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Tag Archives: Lab-Chow mix

Dave D. Canine (2002-2017)

All Dogs go to Heaven


There are not enough goodbyes.

There are no words.


The dedication for When You Least Expect It.

Reincarnation Is For The Dogs

I didn’t think I believed in reincarnation until I got my two dogs. Now I am pretty sure it does exist.

Hear me out.

Dave's knowing eyes.  And wanting me to scratch her butt.

Dave’s knowing eyes. And wanting me to scratch her butt.

I feel very certain that Dave, my Lab/Chow has a lot more going on behind those eyes and in that brain of her’s than just normal doggy thoughts. Dave is planning, studying, and memorizing our constantly changing schedules. When the German Shorthair Pointer Parker has to go outside, Dave might say, “Oh no, I don’t have to go out.”* Which she usually, in good weather, will always go outside when Parker does, just to be nosy. When I come back inside with Parker, it is then very clear why Dave wanted to stay indoors–usually a food-related opportunity. She will have consumed food left on the coffee table (at perfect muzzle height) by my toddler, or found the dog food bag erroneously left open by a human distracted by the toddler.

Dave is an incredibly smart dog. For some reason, she always pees (multiple times!) when I take her to the pet store, but she has never peed indoors while visiting my mom’s apartment building, even though I know that the double sliding doors and elevator make her tuck her tail in fright.

Mommy's favorite

Mommy’s favorite

She knows just how to sneak up on the bed so that you never realize she is there (until you try to roll over). She can be very stealth for a 60 pound dog.

For all these reasons and more, I truly believe that Dave has been a dog many times over. I believe her next go around, she will be a human. A very naughty human, but a human all the same.

Parker is a whole different story. He is a cat trapped in a dog’s body. I believe that he used to be a cat, and this is his first go-around as a dog. So he is still learning the ropes.

Parker and Dave don’t like each other. They tolerate each other, but they are not buddies. If they both didn’t have tails that wag and the ability to bark, I wouldn’t even think they they are the same species. Maybe that is why they are not friends, because Dave is more human than dog, and Parker is more cat than dog.

Parker is very demanding. If he doesn’t get his way, he uses his urine as his revenge, much like a cat would. He had even peed on my bed before.** (He almost lost his cushy, warm home over that one.)

He likes to escape and patrol the neighborhood like a feline would. When he gets tired, he stops at the nearest house and begs to go in, like a cat would. Except that he is not a cute, fuzzy kitten. He is a 55 pound hyper monster of muscle and legs. So, of course, we are soon called to go and pick him up. Some people are nice enough to even deliver. (Bless those people.) Parker has run away many, many times. He has taken a swim in the nearby lake and crossed the busiest road in the county by the dark of night. He came millimeters from ripping open the main artery in his leg on a metal fence post. I am sure he had nine lives, and is on his last one now.

What did I do to myself?!

What did I do to myself?!

He rubs himself on the corners of my bed, and on the edges of the carpeted stairs, just as a cat would. Oh sure, he does it under the guise of scratching his doggy ears, but I know the truth. He also gets VERY excited when he encounters a cat. He barks at them incessantly, as if to say, “Hey, it’s me! I’m a fellow cat. Let’s play!” The cats are not happy about that. A cat a block away once tried to attack him and scratched his nose. All Parker was doing was walking by ON A LEASH!

Parker wearing my son's pajamas, so that he will be "nice and comfy"

Parker wearing my son’s pajamas, so that he will be “nice and comfy”

He is a good snuggler. That may be his only redeeming quality. He is very warm, and can curl himself up into a very tight circle on the bed or the couch, despite his long, gangly legs. But, beware. Just like a cat, I have seen him sit on my husband’s head in the morning when he wants to get fed.

If we had trained him to be the bird dog he was bred for, I believe he would have been very good at it. Not because he is a GSP, but because his feline side would have taken over.

Dave and Parker are nothing like my asbestos friend’s dog, Joe. He is just a big dumb dog. He is friendly, loyal, and only has to go outside like twice a day. Joe is a dog you would see in a cartoon. Dave bosses Joe around like a human would. Parker bosses him around like a cat would. Poor Joe, canine through and through, probably wonders what the hell is wrong with those animals that look like dogs and smell like dogs, but sure do not act like dogs.

I wonder if I had them DNA tested, if it would detect any anomalies. Or a TSA scanner.

Dave already loves beer, and has very definitive tastes (not that she ever gets very much). Maybe I should just quit fighting it and treat them like their inner souls. Maybe I need to pick up some catnip for Parker at the store 😉

For more stories about Dave and Parker, please visit my People of Interest page.

* DAVE DOES NOT ACTUALLY TALK. Trust me, if she did, you would know about it. I would have her muzzle on every newscast and talk show across Northern America. (Hey Canadians! Love you and your hockey!)

** For a great recipe on how to get dog pee out of your matress, please visit:

A Determined Dog Cannot Be Fenced

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My asbestos friend always laughs at me because I bought a house with a fenced in backyard, yet we at my house wage a constant battle to keep our two dogs in the yard.

It really isn’t funny.


We got Dave in 2004. I think the first time she escaped was during the first week we had her. I left both the front and back doors to the garage open. Whoops. E. The back door is within the fence, the front is not. So she just walked right on through, and sniffed her way three houses down. I caught up to Dave just at the same moment a lady popped out her back door and gave me a funny look. “Just getting my dog,” I explained. Apparently that lady is still mad about that, as she brought it up to my sister-in-law last summer: eight years later!

Fugitive #1

Fugitive #1 – Dave

The next time, my husband left one of our three gates open. It was garbage night, so Dave wandered across the street to sniff the neighbor’s garbage. My husband had to chase her in his socks. Luckily, in both these early Dave incidents, she had her nose to the ground and was traveling at a pace very conducive to recovery.

Dave was great until…she would see the dog next door outside. Over the fence she would go. Or a dog passing by on the sidewalk. Or two. Or three. (We live in the city, on a very busy corner.) A four foot high chain-link fence, a 60lb dog. But she would just scale it in no time. We had to start putting her on a lead when she was outside unsupervised. We learned real quick that the collars with the plastic, snap-together closure are not meant for tie-outs. Also, we learned to change the tie-outs annually, before they could break on their own. Both of these incidents ended with Dave in the neighbor’s yard. Once they put their dog back in the house, she would stand there like “Wait, how do I get back into MY yard now?” Apparently, climbing a fence requires the appropriate motivation.

I contemplated buying some of that fence topping stuff they use on high school baseball fields. You know, it looks like plastic drainage pipe for a field? (Sorry. Maybe you only know that if you live in rural Michigan.) I went as far as going to a lumberyard to price it, but the salesman pretty much laughed at me and discouraged me. I think it would have worked too, because it would have been too wide for Dave to wrap her legs around and get a grip. But, in the end, old age seems to have been the best deterrent for that behavior.

Now, when we moved in, our backyard was fenced in, as I mentioned earlier in this post. But the back door was not.

“What?” you ask…

The previous owners added on a laundry room past the back door, which I am forever grateful for. But this made the backyard gate NEXT to the backdoor, instead of within it. It wasn’t a problem with Dave. She would just run around the corner to the backyard, no problem. Parker, we would hold on to his collar as he went around into the yard. Parker is a German Shorthaired Pointer and a real flight risk. Sometimes the gate still got left open and the dogs escaped.

Fugitive #2

Fugitive #2 – Parker

Well, just Parker.

If Parker got past the five nearest houses, it was impossible to catch him. Usually we had to wait for him to quit running, and stop at someone’s house. (I am sure he was looking for a couch to lay on.) The good samaritan would call us, and we would go pick him up. One time some high school kids found him and brought him back to our house. It was a cold, freezing rain night (that is when he chooses to run away 95% of the time). He was curled up in the backseat of their warm car and didn’t want to get out and go in the house. I could have strangled him. One time a couple brought him back, and he smelled like the woman’s perfume. He must have rubbed himself ALL OVER that poor woman to smell that strongly.

The only time we ever found Parker on our own once he left the immediate vicinity, he was running down the sidewalk. We followed him in the car. We clocked him doing 18mph. As my husband said, that was just “cruising speed”. One hot, summer day (part of the other 5%), Parker decided to take a dip in a nearby lake. Talk about a bad wet dog smell!

So, I was finally fed up. I measured and called to see how much it would be to get fence and another gate for the back door. I think it was about $350. I made sure I got a wide gate so that our back door could still be wheelchair accessible for my (other) sister-in-law.

The newest part of the fence, enclosing the backdoor.  See old fence restricting a toddler in the background.

The newest part of the fence, enclosing the backdoor. See old fence restricting a toddler in the background.

Best damn $350 I ever spent.

Totally worth it when the fence guy was backing out of the driveway and I let the dogs out. The concrete for the fence posts wasn’t even set yet. They ran into the backyard as usual. Parker peed, then ran at FULL SPEED up through the former gate (that was sitting open) and jumped on the new fence like “NOOOOOOOOOOO! What IS this thing blocking me!” I laughed so hard. He was even whimpering. It was great!

Space next to the garage with new fence

Space next to the garage with new fence

But, alas, Parker still found ways out. There was a small space next to the garage, a few feet wide. Parker would try to go there, so we would block it with a pallet. He would get past the pallet, to the old, rotten fence. He got past that. We put in a new section of fence, where the pallet used to be. Parker figured out he could crawl UNDER the back of the garage and escape beyond the fenced area. We had to block that “crawl space” with the leftover fence from the other barricade.

Barricade for under the garage. The remaining gap can still be seen to the right

Barricade for under the garage. The remaining gap can still be seen to the right

Where the house met the chain-link fence, there was a tiny gap. You wouldn’t think a 60lb Pointer could get his rib cage through there, but he did. There was another such gap where the chain-link and the wooden privacy fence came together. [Have you ever heard of a yard with SO MANY FENCES having so MANY dog escapes?] We put metal posts in both locations to block further escapes. The posts worked well until April 2, 2013, when Parker tried to impale himself on one [click here for more details].

The corner post that Parker injured himself on

The corner post that Parker injured himself on

Now, we are mostly fortified. I think.

Except there is still some open space under the garage. And the place where it looks like a dog head-butted the wooden fenced and warped the wood.

One day, I saw a Pointer run past my living room picture window and down the street. My heart instantly started to race.

Then I checked the couch.

It wasn’t my Pointer.

Good dog

Good dog

Things Found In My House

My house is old.

My husband found a record that suggested it was built in the 1890’s. We bought our house in 2004. About a year before all the home prices got really cheap. We were told that Phil Donahue used to live in the beige house across the street. (There are two beige houses.) I LOVE PHIL DONAHUE. We were also told there is a jar of pennies in the wall between the dining room and the nursery. We haven’t knocked down the wall to get them yet.

When we moved in, my husband was hoping to find secret passageways and treasure. He stayed up late nights poking around the house trying to find something to discover.

I think maybe secretly he still does.

Objects found around our house.

Objects found around our house.

For someone expecting to find treasure, it is a big disappointment to only find a roof leak that a previous owner tried to disguise and some Scrabble tiles in the heat registers. I have a whole box of trinkets I keep of the things we have found in this house. They do tell its history, even if they are worthless to the average antique dealer.
Toys found in our yard and down our heat registers.

Toys found in our yard and down our heat registers.

Most of our discoveries came from vacuuming out the heat registers. Some kid(s) lived here that shoved everything that would fit down there. When we redid the dining room ceiling, we found ugly old wallpaper and nuts. Apparently at some point in the last hundred years our house served as a squirrel motel. (I HATE SQUIRRELS!)

Someone told me our house is Victorian. I have no idea. I do know that between the time that the house had its original wood exterior siding and the aluminum/vinyl siding it currently sports, someone had shingles all over it. Not like nice, New England wood shingles. Like the ugly asphalt kind you put on your roof. I cannot imagine. I guess I should be thankful they are still there, buried under other siding. I think it makes up for our lack of adequate insulation. (If I win the lottery, I am having the siding striped down to its original wood exterior again.) And someone who used to live here loved the color “brick red”. The kitchen cupboards, many rooms, (I also believe) the now white aluminum/vinyl siding all used to be that dark red.

Hobbit Door to our Attic.  If only I had a Hobbit to put in front of it for perspective.

Hobbit Door to our Attic. If only I had a Hobbit to put in front of it for perspective.

Our attic has a hobbit door. That is what we call it. Somehow we crammed an air hockey table through it. (Air hockey and bowling and badminton are the only sports I can play at all. My play is definitely below average.

When we moved into our house, my Lab-Chow mix dug up a rawhide in the backyard that some other dog must have left behind. My Pointer recently would not stop digging holes in the backyard. And every time he digs, more of the dirt dissipates into the grass and cannot be recovered to refill the hole again. This makes for a dangerous backyard (not to mention the dog poop out there). Not to mention there used to be a swimming pool in our backyard and the ground is forever compacted and lower where it used to be. (As told to us by the neighbors who live behind us. The husband’s brother used to own our house.)

The perfume bottle, after I cleaned it up as best I could.

The perfume bottle, after I cleaned it up as best I could.

The Pointer ended up unearthing a glass perfume bottle. It doesn’t look very old, as I think the glass is molded rather than blown. That was a nice discovery. Usually, as it rains and we walk around in the backyard, all that gets unearthed are pieces of broken glass and marbles. (It makes you wonder what sort of people use their backyard as a trash dump. My husband insists that everyone used to.)

Because the Pointer kept digging, that got my husband curious and he took his metal detector (that he got at a garage sale and it didn’t come with instructions and he doesn’t know what the controls do) outside. What did he find? A piece of twisted red scrap metal and an old clothesline post base.

The poor treasure hunter can’t catch a break.

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