Please #spayandneuter your dogs

So here’s what happened. I love dogs and I adopted Bandit from a rescue after meeting him at Petsmart.


It was impulsive, to say the least.

Bandit had been at the shelter for six years (!!) and was quiet and submissive, which is what drew me to him.

Except when he wasn’t quiet and submissive. In certain situations — like when he was in the car and didn’t want to get out, or when he didn’t want to get off the couch or go into his crate — he would growl and try to bite.


I couldn’t reconcile it with the usual sweet and submissive disposition I saw most of the time. But it was there. He could be aggressive and I couldn’t keep him.

I surrendered him on Tuesday. I felt terrible mostly because I shouldn’t have adopted him in the first place.

So here’s what happened: Bandit was born because some dogs weren’t spayed or neutered. (He’s not an AKC dog and had no history.) Eventually he got picked up by a no-kill shelter which most people think are fantastic — except when a dog has aggression issues and keeping it alive = wasting resources that could be used on adoptable dogs. The shelter was so eager to adopt him out, they didn’t care about his history or do any background on me. (Yes, the shelter sucked.)


And yes, I was the impulsive sucker who adopted a dog with no history.

As much as I hated having a puppy — they chew, they pee in the house, they are susceptible to viruses — Maizey and other AKC champion-bred dogs have a history. I have her entire line going back 5 generations and her breeder would have taken her back in a heartbeat if I had had any problems with her. (And tried to, but that’s another story.)

But dogs like Bandit, who have no history, are a crapshoot. They might be awesome and well behaved, and you might do well to get them as puppies when they are blank slates (to an extent) but you might not.


Irresponsible breeding — breeding because you want your kid to see the miracle of life, or you want your dog to have one litter before getting him neutered or her spayed — is the root of the issue, for dogs.

For humans, it’s being a sucker. My friends have suggested I not adopt any more dogs. I can’t make that promise forever — I love dogs, always have and always will. But I can promise the next dog we own will either be from a foster with a history or from a AKC breeder. No more spontaneous impulsive dogs adoptions.

Instead, I’ll donate to a spay and neuter organization if I feel like spending my money well.

Here are two four-star rated charities (from that support spay/neuter efforts:


Introducing Bandit #rescuedog #thehavenfriendsforlife

The Informant and I were at a pet supply store buying some fish supplies, when we saw this


He was at the store with an adoption event from The Haven–Friends for Life, a rescue organization in Raeford, NC. The Haven is a no-kill shelter housing hundreds of dogs from various pounds, or dogs that have been dumped by their owners. Also, dogs whose owners have been deployed (it’s near Ft. Bragg and Pope AFB).

The dog was black, schipperke-looking, about 40lbs and completely silent. That’s my #1 criteria for a rescue dog — no barking and no jumping (and also, neither huge nor small). But not shy or timid, just quiet. He’s an old boy, around 9, and he has had all his vaccines, is neutered, and has been given heart worm preventative and flea/tick medication.


Maizey, the dog without a downside, has one definite downside: she is not happy about sharing her space. For right now they’re separated most of the time, so they can get used to each other’s scents.

He was nameless and we named him Bandit, after Leigh Botts’ dog in Dear Mr. Henshaw and also after Shirley’s nickname in China in In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson.

Bandit is getting used to life here.


Dog versus Guinea Pigs, Day Two

A few months ago, when we went to San Diego, some lovely moms from my homeschool group dog-sat for Maizey. In fact, my friend Angela practically begged to watch her. Angela is not insane; she’s an ARTIST. She does portraits on canvas, and then she also did this

Get in mah belly!

It’s my belly cast from Cousin It, which Jugs did when I was 40w1d pregnant, at Miss Manners’ house. Not to be confused with my henna belly tattoo, which Prom Queen did when I was 41w5d pregnant and looked like this

41w5d Pregnant henna belly likes chocolate cake!

Angela’s husband is Italian and they speak only Italian at home and their house is full of photographs and art and books and plants and food. It’s like… amazing! She’s the coolest person in Wake County, I’m certain of it.

So when she asked if we could guinea pig-sit for her, I said YES, ABSOLUTELY! Perhaps some of Angela’s creativity and artistic talent (not to mention coolness) will rub off on me!

These pics aren’t great, because the cage is right in front of a window. Pig #1 of 2.

The kids were excited, and I was too, but most excited was Maizey. Because she was under the mistaken impression that these pigs were her friends.

To that end, she sits near the cage, waiting for them to come out and play.

“How you doin?”

She walks around in front of their cage, trying to get their attention

“I said, ‘Do you come here often?'”

She tries to look at them

“Hello, in there!”

And when they refuse to engage, she gives up, and waits for them to fall at her feet.

“I’ll just lay here… Til you’re ready.”

The guinea pigs will be with us for another week.

I found a dog. Then I lost him.

I was driving home from my weekend in Charlotte — which doesn’t feel good so much as it feels normal — taking the back roads because it’s faster and more direct when I came upon a pair of big green eyes. If I hadn’t known I was in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina, I would have thought it was a crocodile.

It was a dog.

Of course, being me, I pulled over and I jumped out of the car, ready to rescue the dog from whatever cruel fate it was to be on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina. I assumed it wasn’t rabid. I assumed the dog would run when I got close, which has been my experience every other time I’ve tried to “help” a dog at the side of the road. I assumed wrong — at least, I hope on the rabid part. This one walked up to me and sat down. He looked like a beagle, and cars were coming in both directions, so I grabbed him and shoved him into my car, and started driving toward Raleigh.

First I thought, “Wait a second, what am I doing?”

Then I thought, “Well, I can’t let him sit there by the side of the road. I’ll just… take him home… and figure it out from there.”

Next I thought, “What if he belongs to someone?” I reached over and felt his neck — no collar, no tags.

I sighed — this next part is difficult to admit, but yes, I copped a feel of the beagle to see if he had dog-balls. He did.

So I drove back to Raleigh with a non-collared, non-tagged, non-neatured beagle and thought of how I’d explain it to My Chemical Romance. When I got home, I carried the dog in first (before Porcelain!) and immediately started with “We’re not keeping it but I found it on the side of the road and there were no houses nearby and even if there was a farm in the mile-or-two vicinity I wasn’t about to go walk up to the door and knock, because, you know they probably have GUNS and shit, so here’s this dog, I think he’s a beagle, and I named him Clutch.”

Clutch sniffed around — The Dog Without a Downside was thrilled, and the kids would be too, but they were asleep. My Chemical Romance rolled his eyes and informed me that I had a week to find owners for him.

Before I went to bed I posted on Craigslist and Findfido and I left a message with the local county animal control for the county in which I’d found him.

The next morning, the girls were up at 5AM (!!!!!) to see the dog. (They were both napping by 10AM, for the record.) We gave him a bath — I even cleaned his ears and examined his paws and teeth. He looked about five or six years old. He was incredibly tolerant of the children, even following Animal around. He peed outside and drank water. It seemed like if this dog didn’t have an owner, he’d at least spent time around people. He was really good-natured, and more mellow than the Dog Without a Downside, who is almost 3yo now.

But alas, Clutch was short lived. Sometime while he was outside and I was making quesadillas for lunch, Clutch escaped. I literally have no idea how he did it, since we have a fence — and by the time I realized it it had been an hour and we were getting ready for swimming practice. I thought about searching for him, but I decided not to. He’s not my dog, and I had already meddled enough. I took him from being lost among farmland to being lost among the suburbs. At least he’s clean and fed and watered; I can only hope someone finds him or calls Animal Control and he eventually  makes it to a good home. Good luck, Clutch!

UPDATE: I found a sign at the nearest playground about a found brown and white dog, and called the number listed. It was definitely Clutch, but the family had had animal control take him to the county shelter. I found him on there, and emailed the shelter to let them know that I’d had him briefly but he’d escaped — and got an email back that he’s already been adopted by a family with two kids. Yay, Clutch! 


The Rockstar

My dog was in heat again a few weeks ago, and I’m probably going to get her spayed relatively soon. She is a “show” dog, but neither My Chemical Romance nor I want to show her. Other than not having time, energy, or money for showing her, I’m not so sure how she’d do in a ring. She’s incredibly social with other dogs, and I think she would distract everyone — including herself. She would roll on her back and try to get the judge to rub her belly. Plus she has this weird untamed hair — she has like 12 cowlicks that would take me forever to get straight. I’ve tried, when I groom her, to get her fur to lay flat. It likes to be springy and curl up. I’m not going to fight dog hair — I already fight with my own hair and The Informant’s hair. My Masterpiece seems to have gotten better hair genes, along with Animal and Mineral, who don’t count because they get shaved every month or two.

Another reason I would spay her is her Optic Neuritis. If you look it up, you’ll get a vague explanation that it’s an eye condition that leads to temporary blindness which will someday be permanent blindness. Maybe. There’s really no way to tell. She hasn’t had an episode of blindness in nearly a year — but the ophthalmologist vet said it would probably be a year between episodes, so I’m not sure yet. It’s not genetic, but I don’t want to breed her when she’s not 100% perfect, she’s not a champion… there’s just no reason to breed her.

I love her. She loves My Chemical Romance. She loves me, but when My Chemical Romance is around, she’s on him like wild on rice. She loves curling up in corners. Her favorite spot in the kitchen is in the corner, under a row of shelves. Her favorite place in the bathroom is the cubby under the counter where I put my chair. Her favorite place in the office is under the desk. Her favorite place in our bedroom is on our bed, preferably on a pillow. She sleeps on her back with her paws in the air. It cracks me up. Usually sometime in the night she gets off our bed and sleeps in a corner of the room, near the door. She follows me in and out of the bathroom when I pee all night long. She goes in the bathroom with My Chemical Romance when he wakes up in the morning and showers.

She loves a half-deflated soccer ball. She loves stuffed animals. She takes them outside and “kills” them, shaking them back and forth and running around. When I was talking with her breeder about which dog would be appropriate for our family, the breeder mentioned that in her personality test she didn’t show the instinct to kill stuffed animals or balls — so she seemed more easy going. HA. Almost two years later, and the kill instinct has been activated.

She LOVES other dogs. Her main goal in life seems to be to get other dogs to play with her. Too bad most other dogs find her pesky. We dog-sat for my friend Renaissance Woman (still need a better nickname?) and her big brown lab wouldn’t give her the time of day. Same with my parents’ two dogs. Luckily she has a BFF, Wii’s dog.

She’s a good dog. She used to be kind of small for her breed, but now she’s normal sized. We feed her raw, and My Chemical Romance is always amazed at the huge portions she eats.

What my bathroom says about me

Note: Despite the title, this is NOT one of those posts about my gastrointestinal issues post-weight-loss-surgery, OR my recent anal surgery that was a direct result of my gastrointestinal issues post-weight-loss surgery. For once.

Apparently on Law and Order they always check your bathroom. After you’ve been reported missing, or dead, or whatever — they go into your bathroom and rifle through your stuff to get a clear picture of the kind of person you were (are).

(Note #2: Nothing happened to me, detectives! I found a really good deal on Trave* for a weekend trip to Hawaii and I’m off to lie on the beach and sip drinks — and I’m leaving my cell phone at home! I’ll be back on Monday before naptime. Seriously, what happens to someone who drives a minivan with four car seats? A criminal would pity me, not carjack me.)

I hope that the detectives would take a few seconds to recognize that most of the stuff in my bathroom wasn’t actually a reflection of me; it was a reflection of the fact that the Le*go dinosaur ship just happened to go into time out while I was about to jump into the shower — during which the water temperature fluctuated wildly because my children decided, while I was in there, that they might actually enjoy this whole “flushing” nonsense that they’d previously derided as one of my antiquated rituals that was beneath them.

So: Le*gos. At the least.

Probably also a Bar*bie or something that represents The Informant; possibly a stuffed animal or blanket. The Le*gos are usually Mineral’s, so we’ll assume there’s also an item in honor of Animal — most likely a stick or clothes hanger that has been fashioned into a vicious weapon of mass destruction because — even you mommies who are pacifists and communicate with only non-violent communication — if you have a boy, it will be a gun. Trust me. I have two.

(Note #3: I have a very tall friend who once asked, before our first play-date with our children, if there were any guns in my house. My first response was, “Have you considered trying Zol*oft first?” My second — actual — response was, “Of course we don’t have guns! We’re democrats!”)

Next you’ll find money. Money. I find money in a bathroom utterly repulsive. I have no idea why — except that it’s so incongruous to find money in a bathroom. I live in a house in a suburb of Charlotte; it’s not a seedy disco with prostitutes hanging out near the toilets. We’re not at Studio 54; we use the bathroom for the three S’s, none of which is sex.

And: pens. See above note on the incredible incongruousness. Pens without paper. Pens for My Masterpiece to use to color the walls while I’m peeing.

Oh yes, because you’ll also find My Masterpiece in the bathroom. She has never witnessed a shower she didn’t want in on. In fact, she will sit outside the shower door and cry until I let her in, at which point she will sit on the shower floor, holding her left hand up to feel the “rain,” and sucking her right thumb happily. (Note #4: This is why she is my masterpiece. Even if she wanted a shower, The Informant would not stop tattletailing long enough to remove her clothes and get in; Animal and Mineral want privacy in the bathroom now, thanks, mom.)

What else will you find in the bathroom? A chew toy. For the Dog Without a Downside. Of course. Because that’s where a chew toy belongs. And that’s where the Dog Without a Downside belongs when it’s chew-on-a-chew-toy time. In my bathroom. Laying on the rug. Waiting for me to get out of the shower so she can lick the clean water off me. It tastes almost as good as toilet water.

Probably the worst thing you’ll find in my bathroom is a complete lack-of-cleanliness — which I can explain. You see, I have people over frequently. I’m wildly friendly. Also, we have a spring-free trampoline in the backyard — called Suzy Springfree — and therefore we attract all the neighborhood kids. And then their mothers come to get them for dinner. And inevitably someone has to use a bathroom — so I keep the guest bathroom really clean. I want these acquaintance-friends who have not yet made it up the ladder to friend-friends or even friends to think that aside from raising four children and training The Dog Without a Downside — aside from homeschooling and cooking organic-only meals from scratch — my other hobbies include scrubbing the toilet eight times a day for fun! With my own cleaner! Made with all non-toxic ingredients! That’s me! Giving a totally accurate representation of myself, I swear! Just don’t go upstairs.

Dear Lovey Hart, I am Desperate

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


(Does anyone remember that book? Kind of a tween romance novel, if I remember correctly, although the title implies it’s about an individual with narcissistic personality disorder who is contemplating suicide.)

I have some parenting questions.

  1. My children are constantly asking me who I love best: Animal, Vegetable, The Informant, or My Masterpiece. The truth is, I can’t answer that question; they all kind of suck! They leave their dirty and clean clothes mixed together so that I’m constantly doing laundry rather than engaging in the dreaded “sniff test;” they don’t always flush and then act all surprised when The Dog Without a Downside eats poop from the toilet; they claim to “forget” whether or not they’ve brushed their teeth; they say I’m mean because we don’t own a Wii, PlayStation, OR a DS; they think McD*nald’s French fries count as a vegetable; they stand over my shoulder while I’m cooking and sneeze in the soup; they want to cuddle with me only when they’re projectile vomiting or having an explosive nose bleed (and I’m wearing a freshly-washed white shirt); and their “inside voices” could raise the dead. In short, Who is my favorite? NONE OF THE ABOVE. (I don’t even like the Dog Without a Downside; who thinks feces is a treat?!?!?!?) How do I answer this question?
  2. Sometimes My Chemical Romance really gets on my nerves. He goes to the grocery store and remembers to pick up his Shr*dded Wheat but manages to forget the chocolate covered Ore*s that are imperative to my mental health, not to mention that he never brings reusable bags despite the fact that we have 80 billion. He often spends long periods of time reading Dungeons & Dragons blogs online but not hanging pictures in the dining room.  He once tried to convince me that Poinsettias were a romantic floral arrangement. My question is, If I switched his coffee to decaf for a few weeks, then changed it to espresso, would he be more helfpul around the house?
  3. My two-and-a-half-year-old stopped nursing a while ago. However, whenever we’re out in public (rarely; I have four young children and try to avoid exposing the world to them) she wants nummies. If I say no, she lifts up my shirt, revealing a lot of extra skin from three pregnancies – one with twins – not to mention a weight gain and loss of over a hundred and twenty pounds. To sum up: In an intimate situation with me, Frankenstein would want the lights off, thanks dear. She never wants to nurse when we’re home – only while at the grocery store or a restaurant or a near-stranger’s house (where I then get labeled as one of those moms, the kind who still nurses her two-and-a-half-year-old, on demand and in public, no less, with a stomach that resembles curdled cottage cheese). Short of liposuction and a tummy tuck, what can I do? I’m not sure Sp*anx are compatible with breastfeeding.
  4. Is there a better response than, “I just can’t keep my hands off my husband,” when well-meaning strangers comment on my huuuuuuuuuuuuuge family? I have four kids, including a set of twins. I’m not Michele Duggar; I’m just efficient.
  5. And another thing, how can I politely roll my eyes when women fawn over My Chemical Romance and the fact that he’s – gasp! – parenting his children? We’re talking about a situation in which a parent is actively parenting his children. It’s not rocket surgery. (And furthermore, they’re usually shoe-less, or wearing shorts and tank-tops in the snow, or a winter jacket in the summer, and they haven’t brushed their teeth since the Clinton Administration. That is the standard we accept from dads, apparently.)


Cream of Mommy



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)

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