Some things just don't mix

I love my dogs. They're pampered as can be and have full run of the place. Until Bubby arrives, that is. Once Bubby gets to Gramma's and PawDad's things change. Not just because Bubby is the star of our hearts and deserving of all the attention we have to give, but mostly because — and I hate to admit this — we can't completely trust our dogs with our grandson.

Mickey and Lyla aren't dangerous dogs, they're just not used to little boys. They're not used to little boys running and squealing and laughing and racing trucks across the floor and tabletops and arms and head of anyone or anything nearby who will put up with it. It makes them nervous. Poor, previously abused Lyla in particular. She growls and snaps when she's scared ... which is more often than we'd like when Bubby's nearby.

Mickey is a little more laid back about the whole affair, but still one we must be sure Bubby gives a wide berth. Just in case. He's part pit bull and although we know better regarding the cussed-up reputation the generally-sweet-when-raised-correctly dogs have been unjustly given, we keep Bubby away from him. Not because he's a pit bull, but because he was a damaged puppy when we got him, with broken hind legs that he's now sensitive to and doesn't want anyone touching. He's snapped at me, he's snapped at Jim when we've gotten too close to his tender feet, and we don't want to take any chances with him snapping at Bubby who just might touch the tender spots by accident and set the snapping into motion. It would have nothing to do with the fact he's part pit bull, but to anyone else -- to everyone else -- our Mickey's breed would be the culprit, not his once smashed and broken feet he still feels the need to protect.

While Bubby's here, the dogs are constant cuss to deal with a challenge. Keeping Bubby away from the dogs is a challenge. We could banish Mickey and Lyla to the basement or outside, but they're our babies ... most of the time ... and we feel bad not letting them join us in visiting with beloved Bubby. So we allow them around, we stay on constant guard, Bubby gets too close to Mickey's legs or Lyla gets too possessive of me or a toy or her space and the cuss — and cussing — begins. Mostly between me and Jim, as we argue with one another about why we let the dogs in or why we need to just relax or why one of us is partial to one dog or the other and not being realistic about the situation. We alternate between worrying we're being too cautious or not being cautious enough. But you never know. And we don't want to take any chances with our precious Bubby.

So then Mickey and Lyla are banished outside or to the basement and we all feel bad about the incident. But we later try it again. With the same result.

Yes, I love my dogs. But truth be told, I'd rather them be the ones living long-distance and my Bubby being the one living nearby. Or, in an ideal world, if my Bubby lived nearby, visited more often and he and the dogs became used to one another, we wouldn't have this challenge to begin with. But things aren't ideal. So we deal the best we can.

Bottom line is this: Once Mickey and Lyla head off to the big dog park in the sky, we will never again own large dogs with difficult psychological issues. And we won't have two dogs, we'll have only one. One no larger than a Jack Russell terrier.

And the bottom bottom line? You won't see here any cute photos of Bubby playing with Lyla and Mickey. Because most of the time, it's not cute. And the rest of the time, Lyla and Mickey are banished from the fun. Because, unfortunately, some things just don't mix.

Today's question:

How do your animals behave around children?

Dog days of winter

Day 10. Jim and I are officially at Day 10 of trying to make the adoption of our granddoggy work. We committed to 30 days before throwing in the towel. We're a third of the way through.

And let me tell ya: It's been hell.

Here's the story: Back in October, I introduced you all to my newest granddog, Lyla. Andrea had adopted her -- against my advice, I must add -- from the Dumb Friends League. Lyla's a sweet little girl, a black lab with what the vet thinks is a smidgen of pit bull. Which is okay with us. Our Mickey is a pit bull we rescued and love to pieces.

But a lab/pit bull living in an apartment is not okay ... with any of us ... especially Andrea, who came home to disasters nearly every day after work.

So when Andie couldn't take it any more, Jim and I offered to take in our granddoggy, to give her a home with a yard where she can run and play and expend the copious amounts of energy with which she's been blessed. We'd been considering adopting a dog in the near future anyway to give Mickey a buddy when Hunter moves away with Brianna, so giving Lyla a new home was a good idea for all of us.

Except that she's a maniac. When she came to live with us on December 5 (not that I'm counting the days or anything), she had "submissive urination" problems. And she wanted so badly to be loved -- she'd been a stray before Andie adopted her -- that she constantly jumped all over everyone in hopes of getting a pat on the head or a tummy rub.

In the past 10 days, we've cured her of both those issues ... pretty much.

What we've not yet cured her of is her obsession with chewing. Anything. And everything.

In the past 10 days, Lyla has ruined:

  • FOUR dog beds (three of them brand-new, three of which I've managed to sew back together)
  • a volleyball
  • one of my shoes
  • a Christmas pillow, handmade by my dad's wife
  • a Christmas mouse doorstopper thingee, handmade by a now-ex girlfriend of my brother's (not an ex because of Lyla; she became an ex a few years ago)
  • the basket that holds the dog's chew toys -- which she obviously found more enticing than the toys

We've never owned a dog with a major chewing problem. And it sucks.

But, that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is my stupid cat Isabel. She's a big ol' chicken, and now that there's a maniac dog confined to the downstairs -- as it's been too cold for the dogs to be outside all day -- Isabel is scared to go down there.

And down there is where her litter box is.

So she's made the two bathrooms on the main and upper floors her personal potty place.

Which is disgusting and stinky and frustrating as hell. Yeah, at least she's using the bathroom, but it's not HER bathroom. And I hate, hate, hate the smell of cats and cat pee and cat yuck, and have worked very hard at keeping the cat smells at bay while owning two cats.

So I'm washing rugs and scrubbing floors and spraying Lysol to a degree I've not had to do in years, if ever. And I've carried Isabel down the stairs, against her will, to the litter box several times, to let her know it's okay, she can make it -- without being eaten by a maniac dog.

Then I shut the bathroom doors to keep her out of them, feeling pretty safe in the fact that my trips carrying her down the stairs taught her how to sneak to her own potty on her own, without being noticed by the dogs.

This morning I took Jim to work, praying -- literally -- the whole way that Lyla will not chew up the beds in the dog room while I'm away. I get home, dash through the door, run to the dog room to find ... Lyla and Mickey chilling in the dog room, being good doggies.

I let the dogs outside and head back up the stairs, thinking we've made it over the last hurdle.

Only to find that in my haste of booking through the door and down the stairs to the dogs, I had missed the pile of cat poop Isabel had left on the rug at the door ... that being the nearest rug to the bathroom she could no longer access. That being a rug that now had cat poop smeared across it and onto the tile from my opening of the door over it.

I freaked, grabbed Isabel and rubbed her nose in it (yeah, I know it probably does no good) and yelled and yelled. Which caused Abigail, our other cat, to yell and yell at Isabel and chase her out of the room. Then I cleaned up poop -- which is far worse than cleaning up chewed up dog beds.

I'm at a loss. I'm sick of chewed up stuff and even more sick of pooping and peeing from a chickenshit cat. Lyla is overcoming her problems; Isabel's are only getting worse.

We're at Day 10. I'm not sure if I will make it another 20 days without booting one or the other of them right out the door!

We are NOT having a very happy holiday season around here!

Regardless, here's ...

Today's question from "The Christmas Conversation Piece":

If you had to choose which animal to murder on Christmas Eve, which would get the ax: the cat or the dog?

HA, HA! That's not really today's question! Here's the real one:

Besides the reindeer, which animal(s) do you associate the most with the Christmas season?

My answer: A donkey ... because he gets down on bended knee at midnight on Christmas Eve, along with all the other barn animals. Right?