Hurray For Stump!


The Westminster Dog Show is my family’s American Idol.  Each of us has our favorite breed, and year after year, we cheer for that year’s Best in Breed winner for that breed.

As an aside, I think we are drawn to dogs who are LIKE us.  Does it surprise anyone who knows Susie, for instance, that she likes chihuahuas? 🙂

Anyone who has read this blog a while knows that my favorite is a rare breed in the US: the Sussex Spaniel.  Short and stumpy like a dacshund, but with a fat, loveable head (out of proportion to its short stature)m and floppy ears, quite hairy, with those expressive, almost-sad seeming eyes,belying a happy-go-licky disposition.  Yep, that’s me.

This year’s entry was even more compelling than normal: an old man (10-years old!) named Stump, who had almost died a few years ago, and came out of retirement for this competition only.

Imagine my suprise that Stump won the whole darned thing.

You could tell from the Sporting Group competition that Stump was a crowd favorite.  When he won Best In Show, the place went crazy.

I woke up this morning a little lighter in my step.  It’s ALMOST as fulfilling for me as when Vandy won the Music City Bowl, but not quite, because I’ve been a Vanderbilt fan even longer. 

Yes, it’s a little insane, living vicariously through a dog, much less one whose breed I could never afford.  But in these times, I’ll take whatever joy I can get, whereever I can find it.

We are all Stump now!

Just Peachy

I’m pretty much a zombie today. At about 2:45 am this morning, our dogs went insane. They started barking a bark of immediacy, so I had to get up to make sure everything was all right.  Was it an intruder?  A fire (God forbid).  Something wrong with one of the children?

I looked the house over from end to end, and found nothing out of the ordinary.  but my dogs would not stop barking.  Then I noticed that our oldest dog, Missy, was “speaking” with a bark that was rather strange:  mixed into about every third yelp was a snort.  Even in my Ambien-induced stupor, I could tell that her heightened sense of smell was setting off an alarm in her.

So I stopped using my eyes, and started using my nose.  And sure enough, it was unmistakable: Pepe Le Pew had left a calling card in our front yard.

It’s a good thing I didn’t let the dogs out during all of this.

The dogs were inconsolable; we couldn’t stop the barking.  We don’t have a huge house, but the rooms are quite big, and have hardwood floors.  Every noise echoes, and it is impossible to ignore barks. 

So this went on for about 30 minutes.  It’s a good thing our neighbors didn’t call the police on us.

So, now we have not only coyotes and a fox to worry about (along with a groundhog we don’t worry about – he’s too fat to hurt anything), we have a skunk setting up residence in our neighborhood.  Great.

Our dogs do not do leashes well (neither do we), and invisible fences might keep our dogs in our yard, but they don’t keep critters out.  Looks like we’re going to have to put up an unsightly chain-link fence this spring, if not sooner.

Living in West Meade is wonderful, but sometimes being surrounded by little mini-forests, and the critters that live in them, is a little rough.

Was It Named ‘Roland’s Thompson Gun’?

Patty Hearst heard the burst.

OK, I can’t help myself. Patty Hearst, yes, that Patty Hearst, owns a French bulldog named Diva, and she is showing it at the Westminster Dog Show. She won a red ribbon as Best of Opposite Sex — a male dog won the breed, and hers was judged the top female.

For you youngins, a little history:

The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst gained her greatest notoriety in 1974 when, as a 19-year-old, she was kidnapped in 1974 by the radical group the Symbionese Liberation Army. She later was photographed holding a gun while robbing a California bank, and eventually spent almost two years in prison.

Her sentence was commuted by President Carter, and President Clinton later gave her a full pardon.

For the record, she is not named “Roland’s Thompson Gun”, but “Shann’s Legally Blonde”. Pity, that.

Speaking of pity, this was supposed to be the year I took Lintilla to New York for Westminster (we’ve wanted to go since we met), but circumstances prevented it. Maybe next year.

Anybody else watching it? If you haven’t and watch tonight, I’ll give you a warning: the Pedigree commercials are tear-jerkers.

Meet B

After much discussion, I ended up skipping the committee meeting, and went with the kids to Petco for Saturday volunteer day.  That was quite an experience in an of itself, but that’s not really what I came to talk to you about. 

You see, last week, we fostered a dog for the rescue (they rely on volunteers providing foster care for many of the dogs during the week).  I had my doubts – this was a dachshund, and we’ve had some really bad experiences with that breed before.  But, it was only going to be a week, so what the heck.

Y’all – this is the most well behaved, good tempered “little” dog I’ve ever seen.  We fell in love with him.  He got along perfectly with our other dogs.  So, we decided last night we’d add him to our family permanently.


This is B.  I’m sure the B stood for something, but whatever it was is lost to time.  He answers to B, so that’s his name.  Trillian has been obsessing for a dachshund for months – she’s studied and bought books and generally pestered us every day.  So B is officially Trillian’s dog – but we all know how that goes.  What he IS, for sure though, is a member of the family. That’s two kids, three dogs, and two insane adults, for those of you keeping score.




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At Least It Wasn’t Me This Time

Just when I’m ready to write off Trillian as a ruthless juvenile delinquent, she does this:

Missy Princess

Trillian is actually sick with strep throat right now – I’d hate to see what she’d do at full strength.

The look on Missy’s face is priceless, though.

It’s Never Easy

Y’all give your prayers and good thoughts for my friend and frequent STM commentor Warrior, and his wife.  They lost their longtime companion, their dog Bo.  He had been sick for some time, and lately seizures were coming more frequently.  He was suffering horribly, so they had to have him put down.

Yes, Bo was an old dog (15 years); yes, he had been very ill.  But losing such an intregal part of your family as Bo was to Warrior’s is always rough.  I know that they both loved their friend and companion deeply.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Simple Joy

There’s a lot of stress, and dare I say it, pain in my life right now.  Some of you might think I’m ignoring you – and to be honest, I am.  But don’t take it personally, I’m just trying to de-stress.  If you have the luxury of entertaining yourself with “stimulating discussion of important issues”, more power to you.  I hope to join you in the lounge one day.

But my heart is troubled, and it doesn’t need any more strain.

This is where yesterday was so sweet.

Over the weekend (yes Easter weekend), I introduced my children to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Did you know it’s rated PG?  Anyway, it was an instant hit.  I think they’ve seen it 4 times since Friday.

You also need to know that one treat we give the children every now and then we get them a coconut from the Kroger produce section;  they eat the “white”, and, believe it or not, they like to drink the juice.

You probably know where I’m going with this.

Yesterday was a tough day.  The news just keeps getting worse and worse at work, and in the morning, I had an actual fight with Lintilla, over Otis.  She’s quite unhappy with his biting everything, and she’s not sleeping because he has to go outside quite a few times during the night.  Anyway, the kids must have sensed that we’ve been walking around with the weight of the world on our shoulders, and they’ve already figured out how to make everything better. Silliness.

Several times yesterday, Zaphod followed me around, banging two halves of a coconut together.  With practice, he even got the part where the “horse” slows to a stop.  We have video. 

It was silly.  It was sweet.  It brought my troubled heart a simple joy it so desperately needed.

I’m going to start spending 4 hours a night, catching up on my certifications.  From now till June, I have three jobs:  My day job, the band, and studying.  I’m going to be a real bitch for a while.

But at the same time, I’m working with my children on creating our own home version of “Deal or No Deal”.  My daughter (math genius) is working on a formula for the banker’s offer; she thinks it might be “average + 10 percent”.  We’re testing that by watching the show and observing the offers.

 UPDATE: Well, lookie, here.  Somebody’s already done the work for us.

It’s just another simple joy.  I think God may have sent them to me for moments such as this.