A good report card.

The things we do for our animals. We’re going on vacation soon, for the first time since Wendy’s been part of the family. After four months in a shelter, I couldn’t bear the thought of her sitting in a kennel-type situation. So I investigated a group boarding facility, the main business of which is dog day care. Before they’d accept her, she had to have a dry run, a get-acquainted day to make sure she could follow the rules and so forth.

And yes, she passed:


You will not be surprised to learn they have webcams. (And that Alan checked it today. She was running around like a happy maniac.)

Well, I do want her to be well-cared for when we’re gone.

I’m not 100 percent comfortable with the elevation of pets to human status in middle-class culture, even as I acknowledge they are better companions than many members of our species. I can take a laughing reference to “fur babies,” but I think many of the people who throw around terms like that aren’t doing so lightly. There’s a new pet store in my neighborhood that should be called Thanks to the Chinese Juggernaut! because if it weren’t for the pet poisonings of a few years back, surely there wouldn’t be this vast market for organic, 100 percent natural pet food, would there? It’s frightfully expensive, and there’s nothing like spending $50 for a 20-pound bag to convince you every penny is worth it.

Wendy eats Eukanuba. It’s not cheap. ($38/20 lbs.) It used to be considered gourmet. The pet-store people smile indulgently when I lug it to the counter. You’ll come around, their eyes say. Your fur baby deserves it.

Pals, after the revelry of the weekend, I have finally been felled — a cold, nothing serious, but the last thing I want to do is stare at this laptop another damn minute. You guys play nice, and I’ll try to rally tomorrow, OK?

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

43 responses to “A good report card.”

  1. Dexter said on January 21, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Our dogs spent ten days at Rover Come Over in Monclova, Ohio last summer when we went to Florida. Same set-up, trial 4 hours, then trial 8 hours, then a grade card, then bring ’em over. So we did. Shortly after we picked them up, there was a horrible disease outbreak in these places, centering in Michigan, but Rover Come Over took a hit and accepted no new dogs. I don’t know what the status is now. I assume Mr. & Mrs. D checked into all this and everything is fine.
    I simply could not bear to check the webcam more that once every few days. My dogs are almost always with me and I missed them terribly, but I am a big boy and I didn’t cry. It was my daughter’s wedding, fer crissakes. Suck it up, I told myself. I was surprised ; I thought I would do better than did without my dog friends. Uh-uh. Nope.

    And of all the things to have on my mind, I have been thinking a lot about Dennis Rodman. He’s in alcohol rehab, as you may know. I wish him the best. I saw Richard Burton on TV , an afternoon talk show, a couple years before he died, and he said “I would not wish this dependence on alcohol on my worst enemy.” It appears Mr. Rodman had a hardcore booze problem. Hang tough, Dennis.

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  2. MaryRC said on January 21, 2014 at 1:54 am

    It sounds like a cheerful enough place. Is every dog who comes through their doors perfect or do they have another report card that they fill out for dogs who don’t make the grade? “Today your dog enjoyed tearing up the couch, snarling at other dogs and having an accident”.

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  3. Kristen said on January 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I read the circled comments first (attagirl, Wendy!) , but I chuckled a bit after I went back and read the other options: “flirty” and “sassy” under “Today your Dog was:” and “Giving kisses” and “Sun bathing” under “Today your dog enjoyed:” – it sounds like a day at the Playboy Mansion for Dogs.

    We adopted a dog last summer from the Humane Society, and although we have family nearby who are willing to dogsit, I’m sure a day will come when we need to kennel him. I don’t like the idea of him sitting in a crate for long periods of time, either; I’m going to see if a boarding place like this exists in my area. It sounds great!

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  4. alex said on January 21, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Eukanuba’s well worth it. Eukanuba dogshit evaporates into thin air, unlike Purina poop, which has the consistency and adhesive properties of tar.

    I feed my pussy Iam’s, which comes out very much like dog logs, not the oddly shaped strange-smelling stuff that I used to find in my sandbox when I was a wee lad. I would spend extra for the Eukanuba except that the neighbor’s beagle cleans it up for us daily for free.

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  5. Mindy said on January 21, 2014 at 7:45 am

    My dog gets Natural Balance duck and potato since he had tummy troubles a few years ago. He put on so much weight with it that part of his meal now consists of canned green beans to fill him up on less kibble and still keep his weight in check. It’s worked very well, and he loves his vegetable course. So that’s $55/28 lbs. plus roughly $1/day for the green beans. Then there’s $116 every six weeks for his osteoarthritis medication and blood tests every six months to make sure his liver can tolerate it. And $22/month for his thyroid medication. Plus the usual heart worm preventative, Iams biscuits, chewy treats to bribe him into letting me clean his ears, etc. He gets better medical care than most people.

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  6. beb said on January 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

    L. Brooks Patterson really put his foot into it over the weekend with in interview in New Yorker magazine. Patterson is the chief executive of a county just to the North of Detroit and has a long history of smacking Detroit around. I think he topped himself with this one, a two-fer of racism:

    “I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and the corn.’ ”

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  7. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Isn’t that the report card they use at Pepperdine Law?

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  8. brian stouder said on January 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

    L Brooks Patterson sounds like he’s advocating for genocidal concentration camps

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  9. Scout said on January 21, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I’m a fur baby mom. Guilty as charged. I think I grew even more attached to my pets when my daughters left home. Empty nest and all that. I wear my crazy old cat lady crown with the same panache as any Crone with a tatty fur!

    We get a live in house sitter when we go away. Cats hate to leave their home no matter how nice the “resort.”

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  10. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Mary, I was thinking the same thing. I tell you, it’s grade inflation!

    Can anyone recommend a biography of Martin Luther King Jr? We went to a powerful and inspiring tribute concert last night and I realized I’ve never read one. One of the speakers met King as a 12 year old, and he decided to pattern his life on King’s. He even went to the same college, became a pastor, and has been working for justice ever since.

    Two things strike me whenever I delve into King: his extensive use of the Bible and his advocacy for the poor, irregardless of color. Many of the phrases he famously intoned were from the prophets and the gospels. “But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”, for example, is from Amos.

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  11. Dorothy said on January 21, 2014 at 8:55 am

    My daughter uses a dog walking service when they travel. She likes them very much and trusts them implicitly with the key to her place. One day about six weeks ago, when her boyfriend had gone skiing for the weekend, she ran out to the store for groceries. She was back in about an hour, and when she walked in the door, Gracie did not come running to greet her. Okay she’s sleeping deeply, she thought. She put down the groceries and went around the apartment to find Gracie. No sign of her. Panic rising. OH GOD SHE’S DEAD IN A CLOSET OR UNDER THE BED! She ran like a crazy woman yelling her name, looking everywhere. No Gracie. “How could she have gotten out of the place!?” she was thinking. She grabbed her keys and jacket and phone and started out of the apartment and down the steps. She bumped right into an employee of the dog walking business, who got her Gracies mixed up when she picked up her assignments that morning. Laura exchanged emails with the owner letting her know how stressed she was from that scary experience. She apologized over and over again.

    I share this just as a lesson if anyone else employs such a firm and has a similar experience. Laura was shaky for the next hour or three. She’s wild about her Cocker Spaniel, who is about the most effervescent and photogenic dog I’ve ever seen. Me? I’m in the process of training the 12 year old girl across the street to walk my boys. She’s going to need to do one at a time. She’s not strong enough to hold onto 100 and 65 pounders. But we need to have a reliable walker if we need to be out of the house longer than 9 or 10 hours. Which isn’t often, but once in a while.

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  12. Peter said on January 21, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Our ex-dog Copper got Eukanuba Lamb and Rice Diet Formula – one 40 pound bag a month, he never lost a pound.

    We had to kennel him once – the preliminary report card form looked like Nancy’s, but the only thing that was circled was a handwritten note on the bottom: “HORNY, OR JUST WANTS TO BE DOMINANT MALE”.

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  13. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 9:26 am


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  14. Jolene said on January 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

    When I had my Aussie, I took him to a boarding kennel outside Pittsburgh when I had to travel, and he was ecstatic about being there. It was a fairly rough place on a farm–no webcams–but he was a high-energy guy and loooooooved the chance to race around outdoors with other dogs. Would get excited about being there when, as we got close, he realized where we were going. Only thing better was how excited he was to see me when I went back to pick him up. Gosh, I miss him.

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  15. LAMary said on January 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I was told by an employee of a very jazzy pet food place that Costco lamb and rice kibble was as good as anything they had there. Maybe he was a disgruntled employee? Don’t know. I’ve been feeding it to my pack for years and they’re fine. They also get some fruit and vegetables occasionally and when it’s as ridiculously dry as it’s been lately they get fish oil capsules for their skin.
    One of my coworkers dresses her dog every day and hauls the dog around in a stroller. I don’t do this to the lab and the dane boxer mix.

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  16. LAMary said on January 21, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Cooz, they don’t have a playscape a Pepperdine anymore. Otherwise it’s dead on.

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  17. LAMary said on January 21, 2014 at 9:51 am

    My son does dog walking and dogsitting. His best customers moved to Michigan last year and offered to bring him along and help him transfer into a college there. He didn’t go, but if you want to fly him out I’m sure he’ll take great care of Wendy. He walks two dogs that belong to a guy who owns a plumbing supply store. The dogs are named Lefty and Lucy.

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  18. Dorothy said on January 21, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Mary – dumb question. Do you break open the fish oil capsules and pour it on their kibble? Or help them to swallow it by putting directly in their mouths?

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  19. Connie said on January 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

    My daughter’s dog has severe allergies and after trying every alternative dog food out there, including bison and sweet potatoes, he is now being fed a vet prescription dog food, very expensive. We gave him fish oil capsules for a while, yes by putting them directly in his mouth. We eventually discovered that about half of the capsules were ending up hidden under the couch cushions.

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  20. LAMary said on January 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

    My dogs seem to love fish oil capsules. I put four or five in my hand and they just eat them like they’re gummy bears or something. Then they have fish breath for a little while but it doesn’t bother me and the cats seem to find it attractive. This morning both dogs got a little plain yogurt. I had a big container of it with very little left and it was taking up a lot of space in the fridge so Max and the Smokester got some yogurt. Not enough to give them any digestive issues. I give them chunks of apple and carrots occasionally. Both of them are very healthy at nine years old so I guess it’s all ok.

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  21. Charlotte said on January 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    My surviving dog is finally losing some weight! Mostly because he’s still turning his nose up at plain kibble after the treat-laden year that my other old boy was dying. Ray was losing weight and Owen seemed to gain it all. Since Owie’s quite arthritic, I need to get it off him. Also, turns out I was overmedicating Owen on the “one for you, one for you” theory. He’s quite perky now that he’s off the opiates and losing some weight! They eat Diamond brand, I get it from the feed store — I think it’s the generic for a bunch of fancy brands — $40/50lbs. Plus some scraps, and an occasional egg.

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  22. Heather said on January 21, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday, but I went to the boat/RV show here in Chicago on Sunday. Strictly as a looky-loo, of course. My favorites were the vintage mahogany boats and the new Chris Craft boats, which are like the Jaguars of watercraft. We sat in one of the latter for a while but no salesperson approached us, probably because I wasn’t wearing my fur vest. I’m not so interested in RVs but we checked out the Airstreams, which are pretty cool.

    I can see a boat in my future someday but it’ll probably be more in the used, $10,000 or less category.

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  23. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Better stock up on that Diaperine while you can, Louisiana. Senator Swampcrack is headed home, and he’s running for assistant fecal engineer.

    There’s a payoff involved, or someone found the photos of him playing Zorro with his own filthy arse-sock.

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  24. alex said on January 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Well, well, well. The plagiarist and Wm. F. Buckley suckup who brought so many of us together in lasting friendship is having another day in the sun.

    Still wagging his finger like a much older and angrier fuddy-duddy than he is, but at least he seems to be doing it in his own words.

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  25. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

    The people who don’t share our views, who want to redefine the family, marriage and religious liberty, are confident and busy as beavers. They have a plan,” Fort Wayne native and former White House aide Tim Goeglein told the crowd at Hall’s Guesthouse.

    Nasty, busy, humid beavers. Confident beavers. Crafty.

    These people have Lena Dunham on the goddamn brain.

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  26. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Oh and there’s this:
    The church has also too often been silent on divorce, abortion and other key issues – one reason, perhaps, large numbers of young Americans tell pollsters they have no religious preference.
    One of the reasons the church is silent on divorce is because biblehumpers can’t keep a marriage together. It could have something to do with the disproportionate number of closeted males in the fundagelical ranks, or just the flagrant disrespect for women, postnatal children, the state, the law, etc.
    But Tolerance= Oppression? that’s a winner, Tim. The slender thread of sanity that keeps you freaks from murdering each other in the street, and you want to cut it?
    I can’t say that I’d be entirely opposed to some good old St. Bart’s day festivities, just to remind folks the Constitution’s main focus is to protect dumbasses from their idea of God.

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  27. nancy said on January 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I about choked over that passage, too. Yes, the Lutheran church has been totally silent on abortion. Not. A. Word.

    Some editor read this, blinked twice, and pushed “send.” Well, they never did pay very well at that rag.

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  28. Kirk said on January 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    What a shameless, warped tool that plagiarizing whore is.

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  29. Hattie said on January 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Our cat hates to be boarded, but we know he is safe while we are gone. I always tell him he’s just an animal, and he has to go along with it.

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  30. Sherri said on January 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Julie @10, the Taylor Branch trilogy on King (and more broadly, the Civil Rights Years) is great, if massive: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge.

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  31. brian stouder said on January 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    And for the record, Thomas Jefferson strikes me as a great writer and an able governmental leader, and a genuinely horrible human being.

    Whereas Lincoln was a beautiful writer and thinker, and our greatest president – and a real-deal down-to-earth human being.

    Why don’t these cranks try and co-opt Lincoln?

    (because they know they’d then have to accept the concept of government of, by, and FOR all the people, and that’s a bridge too far.

    And besides, the whacko-birds that know anything about Lincoln think he was a tyrant and that he started a “war of northern aggression”, rather than successfully saving the United States government from race-based enslavement and ultimate anarchy

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  32. brian stouder said on January 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    and btw – if the United States Supreme Court views the ACA as (essentially) a tax levied by the government, and therefore proper, then the mooks who own Hobby Lobby (et al) have no more right to deny various basic coverage requirements on the insurance their employees get, then you or I have to reduce the amount of tax we pay so as to avoid funding things we might object to, such as pointless (and endless) wars and/or the all-seeing (if not all-comprehending) NSA hijinks, or bottomless subsidies for already-mega-rich oil companies, and so on.

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  33. Dexter said on January 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    L. Brooks Patterson hates Detroit. He used to call and talk to J.P. McCarthy in the few years before J.P. passed away. J.P. asked him if he was going to come to some big event downtown and L.Brooks Patterson went into his seemingly much-repeated diatribe about never crossing 8 Mile Road, and he would never go “into that jungle” without being inside an armored vehicle because he refused to go anywhere “where I was going to be shot.” This was 20 years ago. I can’t believe this guy is still living.

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  34. Dexter said on January 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    shooting at Purdue, West Lafayette

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  35. LAMary said on January 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Hattie, “just an animal?” Does your cat poop in your shoes when you get back?

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  36. Peter said on January 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    “The progressive agenda is perhaps even more pervasive in the military, said retired Adm. Luther Schriefer, who noted that the chain of command allows social re-engineering to be imposed.”

    Really? Really? Where do I start with that one?

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  37. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Sherri, thanks for the suggestion, I’m going to look it up.

    And I am running away as fast as I can from Leininger’s brand of Lutheranism. Mine declares that God loves everyone in his creation equally, the end.

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  38. Deborah said on January 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    The comments from the Leninger column were pretty good.

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  39. redoubt said on January 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    36: Sounds like someone is still angry at Executive Order 9981.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    What Sherri said. Even if you just read “Parting the Waters” you will be changed.

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  41. coozledad said on January 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Thieving piece of evangelical garbage Bob McDonnell:
    signed with some foreign company to build a tunnel under the Elizabeth River between the cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk and turn it and another existing tunnel into toll roads charging $2 per trip, with the company guaranteed a 13.5% annual profit on the project.
    Read more at http://wonkette.com/539907/virginia-ex-gov-bob-mcdonnell-indicted-for-being-the-alleged-whatever-griftiest-in-all-the-land#jkKz0iq7IjmYqwUz.99

    As with the port authority in NY and NJ, these are assets that need to be stripped away from the states because they’re already thoroughly subsidized by the feds anyway. The wave of Republican frauds that came into power in the state houses in 2010 have amply demonstrated the states are way too skeevy to be trusted with defense and port infrastructure.

    The indictments are a good read. He and his horrid old lady were never anything but trash, and the Republicans entertained the idea of running the shite for the White House.

    No one falls for the grift like a grifter.

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  42. Jill said on January 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    My Bernese Mountain Dog gets a little plain yogurt and some plain pumpkin in with his kibble every day and seems to love it. My St. Bernard died in July at 11 or 12 years old and was healthy right up until the end so I’m sticking with that eating plan. I’ve got an in-house dog sitter which has three benefits: it’s a lot easier, the dogs love it, and it’s cheaper than boarding two giant breeds. (I’m picking up a new rescue St. Bernard in Indiana in a couple of weeks.)

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  43. LAMary said on January 22, 2014 at 12:13 am

    My dogs like pumpkin or squash too. A little avocado and some roasted sweet potatoes occasionally as well. Within reason, they get good people food.

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