the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tales of the spotty dog

Damn, you people are vicious! Now Torrie has decided that it's okay to terrorize me until I meet her demands, and sent me an email today that contained an image so horrific I had to nail my hands to the undersides of my desk to keep from clawing my eyes right out of my head.

Torrie's demands, though, do not involve anything overtly unpleasant, humiliating, or likely to cause future blackmail and/or loss of social status. What she wants is the heartwarming story of How Snickers Came To Be the Barzedors' Bundle of Joy. I think I can manage that.

always with the tongue

The story of Snickers must, of necessity, begin with chickens.

We do not live in the country. Just because our street has a lot of large back yards doesn't mean that it's a good idea to have livestock here. But our next-door neighbor, Paul, who could be a post or ten all in himself, didn't see it that way. He built a chicken coop, right next to our fence, and bought some exotic roosters and hens. It took a little gettin' used to for this city girl, since I wasn't used to bein' serenaded awake at sunrise by an insistent, roostery Urr urr urr ur URRRRRRRRR! But really, I didn't mind the chickens, and kind of enjoyed watchin' 'em.

The problem was that the chickens could easily hop the fence between our yards, and they often did. One time, I found this big ol' Cornflakes-lookin' rooster hidin' out from a violent wind storm in our garage (and I'm a big softie and made him a burlap nest in the corner). That I didn't mind, as I was pretty amused overall with the poultry. But they would all also come over and tear up our grass. We were startin' to get some alarmingly large bald patches where once there was lush green. Jim started to talk about gettin' a puppy, some kind of terrier, to chase the chickens back over the fence. I didn't like that idea at all, as puppies are a royal pain in the ass and require a lot of work. Plus, we had a very ancient dog at the time, Tuco, who I felt should be allowed the dignity of his age without a new whippersnapper at his heels. I resisted the idea of a puppy at every turn, even though Tuco had zero interest in chicken chasing.

Then the chickens started to dig in my pet cemetary.

I looked at Jim that Saturday morning in May of 2002 and said "Let's go get a fuckin' puppy, right now."

We took my Camaro to the Humane Society. Why take the truck? We weren't gonna get a big dog, just a little terrier to yap the chickens out of the yard. Inside the HS, I remembered why I avoid these places. The sheer volume of animals, the faces in the cages, all the ones I can't take home, all that harsh fuckin' reality just conspires to crush me and turn me into a sobbing mass in the nearest bathroom. I was holdin' it together pretty well until I saw my first frightened cat face in a cage. Jim got that look from me before I dashed off to the ladies' room.

After I finished cryin' like a schoolgirl with her first yeast infection, I didn't know if I could continue with Operation Puppy Pick. All I wanted was to flee to the car and not be faced with the crushing guilt and sorrow I felt in that place. Jim talked me down, and gently guided me away from the cats, which I can't have anymore because of my allergies, and toward some dogs.

We saw some cute dogs, a veritable bonanza of black labs, and a cute little mutt with a white diamond on her forehead. Li'l diamond-head was pretty cute, and she was a definite maybe, until we rounded the corner and came face-to-face with a crazy-lookin' dog who had really, really smart eyes.

Jim told the dog to sit, and he did, immediately. Then he tilted his head, and when he did that, he deftly put a hook right into my heart and made sure it couldn't come out without takin' all the internal organs along.

Pensive Snickers

His little chart said his name was Nicky, he was an Australian Shepherd (which I'm sure is part of it, but certainly not all of it...he's a mystery to me), he was six months old...and he was due for The Bad Thing very soon. Look at that face. Do you seriously think we were gonna let that happen?

We called somebody right then and asked about him. She looked apprehensive as she gave us a leash and told us to take him for a "test run" in the pen out back. There was a long list of people who'd taken him for walks, and promptly brought him back. When we got him outside, he was like a little brown and white rocket. He would not stop. He was like a little comet in a that yard. I told Jim, "Think I know why he got walked and recaged so many times." The people who had him before us had tried to have him in an apartment. Jesus, people, how fucking stupid are you? What this crazy boy needed was a large, fenced yard, which we just happen to have. Both of us knew he'd be a handful, and he was a lot bigger than what we'd come to adopt, but we were both so instantly in love with the spotty motherfucker that we knew he was The One.

The leash lady looked visibly relieved and maybe even a touch delighted when we came back in and did not hand over the wild pooch. Everybody involved seemed pretty happy that Nicky would have a new family. I put him up in my lap in the front seat of the Camaro, and the song Atomic Dog played, and he sat there so good and still, and I fell completely in love with him on the ride home.

When we got home, I let him out of the car, and I wish I had a picture of the look on his face when he saw how big his new yard was. For a split second, he looked like a stoner discovering Amsterdam, and then he was off much too fast for the naked eye to see.

Spaz Dog 8

And lo and behold, he beheld the chickens. He went for a chicken at lightning speed, and before either one of us could say a word about it, he'd used his paws to pin its wings down, and he was ripping its feathers out by the mouthful. I freaked out and shrieked at him to stop, and Jim tried to tackle him and release the chicken. The dog was fast, and determined to have that chicken, and probably thought it was a game, oh boy oh boy oh boy! We chased and slipped and he ducked and feinted, in a truly Keystone Cops vignette. Finally, Jim got the chicken away and tossed it over the fence, the bird essentially unharmed but bereft of its dignity and a bunch of feathers.

We didn't have a chicken problem for long after that.

We didn't know the dog's exact birthday, just his approximate age, so we decided Halloween would suffice for his yearly celebration. Tuco, our ancient dog, was not well pleased with the new family member. Jim decided that Nicky looked more like a Snickers bar, so we started callin' him Snickers (we'd at first called him Angel Eyes, to go along with our
the Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme, but that was really too bulky and flowery for him). Snickers took over the yard immediately.

He was, as I'd known he would be, a big pain in the ass. He dug up the yard, he pestered the livin' shit out of poor Tuco, he was stubborn and defiant, he'd spaz inside the house with little or no warning, he'd crap on the floor...and he was also the sweetest, cuddliest, most loyal pet I'd ever had the pleasure to shelter. For all the moments I wanted to tear my hair out and wonder why I'd invited this beast of perpetual motion into my home, there would come those moments when he'd scramble up into my lap, all 55 pounds of him, and fall asleep. The moments when he'd be so delighted to see me come home he'd give a long, low bow of delight as I came inside. The moments when he'd tear up and down the length of the front fence, barkin' at cars and kids on bikes, and leavin' a little dust storm in his wake.

People told me repeatedly that age three was the "magic" age for dogs, and it has turned out to be true for Snickers (he turned three last Halloween(. He's still a complete spaz, but he's sooooo much better than he was when first he came home. I think he might possibly be happy here.

laughing snickers

Torrie, I better be off the hook now. No more emails like that, I beg you! I have an intense urge to blind my mind's eye.

23 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Susie said...

A beautiful story. I love him from afar. This really gets to me. Our husky-shepherd, Bear, who died a few years ago, the story of getting him was very, very close to this one. We went to get a small dog, and left with, well, a husky-shepherd! And we had an Aussie pup, Ruthie, the most beautiful dog who ever lived. But she was hit by a bus. Very traumatic story. God bless Snickers. He is handsome and a good boy.

9:23 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Kranki said...

I LOVE these kind of stories. Snickers, while very bad is also very lucky to have you both. What a great story.

9:37 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Nilbo said...

I love Snickers, even if he's a very bad dog. And I loved this story ... it made me laugh and made me go all misty n stuff, too.

And I love you just a little bit more for feeling that way in the Humane Society. I do, too, and so do my daughters, to the extent that they go down once a week and volunteer to take care of, feed, water, clean up after ... and mostly pat and cuddle the cats that are waiting to get adopted and don't have anybody to pat them. They come home tired, arms and faces scratched up, and sad, sometimes. But then, one of their lil buddies gets a new home and they sob with joy.

9:39 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Is the nugget factory still next door?

9:52 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Candy said...

I just love his ears, I so want to play with his ears.

And the pound, god, I sob and sob and sob. I have gotten pets from the pound, and pets from my garbage, how do you think I ended up with 12 cats???

If I could, it would be more like 1200 cats. When people 'what if' like, oh if I won the lottery I would.... my what if is always, what if I had the money to build a animal santuary where the bad thing was just missing out on your treat that night.


11:13 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Susie - Awwwww, that's so sad about Ruthie. I will give Snicker extra hugs on her behalf when I get home.

Kranki - He's so devoted to us it's unreal. I think we lucked out as well!

Nilbo - I think I'm in love with your family. You give your girls some hugs for me for bein' fine, animal-lovin' peoples that I'm actually proud to claim within my own species.

Mr. B - Paul still lives there, but, inexplicably, the chickens and roosters all disappeared about a month ago. We speculate he may be selling. Don't really wanna talk to him long enough to ask, though...

Spoonie - sssssh, don't tell anybody. It would ruin my ruthless, chaps-clad reputation.

Jess -- Hey, we're swingin' through your neck o' the woods on our vacation next week. Maybe I could bring you Snickers' ears?
And you know I love you to pieces, girl, for your cat-rescuin' heroics.

DP - you should write about Hunter, while all the doggie love is still fresh in the blog air!

8:57 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

I really don't like having neighbors.

9:23 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Mr. B - I don't mind having neighbors...with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

9:43 AM, June 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! I am so glad you rescued the little guy!!! He is adorable!!! And he looks like a "Snickers"!

9:45 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Good idea, Bucky, thanks.

11:05 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Torrie said...

Yay! Thank you.
No more horrific emails as long as you keep meeting my demands.

11:29 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger SierraBella said...

"...cryin' like a schoolgirl with her first yeast infection."
Great stuff, as usual!
Lucky Snickers and lucky you!!!

11:40 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Squirl said...

I have got to come over and meet Snickers this summer. I've heard so many stories about the sweetie.

11:42 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Danielle - he's really turned in to Mommy's Little Sweetheart. Mommy is very happy.

Kitty - I understand your trauma. I guess I figure my trauma is worth it if I can save at least one of 'em. Still sucks to go in there, though.

Mr. B - I'm full o' good ideas. Ask anybody (who doesn't know me).

Torrie - As long as I keep meeting your demands? Oh, no...I guess that means I have to buy that French Maid outfit sooner than I'd planned...

Sierrabella - somehow, I just knew I had to work "yeast infection" into a post one o' these days. I may work it into another post, 'cause I thought of another way to use it.
Sorry, folks, that really is how I think. I'll be out on a walk on a nice, sunny day, and my little mind is thinkin' "How can I use the phrase 'yeast infection' in a post this week?"

Squirl, I know Snickers would be delighted to meet his Aunt Squirl. Especially if Aunt Squirl brings toys and trits!

12:21 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Katie said...

This story was fantastic! I could totally sense the energy and badness of Snickers. I liked the image of him running back and forth in a little dust cloud.

Does Snickers have a swirly butt? You know, those two little swirls of fur on his butt under his tail?

12:49 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger said...

Found you place through susie. Too Cool. I had an Aussie back in the day. I used to take him to the beach because he loved the water and frisbees so much. My dad had one that could pick a stone that you had played with out of a pile of stones in a pail of water. Cool dogs. We are kinda neighbors by the way. I live by Columbiaville.

12:52 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Joseph said...

What a great feel good story. Truly. I love Snickers mad laughter pic, he really looks totally happy.

1:11 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger LadyBug said...

Awww, what a sweet story, Bucky.


But...what the hell kind of emails was Torrie sending you?

1:45 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Candy said...

Your coming this way on your vacation? To IL??

We should totally hook up. Oh yes, we should we should!!!!

2:01 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Katie - yeah, he's got kind of a swirly butt goin' on. Also, creepy about your ghost named Billy!

Jeff's place - howdy neighbor! Yeah, Aussies are some smart little farts, aren't they?

Greenie - that dog is soooooo spoiled. Just like it should be.

LadyBug - let's just say it involved Nascar and strategically shaven backs. *shudder*

Jess - You just want Snickers' ears in a ziploc baggie, don't you?
That'd be awesome, actually (the visit, not the ziploc doggie ears). I'll shoot you an email!

2:07 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

Can I have visitation rights with Snickers? I think I'm gonna need him to cheer me up after Sydney dies. I won't ask for joint custody or anything, maybe just two weeks in the summer and every other Winter Break, etc...!

6:30 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

That is so much better a story than "I drove seven hours to drop $500, on a little bundle of fur who , 8 mos. later, is a 70 Airedale Terrorist, er Terrier. I somehow feel ashamed, although, inspite of his boundless vocal enthusiasm, he is a wonderful, fun, extremely affectionate dog!

9:41 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

Just stopped by to show Jif Snickers' wonderful face. We have such exciting Friday nights around here!

9:51 PM, June 24, 2005  

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