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Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 149

So if you’ve ever read my little bio over there on the right, you know I’m one of ‘those people’ who celebrates the family dogs’ birthdays. And yesterday was a big day for Freya and Chloe – they turned 10! Since they are rescues, we don’t know their actual birthdays; December 1st was just the arbitrary date picked based on the vet’s best estimate of their ages when they were pups. 
 
It’s hard to believe they’re already 10. Because they’re both already white, their faces haven’t shown the years creeping up on them like it did with the Golden Retrievers we had growing up. Although Chloe’s brown eye spot has become more of a brown semi-circle in recent years. But they have been showing signs of slowing down, and it makes me sad. But never mind that, I must focus on the good days. Like birthdays!
 
I made them ‘cakes’ with a treat ‘candle’, but I didn’t put party hats on them this year, since the last time I tried, I got stabbed in the face. They were so excited about their cakes that they would not sit still for a picture. So these aren’t great, but I’m sharing anyway.
Chloe's 10th birthdayFreya's 10th birthday
Freya and Chloe 10th birthday
 
And the whole dog birthday silliness is not just a Jocelyn thing, it’s a Rish thing. My sister’s oldest dog Molly had her birthday yesterday, too. She’s 14!! But she’s doing awesome for her age. My sister kind of puts me to shame though, since she had actual pupcakes for Molly to share with Kali. Here are some fun pics from their celebration.
Molly's birthday with KaliMolly's 14th birthday
 
And now that you know my family is thoroughly dog crazy, I’ll share my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:
 
11/26 - Most people dread our monthly status sederunts, but it's the only time I see him. Sometimes I invent issues to make them last longer.
 
11/27 - She hopes gourmet food will have benefic impact on family's Turkey Day fighting. Spends days cooking. Food ends up on floor & walls anyway.
 
11/28 - He sends exhortation tweets about fighting the man, but his classmates like the Principal's new rule requiring students to wear deodorant.
 
15 Minute Tweet Tales11/29 - Looks at all the hair removing paraphernalia in bathroom. Laments all the time & pain spent scraping, pulling, yanking hairs from her body.
 
11/30 - Due to cathexis on mole on his leg, he spends hours examining it but too scared to go to doctor. It's not cancer but steals his life anyway.
 
12/1 - His nap was longer than planned, so he awoke feeling logy. It took him a minute to notice the knife he clutched. With blood on the blade.
 
12/2 - She hoped campestral picnic would end in their first intimate moment. Helping extract ticks from warm, dark places? Not what she'd planned. #15tt
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

A Doggie Kind of Day

Because I was out of town for the DC Shorts Film Fest, I was away from my dog Freya for five days. It was rough y’all. I went into serious doggie withdrawal - so much so that I turned into a squee-ing crazy woman every time we passed a dog on the streets of DC.

On the flip side, I don’t think my girl missed me one bit. Since our parents are awesome, they drove up to my brother’s house where we siblings were meeting for our trip and collected all three of their granddogs to spoil rotten while we were gone. When I was reunited with Freya, she was all, “Now, who are you again?” So this week I’ve been especially susceptible to adorable dog videos. I thought I’d share my two favorites for a laugh heading into the weekend.

The first is a new commercial from Volkswagen. I only saw it for the first time a few days ago, but it’s been airing pretty steadily. Cracks me up every time.

The second is a video a friend of mine posted on Facebook (thanks, Dora!) and it actually makes me giggle-snort.

Freya sometimes has problems with her dew claws, and I’ve had to tape socks on her legs to keep her from chewing them, and she does this same kind of crazy walk. Now I wish I had recorded her doing her funky dance moves.

What did you think of the two videos? Have you ever put boots or socks on your dogs? How did they react? Should I feel bad for laughing at the dogs’ reactions?

A Poopy Problem

Freya with the letter PFor the most part, it seems my Willy-nilly Wednesdays have turned into an excuse to talk about the Rish family dogs.  So why change that today?  I bet you’re now thinking that P stands for pooch.  Well, you’d have the first three letters right.  Because today I have to confess a secret.  A dark secret that brings me shame.  You see, my sweet Freya, my beloved four-legged child… is a poo eater.  That’s right, she eats poop.  Doodoo.  Kaka.  Whatever you want to call it, she loves the stuff.  

It’s especially distressing because in the long line of smart dogs my family has owned, she’s definitely the smartest (yes, I know all parents/dog owners think this). Besides all the standard commands, she does a bunch of fun tricks like ‘take a bow’ and ‘say your prayers’ although the truly impressive part is how fast she learns them.  She also does things like breaking into locked food cupboards even though she lacks opposable thumbs.  So why, oh why, can’t I stop this spectacularly disgusting habit?  

It started when she was ‘a teen’, and I immediately ran to my best friend Google to find out why my precious baby would do something so nasty and how to stop it.  I discovered the official term is coprophagia (OMG, there’s an actual word for it *gags a little*) and that there are a variety of reasons for it both medical and behavioral.  I took her to the vet, and he ruled out any medical issues and offered a few behavioral things to try.  None of them worked.  So now I have to live with the fact that my dog thinks doodie is a delicacy.  We actually call them her chocolate cigars because she carries them around for a while with the ends sticking out of her mouth before she chows down.

Freya's patented poop faceBecause she is so smart and because I start screaming like a banshee every time I see her pick up a log, she knows she’s not supposed to do it.  So now she’s like a junkie after her fix.  She skulks around the yard, looking for a pile that didn’t get picked up; and when she finds one, she glances around to make sure no one’s watching, snags the treasured turd, and races away with an expression we call her patented poop face. My sister snapped this picture of the expression mid-snack.  It would be kind of adorable if you didn’t know she was dining on dookie.  

But like any mom, I love my baby no matter what . . . I just don’t let her kiss my face after she’s been outside.  

Have any of your dogs ever enjoyed partaking in chocolate cigars?  Did any methods work for you in breaking the foul habit?  How Playful (or Poopy-faced) does Freya look with her letter P?

Jeans and Genes

Lily with the letter JOn this Willy-nilly Wednesday, I’m talking about jeans.  And not just any ol’ jeans.... On my most recent birthday, I opened a present from my brother and sister to discover a pair of pajama jeans.  I didn’t know what to think.  In fact, my heart kind of sank: I’d become the type of person my siblings thought should own a pair of pajama jeans - that couldn’t be a good thing.  I’d seen the infomercials, I’d heard comedians make fun of them, and they seemed like the ultimate symbol of, “Hey, I’ve given up and don’t give a crap anymore.”

After I quit work to write full time, I tried not to let myself become a pajama-wearing hermit.  Even though I’d prefer to stay in my PJs all day, I change into actual clothes every morning.  Now I’ll admit I put on equally comfy items like yoga pants or jogging clothes, but I do maintain the distinction between sleeping clothes and being awake clothes.  And when I leave the house, even for a quick trip to pick up some milk, I fancy myself up by putting on a pair of jeans and smearing on some lipstick. So even though I’m not wearing the professional outfits and full makeup I used to wear, I’ve tried not to descend into complete lazy-slob mode.  That’s why when I opened that box to find the pajama jeans, I worried I’d let myself go more than I thought.  

But I’m not gonna lie – those things are awesome!  They are so comfortable, and unless you’re up close, you really can’t tell they’re not real jeans.  So now when I’m out in the yard and see my neighbors, I don’t feel that twinge of embarrassment I did with my other comfy pants.  The best part?  They make my butt look AMAZING! Seriously.  My butt has always been a problem area.  In my teens and twenties, it was so nonexistent it was practically concave.  As I've put on extra pounds in my thirties, it skipped over juicy and went straight to flabby.  However, the pajama jeans make my butt look round and firm - I guess it’s both the cut and the stretchy material.  I haven’t been brave enough to wear them out and about yet, but if I can’t find a regular pair of jeans that makes my hind end look that great, then you might spot me prancing around town in a pair of pajama jeans.  

And while we’re on the subject of jeans, it’s time to reveal the Rish family dog genes.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest!  It’s been fun seeing all the guesses.  They were in line with the breeds we guessed before we got the results, especially so many picks of Labrador for Bailey and Freya.  In fact, we figured they were both Husky/Lab mixes, so similar to other designer mutts being crossbred, we called them our Huskadors  – but it turns out not a drop of Lab between them.  The results show just how sneaky genes can be!

Although they use drawings rather than actual photos, I’ve pulled the official breed pictures from the American Kennel Club site.

Here’s the key for the breed ratio (the letter in parenthesis after the breed):
S = Significant – at least 50% of the dog’s DNA matches this breed
I  = Intermediate – at least 25% of the dog’s DNA matches this breed
M = Minor – at least 12.5% of the dog’s DNA matches this breed
 

1. Bailey 

Bailey
German Shepherd Dog Siberian Husky Icelandic Sheepdog
German Shepherd Dog (I) + Siberian Husky (I) + Icelandic Sheepdog (I)
 
 
2. Chloe 
Chloe
American Staffordshire Terrier Skye Terrier Great Dane
American Staffordshire Terrier (S) + Skye Terrier (M) + Great Dane (M)
 
 
3. Freya
Freya
=
Siberian Husky Poodle Chow Chow
Siberian Husky (S) + Miniature Poodle (M) + Chow Chow (M)
 
 
4. Lily  
Lily
=
Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever (S)
 
 
5. Molly 
Molly
=
Basset Hound Chow Chow
Basset Hound (I) + Chow Chow (I)
 
Some pretty crazy results!  Like Chloe, whose coat is so thin she’s practically bald, having Skye Terrier in her.  And Freya, who weighs 90 pounds, having miniature poodle in her.  But there were some results that made a lot of sense.  My parents adopted Lily from a Golden Retriever rescue group who said they thought she was purebred even though they didn’t have papers for her and that looks likely.  And although we weren’t previously familiar with the Icelandic Sheepdog, it goes a long way toward explaining Bailey’s coat and color and tail (which you can’t see in the picture).
 
And now for the moment y'all have been waiting for – the reveal of the winner! Turns out it was a tie!  So I’ll send both winners a DVD copy of Saying Goodbye. And the winners are…
 
 
Congrats, ladies!  I’ll be sending you an email.
 
Have you ever worn pajama jeans or do you think they are a crime against fashion?  Was the reveal of the dog breeds surprising or can you see some of the genes shining through?  How Jovial is Lily with her letter J?
 

Doggie DNA

Molly with the letter DMy A-to-Z agenda shows it’s Willy-nilly Wednesday and the letter is D, so I figure everyone who’s previously visited my blog is betting I’m going to post about Dogs.  Wrong!  I’m posting about DNA.  Well… it’s actually about doggie DNA, so I guess you were right after all.  Your prize?  Adorable pictures of dogs!  And that’s not all… if you keep reading until the end, you have a chance to win an actual physical prize!

Each member of my family ‘owns’ a dog that was adopted from a shelter, so we have no idea what breeds make up their mutt-y cuteness (except for Lily – hers is kind of obvious).  With my animal-crazed family, this led to some surprisingly heated discussions as we each defended our dog’s dubious heritage.  “My dog’s a tougher breed than yours!”  “Who cares? Mine’s a smarter breed than yours!”  Yep, that’s how we roll.  We don’t actually care about the breeds, since we love them like crazy no matter what, it’s just a fun way to pick at each other.
 
In my wanderings around the interwebs, I discovered there are companies that will test your dog’s DNA to figure out the breeds.  So for Christmas two years ago, I decided that would be a fun gift for everyone and would finally put to rest whose dog is best (mine, of course).  I researched several companies, and some of them required a picture of the dog, which seemed like cheating to me (and we didn’t need to pay someone to guess the dogs’ breeds based on looks since that’s exactly what we were doing).  
 
In the end, Wisdom Panel Canine Genetic Analysis seemed to be the best bet – they had one of the biggest breed databases, didn’t ask for a picture, and broke the results into several categories.  The Significant category meant the dog had at least 50% of that breed, Intermediate meant at least 25%, and Minor meant at least 12.5%.
 
The presents were a huge success – everyone loved them… everyone except the dogs who hated having their inner lips scraped with the little brush-y things for their DNA samples.  They were not amused. 
 
We sent off the samples, and since we had to wait several weeks for the results, we made a game out of it.  Each of us wrote down the breeds we thought made up each of the five dogs, with the winner getting the bragging rights of Awesomest Doggie Breed Guesser Ever.  Now when I sat down to write this post, I fully intended to reveal the breeds of all five dogs.  But then I thought it would be more fun to have you play the breed guessing game, too.  
 
I’ve posted pictures of all five dogs below, and in the comments you can guess the breed(s) for each dog.  I will say that some of the breeds were very surprising, and that no dog had more than three breeds listed.  For the person who guesses the most breeds correctly, I will send him/her a DVD copy of my short film Saying Goodbye when it’s released in a few weeks.  It’s won awards at several film festivals, and you can find out more about it here.  
 
I’ll reveal the actual breeds and the winners next Wednesday (4/11).  Although you won’t increase your chances of winning by spreading the word, I’d really appreciate you letting others know about the contest. *bats eyelashes in a charming and beseeching manner*
 
Now here are the adorable Rish family dogs:
 
1. Bailey belongs to my brother, and she’s nine years old.
Bailey
 
2. Chloe belongs to my mom, and she’s seven years old.
Chloe
 
3. Freya is my dog, and she’s seven years old.
Freya
 
4. Lily belongs to my dad, and she’s eleven years old.
Lily
 
5. Molly belongs to my sister, and she’s eleven years old.
Molly
 
It’s weird that so many of my pictures with the dogs by themselves involve snow, since it hardly ever snows in South Carolina.  Oh, and Chloe didn’t really eat a book, it was a total frame job.  If you want to see the girls in action to get a better look at them, you can watch my ACBDog video.  Then enter your breed guesses for each dog in the comments.
 
Have you ever tried one of the doggie DNA kits?  What are your breed guesses for each dog?  How Delightful is Molly with her letter D?
 

Stabbed with a Birthday Hat

My baby is seven years old today.  I can’t believe how fast time is flying.  It seems like just yesterday she was learning not to pee on the floor.  Although to be honest, I’m not really sure today is her birthday – it’s just a rough estimate and an easy day to remember to celebrate.  My pride and joy was found on the side of the road, so her history is a mystery.  I adopted Freya in March of ‘05, and the vet guessed she was about three months old, so December 1st became her special day.  My sister’s dog Molly and my parent’s dog Chloe also share the December 1st birthday.  Chloe was adopted the same day from the same shelter, while Molly was adopted 4 years earlier.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Rish family enjoys celebrating canine birthdays, so it was time to party!  And since that post has brought in a surprising amount of traffic with variations of the google search ‘dogs in hats’ (seriously, who knew so many people were looking for pictures of hat-wearing dogs?!?), I’m happy to share the pictures from the parties to help satiate those looking for adorable doggies.
 
First up, my sister sent me pictures from Molly’s celebration at her house.  Here Molly waits ever so patiently (and oh so cutely) to open her present.
Molly waits for her present
 
And now she’s howling with joy at her delicious haul.
Molly howls in excitement over her birthday goodies
 
Next up is my parents’ house, where Freya and Chloe celebrated together along with their best bud Lily.  As soon as I put the party hats on Freya and Chloe, they went a little crazy.  It could be because they thought the hats were evil entities clinging to their heads in order to suck out their brains.  Or maybe it’s just because they itched.  Whatever the reason, they were not happy to be wearing them.  I hustled back and forth between them, but as soon as I got a hat placed on one dog, the other had pawed, rubbed, or tossed her hat off.  
 
It was still laughter and cajoling and sweet talking as I tried to get them to wear their hats, when WHAM!  Chloe tossed her head and the point of her hat slammed into my bottom lip.  I staggered to my feet blinking back tears.  Oh my god, I’d just been stabbed in the face with a birthday hat!  I was going to have a hideous scar for the rest of my life.  And even worse, I was going to have to tell everyone I met the ridiculous story of how I’d gotten it.  I ran to the bathroom and almost wept in relief when there was no blood.  Even though it hurt, birthday hats are designed for fun, not maiming, so thank goodness no trip to the emergency room was necessary.  
 
Now, a sane person probably would have taken this as a sign to quit.  But since this entire post is about celebrating doggie birthdays, I’d guess most people have already made up their minds about my sanity.  My battle wound just made me more determined - I was going to get a cute picture of both dogs in their hats, even if I ended up in the hospital.     
 
When all was said and done, this was the result:  
Freya and Chloe feel deep shame about wearing birthday hats
Freya’s eyes squeezed shut in shame and Chloe looking so, so, so sad.  But don’t worry, no furry animals were harmed in the making of this picture (although in addition to my fat lip, I also ended up with a bloody scratch on my hand when I intercepted as Freya was swatting off her headwear).  So in the end, I don’t think this counts as a victory.  While I did get a picture of both of them in their hats, I’m not sure if it falls in the ‘cute’ category, more like the ‘please make it stop’ category.
 
But I did manage to get one of each of them individually looking sorta cute (or at least looking like a whip wasn’t hovering over them out of camera range).
Freya waits for her birthday cake
Chloe got tired of waiting for her birthday cake
 
 
And through the entire hat kerfuffle, sweet Lily stood by watching with her hat perched on her head, never once trying to take it off.  And that’s why she got an extra bone with her slice of ‘birthday cake’ when it wasn’t even her birthday!
Lily's a patient dog
 
After it was all over, I apologized to Freya and Chloe for yelling at them on their birthday, and they forgave me with plenty of slobbery kisses.  Although I have to say, neither one of them apologized for maiming me.  But I think it was a small price to pay, since they really are adorable in their birthday hats.  Happy Birthday Freya, Chloe, and Molly! 
 
Do you do anything special for your pet’s birthday?  Or do you think the Rish clan needs to be carted off to the loony bin?  And what about Chloe – was the hat incident an accident or was she trying to murder me via party hat in retaliation for her humiliation?
 

Dogs Wearing Hats

Whoo hoo, I’ve now finished my first round of the writers' campaign blog trail - I’ve visited/commented/followed/friended/circled/linked everyone in my horror, suspense/thriller, and YA groups.  I’ve seen so many funny/insightful/informative/enjoyable blogs the last few days and met some really great people.  It’s been fun, but it has turned my brain into a whirling, seething mass of goo.  And now I really need to post something new to entertain my new visitors, but of course I’m drawing a blank.  It’s probably stage fright knowing all these new friends are watching.

While reading though all the lovely comments, I saw several people were supportive of my weakness for putting party hats on dogs.  Either that or they were just being kind to avoid chasing the weird girl back into her corner.  So I decided to do what any proud parent does when someone shows the slightest interest in their ‘children’… pull out pictures!

For the record, all five of these dogs are not mine.  Freya is my girl, Lily and Chloe belong to my parents, Bailey is my brother’s handful, and Molly owns my sister.  So the hat obsession is not a Jocelyn thing, but a Rish thing.  Enjoy!

Lily looks so sweet in her party hat that Freya and Chloe are giving her kisses.  It has nothing at all to do with the fact that Lily is a messy eater and the other two are keeping her clean.

Freya and Chloe giving Lily birthday kisses

 

Bailey does not like to share.

Step away from the birthday cake and no one gets hurt!

 

Chloe has always been a rebel, so she wears her hat with style.

Chloe always does her own thing

 

I can read doggie minds.  Molly is clearly thinking about how much fun she’s having.  The phrase “I keel you!” never once passed through her brain.

I keel you!

 

The reward for all this adorable humiliation?  Delicious cakes made from canned dog food and doggie treats.

See what we'll put up with for some extra delicious food

 

And it’s not just birthdays….

 Santa's little helpers    Here comes Peter Cotton Tail...

 

But I promise, putting hats on the dogs is as far as we go . . . or is it?!?

Do you dress up your pets in any way?  Do they like it or do they give you sad face?  Or did you quit reading halfway through to run find the number of the Humane Society to report the crazy hat lady?