Just Like a St. Bernard Only Tiny


“Why does everybody keep asking me if there’s brandy in this stupid thing?”

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m a terrible person who makes their very innocent little kitteh wear a tiny backpack. And I laugh about it. In fact, looking at this picture now, I am still wont to giggle.

I am giggling.

When I’m not busy abusing and disrespecting my animals, I occasionally run a road race and by “run” I mean “plod”, and by “race” I mean that’s what all the people in front of me are doing while I swear and plod. This past Saturday, I suckered Schmoop into joining me for a 5K, because I really like to spread the abuse around rather than limit it to only the species over which I have total, fearsome dominion. So, we picked up our race packets Saturday morning at WHY-DOES-THIS-TIME-EVEN-EXIST??!!?!??-o’clock, and immediately dumped them out in the back of the car.

They contained . . . a tiny backpack.

A tiny backpack laden with band-aids of all the shapes and sizes that nobody could ever possibly need. Little itty bitty band-aids unfit to cover a splinter hole, all the way up to standard sized bandages, all of an off-brand. You know the super plasticky ones that wouldn’t reliably stick to a a recently steam cleaned pane of glass, let alone human skin? I have a tiny back pack full of those. Actually, our household technically has two.

Two tiny backpacks full of totally useless first aid devices.

Oh, plus two antiseptic wipes–two per wee rucksack, bringing our total, of course, to four–which will actually come in handy in the middle of the night when Mort exacts his revenge by gouging at our faces. Mental note to remove wipeys from tiny backpacks and divide amongst our nightstands.

So after much perplexion (should totally be a word) we did what any self-respecting cat lovers would do. We made the cat wear the tiny backpack, effectively turning him into an off-brand version of a St. Bernard.

He was not amused. His stupid humans, however, were sorely entertained and snapped many pictures and did all manner of truly awful things like picking him up off his window perch and setting him on the ground so that we could watch him melt into the floor because cat bones immediately decalcify when presented with unpleasant situations. It lasted maybe five minutes (probably an eternity in kitten years) and then we lovingly removed the backpack and gave him snuggles and gently put him back up on the window, all while fending off two puppies who can smell cat humiliation as if it were brisket.

But here’s the thing: this is not my fault. I cannot, in any way, be held accountable for my monstrous actions because what else was I supposed to do? Race organizers gave me a tiny backpack of useless treasures and literally the ONLY being IN THE ENTIRE WORLD that could EVER wear the tiny backpack is a cat. And I have two cats, and I found myself–entirely unintentionally–with two tiny backpacks and WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?

So I did the only thing I could and I took photos and I’m not proud but cats in tiny backpacks are hilarious and you know it. YOU KNOW IT. So you can’t judge me.


Meat Pickup. GONE AWRY.


“I was promised beef heart with dinner. Tonight.” *sigh*

Let’s play a game.

Imagine you’re parked in the lot of a fast food joint (you pick which) waiting for . . . Something. You’re a kindly-looking middle-aged fellow in a pick-up truck, which suggests that something is probably not your crack dealer, so pick something else. Maybe you’re waiting to meet a friend for a road trip caravan. Your truck is running, because it’s fricking freezing outside, and you’re reading a newspaper. You’re minding your own business and having a lovely Friday morning.

And then a car pulls in next to you. A Mini, driven by a smallish thirty-something woman in a fuchsia puffer coat, pink hat with ear flaps, and turquoise fingerless mittens dotted with rhinestones. She is wearing sunglasses, and she is looking at you.

You know that she is looking at you because there she sits, nose-in her parking space whereas you’ve backed into yours, and her body is physically turned so that she can look at you. No. She isn’t just looking at you. She’s watching you. And occasionally glancing at her phone to check the time. She, too, seems to be waiting for something. But whatever she’s waiting for . . . involves you.

You take a quick inventory of any college flings that might have unknowingly produced such a pink and besparkled offspring, but you come up blank. And so you briefly allow yourself to consider that perhaps your loving wife has kept a secret from you. Perhaps something from that year you spent as special attaché to Southeast Asia after Nam. But no. Ethel would never. So then who . . .

That feeling you’re feeling? That prickly-necked inclination to giggle in the face of an incongruous fear?

That’s probably very similar to the feels that we’re happening to the kindly-looking middle-aged fellow in the truck next to me this morning, as I sat watching him, assuming he was also there for the slightly surreptitious meat pick-up.

But he wasn’t. Oh no. He wasn’t . . .


I recently switched The Critters to a raw diet. I’d been kicking around the idea of raw feeding since my pre-dog days, but some recent health problems with both my and not-my critters finally gave me the pants kicking I needed to go down that particular rabbit hole. I should note that I really like doing things that require some level of obsession, and so the kind of simmering white noise of “where do you get your meeeeeaaaaat???!?!!!???” that seems to play heavily in the raw feeding groups is totally my jam. So when I was informed, by the amazing dog behaviorist/trainer that is helping me to save my dogs from myself, of a raw meat coop thing that met behind a McDonalds to swap cash and checks for meat I was in. I was SO IN. I eagerly placed an order and penciled in the pick-up date: 12/13. I put this in not one but two calendars because I really didn’t want to forget.

So when this morning rolled around I awoke anxious. Excited. Not only is it my lucky day (Friday the 13th) but today is THE day.

Meat pickup day.

The whole thing is entirely innocuous: it’s people buying meat from people who produce meat. But it’s meat purchased for critters, in a town I’ve never been to and, lets face it, I don’t get out much, so the idea of a meat deal behind a Micky D’s is HIGH INTRIGUE. What will the meat people be like? Will there be sidelong glances around the parking lot? Or attempted grace and ninja heaving of 40lb boxes of chicken thighs into the vehicles of the willing? It certainly seemed like a pretty excellent adventure for a cold Friday morning, anyway.

It was with that sense of adventure that I donned my pinkest outerwear and my sparkliest fingerless mittens and coerced a reluctant beagle into his crate with peanut butter, chicken, and the promise to return posthaste.

Off I zoomed to meet my destiny! I allowed 10 extra minutes. Just in case. I didn’t want to be late.

But destiny would have to wait.

Because after 20 minutes of staring at Truck Guy–waiting for some universally understood “MEAT IS HERE!!!” sign–and a couple awkwardly vague texts to aforementioned amazing dog behaviorist/trainer, I was delivered unto the knowledge that meat pickup day was actually on Saturday.

Which, you know, was totally cool because I really just wanted a sausage biscuit anyway sooooooooooo . . . Whatevs. *sniff*