Thursday, June 30, 2011

Judge Perry Puts the Hammer Down

Judge Perry sentenced a spectator in the Casey Anthony Trial to six days in jail and levied a $600 fine on him, due within six months. The spectator gave the prosecutor the middle finger in the courtroom. Luckily, the jury was not present or the judge would have likely declared a mistrial since it would have prejudiced the jury. Think of the wasted money had that happened.

For 20 min, the judge lectured and questioned the young man, Matthew Bartlett who works at TGI Friday's and lives with his mom. He read the young man the riot act. He could have given the guy 180 days, so the judge showed quite a bit of restraint.

I'm not a fan of Jeff Ashton, but I can't condone what the guy did. He has other outlets to vent his dislikes such as in a blog with low-volume readership!

A Vacation Day Taken Out of Guilt

Andy's Waiting Place

Since Abby would no longer come to my condo, I worried about Andy when he came over to stay. He had never been alone. He went from a home with a litter of puppies to a house with my mom and two dogs that stayed at the house almost all the time. Now, when Andy was at my condo while I went to work, he would be all alone in the universe, a singularity. I worried he would have separation anxiety or be scared. I wondered what he would do all day. Would he pine away at my absence? I felt so guilty leaving him behind.

I took a vacation day out of guilt one day after Andy started spending time alone at my condo so I could be with him. It would be a Baby Boy Day. I wanted to know what he did all day. After his morning walk, he would eat and then sleep. He slept almost the whole day. He would get up to play around 10:30 sometimes but then go right back to sleep. The only thing that changed with Andy was where he slept during the day.

In the morning, he slept in the living room either on the couch or rug. As the day progressed, he would move closer and closer to the door where I went in and out of the condo. I could almost tell time by where he was sleeping. By the time of the day when I’d normally arrive home, Andy would be at the rug by the door. He had developed a habit of waiting there so he could readily greet me upon my arrival. It was funny how he would move closer to the door during my day off even though I was sitting a few feet from him. He was a creature of habit.

I didn’t feel bad leaving Andy at home after that day. Andy was starting to slow down, too. He wanted to sleep all day and didn’t mind being left alone.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Inappropriate Touching:
An Awkward Moment with a Coworker

A few weeks after Abby moved back in with my mom, a co-worker had car problems and wanted a favor from me by giving him a ride to work. He only lived a block off of a street on my route to work, so I let him carpool with me. The only glitch to the arrangement was crossing a very busy Wade Ave. on a left turn to his place. Even worse was getting back onto Wade Ave. Not only did I have to deal with congestion, but I had limited view because of the curvy road there. When I pulled out, I had to really gun it to make it across the street. It was like playing a life-sized version of Frogger.

On the first morning I picked up Tom, it seemingly took forever for a gap to open up so I could gun it to the other side. I don’t know what happened, but an old habit of mine resurfaced when I did make that crossing: I put my right arm out across Tom’s chest to keep him in place. I had ingrained myself to stick my right arm out to secure Abby that I automatically did it when a person was sitting there.

Tom’s eyes got big and froze, blankly starring ahead. The poor guy must have felt like he entered a scene in Oz after I touched him. Tom’s not a big guy, and I’m built like a running back. I can’t read minds but I’m sure he thought “Why is he touching me? What the hell is he going to do next?”

I immediately realized what I did and apologized to him. I tried explaining to him about how Abby sat in the front seat and how I put my arm across her to stabilize her. I had developed a habit and when I saw something in that seat, I instinctually put my arm up whenever I made a turn.

Did he buy it or did the think I was making a pass at him? He should have seen all the dog hair and realized that dogs spend quite a bit of time in my car. Of course if he ever stumbled across this blog, he’d know for sure that my arm-bar meant nothing and was supposed to be for Abby.

The next morning as I was about to pull out to Wade Ave, Tom said “You don’t have to touch me this time.” I didn’t.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Stranger Misses Abby

About a week after Abby moved back with my mom, I was taking a late-night walk with Andy in the park. There was nothing remarkable about that night. The weather was OK and the usuals were hanging around the park. I would not have remembered the night at all had it not been for a conversation I had with a homeless guy.

He was sitting on bench. He was probably in his 40’s and was a lanky black guy. I had never spoken to him before that night. As I passed by him, he asked me a question: “What happened to the other one? Don’t you have two dogs?”

I was surprised he had noticed. I told him about Abby’s injury and how she couldn’t live with me anymore. Otherwise, she was doing well living with my mom. He was glad to know she was still alive but expressed his sorrow that her injury forced her to move.

I know I didn’t recognize the guy, but I wondered if Abby had ever greeted him on one our previous walks. She was always curious and would greet anyone who would show her attention. I know many people liked to look at the Babies just as I liked to look at other people’s dogs. Maybe that guy was one of those people and in some way, he missed Abby. He thought she was gone. At least she wasn’t “gone” gone!

Adjusting to the New Living Arrangement

Andy and I adjusted to our new living arrangements after Abby moved back in with my mom. When I arrived home from work, Andy was still happy to see me but he did act a little different. Before, he would trot alongside Abby as she greeted me at the door. After, Andy would grab a toy and put it in his mouth, then greet me. He was so excited with his tail wagging and body twisting. He would also let out a few snorts because he was breathing hard out of his nose. I would bend over to pet him and then grab his leash and ask him if he wanted to go walking. He would go but only after taking a detour to the food bowl. During the day while I was gone, Andy would not eat even though food was available so by early evening he had quite an appetite. It was hard getting him to eat at times, so when the urge hit him to eat, I let him eat.

Our walks in the park were about the same. We took the same route. I’d talk to him and sometimes sing to him. I don’t know if Andy understood me but hearing my voice probably soothed him much like hearing a cat purr soothes me. And yes, I’m aware of how eccentric this sounds.

In the evenings, Andy would spend more time on the couch with me. Before, he would lie on the rug close to Abby. After, he would cuddle beside me, especially in the winter.

The biggest change in Andy’s behavior was during sleeping. When Abby was with us, Andy had to sleep at the head of the bed beside me, and he would stay there the whole night. It was sort of like a game of “King of the Mountain” for him, and he was the king. He positioned himself there so Abby wouldn’t grab that place.

After Abby moved away, Andy would climb off the bed soon after I fell asleep and stay on the rug. If it was warm, he would stay on the hardwood floor. The way I knew he got off the bed soon after I fell asleep is because I caught him doing so many times. Sometimes when I was falling asleep, my snoring would awake me. It was then I’d see Andy tip-toeing off the bed in a furtive manner. Now that Abby wasn’t around, Andy didn’t have to worry about playing pecking-order games. No longer did his comfort have to take a backseat to his territoriality.

Abby's Choice

While Abby was recuperating from her surgery, I spent a lot of time at my mom’s. Also during this time I did not take Andy over to my place on the few nights I did stay over there. The Babies were a set that I didn’t want to break up. They went together like salt and pepper; ham and eggs; and grits and gravy. About a month after Abby’s ACL surgery, Abby was doing pretty good. I was in the kitchen when I asked them if they wanted to go bye-bye. Andy bubbled with excitement and did a tapped his feet on the ground as he shifted from one leg to another. I called this his “Happy Dance.” Clearly, Andy was ready to go.

Abby, on the other hand, did not share Andy’s enthusiasm. Instead, she sat on the rug and hung her head down. She essentially said “No, I’m not going.” I asked her again. She would not look me in the eye. She wasn’t up to the strain all the walking downtown would put on her. Abby would never spend the night at my place again. She would spend the rest of her days at her old home. I felt bad for her. She would not spend as much time with me and Andy. I worried she would miss us and become depressed again like when I moved away to NJ. However, a few months later something would happen that would bring a new person to my mom’s house. My dad would move back in with my mom. My dad loved dogs and Abby would start to love my dad. They would support each other in hard times in their lives.

Meanwhile, Andy and I would spend quite a bit of time together at my place. He would eventually be my dog, and my dog alone. My plan to make him love me worked after the time three years before when I hurt his eye.

Abby Blows Out Her ACL

On a late spring day in 2005 in the early afternoon, I received a call from my mom. She said Abby was in the backyard hurt. Abby saw a squirrel on the patio when my mom let her out. Abby gave chase as she always had, but this time she pulled up lame on the hill in the yard. Abby couldn’t move for a while and stayed on the hill for a while. I left work early to see what I could do. I suspected she blew out her ACL.

By the time I returned home, Abby had hobbled down to the patio deck. She stayed there for a while. She didn’t appear to be in pain unless she tried to move. I ruled out going to the after-hours clinic. They would not be able to perform surgery on her and the cost would have been well into the hundreds. Instead, we made an appointment for the next morning, Saturday. We were able to assist Abby walking by using a rolled-up towel to support her. However, it would have been nice to have known about this leash, which did come in handy when Andy had his issues a few years later.

The vet confirmed what I suspected; Abby had torn her ACL. She didn’t have to have surgery but something like that wouldn’t get better on its own. The vet said surgery was possible, so we scheduled Abby’s surgery for Monday morning. The surgery went well without any complications. I’m not sure if Abby spent the night at the vet.

When Abby did come home, I stayed over with my mom for a week. I put the inflatable mattress in the living room where Abby and I slept. Andy slept at his usual spot at my mom’s, my mom’s bed. The first day was the toughest. Abby had a hard time positioning herself to go to the bathroom. She found a way to stand on the hill so she didn’t have to squat while at the same time not soiling herself.

Overall, the surgery was a success. Abby never had ACL problems again. But we would never let her run again, ever. The first few times we let her out were the toughest. She still had that instinctual desire to give chase to squirrels. I had to yell at her to stop. She learned. Abby was so disciplined that a few times, squirrels approached her to within a few feet. Abby didn’t run. Instead, she starred at them with a furrowed brow and whined, but she would not give chase. She was a smart and good girl.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Fire Fighters Memorial

The Raleigh Police Department has a Mounted Patrol Division. I’d often see the mounted patrol going around the downtown area. I worried about what would happen if they ever crossed paths with the Babies. I feared the Babies would spook the horses by growling or barking at them. I also worried that they might trample over me and the Babies.

The first time Andy saw a horse, he stuck his hair up along his back. Abby wasn’t fazed. The horses were a block or two away. Andy could see them. He let out a low growl but he didn’t bark. The horses didn’t come close to us, so nothing else happened.

The second time we came across horses, we had a closer encounter. A horse was in the park where we normally take our daily walk. Fortunately, the horse was 20 yards off the circular sidewalk we went around. The moment of truth came when we approached that 20 yard mark. About that time, Andy first saw the horses. He paused, glanced and then kept walking. He didn’t growl, stick his hair up or bark. Maybe when the horses were further away, he thought they were dogs, and Andy did not like other dogs. Since this was another species, Andy was not as alert or concerned. Abby didn’t pay the horse much attention either.

The cop seemed a little tense. He zeroed in on the Babies starring at them the whole time. His horse started to make a few snorts. Luckily, the cop held the horse steady and we passed by without an incident.

An Apology

I apologize to the woman, who opened a balcony door to a condo she didn’t own or rent, and snapped orders to me on that cold late winter morning over six years ago. (I guess the nights that you occasionally spent with your boyfriend at a building I partly owned authorized you to give orders to condo owners in that building.) I’m sorry Abby had a hard time that morning getting outside because her arthritis caused her so much pain during that morning that her legs were trembling. I wished she were able to go across the street and use the bathroom in her usual spot, but on that miserable morning, she could barely make it to the strip of grass in front of the building. I shouldn’t have responded to you that Abby “Really had to go” when you told me not to let my dog use the bathroom there. You countered with a cold and compassion-less expression: “Go out earlier and go across the street”, and I should not have answered back but instead “hopped-to” when you barked out your command.

I’m sorry Abby was going down-hill and entering old age. She was 9 at the time. I wished she didn’t have to take pain pills, Deramaxx, but the pain was overbearing for her on some days. I knew her time living at my condo was coming to an end. I apologize for having a hard time letting Abby go knowing she was getting old and would not be living with me much longer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Abby's Fears:
Large Trucks

Tractor trailers going directly by Abby scared her. The truck had to be in the lane closest to us and moving at a relatively fast speed. The street in front of the condo is a major artery for downtown Raleigh and had a decent amount of traffic. When the truck would go by, Abby would cower away. This was rare for her because she rarely showed fear. I don’t know what specifically scared her: the size of the truck, the truck’s loud noise or the ground rumbling.

Abby was scared of a few other things, but she acted cool about it. For example, if there was a thunderstorm, Abby would discreetly move closer to me. She wouldn’t be trembling or paralyzed with fear like Andy or Father. She was nervous and would quietly seek protection from me. But when a tractor trailer blew by, Abby visibly flinched. Andy was unfazed.

Abby Starts to Slow Down

Andy on inflatable bed downstairs.

By 2004, Abby had noticeably slowed down. She was 8 and well into middle age. Her arthritis was getting to her. In the mornings, she was slow to get up and get moving. She walked slower. One of our biggest challenges was to cross the pedestrian walk before the “Don’t Walk” sign came flashed. Abby limped sometimes. I had to help her get in the car. I would lift her rump while she would use her front legs to climb in. When she got out, I would lift her from the seat and put her on the ground. Jumping on the ground hurt her. She would walk over to the driver’s seat and wait for me to pick her up and put her on the ground.

The visits at my condo were shorter. Abby had a hard time negotiating all the walking required in condo living. At my mom’s, she only had to walk a few steps from the door to use the bathroom. At my condo, she had to walk dozens of yards. It was getting harder on her and it showed.

She had a hard time going up and down stairs. I stopped sleeping upstairs in the loft where my bed was. Therefore, Abby would not have to make that excruciating trip up and down. It hurt just to watch her go on the stairs. To avoid the stairs, I bought an inflatable mattress and put it in the living room. This suited the Babies well.

The stories about the Babies from here on will most likely not be happy. Both Babies were middle aged at this point. They turned into companions as opposed to play things when they were younger. I was seeing signs of mortality in them and wanted to stave off the inevitable as long as I could.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Andy was about 6 the last time I disciplined him. Training him was easy. He normally followed Abby’s lead and figured out what he was supposed to do or not do. He was so eager to please, which was one of the many traits making him such a good and sweet dog.

We had lived at my condo for at least a couple of years when the incident happened. We were standing at a corner of a busy intersection. Abby and Andy knew to stop if I stopped. We had to train Abby to do that, but Andy learned this from Abby. The street we in front of us has 4 lanes and is a major artery in downtown Raleigh.

The light was still red and I was still standing. Andy started to walk into the street. He came close to walking into traffic. I was shocked and horrified. I reacted immediately and jerked on Andy’s collar. He froze and look startled. I told him he was a bad boy and swatted his rump. I hated to do it, but he need to learn fast that he cannot walk into the street without my permission. I still feel a twinge of pain now just thinking about that day.

The next time we walked, later that night, across the street, I would see if he learned. Sure enough, at the intersection, he not only stopped but he gazed up at me with a look that said “Did I do it right?” I leaned over, congratulated him, and said he was a good boy. I hugged him and he gave me a few kisses. He never again crossed the walk without permission.

The Most Unkindest Cut of All

Abby’s weight loss program crashed after a surgery in 2003. She had lost over 20 pounds, weighing under 100lbs at the time. She looked good. 100 pounds sounds like a lot but she carried it well. She had a big frame and solid musculature. I could even see her waist line.

However, she had a fatty tumor in her groin area. The doctors said it was probably non-malignant, but the location could cause problems. The tumor , if it kept growing, could pinch off nerves causing pain or numbness in her legs. Abby had other fatty tumors, but none were in a delicate place. Subsequently, they were easily removed without any complications or incident.

Abby had the surgery. My heart broke every time she went back for a surgery. When a vet tech led Abby to the back, Abby would almost always try to turn around and head towards me before she crossed the threshold to the back. She was scared and didn’t want to go.

On this surgery, she had considerable pain after we brought her back home. She was whimpering in pain. She stopped crying when I sat beside her and constantly petted her. The surgery had been hard on her. The vet said the tumor was the size of a piece of fruit, a grapefruit or cantaloupe, I’m not sure.

It took her a month until she regained her strength, but even then, she did not fully regain her strength. During that month, she stayed at my mom’s. When she did come back to my place, she didn’t have the energy and stamina she once did. Our walks had to be cut short by half because she labored hard during her walks. She couldn’t make the full trip.

Abby was middle-aged at the time of this surgery, 7 years old. The diminished activity led to her gaining weight. By the end of the year, she went up to 115 pounds. She would never regain the form she had before that surgery.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Abby Associating the Neuse River with the Vet

Crossing the Neuse River
Abby always loved going bye-bye. No matter where we went, I told her we were going bye-bye. I was especially careful not to ever use the words “vet” or “veterinarian” around her. She could figure things out and would quickly associate words with places, events or things. She didn’t like going to the vet, understandably so. Therefore, when I took her to the vet, I told her we were going bye-bye.

Abby had a nervous tick when she was nervous or scared—she licked her lips. For example, if I was about to give her some medicine or clean her ears out, she would try to leave the room. She would also lick her lips. She would also lick her lips when I would open the drawer where her medicines were kept.

After I put Abby in the car for the vet trip, everything was fine. She was happy to take a ride. She loved looking at new things and all the people. However, the moment we crossed over the Neuse River (pronounced as ‘noose’), Abby became still and would lick her lips. She knew where we were going. She associated the Neuse River with the vet. The jig was up; the party was over. Abby knew she was going to the doctor. Abby especially hated going to the vet after she had a couple of surgeries. She remembered the vet clinic as a place of pain and discomfort. She didn’t want to go, but at that point, she was stuck.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Casey Anthony Prosecutor Is a Smug Idiot

Yesterday, a defense witness suggested that a coyote buried Caylee Anthony's remains. The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, condescendingly said "Oh, a coyote. We aren't blessed with them down here." If you're going to put down someone, then you better have your facts straight, Mr. Prosecutor. Last week in Bradenton, FL, a coyote attacked and killed a 10 year old Maltese. The Maltese owner's neighbors have reported numerous coyote sightings. I guess the prosecutor should eat his words.

(Even though I believe coyotes live in Florida, the witness's theory is quite a whopper.)

Talk about an awful coincidence. This is not the only time Ashton has showed arrogance and disdain to a witness. If jurors are regular people, they may find his snide remarks as off-putting as I do. That prosecutor may be hurting his case because of his personality. We'll see.

Bye Bye

The Babies loved going bye-bye though they may have had different reasons for doing so. Abby always had to sit in the front seat. She was my navigator. She sat proudly in the passenger seat looking straight ahead at the road. People loved to see Abby sitting in the car. It would take them a while to realize it was a dog, and when they did, they would smile, laugh and point out to other passengers to look at my Baby Girl.

Andy would normally lay in the back seat with a toy in front of him. He would glance up at me and Abby from time to time. Otherwise, Andy would sleep. He didn’t seem to enjoy the trip like Abby did. For Andy, going bye-bye was a means to an end. He also simply liked being around me and Abby. The companionship mattered to Andy the most. Getting to “Point B” was a close second in why he liked going bye-bye. He knew we would most likely be doing something fun at the end of our trip. Pandy loved having fun.

Something the Babies had in common was how they become excited whenever I made a turn. They associated the turns with the end of the journey. It was so cute watching them dart their eyes around and scope the area to see what was going on. Andy would stand up and look around. He would look out one window, turn around and then look out the other. If we were near my mom’s , they would become antsy, wag their tails and sometimes whine.

When I did take those turns, I had to stick my right arm out in front of Abby to keep her from tumbling out of her seat. There were a few times I forgot and my poor Baby girl would take a spill. Abby was smart , though. In these turns, she would lean her body to brace herself.

At our point of destination, the Babies would wait for me to leash them before they jumped out of the car. I would grab a leash from the back, step out of the car and let Abby step over to the driver’s seat. There, I would leash Abby and let her get out. Andy sat patiently the whole time. I would open the back door, grabbed another leash and put it on Andy. Andy jumped out of the car and we would continue with whatever we were doing.

However, if we were at my mom’s, I didn’t put leashes on them and let them immediately get out. Andy wasn’t so patient. He would be so excited and would crawl between the front seats. He wouldn’t wait for the Queen to get out. Andy would blow past her and leap from the car. He was so excited to be home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Andy Makes a Scene at a Christmas Party

My condo’s HOA hosts an Open-House Christmas party each year. Residents don’t have to participate, but interested residents open up their condos for the party as part of the festivities. This gives other residents and guests a chance to see other people’s condos and how they are decorated. The party also gave residents a rare opportunity to meet other residents who would otherwise be strangers to one another. The big draw is the HOA providing drinks and hors d'œuvres in the lobby.

I balked at opening my place up in my first year there. My main concern was for the Babies. I didn’t know how they would respond to strangers coming in the place. Andy had anti-social tendencies while Abby loved strangers. Often, if Abby liked someone, then Andy would be receptive to that person. Otherwise, he would keep away from strangers. Abby would act as a stabilizing influence on Andy.

My second concern was for my walls. They were electric blue! I didn’t think they would be that loud when I had the place painted. I asked the painter to paint a small segment of the condo to test out how it would look. It looked OK, but then when the whole place was in that color, it was vivid. I bet people on the Space Shuttle could see my place. I was embarrassed by it but repainting was going to cost me money. Economics won over aesthetics. I brushed those concerns aside. If people didn’t like it, that was tough shit. I opened my place up.

Things went well until one group of guests let Andy sneak out. Piggy’s owner let her roam around the halls that night. Andy saw Piggy and made a beeline right over to her. She barked at him initially, but when she saw him running towards her, she hid under a table. All of this happened in seconds. I heard barking; realized Andy was out and went to go get him. As I looked down the hall, all I could see of Andy was his rump sticking out from under a table. He had crouched down with his front half under the clothed tables. He had Piggy trapped. The poor thing must have been scared shitless. Even though she brimmed with spunk and energy, she was still a little old lady of 12 years old.

The guests and residents were alarmed. They didn’t know Andy was all bark and no bite. Fortunately, Piggy’s owner knew Andy was harmless. He hustled Piggy into his condo. I can still see Andy’s rump pointing in the air while Andy was giving hell to poor Miss Piggy. She had given him a hard time so many times and that night was his chance to give back. He was a paper tiger and couldn’t have fought his way out of a paper bag. I acted contrite, alarmed and embarrassed for the sake of civility and social mores. I scolded Andy and shooed him back to my condo. Inside, I thought Andy was so cute. I still smile when I think of this story.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Strategical Positioning For Food

Abby's Positions During Baking

They say Mona Lisa’s eyes, though obviously motionless, are always looking at the viewers as they move through the room. Like the Mona Lisa, it seemed like whenever I was eating, Abby was always sitting in front of me even though I would not see her move. She just appeared in my direct line of sight. I don’t know how she did it. She was not a stealthy dog. She was big-boned and plodded along as she moved around. However, when I was eating, she was quite sneaky. She commanded my attention by where she positioned herself. I’d never see her get from one point to another. She just appeared. She also begged.

She had a knack for knowing where the food was or where it was going to be. When I bake Christmas cookies, I take a full day for this chore because I bake hundreds of them. The first year I baked them in my condo, Abby was all over my kitchen, literally. Initially, she sat right beside me at the chopping block where I would roll out the dough and cut the cookies. Abby knew that was the source of the tooties and wanted in on the action. However, she was in my way, so I made her move.

She chose the oven as her next place to sit. She knew the tooties went in and came out of there. She chose a strategical place and went there. Of course she was in my way there, too. Her next stop was the “cooling station.” For Abby, this was the ideal place. The finished product went there. She was just as obstructive there as the other places. Once again, I had to chide her to get out of the way. Finally, she chose a spot where the kitchen and hall meet. Abby wasn’t as close to the food as she would like, but she could keep an eye on me and be in a good position for any tooties. She knew where the food was or was going to be and went there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Abby Foils My Cleaning Efforts

As if Andy’s neurotic fear of the vacuum cleaner wasn’t enough to get in the way of my housekeeping, Abby’s sensitive skin foiled an effective cleaning strategy. Two big dogs in a home can smell up the place, even with frequent vacuuming. I came across a product I thought would address these lingering odors. Arm & Hammer had a product to absorb odors produced by pets. Basically, it was a fancied-up baking soda. I would treat the rugs and carpeted areas with the deodorizer, let it sit for an hour and then vacuum. The product worked wonderfully. My condo no longer smelled like dog.

Abby’s skin problems surfaced a week or two after I first started using the deodorizer. She would scratch, scratch and scratch. She was so uncomfortable. It was driving her crazy. It was driving me crazy. I wracked my brain to figure what why she was doing this. I zeroed in on the deodorizer.

I stopped using the stuff. I vacuumed the condo a few times to fully rid the place of the stuff. Within a week, Abby’s scratching went away. My place didn’t smell as nice anymore, but at least my Baby Girl was comfortable and at rest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Around Town
Pullen Park

The Babies enjoyed going to Pullen Park, located near the NCSU campus and the NC School for the Blind. There is plenty of room there, and in some places, I could let the Babies off their leashes so they could run free. I had to pick a quiet day to make a trip out there. Andy had anti-social traits. He did not like strangers or other pets. On the weekends, Pullen Park filled up pretty fast making it difficult to find parking. There were picnic areas, shelters, an indoor Olympic size pool (when I say Olympic size, I mean 50m long), a pond filled with ducks and other birds. The park provided paddle-boats for rent. There were also some rides such as a carousel and a mini-train. That train looked so fun to ride on. If I could have taken the Babies on it, I would have.

(I used the past tense because Pullen Park is undergoing renovations. I don't know how it's going to look when it opens back up.)

One time out there, we came across a few stray tennis balls by the tennis courts. Since no one was there, we had a fetch session on the courts. Andy had a wonderful time. I don’t know if I would have remembered that day had Andy not poo-pooed on the tennis court. He had just retrieved a ball and halfway back, with the ball still in his mouth, he squatted down and did his thing. Despite the scatological nature of the incident, it was still cute.

I worried how the Babies would react to the birds. Before they approached the pond, I leashed them just in case one of them bolted. The birds were not thrilled to see the Babies. They didn’t scramble away but they did move away from us in a deliberate way. Andy didn’t pay them much attention. Abby stared at them with a furrowed brow. She was a little worried and scared but intrigued.

We would walk all around the park grounds. We would spend well over an hour there. There must have been a buffet of smells in that park because of the high visitor volume. The Babies almost always had their noses close to the ground taking everything in.

By the time we returned to the car, they were tired and thirsty. I always had some water for them in the car and gave them some. They would take turns drinking. We would then go home.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anxious Moments
Andy Invited Home or Not

If I visited my mom after the Babies had been at her place a few days, Andy would be on high alert. Sometimes I’d take them back to my place; other times I would not. Andy would be so anxious because he wanted to go home with me so badly. The anxiety gripped and paralyzed him. He would get on the couch and sit behind my mom. He would rest his upper body on the arm-rest, cut his eyes at me and pout. He had such a long face making me feel so guilty.

When I would stand up, the moment of truth would come. Andy craned his neck up and his wide eyes would lock in on me. He was waiting for me to say the magic words: bye-bye or downtown. If I said those words, he would scurry over the arm-rest and run to the side door. Abby would be right behind him. Andy would be so happy. He exuded so much joy. It was like watching a kid on Christmas morning looking at all the presents.

However, there were times when I didn’t invite the Babies. On those days, Andy would be mortally wounded. I asked my mom what Andy did when I left the house without him. She said Andy would perk his ears up and look towards the left. He wouldn’t move a muscle. Finally, after I opened and closed the side door, Andy would drop his head down in despair. He didn’t get to go bye-bye or downtown. He was so miserable and despondent. He was starting to love me more and more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mixed Messages

By the Municipal Bldg

Who in the hell puts a “No Loitering” sign directly above a bench? Somebody who works for the city of Raleigh, that’s who. I took this photo at the Municipal Building (a.k.a. “City Hall”), which is across the street from where I used to live. On one hand, the bench says “Have a seat. Relax.” But on the other hand, the sign says “Get the fuck out!

I suspect what is defined as ‘loitering’ is left to the discretion of Raleigh police officers. People sitting there in the day during lunch: good; homeless people sleeping there at night: bad. The sign gives fair notice to potential violators should they take the risk of camping out there overnight. The homeless are a sturdy lot here in Raleigh. They can seemingly sleep anywhere and often do.

I think there are hidden reasons for that sign. However, on the surface, the sign juxtaposed against the bench sends an odd and mixed message and looks silly.

Joint Custody

Every week, I had the Babies 3 or 4 days a week while my mom had them for the rest of the week. I would pick up the Babies on Thursday or Friday and keep them on the weekend. On Monday or Tuesday, I would take the Babies to my mom’s. The Babies loved the arrangement. They loved going bye-bye so they were thrilled on the car trips. They would also love seeing people they haven’t seen in a while. These reunions excited them. When they entered my mom’s house, they would hustle through the kitchen to see who was there and what had happened while they were gone. They had a presence about them and commanded attention from those in the house. Their joy and happiness were infectious.

The Babies were not upset when I left without them. They loved my mom and had a lot of catching up to do. Besides, they had over 1.5 acres of yard, a big ranch style home and a 30ft pool to play in. They were in doggy heaven.

I needed the time to clean my condo without any encumbrances from some neurotic dogs petrified of the vacuum cleaner. I gave my place a thorough cleaning. I vacuumed, mopped, dusted and cleaned the bathrooms. I had a day or two to enjoy the cleanliness before entropy incarnate returned to my condo. While the Babies were at my place, my mom had opportunity to clean her place without worrying about scaring the hell out of Andy.

Sometimes when I arrived at my mom’s, I’d see them in the front yard playing. I forgot how good they looked. They were so strong and vibrant. Just watching them play was fun. I wasn’t the only one who liked looking at them. There were neighbors who would slow down considerably as they passed by and gazed up at the Babies playing. The Babies were so carefree. People liked looking at them.

Occassioinally, the Babies would see my car and race around to the side where the driveway was. By the time I made it to the top of the hill, they would be rounding the corner to the side and galloping at full speed. Their faces had smiles on them. I’d play with the Babies out front and greet my family. After an hour, it was time to go home. I’d say the magic words and they would scramble to the side door: “Do you want to go bye-bye?” They almost never turned me down.

On the first walk in the park after they had spent time with my mom, I had to allow for an extra 5 to 10 minutes for the Babies to take that walk. They had to catch up on what had happened at the park. They would closely smell the area trying to figure out who had been there and what they had done.

Some dogs struggle to find one good home to live in. The Babies had two.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Living in a Snow Globe

Living in a small condo with two large dogs that shed all the time was like living in a snow globe. The anal retentive, OCD and neat freaks should not own Labradors. These dogs seemingly shed all year round. It was as if they took turns shedding. On some weeks, I’d see the slight orangeish hair on the floor from when Abby shed. On others, I’d see the white hairs from Andy.

I’d try sweeping up the hairs but it was a poor substitute for the Hoover vacuum cleaner. I had hoped sweeping would take care of the dog hair but it didn’t. The Babies were not nearly as scared of the broom as they were of the vacuum. Abby tolerated the vacuum but Andy was terrified of it. In a larger place such as my mom’s, I’d put Andy in a room in the back while I vacuumed in the rest of the house. However, in a small place, shifting Andy around was impossible.

I grew accustomed to having the hair around me. It was a price I paid to have the Babies with me. I had to find a way to clean my place for the sake of sanitation and hygiene. A further incentive for me to clean was to avoid dog hairs piercing through my skin on the bottom of my feet. It hurt like hell when that happened. The hair felt like a tiny shard of glass ripped into my foot. I’d have to go in a dark place and shine a light on my foot to find the small strand of hair. Then, I would use tweezers to pluck the hair out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mrs. Bligh

(Names were changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)

An older couple lived a few doors down from me, the Blighs. The wife was a busy-body if there ever was one. She hated dogs and told me so herself. Whenever the babies passed by her, she would press up against the wall as hard as she could. You’d think I had a pack of wolves on my leash the way that woman reacted.

Her “welcoming present” to me was her slipping a copy of the HOA rules under my door the 2nd day I was there. She told me she did it by asking “Did you see the note I slipped under your door?” There is nothing like a warm reception and a welcome home than a busy-body passive-aggressively ordering you around by slamming the HOA rules on you the first week you are there.

She did her best to change and enforce the by-rules concerning pets. She wanted the dog owners to go out the south end of the building which meant we would have to walk down an alley that had no sidewalks. Those assholes came close to hitting me in the parking lot. There was no way in hell I was going to take a chance at one of those self-entitled snots take a swipe at me in that alley. None of the dog owners obeyed that rule except for Pout Face and Pussy Whipped.

Then Mrs. Bligh cornered me one day and wanted me to vacuum the carpet in front of my door. I told her we had a cleaning service for the building. That wasn’t enough for her. I could still hear her nasally Long Island accent saying “how about cleaning that up.” God damn if that woman wasn’t a piece of work.

Within a couple of years, she moved. I couldn’t have been happier. I found out later that she sued a neighbor for a Halloween party next to her condo. The other guy, Miss Piggy’s owner, told her beforehand that he was going to have a party. Mrs. Bligh said the party would disturb her with all the noise. Piggy’s owner offered to put Mrs. Bligh up for a night two blocks up at the Holiday Inn. Mrs. Bligh refused. The party went on. Supposedly a suit followed. I don’t know how it turned out.

I was glad to see her go. Good riddance.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Laws and Law School in the First Year

In the first year of law school, students don’t learn that many “laws.” When I say “laws”, I mean statutes. Sure, 1L’s will have a heap of common law and caselaw thrown on them, but black-letter laws are somewhat sparse.

I saw a few statutes in civpro and intellectual property. We also saw a bit of the UCC in contracts, but technically, the UCC is not “law”, but it is the foundation for many state laws.

I suppose law professors find it more important to teach us critical thinking skills and “how to think like a lawyer” as opposed to remembering black-letter law.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Miss Piggy

A neighbor two doors down from me had a 12 year old terrier. I think she was a Miniature Schnauzer, but I’m not sure. She had a grey coat and weighed no more than 20 lbs. She seemingly had a constant, pouty scowl on her face, but it looked cute on her. Her name was Miss Piggy. She would live to 20 and died the same year Abby did, 2009. She was nice enough to me and Abby, but she hated Andy with a passion.

Piggy’s attitude was a clear deviation to how the ladies treated him. Normally, females loved Andy. Even though Andy was a gelding, they still wanted to be his girlfriend. Andy wanted nothing to do with them. Abby was the only one he loved. All the other dogs, male or female, he disliked.

I took special precautions whenever Andy was around other dogs. He didn’t want to socialize with them so I had to make sure they were kept at bay from him. Sometimes dog-owners would be a little miffed; tough shit. What was I supposed to do, tell them that my dog was anti-social and a little crazy?

Piggy would give Andy hell each time she saw him when we first moved in. Andy would growl and snap back at her. Andy couldn’t fight worth a shit, so I didn’t worry about him mauling Miss Piggy who Andy considerably outsized. Piggy’s owner knew Andy was a little squirrely. Eventually Andy and Piggy reached a détente and ignored each other as they passed by.

At these times, I was able to gossip with the owner about the goings-on at Park Deveruex. The guy was a dying breed at our condo—he was one of the few original owners from when the complex first opened up in 2000. He had a little pull with the HOA board even though he didn’t sit on it. Dog owners needed someone on their side.

If there is one thing a person should know about HOA boards, dog-haters always find a way to sit on them. They consequently make life miserable for dog-owners.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Netscape! For Real?

Who in the hell still uses Netscape?! I can’t believe there are still people out there who use Netscape. I know this because on the “Stats” feature on Blogger, one category lists visitors by what browser they are using. I was surprised to see “Netscape” a few days.

It felt like an anachronism taking me back to the mid 90’s when I first started surfing the net. My school used Netscape at the time. I spent many hours aimlessly wandering the electronic wonderland. It was so much fun. I quickly learned there were some freaks out there.

One night, WRAL broadcasted a story warning us about the seedy things on the internet such as pornography. “I hadn’t thought of that”, I said to myself. So, the first thing I did when I went back to school later that night or the next day was to search on either Prodigy or Yahoo: “XXX.” I hit the mother lode! There was so much porn, most of it free.

I would eventually get a computer myself and plug in to the internet. I was 28 when I had my first computer. It was over $2000 for a mid-line model. I think it was a Packard-Bell. Of all the browsers I used, I did not use Netscape. I received enticements from several ISP’s: “40 hours free”, “100 hours free” or even “1000 hours free”. Getting access to an ISP was like robbing a bank; getting in was the easy part, getting out was damned near impossible.

Those guys would make disconnecting so difficult. The only to cancel was to call. They would not accept cancellations by email, mail or any other way. And the wait-time for the cancellation call went over 2 hours for one server, and I still didn’t get through to anyone. I had to cancel my credit card to get the ISP to drop me.

It was nice to see Netscape again. Somebody has to be the last to have shag carpet. Somebody has to be the last to use a Walkman. And I guess somebody has to be the last to use Netscape.

Andy's Fears:
Chewing Gum

Andy was terrified whenever I chewed gum. I can probably pinpoint what exactly scared him. I popped my bubbles after blowing them. The loud noise scared the shit out of my baby boy. He didn’t take long to associate my chewing gum with popping bubbles.

Once that association was made , there was no way I could separate the fear he had from when I chewed gum. It didn’t matter if I did not blow bubbles anymore. He learned to tie together the chewing gum with his fear of loud noises. I would try to chew quietly. I would not blow bubbles. It was too late.

Every time I put gum in my mouth, his eyes grew wide, his ears would drop and his head would sink as low as it could. He was scared. Once in a while, he would leave the room altogether, his body shaking.

He would never lose his fear of chewing gum. I had to give it up while he was alive.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trump Is a Fucking Hypocrite!

I was watching Fox News last night and saw a video of Trump lambasting Anthony Weiner concerning the TwitterGate Scandal. Trump railed against Weiner saying that the congressman from NY was despicable and should resign.

All I could think about at that moment was Trump's scandalous affair with Marla Maples in the early 90's. Donald did a shitty thing to Ivanna. She didn't deserve that humiliation.

 Forgive me, dear readers for judging, but having extramarital sex is a far worse sin than showing one's tallywhacker on the internet. I couldn't believe someone as vulnerable as Trump is in the morality department was wagging a stiffened finger at Weiner who did not do nearly as bad as Trump did a couple of decades ago.

Keep throwing those stones, Donald!

Turning Off the TV
A Conditioned Response

Every time I turned off the TV, the babies would immediately pop their heads up and look at me. What they did next depended on what time of day it was. If it was night time, they pretty much guessed it was nighty-time. During our first few months in the condo, I’d ask them if they wanted to go nighty, and they would hop up and head towards the stairs. Later, they wouldn’t even wait for me to ask them to go to bed. They knew what was going to happened and what they should do.

However, if it was day-time, their response was a little different. They knew one of 2 things was going to happen. We were all going to go bye-bye or I was going to leave them all alone in the universe; all by their baby-selves. They would intensely watch me and wait to see what I said or did. If I said the magic words “Let’s go bye-bye” they would head towards the door and wait for me to put the leashes on them.

But if I said “I’ll be back.” They dropped their ears down and hung their heads. They were going to be alone and they knew it. I learned to ease their pain of isolation by keeping the TV on while I was away. It took the sting out of my departure, a little.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Abby's and Andy's Fears:
Check Writing

Both Abby and Andy were scared when I wrote checks. Since my condo was small, I didn’t have an office where I could quietly and discretely write checks. Instead, I would take my bills to the kitchen counter which doubled up as an eating area. I would stand at the end of the counter with all my paperwork and start paying-off my bills.

Meanwhile, Abby and Andy, normally in the living room, had a full view of the process and became very still and quiet. I could tell by their focused wide-eyed looks on their faces that they were scared.

I don’t know if were scared because I was so quiet or had a focused look on my face, but something about the process made them scared. The only thing I could do to assuage their fears was to look up from my concentration and tell them everything was “OK . . . it’s alright.”

The babies would not stand down from their state of alert until all the checks had been written and the paperwork had been put away. I never could find a way to train them to pay any attention to my check-writing procedures. They would always be nervous and scared.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Andy's Fears:

Andy was terrified of electrical appliances. I love kitchen gadgets and love to cook. Some of my gadgets are electrical. Others are not. I love my stand mixer. Using that took about an hour off of my annual Christmas cookie baking. I loved my hand mixer. When I made sauces, that appliance was invaluable.

Andy hated it when I cooked. He would hide out in the living room when I cooked. Other times, he would go upstairs in his sanctuary, my bed. However, he would learn to tolerate my cooking and look on at me in great interest when I prepared a meal.

I think two things led to Andy’s diminished fears in the kitchen: gluttony and greed. While Andy was shivering in fear as I prepared a meal, Abby would sit in the kitchen waiting for me to drop food or to give her food. Abby learned that dropped food was fair-game for her to hustle over and gobble up. Abby also knew that if she gave me a doleful look long enough, I’d cave in and give her a tooty. (tooty = treat).

Abby did not eat gracefully. She chomped down on her food and smacked loudly and with seeming deliberation. Andy could not stand it when he was left out. He was absolutely jealous of her and had to get in on the action. He was a jealous and greedy baby.

Andy also genuinely liked tooties. Andy was more discriminate in his tastes than Abby, but Andy liked quite a bit of human food. The problem Andy faced was his fear of cooking. He hated the noises generated while I prepped and cooked. Andy also did not like the focus and intensity on my face. It made him scared.

Eventually, Andy put those fears aside and would ease his way into the kitchen when I was cooking. He knew he would get a tooty if he came into the kitchen. He also knew that if he did not go, he would not get anything and Abby would get it all.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm 1/3rd of Lawyer Now!

I recently received my grades and am in good academic standing. Onward to 2L!

What does it mean to be 1/3rd of a lawyer? It doesn't really have much use or meaning. Being 1/3 of a lawyer has as much use and meaning as a bridge that extends only halfway across a river.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Andy's Drinking Problem

Soon after Andy moved in condo, I found out how much water he drinks. He drank so much that I was worried he had diabetes or something. Fortunately, he never had diabetes. Unfortunately, his compulsion was all mental. There wasn’t a damned thing I could about it.

Every time he passed by the water bowl, he had to take a drink. Often, he would not stop until the water was all gone. If he was still thirsty, he would go drink out of the toilet. This bad habit gave me strong incentive to clean my bathrooms.

If the water bowl was empty, Andy occasionally pitched a baby-boy fit. He would nudge the bowl against the wall. Sometimes he would lift one end of the bowl and let it abrubtly drop. It sounded like a bell ringing. Andy would then glare over at me like “Yo, do something.”

I wanted to quantify the amount Andy drank when I set up an experiment. I measured a half-gallon of water in a bowl and let him drink. It took him less than an hour to finish it. About an hour later, he had to hurry out. He had to go so badly that his legs were trembling. It took him a couple of minutes to empty his bladder.

When the vet asked why I did that, I responded that when he wanted to know how much Andy drank, I wanted to be able to give him some objective data. I didn’t want to simply say to him “He drinks a lot and all the time.”

Andy had nothing physiologically wrong with him.