Sneak Peak Into My New Book: “Yes You Can’t, Mindy’s Musings Volume II”
Hello readers! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to blog or even write. So I’m happy to say… I’m baaaack!
And I’m back, and with a freebie! As many of you know, I am writing my second book, “Yes You Can’t, Mindy’s Musings Volume II.” I had a lot of fun writing the first one and got some great feedback, positive and negative, that is helping me make Volume II truly bad ass, even funnier and full of surprises.
Here’s a little excerpt from one of the chapters. I hope you enjoy Mindy’s Musings on Pets! As always, your feedback is most welcome. You can drop a comment in right here on my blog, fill out the contact form on this site or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Warning- if you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t read this. Oh, and for crying out loud, go get one!
Man, this chapter could be a book in itself. I have such an unhealthy relationship with my cat, Samson, and dog, Zoey, that Cesar Millan would need to come to our house to train me. Don’t get me wrong. I love my pets and they love me. But I have no boundaries or ability to say no to them. They are both rescues and it is my sincere belief that they are owed a life of love and luxury, which they have both lived for the last decade in my house.
My husband is grateful that we are on the same page when it comes to the kids. I’m great at step-momming. Boundaries, rules and balance make for a happy human family. Kevin, the most patient man on the planet, struggles to understand how I, a strong woman in business and character, is so weak, pathetic really, when it comes to Samson and Zoey.
Zoey and Samson wake me faithfully every morning at about 5am. They have no regard for weekends, whether the sun is up or not or if I am down with the flu. 5am, get up two legs.
The routine is the same. Pre-breakfast snack for Samson (he gets very jealous when Zoey and I leave for our walk, this is a good distraction.) Flashlight, jacket and leash and we’re off. Back at the house, it’s food for Zoey. More food for Samson so they can eat together. Lately, we’ve added in medicine because both are getting on in years and need pills for various ailments. After a year, Zoey now refuses to eat Pill Pockets so I wrap her pills in the organic, low sodium turkey I purchase each week and mark with a “Z” in the fridge. We wouldn’t want the kids touching the dog’s turkey, now would we?
Food is done and it’s now a whopping 5:30am. Coffee for me, they go back to sleep and I start my work day. By 10am I am ready for a nap that I cannot take, but my pets are happy and healthy so what’s a little sleep deprivation?
I have seven different kinds of dog food, three varieties of cat treats and enough toys to amuse all the animals below the Mason Dixon Line. When we travel, we have a live in babysitter and a three page write up with all of the details for their care.
We have an enormous fenced in back yard with lots of ivy, perfect for pooping, trees for shade, and a huge deck for sunning. It’s doggie paradise. Zoey refuses to go out there. Unless I go with her. And stay. Seriously, the second I turn around she swoops back in the door before I can even get a foot in.
Kevin says I caused this. Don’t tell him, but I think he’s right. While some animals are predisposed to anxiety and other neuroses, they model on their “person.” I am Zoey’s person and she is the canine mirror image of this anxiety ridden pleaser of all in need.
There you have it. In spite of all of this, I will proffer to you not only my opinions on this subject, but what I deem excellent advice on successful pet rearing. All supported with real-life1 examples of course.
- By “real-life” I mean actual events and fantasy real events that happen in my imaginary utopia pet rearing world.
Let’s start with the basics, which I will refer to as The Five Commandments.
Commandment # 1
The first rule in pet rearing is a reminder that pets are not toys or possessions. They are family members. (See, I told you I had at least some real, valuable perspective, albeit buried in a lot of anecdotal nonsense.) Pets are your kids. If you are going to adopt one, from a rescue or a breeder, it is a lifelong commitment. If you can’t handle that, don’t get a pet.
Electric fences suck. Period. Yes, they are convenient for you, but awful for your pet. Our neighborhood boasts about 90% electric fences, most of which are in front yards with the perimeter just two or three feet from the road.
Really? It’s the ultimate puppy punishment. I can see the road, but I can’t reach it. Just two feet to freedom, but last time I tried, ZAAAP. Shit that hurt! Why put me out here, two legs? Why? I see my friends walking their humans on a long rope and they both look so happy romping in the hood, seeing the sites and peeing on everything. All I can do is watch.
So I bark. And bark. And bark. But you never come out. I up my game by running all around the yard, just short of the two foot perimeter to avoid electrocution, barking and flaring my teeth frantically. My tail is wagging so people should know I would never hurt anyone, but they don’t.
You get the phone call from the neighbors saying your dog is unruly and you can’t understand why they are so uptight. Doesn’t everyone like to get charged when they walk by our yard? No, they don’t. And as for me, I just want some love. Get a leash and take me for a walk.
Many reading this are electric fence offenders. It might feel like I am judging you. I am, deal with it. To help you understand and for purposes of demonstration, take the following human example.
It’s noon. You’re hungry. You go to the kitchen for a snack. As you approach the refrigerator you dream of the giant turkey, bacon and Swiss sandwich you are about to make. Then BEEP. You are just arm’s length from the refrigerator door and that necklace you’re wearing sounds off. It’s a warning beep, just like the one on the collar your dog wears, which sounds just before he breaches the electric fence.
Starving, ravenous now really, you take another step. ZAAAAP! Shit that hurt! You jump back, away from the refrigerator which holds the treasure you were after. Hungry and frustrated, you shake your hands, yell an appropriate curse word and go to the pantry to get some peanut butter crackers. Not exactly turkey, bacon and Swiss. You return to your “yard” and watch as your wife opens the refrigerator, unzapped, and eats your sandwich.
That’s what it feels like for a dog trapped in his yard by an electric fence.
Cat Strollers Are Cool
I realize some readers will not embrace the notion of cats in strollers, and I appreciate your reluctance. But once you see how much Samson loves his stroller, and new found ability to be part of our “pack”, I’m sure you will change your mind.
It all started one day when Kevin and I were enthusiastically discussing (code for arguing) my role in training the dog. Truly, the dog didn’t need any training. When we rescued her she was docile, obedient, and sweet. I wish more people had her disposition- we wouldn’t have all this hate nonsense in the world.
Anyway, Kevin was taking cues from Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer I mentioned earlier. Cesar had fantastic advice for families with problem dogs. That was not us.
These discussions recurred every few days until I burst out laughing at Kevin when he accused me of undermining him with the dog. He actually said, “Thank G-d we are on the same page with the kids, because you are undermining me with Zoey and I don’t like it!”
Much to Kevin’s dismay, this only made me laugh more. I had no idea he was serious. Kevin doesn’t have a temper. He rarely gets angry or raises his voice. We don’t even know how to fight and are pretty terrible at it when we do.
So, imagine the shock we experienced that fateful day we had it OUT in the living room. Over what, you ask? Something huge, right? Money? Grounding our teenager? Being a closet smoker? Noooo.
Yes, our downfall was dog rearing. Dog rearing! Raising Zoey, our sweet, loving rescue dog, proved to be the demise of 10 years of marital bliss devoid of a single disrespectful encounter.
What does this have to do with the cat stroller, you ask? Everything.
As days and weeks went on Kevin incorporated more of Cesar’s tactics. Like making a hissing sound while lightly touching Zoey’s back. That one was to mimic how the dominant animal engages his/her inferiors. Okay, this is a good practice for dogs who are misbehaving. Only Zoey wasn’t misbehaving. She was being hissed at just because. She didn’t even respond to the hissing, just kept smiling at Kevin like she always does.
I had initially refused to watch Cesar’s show. I was uninterested and, after all, we were the proud parents of a very well behaved dog. We didn’t need Cesar. But after our doggie dispute, I decided it would be a good idea to support Kevin’s philosophy on the dog.
Cat strollers, that’s why.
The “clients” in the first episode we watched together, were a dog and cat who simply couldn’t live together. The family was at its wits end trying to remedy the cat’s bad behavior- swiping at the dog, shredding furniture and incessant meowing when Dad left the house to walk the dog.
Cesar, in stellar dog whisperer fashion, quickly determined that the cat was feeling neglected, not part of “the pack.” The answer was simple: take the cat on the walks with the dog. Let him know he is not being punished or omitted from family outings. Sounded logical to me but the vision of a cat on a leash was not so easy to muster. Cats don’t typically enjoy being confined (in cute sweaters, reindeer antlers at Christmas or on a leash.)
Following that episode I announced that Kevin was right all along. Cesar was the bomb! I immediately ran out to the local pet store to purchase a cat stroller for Samson. I now understood the loneliness and despair he surely feels every time we take Zoey for a walk without him. Kevin balked. I asked him nicely not to undermine me with the cat. He complied.
Samson does in fact love his stroller. We take frequent walks and sometimes he just likes to be parked in the garden to bask in the sun. Everyone wins. Oh, and while Samson basks in the sun, I bask in the small, but sweet, victory I secured from my husband. Who I love. A lot.
For more information on where you can find a stroller for your kitty, visit my website and fill out the information request form or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ re welcome.
Take Selfies with Your Pets
You will cherish these photos forever, so take them often and be sure to change up the background!
A word of caution, though. It’s a fine line between internet viral worthy cuteness and being a crazy cat lady. Trust me, I know. Samson has a pretty good following on Facebook for his SPOD: Samson Picture Of (the) Day. But I am very careful to intermingle photos of humans and boast my other hobbies to stave off any cat lady accusations.
Seriously, they want to do this but need your help.
Gloat, Boast, Kvell about your pets. (But not about your kids.)
Everyone knows some of those people. You know those annoying parents who say, “Johnny made honor role again this semester. We are just so proud.”
Or those people who drive around with those stick figure decals on their car. Newsflash… WE DON’T CARE how many kids you have, that you support their school’s foundation or that they play soccer, tennis, football AND are on the swim team. Jesus, it’s amazing you can see out of your back window at all.
I’ve made it simple for you. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be the ultimate yet unpretentious proud pet.
- Carry more pictures of your pets than of your children.
- The background photo on your mobile phone must be your cat or your dog. Alone in their adorableness. No humans. Ever.
- Have at least five nicknames for your pet. This is not to confuse them or cause an identity crisis. Your pets deserve an amazing nickname for each facet of their personality and whatever mood consumes them at a given moment. Friends will be jealous that they do not have the same catalog of awesome for their own pets. Mission accomplished.