Black Dog and Skootch

My Critters


O.K. ... I'm a sucker when it comes to animals. When Black Dog was still alive and my children were younger ... they came home one Father's Day ... with a kitten. Proceeded to "give" it to me as my Father's Day gift. Right. This freakin cat hates me, and I ain't real fond of her either. But there you go ... I have a cat, and her name is Skootch. Thanks kids. To her credit, she has mellowed in her old age, and we tolerate each other. But the cat is whack ... ever met a cat who can't play? Me either, until this one came around. She also has no concept of sleep ... at least MY sleep ... her requests of "in", "out", "feed me", can and will happen at all hours. And the bitch will not shut up until I satisfy one or more of those three requests. Sigh. I no longer argue ... I diligently drag my ass out of bed, feed her, let her in, let her out ... whatever protocol dictates.

Similarly, I have a rooster. My youngest helped hatch chickens as a school project years back. She told me they were having a writing contest, the winners receiving a pair of chicks. "Write badly," said I. No such luck. Kid comes home with a pair of banty chickens. Mind you, at the time we lived in suburban Tampa Bay, where houses are stacked on top of each other ... and I have a freakin rooster. Chicken Boo is his name.

A freakin rooster. Yeah, those critters who CROW at first light. That ain't quite right ... mine CROWS pretty much at all hours. Loudly. It is fortunate that where we lived, we were pretty much surrounded by the elderly, many of whom had little hearing. We have since moved out to the sticks, and my rooster is but one of many who vocalize at all hours. The hen died (damn shame, those egges were small but good), but the rooster is alive and kicking. If you listen to my version of Terra Naomi's "Say It's Possible", you will hear Chicken Boo adding his voice to the recording. Thanks Boo.

I had a great little rabbit named "Bugsy" ... another class project I inherited. He was the best garbage disposal I ever had. Feed him whatever organic material that had gone ugly in the fridge, and he'd eat it (gladly) and turn it into usable fertilizer. Great rabbit. He died of old age.

My kids, deciding Dad would get lonely without a rabbit, went out and got me a replacement. This rabbit seems to think organic material is inedible. Expensive rabbit pellets do turn to fertilizer, but buying commercial fertilizer would be cheaper, and ... what the hell do I do with all the left- over organics that this damnable rabbit won't eat? SIGH.

Butters Next came Butters. Black Dog was still alive, but failing. My youngest wanted a dog of her own which she promised she would love, and bathe, and feed, and walk, and otherwise take care of. Uh huh. I knew better, but against my better judgement, off we went to the Human Society, and we rescued this Catahoula Leopard pup, named Butters after the South Park character. Butter headed dog. Butter butt.

In reading about the breed, I've learned that they are very vocal (read that, "they bark their asses off"), and they are terrors until age two, when just as if someone throws a switch, they become perfect, well mannered dogs. Butters is "very vocal", and is only a year and a half. Butters may not make it to age two. I used to have a lot more socks than I do now. More shirts too. I used to have some really nice books in my bookcase. I used to have pretty nice furniture. I now have, instead ... Butters. Doggy tranqs are in order. No, the hell with that ... give me the vallium. Or please God, let this dog age another six months and someone THROW THE DAMNED SWITCH!

Molly is the latest addition. She was the guard dog of a friend/customer. When in full blown guard mode, she will go through a plate glass window or steel door to get at an intruder. And fences have no hold over her at all. My friend got tired of chasing her through the neighborhood, and replacing damaged doors and broken plate glass windows, and asked me to take her.

Did I mention Molly is a cat killer? She arrived a couple of weeks before my wife passed, and two days into her stay, I get a panicked call from my wife saying, "Come get this GD dog out of here ... she damn near killed Skootch!". Good, thought I. However, I headed home, picked up Molly and took her back to my friend. That didn't work too well, and my only options were (a) take her off to the pound, or take her back home. Long story short, back home she went.

Molly Molly has since come to an "understanding" with the cat ... she will let her exist, but will periodically take a bite at her, just to remind her that ... I'm the cat-killing dog around here, and at any time, I can take you out.

Molly has also stopped her escape artist stuff. I began to let her out in the front yard, which is not fenced. Once she understood that she was "trusted" and could go anywhere she wanted inside the yard, she no longer had a need to escape. I can now put her out back in the fenced section, and leave her there all day, never having to worry that she has bolted.


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