Critters Are Freaking Hilarious and I Love Them

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With all apologies for the recent spate of dreadful photos, such as the above snap of the calm after the storm. My actual real camera is still MIA post relocation.

I sort of feel bad.

Most of my posts are about the puppies and I don’t want anyone to get the impression that this is a negative reflection on the entertainment value of kittens. Rest assured, our feline overlords are holding their own in the household’s pan-species race to induce a collective WTF face from all available humans, resident and guest alike. I think puppies get the edge, though, because they are larger and their ridiculousness is much more physical. Whereas the kittens’ funny is often brought via the catastrophic failure of their covert, ninja-based skill set, the pups are just sort of unwittingly entertaining.

Dogs are really just smallish, furry clowns.

Example: this morning.

Schmoop and I were awake, but lying in bed howling over clips from The Tonight Show (and no that isn’t a euphemism for anything; Bill Cosby is still almost as funny as my pups.) The puppies awoke to jocularity and, seizing the emotion of the moment, began bouncing around the perimeter of the bed, only the tips of their high wagging tails visible from our plushy perch. Even this little, teeny-tiny thing–bouncing tail tips of prancing puppies–is enough to get me laughing, because it’s so freaking relatable.“Oh hey! You’re awake, we’re awake, it’s a new day and everyone is laughing and happy so let’s get this day STARTED, humans!!” Who doesn’t want to start a day laughing?

So Schmoop and I laughed heartier still, because Bill Cosby AND happy morning dogs.

Pertinent fact: puppies have their own beds on the floor of our bedroom. They are not, nor have they ever been, allowed on the bed and, usually, neither of them seem to care a whit. I would get none sleeps with another human, two cats, and two dogs in the bed, and then I would be cranky and homicidal and I don’t know if you’re allowed to blog from lady jail. Also I don’t think they have hamburgers-on-demand there.

Karmann, sponging our humorous energy, then rested her chin on the bed (difficult, given the height of our pillowtop and the relative shortness of Karmann’s legs), glorious nose pointed ceilingward.

So we laughed yet more, because puppy lips.

Which is when Karmann, sensing a ripple in our bed defenses, decided to make her move: paws up on the bed and shiny happy smiling puppy face all up in mine. If “happy” or “joyful” or “ecstatic” are lacking dictionary illustrations, I volunteer my Karmie’s “I’m almost on the bed!!!” face. I, naturally, did what any responsible dog steward would do in the face of such a transgression: I cracked up and told her how pretty she was and scritched her nose while laughing. That is obviously tantamount to permission, so she started futilely trying to hurl her ass end up on to the bed, which yielded a bouncing happy smiling doggy face and more hilarity still.

We then straightened up and told her to get down and she returned herself to the floor to continue her prancing.

About 30 seconds elapsed, and Schmoop and I turned to face each other while laughing. Once Schmoop’s back was turned, his worshipful Beagle-ish decided that he could no longer refrain and, taking advantage of Schmoop’s back-of-the-head eyelessness, he made his move.

The thing about Calvin is he does very few things directly. He is sort of like a liqui-Beagle. He can be seated on the floor, accepting head scritches one minute, and the next thing you know he is curled up on your lap and you’re confused because how the hell did even get there? He got there by defying gravity and pouring his body up, one crazy millimeter at a time, so slowly you don’t notice until it’s too late and awwwwwww lookit how cozy he is!

So Cal’s move consisted of this same upward pouring mechanism: first a chin, then a leg, then he’s on his side as he brings the other leg up, and then presumably he is levitating because he is somehow sneaking the entire side of his body foreward as though he has no bones and is in that crazy anti-gravity shack in Muir Woods–just slowly oozing his way up and over to you, sideways.

That, alone, is funny. What took it to the next level was that he was forced to execute the pouring with a seriously perturbed Karmann dangling from his collar because, hey, if she ain’t allowed on the bed, ain’t NO PUPPY allowed on the bed. To save the morning’s glee, we issued a cease and desist to Calvin, and he receded from the bed in reverse pour order.

Only to come over to my side of the bed and try the whole thing all over again.

This broke Karmann, who attempted once again to haul him down from his upward slink. And when that didn’t work, she released his collar and gave the single, saddest, “but why aren’t you doing what I want???!?” high-pitched squeal-bark. To which Cal responded with increased dedication to the task at hand. Beagle was on a mission.

You know those dog vs. wolf experiments with a piece of meat in the locked crate, and the wolf tries to problem solve while the dog just looks at their human like, “I am just a poor widdle hungry puppy make this happen, human.”? I have basically seen that in person. Because when Cal refused to give up, and Schmoop and were too busy laughing derangedly at the beagle liquidity before us to deter him, Karmann sat herself down on the floor next to the climbing hound and just barked.

And barked (and we laughed.)

And barked some more (while we cackled.)

And kept barking (I believe I was actually guffawing.)

And barked still, in the most obvious, hilarious fit of self-righteous indignation I have ever witnessed outside of an internet forum.

She was so frustrated and pissed off and DAMMIT WHY IS NOBODY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS????? WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FAIRNESS???

I died. Because as relatable as their morning optimism was, this was even moreso. I mean, who hasn’t been so pissed off at inequitable treatment that they just wanted to sit down and yell? I think I experience that feeling almost hourly during an election year. And while I never wish to insult my doglets by implying that they are human, I have absolutely no doubt that they have similar emotions. Yet seeing those emotions played out with a limited vocabulary and lack of thumbs is–however uncharitably–freaking funny. 

I would never intentionally set up an unequal situation for the puppies (or the kittens, for that matter) but when it happens on it’s own I find it impossible to do anything but laugh and publicly humiliate them with a blog post.

Poor boogies. Such abuse.

 

Kitten Curtain Deathmatch and Other Pleasantries

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The kittens have the sort of relationship that would make Dr. Phil raise an eyebrow. One minute they love each other and are snuggling adorably,the next minute they sound like a small herd of rabid elephants stampeding through the house on a murderquest. Rabid, quacking, yowling, screaming elephants.

Occasionally, they use props. Mortimer really liked it when we were painting the dining room, and a plastic tarp thrown over a kitchen island-turned-buffet created an amenable murderers cave. He would hide beneath the buffet–behind the tarp–and wait for an unsuspecting Puppy, Nigel, or human to walk past, greeting all with the ninja paw, or sometimes even a full kitten lunge-and-retreat. By the time painting was complete, the tarp was shredded. In times without painting projects, though, a bed, human, or piece of furniture will provide suitable cover for whichever kitten is on the offensive. They take turns being the aggressor.

Yesterday, they used the delightfully old timey window treatments left by the previous homeowners, which we have been reluctant to replace because critters destroy everything, as staging for their battle royale. For ten or so minutes they alternated hiding behind the curtain, and deathmauling the curtain hider, while I watched and giggled and calculated the survival rate of whichever kitten crashed through the window and onto the driveway.

As usual with kitten shenanigans, it’s all fun and games until someone gets a claw stuck on some fabric. In this case that someone was Mortie, at which point Nigel became bored and left the striped cat to sort his dilemma alone. Brute force prevailed, and I now understand where the mystery tear on one of the other panels came from.

To the neighbors wondering if this is some sort of crack house with the torn and lopsided window panels: not my fault! *points frantically at nearest kitten*

To the commissioners who want to raise my property assessment: this is totally some sort of crack house!

To any police who might have read the above and are now planning a SWAT infiltration and DEA bust: just kidding! (Unless a commissioner happens to be reading over your shoulder.)

***

In Karmann news, the vet confirmed Addison’s based on cortisol tests, and then did a full blood work up only to discover some things which supported Addison’s, and others that were exactly the opposite of what they generally expect. Given that she is my puppy and I have been informed by two physicians, independently, that various anatomical bits are “not exactly where the anatomy books suggest they should be” this is not particularly surprising. I grow ever more convinced that we somehow share DNA, or are swapping places. I have not personally had any interaction with a Zoltar machine lately, but who knows what Karmann gets up to when she isn’t busy pooping every 20 minutes.

Since “supportive” outweighed the “huh?!?” We are treating her with a short course of a low dose of prednisone and observing her closely. If she improves, we will take that as confirmation. If she doesn’t, I suppose there will be a considerable amount of head scratching. Either way, she’ll have another blood test at the two week mark.

So far, on day two of the prednisone, I can’t see any improvement. I can, however, see a lot of pee–increased urination being a known side effect of prednisone, albeit one I don’t recall her having during treatments in the past. And she doesn’t seem to get much warning, either.

KARMANN: *sleeping*
(15 seconds pass)
KARMANN: ohmygodtakemeoutNOWWWWWWWWW!!!
*pees on stoop*

I assume she’s just trying to not pee until the next regularly scheduled pee, but then realizes late in the game that that isn’t going to work. And unfortunately, when it happens in the middle of the night or at the ass crack of dawn she is thwarted by humans, who require things like pants (and the half asleep, blind, bumbling location thereof) to go outside. Natch.

She still seems off, to me–like she’s agitated not in the sense that she’s cranky, more like she just doesn’t know what to do with herself. Which makes me sad. Because I tell her we are going to get her better but it’s taking a really freaking long time and she just keeps feeling weird in the meantime. But then I suppose I need to give the prednisone more than 36 hours.

I hate being patient.

***

I also hate port-a-potties.

Which is why, if you are reading this and thinking, “Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh maybe I’ll donate to this broad’s fundraiser for the Animal Rescue League . . . Or maybe not. I mean, she’s kind of funny-ish. At times. I’m getting, like $.50 worth of entertainment out of this. Can I donate $.50?” I am here to tell you I’m sorry, I’m off my game, and YES YOU CAN! You can certainly donate $.50. And if 70 of you donate $.50 (that’s a total of $35 for my fellow MFA’s out there) between now and April 1 I will be entered into a drawing to win one of seven VIP passes for the marathon and a VIP pass means NO PORT-A-POTTIES!

It also means private changing rooms. Very swanky.

Granted. If I do not raise $35 by April Fools Day–which is also Calvin’s birthday, no pressure–I will still run, and I will pee in a wee plastic hut, and I will change in a giant room with hundreds of other sweaty females while averting my eyes.

I WILL DO THAT FOR THE CRITTERS. I will publicly undress for them. I will do that.

All you have to do is give $.50.

Squishable Sunday

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Things I learned this week

1. Sleep is awesome (confirmed.)

2. Karmann does, in fact, have Addison’s

3. Running after eating half your body weight in andouille sausage is a BAD IDEA. Unless of course you think you might need to direct someone to your location, in which case you could tell them to follow the smell of sausage and sweat. I personally prefer GPS or even cross streets.

4. Using an untested trail system, with reviews stressing how awful the blazing is, is probably never going to yield the type of long run you’re aiming for.

5. Kittens are adorable sleepers (confirmed.)

Bad Hair Day

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It’s not the most flattering cut, if we’re being honest.

My sad, half naked, slightly clipper-burned puppy is *thisclose* to a diagnosis and, thus, to feeling better.

Addison’s Disease.

Probably. Her ultrasound yesterday found wee itty bitty adrenal glands. The vet sent out some bloodwork, and we should have confirmation/more information on Monday.

While I’m not thrilled by the likelihood that she will have to deal with chronic illness requiring somewhat finicky medication and management, the prognosis for well-maintained Addison’s is a normal, full, and happy life. Which is awesome, and also the prognosis that I required from the universe. I thank it for complying.

In a nutshell, her adrenal glands are freeloaders. They just sit there at the top of her kidneys, sucking up space and refusing to do their damned job–which is secreting cortisol and aldosterone to manage electrolyte balance as well as metabolism, and biochemical stress response. As a result, she develops all manner of symptoms–urinary, gastrointestinal, muscular, neurological–while her adrenals hang out all, “lalalalalalalalala life as a gland is grand lalalalalalalalala!” And “What, me worry?” And “Think I’ll have a nap now! Doing absolutely nothing useful is exhausting!”

Bastards.

If confirmed, The Nut will be maintained on daily steroids, and will possibly require prednisone “boosters” during periods of stress, either good or bad. And I will therefore have to learn what happy things are systemically intolerable and adjust meds accordingly, since even things like happy fun playtime can stress her slackass adrenals.

I am so mad at those stupid glands right now, threatening to make my girl’s social events unpleasant for her. But I am also over the fracking moon at the prospect of finally having a diagnosis and a course of treatment, because the last month of sickness and not knowing and helplessness has SUCKED EPICALLY for every living creature in this house, most especially my Karmie Monster.

Who is super adorable, naked tummy notwithstanding.

*squish*

Sometimes it’s Really Hard to Be a Puppy.

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It’s hard to be a puppy when kittens steal your bed, for example.

And it’s really hard to be Karmann lately, as something in her gut just ain’t right. She’s been on meds for her intestinal irritation while the vet makes it through a drop-down menu of tests to find out what is happening to make her intestines intermittently fill up with gas. The latest was a fecal exam for parasites, which was negative.

We spent a chunk of last night’s witching hours at the emergency vet due to another episode of gastric distress. Same as last time, except no traffic, and no Paczki for me as it was 4am when we returned and also I think they are extinct due to Lent. I am once again sitting on the couch putting off the cleaning of vomit from my car’s driver’s side back seat latch. Say what you will about Karmann, the girl is consistent and her aim is spot on–what didn’t make it into the seat latch she rather kindly deposited in the back seat storage pocket. I stuffed both with Clorox wipes last night before dragging my be-Benadryl’ed butt to bed. Are those things absorbent at all? That would be nice if they were.

Her regular vet is now lining up an ultrasound. Hopefully quite soon. The emergency vet last night said it could be any number of things, from IBD to Addison’s Disease to parasites that don’t show up in fecal exams (whipworm, anyone? Mmmmmmm!) to cancer.

This will bring our household Critters With Ultrasounds percentage up to 50% and my sleep quotient down to None Of The Sleeps.

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Sad panda Snugglepuss is finally resting comfortably–if a bit dejectedly.

Squishable Sunday (on Monday)

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At least 50 times a day I look at a critter or two and am overcome with the desire to gather them all unto my bosom and and just squeeze. Because they are so freaking adorable they make my eyeballs pulse.

In Running for Critters news, I have only the following dramatic interpretation of my week in running:

“Oh yaaaaaaaaaaay! I’m finally back on track and actually excited about this 7 miler that I have on Fri–OH MY GOD PLANTAR FASCIITIS.”

Eff.

Rather than sidelining myself, I bought new shoes for my long runs (racing flats which, for all those who know my affinity for minimalist shoes, essentially feel like footshmallows to me) and have been stretching and massaging. Hoping some TLC will help.

But what I really need is a nap.

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I’ma Do What Now?

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It’s currently in the 40s and pouring rain. This evening, there will be snow. Again. Tomorrow it will be 7F when I wake up. Yesterday it was almost 70 and gloriously sunny. Last week the temp was in the single digits. Schmoopie salted the driveway after an ice storm, which is more than most people do with their sidewalks around here.

And through it all, I have been running.

I’ve also been bitching a lot. About running.

Three runs ago, on a damp, warmish day, I believe I may have elevated chub rub to its zenith. I also had an asthma attack. And I dropped my new phone in the middle of the street.

But I finished the run. Admittedly, I finished it walking, wheezing, and bitching about my phone, but I did finish. I did not stop at the park and have a rest and call Schmoopie for an emergency extraction, even though I really, really wanted to.

Why? Why am I doing this?

Because: critters.

In far, far too few days (54) I will be running my first half marathon to benefit The Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center, because critters are awesome and they deserve to be cared for and they deserve homes and the Animal Rescue League does all that, and more, for them. So I figured that I would put my otherwise very futile and first-world toil to some good use and attempt to raise money for a great organization.

All of my critters are rescues:

Mort was a born into a litter of barn kittens taken in by a cat rescue in Connecticut.

"I have no idea what any of this has to do with me."

“I have no idea what any of this has to do with me.”

Nigel belonged to someone at some point, but found himself on the streets of Ledyard, CT with nobody to claim him.

"13.1 miles? Is that further than the distance between the nibbly bowl and the couch. Because: exhausting"

“13.1 miles? Is that further than the distance between the nibbly bowl and the couch? Because: exhausting.”

Karmann was kept in a kennel in the puppy and kitten room of the saddest shelter I’d ever seen in Liberty County, GA. She’d been there for months.

"I love my zoomies, but I think you're getting a little carried away, mom."

“I love my zoomies, but I think you’re getting a little carried away, mom.”

Calvin showed up in our Augusta, GA exurb with dozens of his closest tick friends, a stomach full of twigs, and a bullet hole in his chest.

"This whole thing makes me nervous."

“This whole thing makes me nervous.”

Mortimer and Karmann both benefitted from the care and protection of animal shelters. Nigel and Cal could have used those services. I can only do so much without inviting divorce, which is why I am so thankful for the work done by places like the Animal Rescue League. They make it possible for people to help and care for animals without having to open up a private kennel in their backyard, or foster every injured, sad critter that turns up at their doorstep. The Animal Rescue League provides care and food and protection; they unite critters in need of homes with people in need of critters. They stay open 24 hours at a time during frigid winter spells so that no creature needs to freeze to death in the street. They rehabilitate wildlife.

They are awesome; I am one person who really doesn’t like running all that much but digs a challenge. Let’s make this weird partnership work out for the Animal Rescue League, shall we?

If you’re interested in donating, my Crowdrise fundraising page is HERE

If you can, please give.

If you can’t give money . . . Give me ALL THE MENTAL SUPPORT. On May 4, from wake-up until about noon, just send a steady stream of mental “KELLEY DO NOT DIE. DO NOT DIE.” vibes in my general direction. That will cost you nothing and may save my life. Karma points!

Every Sunday, I will post a brief update here, about how awful that week’s running has been. I will try to make it entertaining, if anyone would like to keep up with the progress of the person they may be funding and/or mentally willing not to perish.

I give unto you each All of the Thank Yous!

Beagle, Interrupted

Freshly laundered beagle-ish

Freshly laundered beagle-ish

We have all been very busy of late, staring at Karmann and obsessing over her rapidly fluctuating bowel health. And apparently the stress of it all has been getting to Calvin, because I have written and re-written this post at least a half dozen times since late February, when Karmann initially blew up like a large-ish floofy balloon. Sometimes it’s written as “Oh my dog, y’all Cal has been MAGICALLY AWESOME!!!” And other times it’s been, “Cal has made another ridiculous suicide attempt!”

And finally, it dawned on me.

I’ve mentioned before that Cal is the super skinny friend who whines endlessly that they just cannot. put. on. weight. while stuffing their face with chili cheese fries and creme-filled donuts. But really, it’s a fine line between that friend, and the stereotypical lithe, chain-smoking adolescent female psychiatric patient that I don’t think exists outside of mediocre fiction, Hollywood, and . . . CALVIN.

Attractive? Check.
Anti-depressants? Check.
Relatable–and ultimately justified–“bad” attitude? Check.
Situational anxiety meds? Check.
Skinny? Check.
Occasional outbursts of impotent frustration? Check.
Endearing character flaws? Check.
Existence seems mostly average and mundane for a perpetually-incarcerated being, punctuated only at entertaining intervals with mildly aberrant behavior which, in the real world, probably wouldn’t get anyone locked up in a shabbily chic mental facility for extended periods of their turbulent youth? Check, check, checkcheckcheck.

All that’s missing is his pack of Marlboro Reds and a beautiful–if misunderstood–“friend” of the opposite sex to supply them. Karmann herself is a non-smoker.

So my written-and-deleted posts, in a round-up:

1. YAY!!! Calvin saw a dog at the park and was easily redirected.

2. YAY!!! Calvin seems to have learned how to deal with the snow–bravely soldiering on as a tripod, without fuss or freakout, when snow balls up in his toes!

3. BOO!!! Cal peed all over the house when he realized I was getting ready to leave for the morning.

4. YAY!!! The weather is lovely and Cal had a very non-reactive walk, despite seeing people! Happy beagle in the near-Spring!

5. BOO!!! It snowed again and Cal has apparently forgotten how to deal with snow because it’s right back to being the worst substance ever invented and to compensate he must BARK AT ALL THE THINGS.

6. YAY!!! No more scaredy-pooping in the crate! It has been three weeks without an accident!

7. BOO!!! Reset the counter on the scaredy-crate-pooping.

8. BOO!!! Calvin has attempted suicide again, first by trying to eat a wrapped fortune cookie and, when thwarted, pursuing the consumption of a large ball of foil.

9. YAY!!! He puked up the foil shards pretty much immediately! My beagle shall not die today!!

10. YAY!!! Cal has survived not only a manicure, but also 1/2 day of Karmann-less doggie daycare where, if the attendant is to be believed, he MAY HAVE EVEN ENJOYED HIMSELF!!!

11. YAY!!! Doggie daycare has totally fixed the Beaglemonster! He can gaze benignly on other canines from the confines of the car!!

12. YAY!!! Cal has been on a walk and admirably dealt with children playing basketball, passing pups on leashes, and a roving hoarde of hyperactive children on bicycles!! HE IS HEALED.

13. BOO!!! Cal dream-peed on the bed, which scared him into bolting from the pee-covered cushion–WHILE PEEING–and running across the room where he paused to collect himself. Living room appears to have been soaked by small, pee-filled fire hose. Beagle fearful and licking his elbow to self-soothe.

By my count, that is 8 YAY!!!s to 5 BOO!!!s and that, my non-specific internet friends, is resounding success. Pee-soaked living room be damned.

You has brought smokes for me?

You has brought smokes for me?