it here!  I love you!  I love the other guys!  I love the yard!  I love the walks! I love love love the park!  I love pig ears! I love whatever you're eating!  I love chasing Kevin and taking his collar off!  

Whoa, slow down please.  Take a breath.  Organize your thoughts.  Sit down, relax.  Do you have any concerns?  Anything you feel you need to tell me? 

Brose:  well....

It's ok, you can say anything here, it's a safe place.  This is your time.  Say what's on your mind.  If you have questions or concerns, this is the time to ask.

Brose: Ok!  Why are you gone every day?  Why can't I stand up and get stuff off the counter? Why don't we go to the park every day? Why does Dobby yell at me all the time?  Why is Max so scared of everything? Why can't I have some of everything that you eat? Is Kevinbuddy ever going to catch a squirrel? Why can't I sit on your lap? Why do people think I'm scary? Why doesn't Kevin wear a collar? Why can't I go outside at night? Why don't we have those cool toys with the fluffy stuff in them anymore? Why are you always pushing that vacuum thing around? Why aren't we at the park? 

Again, slow down please!  That's a lot of questions all at once.  And in a very short space of time.  Try not to talk so fast.

Brose: why?

Hmm, been a long time since I've dealt with a puppy.  I'd forgotten that this is a lot like having a toddler.  The constant questions, the short attention span, the furniture chewing, the meltdowns, the sibling disagreements, the drool.......

Brose, we're not done here yet, don't scratch the door.  I'm sick of sanding and painting. Let me answer your questions. I'll keep it short, the natives are getting restless out there. Are you listening?  Please don't lick yourself while we're in a meeting.

Brose: Why?

Oof, I managed to not strangle my human puppies at this stage of development and for your sake, let's hope I can continue the tradition.  Ok, here we go, Let's get those questions answered.

I'm gone every day because I have to work.

Brose: why?

I work so that we can money to live.  Someone has to pay the bills.

Brose: Why?

Because if I don't pay the bills we won't have a roof over our heads or anything to eat.

Brose: why?

You know what? I'll answer the questions you already asked, and we can save new questions for another time. 

So, in the order that you asked: 

there is nothing that you need on the counter and it's rude and unsanitary for you to put your feet up there.

Brose: why?

No more questions!  Just listen to the answers and we can dive deeper another time. We're already over the time I had allotted for this check in.

We go to the park as often as we can.  Maybe we'll be able to go more often now that the days are  gettin longer.

Don't feel bad when Dobby yells at you.  He yells at everybody.  He even yells at me sometimes.  It's the Dacshund in him.  We tolerate it.

Max has a lonnnnngggg story, let's put a pin in that for now.

Not everything that people eat is good for dogs.  And it doesn't matter how big and sparkly you make your eyes or how much you drool on my knee: if it's not good for you, I'm not going to share.

Don't tell him, but I'm pretty sure Kevin is never ever ever going to catch a squirrel.  Let that be our secret.

I wish you could sit on my lap too, but you're awfully big and you make it hard to breath when you lean in: you're heavy. We'll have to get our cuddles in with you sitting next to me.

Kevin doesn't wear a collar because you keep taking it off of him!  I can't make his collar tight enough to stay on when it's pulled.  His neck is the same circumference as his head, if I tighten the collar enough to stay on, he'll strangle.  Not a bad idea on some days, but no, I can't do that.

You can't go outside at night because you bark your face off when you go out after dark.  I appreciate the effort you're putting into protection, but I don't think the neighbors feel the same.  Especially at 2am.

from outside the door: Chuckles shut up! For the eighteenth time, the lady is NOT going to kick you out of the car and leave you on the road!  I would, but she wouldn't.  *and no one would blame me*

Kevin: it happened to me before, it could happen again!  I'm telling you, if you never get in the car, you'll never get left somewhere.

Oh dear, we'd better cut this short Brose, sounds like the inmates are taking over the asylum.  We'll pick this up again next month.  And I think I'll save the goals section and add it onto our weekly agenda.  There are several things we can work in as a group.

Boys!  Get your leashes!  Brose, watch where you're putting those massive feet that soft thing under your paw is /was my foot. Dobby, let go of Brose's leash!!  Kevin get out from under the bed.

Kevin: nope nope nope nope

I fully understand why some species eat their young.......

Kevin!  It's time for our meeting, come inside and sit down.  I'm sure the squirrel will still be there when we're done, you can continue barking at it after the meeting.  Dobby, please don't look so put out, I expect you to set a good example for the new guys. 

I think everyone is here now, let's get started. Kevin! Sit! Stay!  Thank you

Hello everyone and welcome.  It's been awhile since we've taken the time to come together and discuss things and I think it's imortant, especially now that our household has stabilized.

Let's start by welcoming our newest family members! Ambrose, Max, please step up and say hello.  Ambrose, come.  Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ambrose:  Ummm... I didn't know I had to do that. 

Dobby: Dude, she said come prepared. 

Let's not start out by picking at each other. Tell you what, since this is the first meeting with all of us together, we'll just keep it easy; I'll tell you a bit about the new guys just so that we have it in the transcript for future reference.  

Ambrose, we'll start with you.  Brose comes to us from Fresno. He's a rescue, just like the rest of you.  He's only about a year old and in case any of you were wondering, he weighs about 97lbs. As I'm sure you've all noticed, he's taller than I am when he stands up on his hind legs.  Which, as we all know, is NOT an authorized activity.  He's scary smart.....Dobby! Don't roll your eyes!  As I was saying, he's smart but he has a lot to learn about being a good member of the household.  Dobby, as the most senior member,  I expect you to lead by example.  Would you PLEASE not roll your eyes. 

Kevin...Kevin...Kevin!  Are you paying attention?  What are you muttering?

Kevin: squirrel squirrel squirrel

Dobby: hey Lady, I thought you said no eye rolling

Guys, it's getting late and I have to go to work tomorrow.  Let's move on to Max.  Max, would you like to say anything?  No?  You're just going to sit and vibrate?  Ok, I'll do a brief rundown for the record.  As you all know, Max was given to us by a local shelter-free to good home. 

Dobby: since we're doing things for the record I'd like it to be clear that "free to good home" means that this is the place that everyone calls when they need to get rid of a problem.

Dobbs, please remember that you're a rescue as well.  Do I need to remind you about the No Questions Asked Return Policy?  There's no time limit on that.  Just saying.

Let's get back to Max. He had a really really rough time before he came to us and he still has many issues that we're working through. Dobby!  Did you just call him a weirdo?  That's unkind!  If we're being brutally honest, you're all weirdos.  Excuse me Dobbs? Did you have something to say?  Remember, this is an open forum, feel free to express yourself.

Dobby: again, fOr tHe ReCoRD I'd like to quote an article I read the other day: like attracts like. Don't remember where I read that but this seems a good time to share the concept.

You read it somewhere? Please tell me that you found a book and read it there.  Books can be replaced relatively inexpensively but as we all now know, electronics are considerably more pricey. We'll revisit the cost of things at our quarterly fiscal meeting,

Dobby: I can neither confirm or deny finding the quote on the internet.

What have I told you about using my laptop when I'm not here?  I see we're going to have to address this.  AGAIN.  Not tonight though, it's getting late and I have to work in the morning. We'll put this on the agenda for next week's meeting.

Dobby: thanks to all that's holy, these meetings are my least favorite thing about living here.

Kevin: can I go back outside now?  I really gotta check on the squirell invasion.

Ambrose:  I got your back bro.

Guys, it's dark out there now.  The squirrels are all in their little tree homes sleeping.  Trust me.  Let's go to bed.

Kevin:  I think the possum is back!  Brose let's go check!!

Ambrose: we can't, she blocked off our exit.  Like she does every night.  Or anytime she leaves the house.  What's the point of having a dog door if we can't go outside everytime we want to.  I don't get it.

Ambrose, Kevin, this is not open to discussion.  We're going to bed. 

Kevin: ok, ok, ok.  But it's my turn to sleep next to you.

Ambrose: yeah...we'll see about that.

Boys!  It's a king sized bed.  I paid for it.  I should get to use more than the 12 inches closest to the edge.  I'm begigng you.

greetings to our new team members!

Attention Harlan Dogs!

Starting March 20, 2023 weekly meetings will resume.  There is now a recurring event on all of your calendars.  These are mandatory meetings, no exceptions will be granted and no absences will be tolerated.  Please come prepared to participate.

Looking forward to seeing all of you,



Apr. 1, 2022

Dearest Peep,

Thank you so very much for the past 14+ years.  Thank you for gracing my life with your presence.  Thank you for your infinite patience with every child, rescue dog and all of the other helpless creatures that crossed your path.  I learned so much from you through the years and I truly hope that I gave as much as you gave to me.  Your passing marks the end of an era and you will be gravely missed.  Say hello to Beau and Smith and Wesson and all of the other friends we've shared over the years and please tell them that they are always in my heart. You will be so very much missed and forever loved.

Sending you off with all of my love, Mom

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daily walk

Feb. 5, 2022

Team!  Could you all come in here for a minute!

Dobby: Team? What are we, sled dogs?  

Me: Dobbs, sled dogs are working dogs, no one would ever accuse you of being a working dog.

Dobby: Work is for the peasants, glad we're on the same page.

Me: Kevin!  We're waiting for you, get in here please.

Kevin: *running in confused circles in the living room* Where is everybody?!?

Me: Buddy, we're in the kitchen.  It's a small house. Even if you can't see us I would think you'd be able to smell us.  You're a dog, your sense of smell is supposed to be amazingly accurate.

Dobby: yeah dude, use your nose.  It's gotta work better than your brain.  Giving you the benefit of the doubt here, I'm assuming you actually have a brain in that thick skull.

Me: Dobby, why are you so unkind to him? He adores you.

Dobby: Oh yeah, and he shows it by putting my whole head in his T-Rex mouth. I could do without so much adoration.

Me:  Point taken.  Could you all just listen for a minute?

Peep: I'm listening.

Me: Thank you for trying to set a good example Sweetie.  I wish it helped.

Now that you're all here, we need to address a problem that occurs every time we go for a walk,


Me: Kev, settle down. I'm very proud of you for recognizing that word, I know how limited your vocabulary is. I'll let you know when it's time for a w-a-l-k but for now I need you to listen.

Kevin: psst, Dobbs, what's a "vocabulary"? Do we eat vocabulary? Do I like vocabulary?

Me: Dobb, you never fail to impress me.  I didn't know that dogs could roll their eyes.

Team! focus please! This happens everytime, I need 5 minutes of your time to address a problem and it turns into a minimum of an hour. Why? Just Why?

Dobby: *whispering to himself* There she goes again with the Team crap, poor deluded lady.

Me: I heard that and in the interest of getting this over with I'm to choosing to ignore it. Now, I want you all to take a look at these photos. In the upper left corner you will see what the leashes look like for the first 30 seconds of our walks. The other pictures are what your leashes look like for the majority of the rest of the walk. This is less than optimal for all of us.  Dobby, you know full well that you and Chuckles over there can never agree on what needs to be peed on. Knowing that, why would you continually cross back and forth and tangle up with him?  When the leashes get this twisted, you have no choice of which direction to go: Kevin weighs twice what you do and he's made out of gravity so you know you're never going to win a pulling contest. You need to take turns.

Dobby: it should always be my turn.

Me: and there it is. Let's try thinking about it this way, remember that Peep isn't as steady on her feet as she used to be, she wobbles when you bump against her and it worries me.  Peep honey, don't look so sad.  You're a the best girl but both you and I are getting older and need to keep safety in mind. Neither one of us needs a broken hip courtesy of the Bobbsy Twins and thier leashes.  

Peep: Sorry sorry sorry.

Me: Honey, this isn't about you!  I'm just trying to make our demented teammates understand that it's just not always about them, there are others who's wellbeing needs to be considered.

Dobby: your mouth is moving and words are coming out, but I don't see why any of this should matter to me.

Kevin: We're in the kitchen! Can we have cookies?  Oooo! or cheese maybe.  I love cheese.  II know where it is! It's in that big cold box that I can't open. I wish I could open the box...so much good stuff in there.

Me: I give up. I'm going to post this photo on the board in the breakroom and move on with my life.  It's 9:30 on Saturday morning. I think it's time to see what all the hype is about day drinking.......


Peep's soup

Feb. 2, 2022

Me:  Guys!  Could you all come into the living room please.  We need to have a meeting.

Peep: A meeting?! I didn't think we did that anymore.

Dobby: I was hoping we didn't do that anymore.

Kevin: What's a meeting?

Me: *heavy sigh* Kevin, buddy, remember how we used to gather together every week and talk about important things that were happening?

Dobby: You're joking, right?  This guy doesn't remember where his food bowl is and you expect him to remember something that happened a few months ago?

Me: You have a point, but let's be kind.

Kevin: kind of what?  Kinds of snacks?  I like all the snacks, doesn't matter what kind.

Dobby: I rest my case.

Me: I'm not going to let you guys get me off track this time.  Sit. Stay. Listen up.

Peep: I've been listening the whole time.....

Me: I know darling girl, you're not the problem, you're never the problem.  However, Heckle and Jeckle over here are a different story.

Kevin: who are Heckle and Jeckle? Are they new friends?  Are they coming to stay with us? I LOVE new friends. 

Dobby: Dude, we're going to be here all night if you don't shut up.  I'm ready to curl up on the couch and the more you interrupt, the farther away I am from doing that.

Me: thanks Dobbs, I'll handle this.  Kevin, just be quiet and listen, tonight's topic is about you. As usual.

As you all know, Peep needs to take medicine twice a day to keep her feeling good and moving well. And as you all know, she's been picky about taking that medicine. I thought we had solved the problem by making peanut butter soup and stirring her meds into that.  And it worked for quite awhile.  Didn't it Peep?  Peep?

Peep: I was just resting my eyes!  

Me: It's ok honey, go back to resting your eyes, it's really Kevin I need to listen.  Hey! Dobby! That doesn't mean that you're excused, sit back down and listen!

Dobby *muttering* hmmm, not excused? Fine! As soon as this is over I'm going to go and see which corner of the house needs me to pee in it.

Me: I heard that! Christonacracker, you guys.  We could have been done by now if you would just pay attention to what I have to say. Please try to remember that I'm in charge here. Dobby, don't you dare laugh.  As soon as you can grow opposable thumbs and get a job, we can discuss heirarchy.

Kevin: what's a heirarchy? Can I eat it?

Me: Alright, I give up.  I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Kevin: sweet?  Is it time for cookies? I love cookies!

Me: *deep breaths, deep breaths, center, center* Here's the deal:  Peep decided she didn't like peanut butter soup so as you know, we switched over to cat food soup to get her drugs into her.  So far it's working, she loves it.  Unfortunately, both of you guys love it too. Dobbs, you're ok, you always wait for her to finish before you swoop in to lick the bowl. And the floor around the bowl.  And sometimes the fronts of the cupboards.  

Dobby: yeah, she's pretty messy, but I've got your back lady.

Me: Kevin, you, on the other hand, are not nearly as polite.  You know full well that Peep is (sadly) too polite to just rip your face off like most other dogs would. And don't think I don't see you "sneaking" up on her and pushing your big  pitbull mug into her bowl every day, twice a day. I shouldn't have to tell you every time, every day, that the cat food soup is Not. For You. I've checked with the vet, the drugs won't hurt you.  But they're crazy expensive and You. Don't. Need. Them.  Are we clear?  Kevin?

Kevin: got it.  Help Peep finish her soup every day. LOOK! SQUIRREL! THERE'S A SQUIRREL ON THE FENCE! GO GO GO!!!!

Dobby: I think we're done, don't you lady? Feels like we're done.



daylight savings etc

Nov. 9, 2021

Dogs!  Could you all join me in the living room, we need to talk.  You're fine Peep, you don't have to get up, just try to stay awake.

Peep: I will Mom *yawns*

Dobby: I was really comfortable in the office, is this important?

Me: of course it's important! When have I ever called a meeting that wasn't important?

Dobby: well...

Me: nevermind! Just sit down and pay attention.  Where's Kevin?

Dobby: last time I saw him he was in your closet picking out shoes to chew.

Me: WHAT? Did you remind him that's not an approved activity?! 

Dobby: not my job.

Me: sweet baby jesus help me.  KEVIN!!!!!  GET IN HERE NOW!!

*galloping noises in the hallway*

Kevin: is it time for a walk? Snacks? Did you get me a new toy?

Me: no to all 3.  Drop the shoe, we're having a meeting.

Kevin: will there be snacks?

Me: that depends entirely on how well you pay attention.

Dobby: welp, no snacks tonight then.

Me: let's get to it shall we?  I'm getting progressively more tired and sleep deprived.  And I hate to tell you, but it's your fault.  

Peep: I'm sorry.

Me: honey, it's not you, it's so rarely ever you.  It's the two crack monkeys that we live with.  Now,as I told you last weekend, we set the clocks back an hour.  And as you know, I have a new job with new hours so I don't have to get up at 4am anymore.  Add those 2 things together and it means that in theory, I should be getting waaaay more sleep than I actually am.  Sadly I am not.  Let's discuss circadian rythms, shall we?

Kevin: psst Dobbs, do you know what she's talking about? What's a clock? What's that rhythm thing about? 

Me: circadian rhythms are physical and mental behaviors that occur in a 24 hour period.  This is usually affected by light and darkness.  Why are you all looking at me like that?

Dobby: hey lady, if I can't understand what you're talking about, I think we can agree that Mr. PotatoHead over there won't have a clue.

Me: You're right, what was I thinking?  I'll make it simpler for you. I am not getting enough sleep. As I've expained several times already, we dion't need to get up at 4am anymore.  I thought we were making a little progress, you seemed to be getting the idea that I don't need to get up nearly as early. But daylight savings seems to have erased any progress we might have made.  Let me be clear: the day absolutely does not need to start at 3am.  And if I don't get up when you click your way into my room, that doesn't mean you should start an MMA match complete with body slams and screaming at the side of the bed.  This just shouldn't be happening. Not on work days, and especially not on weekends.  Not all of us have the luxury of napping during the day if we don't get enough sleep at night. Does everyone understand? 

*snoring noises*

Me: KEVIN! Did you seriously fall asleep while I was talking?!?  Un. Be Lievable.

Kevin: I wasn't sleeping!  I closed my eyes so that I could listen harder.

Dobby: dude, you were snoring.

Kevin: stuffy nose?  

Me:  Why do I bother? Why do I even have these meetings?  Oh look, it's 8:30, I can go to bed without feeling bad about it. 8:30 really isn't so early for bed.

Dobby: since you're old it's fine. What are you now? 80ish?

Me: remember those snacks you wanted?  Well guess what.

Kevin: I'll guess! it's cheese isn't it?  I love cheese! Or peanut butter? Oooo maybe pizza?  

Me: I'm done.  Just done.





the right park?

Oct. 31, 2021


I think we found a dog park that suits everyone.  It's taken almost 3 months of trying different parks every Sunday to do it, but today I think all of you had a good time.  Of course, this isn't one of parks that's within walking distance from home, that would be too easy, rather the park is about a 15 minute drive.  Not too bad and I guess I should be happy that you really didn't care for the one that's almost 45 minutes from home.

I wasn't sure how it was going to go today since we had the usual getting in the car drama-yes Kevin, you're the one that causes all the car drama.  Once I had you all in the car, Dobby was filled to the brim with enthusiasm as he always is.  Peep was game to go, as she always is, but you, Kevin spent the entire ride sitting on the floor in the back seat looking like you were on your way to being euthanized.  

Once we arrived, all of you were quite keen to get out and start the adventure, but it took almost 10 minutes to get from the car to the actual park.  Every tree had to be inspected carefully, every pile of leaves checked  and snorfelled through for hidden danger, virtually every blade of grass required attention.  It wasn't until a few dogs started barking that all of you actually managed to look up and decide to finally start heading for the gate.  

Every dog park we've ever been to has 2 gates with a tiny holding-type area between them.  Let's review: this little area is NOT the park.  We don't need to spend another 10 minutes going over the entrance with a fine toothed comb; there's a whole big area to explore if we can just get through the f-ing gate.  Apparently, this part is a sacred ritual which must be observed.

We finally made it to the actual park and things started out the way they usually do: Peep, you ambled off to inspect the entire fence line.  This must be done every time, even if we've already been to a park several times and you've checked the security of the enclosre every time.  Once a working dog, always a working dog I guess.  Dobby, you start peeing on all the edges of everything.  You spend the majority of your park time doing this.  Every upright surface, trees, bushes, tall grass, chairs, picnic tables and once, a large dog who was sitting still minding his own business.  That last one was quite embarrasing since the owner was standing right next to his poor dog.  I apologized profusely, but not you.  You showed absolutely no remorse.  I was not surprised. You spend so much time and energy and pee on this activity that I  sometimes  worry that you're going to be dangerously dehydrated by the time we leave. And that brings ups to you, Kevin.  You started out the same way you always do.  Glued to my leg.  Ears flat, tail tucked, apparently looking for the execution room.  

But then, today, something different happened.  Maybe it was the adorable wee Chihuahua that boldly came up to you and Peep to say hello.  Maybe it was the tons of kids that were there and wanted to pet you. Maybe it was the general friendliness and polite play and ball chasing that was going on.  Whatever it was, you detached yourself from my leg and cautiously ventured out and actually started interacting with the other dogs and people.  

At first, I was absolutely thrilled.  But then I realized that since you were going to go out and be a dog in a dog park, I now had 3 dogs with completely different agendas to keep track of.  Call me over protective, I'm not one of those dog park people that sits down and just lets their dog go and do whatever they want. I realize I have trust issues and we can discuss this in our next group therapy session.  I also know all too well that dogs in groups don't always make good choices.  I'm sorry you guys, but your whole species is prone to giving into peer pressure. So I make sure that I'm monitoring behavior at all times.

I don't worry much about Peep, she loves all living things, gets along with everyone and she's big and white and easy to spot. But as we know, I have no recall ability with Dobby.  He becomes as deaf at the park as he does when he's power walking around the neighborhood on one of his unauthorized adventures. And he always seems to be checking for a way out of the parks so that he can go on one of those adventures.  As an added bonus, today's park has huge old oak trees and since it's fall, the whole park is covered with fallen oak leaves which I discovered are exactly the same color as you, Dobbs, that made it really hard to keep track of you. 

That brings us to you Kevin. Since today was your first time truly enjoying the park, and interacting with the other dogs, I felt I needed to keep a particularly close eye on you.  I know it's a sensitive subject, but I just don't know anything about you from the time before you joined us.  You've said you've always been a very good boy, but let's be brutally honest, you've got some behaviors that I find worrisome not the least of which is your tendency to "taste" everything and everyone. If it was just your tongue, that would be fine.  Gross but fine. The problem is your teeth.  Although you've never bitten anyone, I think we can all agree that you're very "mouthy".  I hate to sound prejudiced, but this is very typical Pitbull behavior and it's exactly the kind of thing that gives all of you guys a bad name.  Anyway, that's why I felt the need to keep a close eye on you.  I wanted to be sure to be close by in case anything went sideways either with the other dogs or their people. But in the end, you did great and it was fabulous to see you smiling somewhere other than at home.  I've had concerns about your apparent agoraphobia, but it wasn't evident today and everyone was quite happy on the way home.  Kevin, you actually rode in the back rather than on the floor!  Amazing.

All in all, I'd say it was a success and we'll make this our go-to park for Sundays.  Maybe Saturdays too.  I have to admit, I'm really enjoying the quiet now that you're all exhausted.

That's it for now.  Remember that we'll be resuming our weekly meeting tomorrow.  Lots to discuss, lots to go over. Please have your suggestions and input dropped off before bedtime tonight so that I have time to prepare.

Love you all,