The Birds, the Bees and Puppies

You never know when you may have to explain the birds and the bees to your children.

I did not think this would come into play at their tender ages of 11 and eight, but thanks to my mother-in-law, I had the horror opportunity to tell them a little bit about how babies are made.

One Tuesday night as I was in the middle of teaching a tap class, I received a frantic voice mail from my mother-in-law, Salt.

It went a little like this:  “Allison, hey. We have a problem here. The dogs are stuck together and I don’t know what to do! They have been stuck for over 20 minutes and I can’t get a hold of anyone.  You must call me back as soon as you get this because I just don’t know what to do!”

Reluctantly I returned the call.

“Hi there.  I only have a minute because I am in between classes,” I said.

“Chewie and Maisy got stuck together!  It has been over 30 minutes!  I didn’t know what to do!” she wailed.

“Are they still stuck together?” I asked in a calm voice so I could try and assess the situation.

“No. Finally they got themselves unstuck.  I called the vet because I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” she exclaimed, her voice revealing how stressful it had been for her. “And the boys wanted to watch it the entire time!  I had to close the curtains!”

After hanging up with her and finishing teaching my dance classes, I ran my dudes to the store.

It would be an understatement to say there were a few questions that were asked.

“Mom, why were the dogs stuck together?”

“Mom, grandma said that Chewie’s penis had to shrink before they could be unstuck.  Why?”

“Mom, what does amorous mean?”

“Mom, why did grandma tell the vet the dogs were ‘getting it on’?  What does ‘getting it on’ mean and where were they getting it on to?”

“Mom, did you know that Chewie looked like he was doing the Harlem Shake on Maisy’s back?”

“Mom, Grandma kept trying to close the curtains so we couldn’t see the dogs. Why was she doing that?”

and the biggest question of all:

“Mom, is that how people make babies?”

OMG.

By this time, I am standing in front of the cashier at Kohl’s.  She is staring at me like I have lost my marbles (which, at that second, I wished was true).  Both boys were staring at me, too, waiting for answers.

Surely this should have been the exact moment I could’ve said, “Ask your father.”  But, alas, I am not that lucky.

I started lightly.  “Amorous means really, really lovey.”  Yes, I took the easiest question first.  Can you blame me?

Next answer: “Chewie probably doesn’t know the Harlem Shake,” but then I asked the stupidest question, “How exactly did this start?

Both dudes jumped at the chance to answer, speaking over each other.  The cashier looked at me like I had horns.

“Well, you see Mom, Chewie came inside and started following Maisy around. I mean, literally, (he uses this word a lot – he is 8) Chewie would not leave her alone,” Squishy chimed in.

“Yeah, and then he started to jump on her and stuff,” said 11-year-old String Bean with a wide-eyed grin, “And he wouldn’t stop, don’t be mad if I say this next part, Mom, OK?  Grandma said it wasn’t a bad word.”

“Ummm, OK, I guess?!” Fear bubbled up inside of me.

“Chewie started humping her.  That is what Grandma called it,” he said, looking at me to gauge my reaction.

Squishy interjects, “Yeah, Mom, it was crazy! It looked like this,” as he begins a vivid demonstration even Elvis would not have attempted on national TV.

“OK. You can stop showing me now,” I said as I pushed them out of Kohl’s.

“And Grandma said Maisy was a hussy.  What exactly is a hussy, Mom?  I’ve never heard of that word before.”

And so it goes.

As I tucked the dudes into bed that night, they were still buzzing about the events of the evening. They were hoping puppies would arrive soon (I did have to break down and explain how puppies are made), and they were bouncing off of the walls about the entire situation.

Squishy did have an ace up his sleeve.  “Mom, look at this!” he said, shoving his iPod in my face, “Here they are stuck together!”

Photographic proof of the event taken by an eight-year-old.  Amorous, indeed.

Stuck together.

Stuck together.

Advertisements

Chewbacca and the Love of Dogs

Chewbacca was a Wookie.  I think of this every time I think of my dogs.  They remind me of Chewie – brave, loving, loyal and smarter than others give them credit for.

Me circa 1980 with my sister, Perky.

During my entire childhood, we always had dogs.  When I was born, there was a child before me.  Her name was Perky and she was a Shetland Sheepdog.  She was beautiful, and I had the pleasure of having a wise, kind, older dog sibling.

After my brother was born, my parents got another Sheltie.  Her name was Little Bit.  She had a little bit of an under bite, which Crazy Pat (my mom) said disqualified her from being shown around Houston, but she was the sprightliest dog around.  I would dress her up and call her Bitsy, Itsy Bitsy or Nugget.  She was hilarious.

Bitsy (closest to camera) and Perky.

She would follow my brother and I all over the neighborhood as we rode our impressive Big Wheels.  Bitsy would chase us when we moved to bikes and sit longingly on the porch watching us when we left with friends.  We were never without Little Bit.

Growing up with dogs was a must.  Unfortunately, humans usually end up outliving these amazing animals.  Perky passed away when I was 14, and Little Bit soon followed – less than a month later.

We were without dogs for two years.  It was miserable.

CJ, or Cajun. The best dog ever.

Luckily, my grandfather, who was a dog guy himself, sent us the perfect gift.  He put a little Sheltie puppy on a plane from New Orleans to Cleveland.  This was the sweetest little dog – who we fondly named Cajun, or CJ for short.  CJ was, like most Shelties, full of personality, spunk and herding skills.  He was the best dog, and continuously herded me away from some crappy boyfriends. By the time I graduated from high school, CJ was not only a sibling to me, he was my protector.  He was just as smart as most of my guy friends and much more empathetic.  He was a peach.

Romy, post Christmas lights.

At the end of my time in college, my best friend Callie gave me a golden retriever puppy.  We named him Romeo because he was such a love.  He showed us how much he cared by eating an entire strand of Christmas lights, and pooping on certain people’s shoes (including one dude I had a huge crush on – had being the operative word here).  After graduation, it was me and Romy (I shorted his name a touch) against the world.  Once, when a boyfriend broke up with me, Romy lifted his leg on the guy’s spanking-new car’s tire.  Ahhh, the good old days.

As Roman (this is what The Captain called him) aged, The Captain gave me an anniversary present – another golden.  We named her Lucy, although secretly I called her (and still do) Lucifer.  She was a maniac.  Of course, by this time, Romy was up in age – almost 9 – and all of his insane youth was well forgotten.

Lucy, aka Lucifer. She is a sweetie. Most days.

Lucy and I would go rounds.  She didn’t want to go to the bathroom outside, she didn’t want to sleep in the crate, she didn’t want to be alone for one minute.  It was quite a nightmare training her.  And she was strong, so taking her to dog training class was a complete and utter horror.  I gained a lot of upper body strength training Lucy.  Finally, Lucy settled down, and Roman, sadly, did not make it past age 11.  Lucy was alone for three years.

My daughter, Maisy.

And then came Maisy.  Here is a link to how I persuaded The Captain to go for another dog.  Maisy is a Havanese.  She is a fluffy, prissy little thing and oh, so charming.  She is my alter-ego.  If I was a dog, I would be Maisy – fuzzy, vocal and right next to whoever would give me a special snack or attention.  She is a doll, as am I.  😉

My dad still has dogs.  Two rescue dogs that are vivacious little critters.  We Facetime and get to speak to the dogs.  It is quite a treat.

The Captain’s family was also a dog family.  They always had a pooch, but usually not by design.  They didn’t visit the breeder or check the newspaper for certain dogs.  They were given dogs that were older or couldn’t be placed in a normal home.  One interesting story is of a toy poodle they were given named Jacques.  Apparently, The Captain and his brother, Coach, were fond of making Jacques crazy.  They would taunt this poor dog, who would growl at them and snap at them.  But the dog closest to the in-laws’ hearts was named Mabel.  The in-laws, let’s call them The Legend and Salt, lost this special dog last year.  Mabel, who we fondly referred to as The Captain’s sister, lived a long life.  The Legend took it hard.  He became the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld) about dogs.  I would ask him, “Hey, how about looking at a new dog?”  His reply, “Grrr, no dogs for you!”

My father believes in getting back on the horse, and this is not just because he lives in Texas.  He has loved and lost animals that were close to his heart, but he always finds room in his heart to accept a new dog – not as a replacement, but as a new companion.  I, too, feel this is important.   So I pushed the issue with my in-laws.

Chewie, the newest dog addition.

The Captain warned me not to do this, but I had to.  They had to have a new dog.  They both could use a special buddy.  They needed a pal to wag their tale and welcome them every morning.  So, I went on a quest to find them a great friend.  And I succeeded.  A male Havanese who looks like Chewbacca.  He could be a miniature Wookie. It was time to get back on the horse, so to speak.  And the best part?  They named him Chewie.  Oh yes.  Han Solo would be proud.

Chewbacca was a Wookie, and the in-laws are happy.  Love those dogs, and may the force be with you.  With dogs, that is.

Puppy love

Originally posted on my http://overlyenthusiastic.com photography blog, but I liked it so much and it rings true that I wanted to share it on my real blog!

I started a crusade in 2009.  It was to get a small dog.  I know this sounds silly, but I had to start early, do a lot of research on breeds, drool at the cute puppies every night on the computer and drive my husband crazy.  By April of 2010, I had succeeded in my mission (driving him crazy, of course!)  Seriously, it took a Dogs 101 episode on Animal Planet to do the trick.  Hey, whatever works, right?

Let me start from the beginning.  When I was a little girl, my grandmother Charlotte was dog-sitting an adorable white, fluffy Maltese dog named Sunny.  I thought there was nothing better than Sunny.  He was cute, smart and didn’t make my allergies flair up.  He was perfect.

Zoom through time almost (gulp) 25 years later.  All I could think about was that furry sweetheart, Sunny. I already had a golden retriever, Lucy (aka Lucifer), but she, too, made my allergies skyrocket (not in a good way!)  So, I started my quest to find the perfect dog for our family.  One that would settle in (hold her own) with my da, da, dah 80 pound golden, one that wouldn’t make my allergies sail into orbit and one I could hug like a teddy bear (very important!)  And then, low and behold, I found the perfect breed of dog.  The AKC Havanese.

Here’s the rub: no one knows this breed in Ohio.  NO ONE.  My dad and step-mom in Texas were very familiar with this breed (Texans love their dogs and are up on all the cool breeds – from big to really small).  They reinforced my decision.  Now, to get my husband on board.

I started dropping hints, leaving the internet up to Havanese breeder pages, taping Dogs 101 every week, and just talking about puppies.  Then – the lightbulb moment if you will – came to me.  I would start saying I wanted to have another child.

It worked.  In May of 2010, we picked out a beautiful little Havanese puppy from a great family in North Canton.  In July, we got to take her home.  She was white with caramel spots – they nicknamed her Mickey because her spots looked like Mickey Mouse’s head.  We, in turn, named her Maisy Rosalind because of Dr. Seuss and Shakespeare.  We are funny like that.  As she has gotten older, her spots have faded and she is almost all white, like that sweetheart Sunny from long ago.

Woot.

My daughter

Maisy