Tag Archives: Dalmatians

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

28 Aug





Even when she was acting like Super Dog and getting jumped on, she remained focused. Say cheese …



My Marley And Me Moment

26 Nov

I couldn’t take her to the movies, but she enjoyed watching LOST, 24, and the National Geographic Channel. However she wasn’t a fan of Law & Order … any of them. I think it was the DOINK-DOINK sound. I couldn’t take her out for dinner, but we often had picnics in the park and she was a great lounger. She didn’t really say much during conversation, but she was an awesome listener. Her arms weren’t long enough to hug me during troubled times, but she’d sit next to me on the couch, sniff my pants, wag her tail, and nuzzle her head under my hand. She was a good therapist.


Pinta hanging out ... smiling after playing fetch.

Pinta hanging out … smiling after playing fetch.


Being a Dalmatian, she got a bad rap for belonging to a breed that is considered to be hyper, and extremely needy with temperament flaws.


So not true. She was an exception to the rule. She was my exception. “She was a unique constellation of attributes,” who loved chasing squirrels, back massages, playing fetch with her FAT CAT Inc. dog toys, going for walks, pretending she was a horse for my son, being a pillow for my daughter, and hanging out in the kitchen as I cooked dinner. Wishing, and hoping, and praying that something savory and tasty would hit the linoleum floor.

Seventy-three years old. She passed away at seventy-three. That’s a lot of lint brushes. To think I don’t have to buy another one makes me kind of  sad. I used to get irritated that every time I hugged her or pet her, I’d be covered in black and white dog hair. I must have spent thousands of dollars on lint brushes. But now … no more lint brushes needed. No more Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food. No more Greenies. No more Snausages. No more chasing Penn Tennis Balls. And No more plastic trash bags filled with stinky poop.



A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?

— – John Grogan, Marley & Me

To answer Grogan’s question … not many. Other than my children and my Dad … not many. But Pinta made the list. She thought I was amazing, even in Costco sweatpants. And she loved me unconditionally. It didn’t matter if I was a short, struggling writer who was prone to bouts of crankiness when woken up from a profound sleep at six in the morning. She loved me anyway. She was a great dog. She was loyal. She was a member of my family. She was Guat. She will be extremely missed.

Cause of death? Complications due to a herniated disc that put pressure on the spinal cord which resulted in pain in her hips, lameness, and loss of function in her hind legs. Apparently the degeneration happened because of age. We could have put her through more tests, examinations and surgery, but considering her age … the most humane course of action was saying good-bye.

I held it together as long as possible, but watching her go was very emotional.  Next to losing my dad and uncle it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced.

After leaving the vet, my son said he wanted to visit my dad in the cemetery. He said he had something very important to tell him. Considering what had just happened, I thought it would be the best place to let everything out.

He sat next to my dad’s tree and said:

“Papa … I have something very important to tell you. Very important. P doesn’t feel good. [He calls her P] She went to the doctor to get more medicine. Her legs don’t work. She’s a little old. She needs medicine. But she’s going to go to heaven with her medicine. You need to take care of her. She likes Snausages.”

Dude. I so needed another minute after that little speech.

After a while we drove back home and as I entered the house the first thing I noticed was her empty dog bed.

It was a tough day.

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.”

— John Grogan, Marley & Me

I Bought an Extra Bag of Greenies and Some Snausages

23 Nov

You got osteoporosis, hearing problems, cognitive impairment, hypertension, and aches and pains in about every joint in your body.


Being a senior citizen is tough. My dog. She’s a member of the club.

I’ve known her since she was two, she’s currently 14 going on 15 and apparently the life expectancy for Dalmatians happens to be around 16.


My dog Pinta … hanging out at the fire house


She’s walking The Green Mile.

It saddens me to see that her clock is slowly winding down. Earlier in the week she was having problems walking. Her hind legs weren’t really doing their job — they weren’t being very supportive so I found myself picking her up and helping her get outside. But she only needed a little lift and then she’d get the hang of it again. One foot, and then another and another. However yesterday … yesterday was quite different.

The Thanksgiving feast was well under way and the aroma filled the house. This aroma would usually get her up and trotting towards the table, hoping that someone would drop a piece of turkey. However she didn’t get up and in fact when she tried, her hind legs wobbled and she fell.

My dude gave me the look. The Dr. Kevorkian look and I strongly suggested going to the doctor and getting a professional opinion before he made plans to pull the plug on her. He initiated the “I-know-what-I’m-doing” conversation. The one that included his speech about having owned dogs before and how he just knew what would come next.

This began the heated conversation about veterinarians. I felt we should go to the office and have her assessed by one … you know to see if there was anything I could do to help improve my dog’s situation. He felt differently. He felt there was no need for doctors, you know seeing how he knew everything there was to know about dogs. He felt the need to tell me this repeatedly. However I still insisted we visit the doctor.

Unfortunately everyone was closed on Thanksgiving. They were closed the entire weekend, so we had to take her to urgent dog care. This is where our heated conversation continued. For a minute I thought she wasn’t going to come back with us, and I got extremely depressed about the whole situation. I started imagining the worst-case scenario and started thinking about the past and all the things we’ve been through. She was part of my family. I had plenty of time to think. We were there for three hours. Three, and they weren’t even that busy.  We’re going to see our regular vet on Monday and run some tests.

I guess it’s probably old age, but it could be something else. The hopeful possibility occurred to me, but it failed to enter the imagination of my dude. And that just burned me out. I was stressed out and so worried about the dog and there he was with his Dr. Kevorkian mentality and sassy attitude, which of course didn’t help. Now I know that we don’t want our dog to suffer, and we don’t want her in pain, but I would like all the facts before making that tough decision that all pet owners have to make.  I mean people say “putting them to sleep,” because I imagine it sounds less drastic. But it still sucks. It’s still death.

I’m hoping for some good news on Monday, but I’m preparing for the worst. I bought an extra bag of Greenies and a large bag of Snausages.

She’s living it up this weekend.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

12 Jun




Friendship is squashing me when trying to get your baseball and me just smiling.

Friendship is taking long walks and letting me chase squirrels.

Friendship is me eating your broccoli when your mom is not watching.

Friendship is you hugging me even though I smell.

Friendship is you not using a lint brush after hanging out with me.

Friendship is not caring that you wake me up from my 20-hour nap to play.

Friendship is loving you even though you told your parents that I tried to eat my own poop.





The Cat Burglar’s Demise

15 Feb

I thought of myself as a great dog owner. Walked the dog three times a day, fed her food infused with glucosamine, gave her baths, bought her Greenies for a fresh breath, and bought her toys. Toys for crying out loud. I barely had toys growing up. I had to play with sticks and rocks, and here I was buying my dog a toy. But I did it for good reason. I figured I would rather have her chew on her toy instead of my couch or shoes. But when the toy fell apart on the first day…what was I to do?

Fat Cat Inc. -- The Cat Burglar

Fat Cat Inc. — The Cat Burglar

Just throw it in the trash?


Times were tough back then…they still are. So I wrote one of my letters in hopes for a coupon or something. But these Fat Cat Inc. Toy People stepped it up a notch….

Dear Fat Cat Inc,

Honestly, I was cracking up in aisle four of PetCo when I saw the Cat Burglar. It reminded of a cartoon character you would have seen on Looney Tunes or something. So I just had to have it!  I knew my dog would love it. She’s funny, like me.

Pinta, my wonderful, clumsy, zany, and beautiful Dalmatian enjoyed it so much on the first day (literally the first couple of hours) that his limbs had been severed and were later found under her doggie bed. A CSI investigation found his right leg a few feet away, next to the KONG rubber toy.

Triple stitching??? Your description says triple stitching and heavy-duty canvas. Are you sure about that? Because the Cat Burglar’s “maximum flop ability” was tested, and he failed miserably. We tried to fix him STAT! But alas, Pinta’s enthusiasm for the Cat Burglar was better than my novice sewing skills. I mean really, who sews now a days? Don’t you just ask mom or grandma? Or take it to the dry cleaners?

Anyhow she squeaked the life out of it and enjoyed doing so. It was just too bad that she didn’t get pleasure from it long enough. She didn’t have toys before we got her and maybe that’s why she was so excited to get one, which resulted in the Cat Burglar’s demise. You know she was like that kid in your building…the one that never gets any toys and then he finds an old discarded Happy Meal with the toy still in it and he’s on top of the world. That was Pinta.

She’d been rescued from the pound. But we’ve known her since she was a puppy. Confused? Let me explain.

You see, my husband’s had her since birth and since he lived with his parents prior to our nuptials Pinta was staying over there. But  once we tied the knot, he moved out, leaving her behind. We wanted to get settled and thought it would only take about two weeks to get everything organized before we could bring her to live with us.

My church going in-laws had a different opinion. Apparently they felt the need to drop Pinta off at the pound without informing us. They felt that their house, which had a front and back yard was not big enough for her. Apparently they felt the need to get chickens. Chickens in the inner city…Well because of these inner-city chickens, our dog had been imprisoned like a felon and I had to drive down to the other side of town to bail her out. I felt horrified and mortified.

I drove down there and found her in a cell about the same size as our coffee table, sharing her space with a smelly, filthy, white fuzzy dog. I told the officer dog guy that’s her. That’s my dog.

The embarrassing part was that I could not tell the Dog Pound People that she was originally my dog. Apparently if we adopted her it would only cost eighty something dollars, but if we said we were the owners and wanted her back, we would have to shell out one-hundred and thirty-six bucks. Punishment I guess for abandonment. But since I was innocent I felt the need to pay the lesser fine.

So there I was trying my best to pretend I didn’t know Pinta, meanwhile there she was smiling and wagging her tail. The sheriff or Dog police was pretty amusing. He said he had never seen this dog take to anybody the way she did with me, but that I had to be careful because they didn’t have any background information on her. She was just dropped off. Owner Surrender is what her file said.

What’s worse was that I was considered a “hero” for adopting a dog. They take pictures of these heroes. I tried to evade the Kodak moment he was so insistent upon, but the dog police guy caught me when I returned for my change. So now my Polaroid is pinned up with about forty others. The heading on the billboard reads: “We Thank Our Proud New Owners … Heroes”.

Pinta’s a great dog that’s been through so much, it surprises me that she doesn’t need Zoloft, but with toys like these she probably won’t need it. The only bad part is that they are a bit pricey and we can’t always afford to get her one, but it seems that out of all of her toys the Cat Burglar was her favorite. She still carries his beat-up ragged body (now just a piece of tattered cloth) out to play. I can assure you that she truly enjoyed the toy, but we were saddened at its 24-hour existence. If only Jack Bauer were here … but since he’s not we’ll have to save our pennies and see what we can come up with in the future. That is unless you can help us with a Fat Cat Inc replacement toy or coupon to ease Pinta’s withdrawals. She’s in need of another Fat Cat Inc. fix.


About a month later we received something similar to The Incredible Strapping Yankers Dog Toy.

Fat Cat Inc. Toys

It was just as awesome. Not as funny as the Cat Burglar, but awesome just the same.

Pinta slept with it.