Monday was Luna Mae’s 5th birthday. For those of you who don’t know, Luna Mae is not a hippie southern bell we keep locked in our storage closet, she is our dog. Our much lamented dog. What’s that? You want to hear the story of Luna Mae? Sure, I’d love to relive the hell of owning a part beagle, part terrier, all idiot K-9. (PS- This gets really long so I have included mucho pictures so you can pretty much skip the words and… Look! Cute puppy face!!!!)
Once upon a time there was a woman who didn’t know when to stop. She got one cat, then another cat, then ohmygod what’s-with-all-the-cats third cat. Then this woman got herself married but only because she was trying to to break down the Crazy Cat Lady stereotype that runs rampant in 21st century America. We can have husbands too, dammit. Shortly after we got married (and by shortly I mean the weekend after we got back from our honeymoon) we acquired Luna Mae. We went to the breeders (I know, I know but I was young and foolish and at this point still vaguely republican so don’t crucify me, OK- we were poor and we got a deal. We got the cats from shelters and I’d tell you we’d get our next dog there too, but HAHAHAHA. There will be no more dogs) anyway, I tell you, people, I wanted the the one with brown spots, the one with a penis, but noooo, Bill wanted the one with black spots because oh look she is so cute. Always know that cute things are cute for a reason and that reason is their allegiance to Satan. (Point of reference: See all entries tagged Rowan and/or Keaton.)
Why a dog? I am an animal lover so I never went all Cat’s Rule and Dog’s Drool, but lets just say my feet were firmly planted in the cat court. It wasn’t until after I had children that I realized why all of a sudden I needed a dog at that point. It was misplaced, undiagnosed baby lust that my poor wee little brain didn’t process correctly. Cats do not satisfy that need in humans because they are so independent and supercilious. Example: You can feed me, but maybe I’ll just go ahead and knock your water glass off the table anyway whilst I am making eye contact with you, simply because I sort of feel like it. Or maybe I’ll skip the whole thing and lick my butt for awhile. Only time will tell. There is no way to nurture something that thinks like that. Love them, sure. But just try nurturing a cat and they will thank you by peeing on your pillow. A dog though, a dog will allow you to take care of it, teach it, train it, love it, and they will love you back.
So we brought home an 11 week old puppy Bill named Baroness Chompers von Gunterhausen III* and within the week she promptly developed kennel cough. Fawkesy had it too, so we weren’t completely new to this offensive phenomenon, but nevertheless, animals who are sick are not fun. Here is why: THEY DON’T HAVE HANDS. Perhaps not a newsflash, I know, but this simple fact was made painfully clear when she sneezed giant gobs of boogers all over the floor, and walls, and oh god the couch and for the love of christ our brand new fancy pink sheets IS NOTHING SACRED TO YOU, DOG?! She could not cover her nose or mouth and her trajectory was something akin to a medieval catapult. Dog snot everywhere. In most instances kennel cough clears up within a matter of a few weeks, tops, but in Luna’s (*you didn’t really think I would actually let Bill’s name fly did you? Point of Reference: All entries tagged Bill) case she had it for 6 weeks.
Now, Bill and I had the foresight to know that we didn’t have the patience to start training her and all her octopus puppy limbs on our own, so we had arranged to go to the local dog training center. When we told them about the kennel cough they said she couldn’t come in until it had totally cleared. The next puppy class wasn’t being offered again until late fall so we would have to wait. Meanwhile the Octopus Puppy Limbs kept getting longer and more frighteningly unmanageable, though it was pretty amusing to watch her slide around on the hardwood floors.
After the snot fest cleared up we thought we better get her socialized with other pups and since we lived in the city we found a dog park where she could blissfully play off her leash. It was here that we found Luna had an unbelievable aptitude for playing ball and it was here we noticed she was a little leery (read:YAPYAPBARKBARKYAPBARKYAP) of other dogs, but she did OK. We had gone to this particular dog park, which was in a shitty ass neighborhood, 4-5 times when The Badness happened. Bill, Luna and I had come down from the trail that opened into the common area when she ran out ahead of us. All at once, no less than 7-10 dogs surrounded her, cornering her while barking and snarling. She did nothing to provoke them, it was like it was gang up on the new dog day and I tell you this fucked her up for good. None of the owners called their dogs off, and I was scared to go into the circle of snarling cujos but when two if them lunged at her I politely inquired screamed out WHOSE DOGS ARE THESE and went in and scooped Luna up. She was shaking and whining and God I felt so bad for her.
So we stuck to leash walks and throwing the ball for her in the tiny city park. Mid-October began her first foray into training classes so we thought things would improve. This is when we realized how badly The Badness had affected her. Instead of joining in on the bouncing up and down, leash tangling and butt sniffing the others pups were enjoying, she barked non-stop at the other dogs with her tail between her legs. When another dog tried to get close to her she would lunge and nip, trying to protect herself. We felt so bad for her but we were also embarrassed. It looked like she had been abused and though we explained she had been attacked by a group of ruffians, I still felt people were thinking we were responsible for the way she acted. We talked to the trainer about it but she said she would need to work with her one-on-one and at this point we were barely covering her food and vet bills. Individual training was hundreds of dollars that we just couldn’t swing.
Then this happened:
November 1st, 2004 I came home to the excitable yaps and inevitable puddle of pee Luna graced me with each afternoon. She spent her days gated in our large, open kitchen, which was chock full of chew toys and fluffy pillows for her to rest on. As I laid my coat and purse on my bed I heard the absolute most horrendous noise I have ever been subjected to in my life. Tears sprung to my eyes as I ran to the kitchen because surely whatever made that noise was not going to survive. In her excitement for me to let her out Luna had jumped up and caught her front leg in the gate and it promptly dislocated itself on the way down. Oh my god she wouldn’t stop screaming for 5 minutes and I thought she was dying. The only thing I could think of was to call 911 because holy fuck this was an emergency but instead I called Bill and through tears tried to explain what happened. He called the vet and I brought her in. I will not say anything else about that experience except Grand Avenue Veterinarian’s were the most incompetent, unethical assholes I have ever met. Her arm was dislocated and she was nearly passed out from the pain and the vet told me she wasn’t really sure how to do this procedure and the other vet was off for the week so could we just bring her in next Monday? WTF? Because of this Luna ended up needing surgery which cost us somewhere around 2,000 dollars and that was with the I’m Sorry We Fucked Your Dog Up Even More discount they gave us.
So, needless to say, puppy class was out the window again. The trainer told us she’d let us re-start her in January and we spent the next few weeks carrying a 20 pound dog up and down a rather large set of stairs every time she had to pee. Super fun. You’d think the cast would have deterred her from finding and chewing up no less than 8 pairs of shoes but you’d be wrong. Luna is nothing if not persistent in her quest to make me want to strangle her til her eyeballs pop out of her head.
December 23, 2004 marked the start of week two of what I assumed to be the worlds worst hangover but oh wait…wasn’t I supposed to get my period a week ago? Yes? Perhaps this hangover is interfering with my female reproductive thingys making my menstruation delayed? Or perhaps you are pregnant you idiot. Ahh yes, it was the second one. The hardcore puking started on the 26th and lasted 8 months until Rowan made her way into the world. The awfulness that was this pregnancy put an end to ANY hope of Luna ever being trained. Some days were so bad I couldn’t make it outside for potty breaks so I would just give her a giant chew bone to keep her busy and let her do her business on the hardwood floors.
Ever since then Luna has taken a backseat. Though she’s a mix, her personality is ALL terrier, which makes her barky and highly excitable. If you are in the next county and you slam your car door too hard she will bark, if you are down the street and you sneeze, she will bark. It’s loud and piercing and my heart jumps up to my throat every time and it scares the shit out of me.We love her but parenthood wound our devotion down a totally different route. Who cares about taking a dog for a walk when you can sit around and watch the baby attempt to shove her fist in her mouth? Luna has been really very good with both kids- she lets them “pet” her and when they pull her ears or tail she only gives me the Why Did You Afflict These Two On Me look and I say Remember all those cute shoes I used to have? Remember the snot covered walls? THAT IS WHY, DOG.
After a recent run-in (in the most literal sense) Luna had with a motorcycle (of which I will get around to writing about but, you know, not til the INSURANCE CLAIM has gone through) I have decided we need to do something. Though Bill suggested many fine recipes we could cook her in, I was more thinking it was time to pick up where we left off 4.5 years ago. That is, with the good intentions of training an animal who admittedly is fairly stupid, but also is highly trainable due to the fact that we can tell she wants us to love her. She wants us to pay attention to her and give her treats. Since we’ve lived in the suburbs she’s had more than any dogs share of fetch, and we let her run free on our trail walk we go on nearly every day in the warmer months. She has been given love and attention by all of us, and she knows the commands for Lay Down and…um..lay down (and if you tell her to sit she lays down, so see, she kind of gets that she is supposed to be doing something, maybe.) But. I know she needs more direction.
So I will be taking the reigns on trying to get this animal to obey us at least some of the time. I think she will be happier and I KNOW we will. I will try and post our progress and if ANYONE has any hound training tips (or directions to a farm where she can roam free on the country side and be fed beef brisket every night by loving owners) do not hesitate to e-mail me because right now I am pretty much just giving her treats anytime she doesn’t piss me off and I’m not sure how effective that’s gonna be.
To PETA: Let me reiterate that this dog eats better than most of the worlds royalty and she is neither neglected nor treated cruelly except on the rare occasions Rowan uses her as her dress up mannequin and a little sparkly lip gloss never hurt anyone.