Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Leos in the News

My friend Stan sent me this story over the summer: it’s about a pit bull named Leo who was rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring and rehabilitated to serve as a therapy dog to cancer patients.

Though I’ve always been a bit intimidated by pit bulls and swore that I would never have one, reading about this Leo made me reexamine my attitudes. Here’s a pit bull that was trained to be a fighter and yet he’s now a silly love bug in a clown collar making friends wherever he goes.

Chows have a bad reputation, too, yet my Leo is a sweetie pie—once you’ve earned his trust and gotten acquainted with his personal quirks, that is. So maybe I can’t write off all pit bulls, either.

And speaking of Michael Vick, my dear mother-in-law sent my Leo a Michael Vick chew toy. Gotta love her sense of humor! Fortunately for this chew toy, Leo isn’t much of a chewer (unless it’s edible, or something that belongs to a baby).

On the other end of the doggie spectrum is this Leo, a tiny terrier mix no bigger than a cat, who stood guard over a litter of kittens during a house fire in Australia. This little guy had to be revived with oxygen and a heart massage after guarding the kittens in thick smoke. He’s now back at home and hailed as a hero. Awwwww….

Little lap dogs usually annoy me—they all seem to suffer from the Napoleon Syndrome and can be so yappy and nippy. But I’d make an exception for this little Leo any day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scary Movie Time

There’s nothing I like better than to turn off the lights and curl up on the couch with snacks at hand to watch a movie. Halloween is no exception, only the movies have to be scary.

I recently wrote a feature on findingDulcinea recommending “Five Scary Movies for Halloween.” Writing about the movies made me think about them again and, in the case of “The Haunting,” inspired me to rent the movie for the first time.

Be assured: I think all of the movies in the article are scary. But by far the scariest movie on the list has to be “The Shining.”

I first saw “The Shining” when I was in college. My school, Bard College, had a Friday and a Sunday night tradition of showing films in what we called the old gym. It was an old gymnasium—the school’s original, I’m sure—with a stage and a screen and ratty old couches and easy chairs strewn about.

Bard was pretty lawless then, and we were allowed to bring in our own food and booze and smoke to our heart’s (lung’s?) content. I arrived to see “The Shining” feeling rather tipsy and armed with a paper grocery bag full of popcorn. How many batches did I pop up in my dorm room? A LOT.

Being young and foolish and wanting to seem mature and sophisticated, my drink of choice back then was gin and tonic. I had mixed myself a generous portion and then transferred the supersized cocktail into the half liter bottle that the tonic came in, thinking it would not only last the duration of the movie, but make for easy slugging straight from the bottle.

I was right.

Alas, much of the movie was a blur. But I do remember laughing out loud, trying to focus my blurred vision, and stumbling out of the movie drunkenly declaring, “That wasn’t scary!” Seems booze and scary movies don’t mix.

Years later, I decided to give “The Shining” another chance. I rented it and watched it at home—alone. It scared the bejeezus out of me! I was a puddle quivering under a blanket on the couch. I had to pause the movie several times in order to get a grip on myself.

Just writing about the movie for the findingDulcinea article creeped me right out. Sitting at my computer in my office, all alone in the house, remembering scenes from the movie…it made me uneasy.

So I had to rent the movie yet again. It arrived from Netflix today. I can’t wait to watch it tonight, with my husband—without gin and tonic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Dog Eat Dog Waste World

Aren’t my titles just awful?

Awhile back, findingDulcinea did a story on the strange and wondrous things that dogs eat, entitled, “Vet Removes 13 Golf Balls from Dog’s Stomach.”

Of course the story caught my attention. Leo doesn’t eat golf balls, nor does he make a habit of eating non-food items (a practice that I learned from this article is called “pica.”)

Well, if you consider road kill and the feces of other animals to be “non-food items” (I do) then he does engage in the practice of pica. But there’s another term—a far uglier word—to more accurately describe what Leo engages in: coprophagy. Coprophagy, as I learned in the findingDulcinea article, describes the practice of a dog eating his own or another dog’s waste. I wonder if this applies to the practice of eating cat waste? Because cat waste is Leo’s all-time favorite.

I vowed to make him wear a muzzle after the fiasco this summer when he punctured the inside of his mouth with a bone from something dead that he ate. But the first muzzle seemed to big; with a little effort, he was able to get stuff in his mouth. So I exchanged that muzzle for a smaller size. The smaller one made it impossible for him to open his mouth at all, and made him wheeze as though it were suffocating him. Harrumpf.

So I haven’t been making him wear the muzzle—which made him look scary in a Hannibal Lecter sort of way. Wait a minute! This could be his Halloween costume this year, though it would be hard to compete with the little guy in this photo, eh?

Last year, Leo was Elvis for Halloween. I bought the costume online and was sorely disappointed when it arrived: the spangled leggings were far too long for his stubby legs, and the sparkled cape was cheaply made from some horrible material. All in all, he looked like a shabby Elvis impersonator.

Any suggestions for Leo's costume this year are heartily welcomed. Send 'em my way!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Losing Whiskers

Oh dear. Cha Cha Chow hasn’t been updated in over a month. As one of my old managers (a stern English woman) used to say in reference to something that was sadly in need of update, Cha Cha Chow “has grown whiskers.”

What can I say? Leo hasn’t been involved in any major calamities recently. The fur that was shaved off the side of his face has started to fill in, giving him some five o’clock shadow. He did have a bout of the itchies at the beginning of September, resulting in a few areas that were shaved clean, including the base of his tail. As a result, he looks rather mangy right now; random bald spots are not his best look.

And as for growing whiskers, Leo’s Salvador Dali whisker is gone! This isn’t the first time it’s made a mysterious disappearance. It seems to fall out after a month or so, only to grow back in. Grow in, fall out, repeat. If I had the time, I could write an entire entry on “The Mystery of the Salvador Dali Whisker.” But I don’t, and I won’t.

Instead, I’ll plug a few findingDulcinea stories that I really liked today. First there was “When Couples Split, Who Gets the Pets?” further proof that our pets have become, for better or worse, our children (in the absence of real children, that is).

Site Spotlight turned me on to DailyLit, a great place to get inspired to do a little reading of the literary kind.

And who knew that Buster Keaton had such beautiful eyes? With all that falling off stage and straddling moving trains and general slapsticking that he did, I never noticed his eyes before. Nice peepers, Buster.