Confessions of a fur-mama

 

Be warned, there’s something in here that may be genuinely distressing to anyone with even half a heart. Doubly so if you love dogs. But there’s also some funny things too, so, it’s all good. Read on.

So, we’ve had our rescue fur-baby a couple of months now. We’re still trying to untangle that mangled little mess that lives inside her head. We don’t know much about her. We know she’s an older dog. We know someone has been nice to her at some point. We also know that someone (or someones) hasn’t.

How?

Sadly, by her physical scars. And, even more sadly, by the psychological scars that little by little, she’s allowing us to see.

One example.

A training clicker.

The sound terrified her the first (and only) time we tried to use one. We were mystified. My hyper-perceptive vampiric sleuthiness (it’s a thing) was stumped. And then the penny dropped some time later. The sound is identical to a cigarette lighter. Now put that together with some of her smaller scars and…

Well…

If I ever meet the ones who did that to such a gentle, loving animal (or any animal), then my ‘no-biting-humansrule may become more of a guideline.

But in the meantime…

She’s sprawled out on her favourite (for she has many) fleecy throw, snoring and farting away to her little heart’s content. She’s still in that ‘can’t-quite-believe-it’s-real’ phase and gets really panicky if she does something wrong. Our hugs and reassurance still puzzle her.

We are now dealing with some separation anxiety issues. Which, to me, is a good thing. It means that she’s now attached to us. It means she trusts us (as does the sitting on my foot with her back to me). But she’s getting over them. She knows we’re definitely Team Fur-baby now.

We’ve learned this about her:

  • She hates puddles and getting wet
  • She already knows ‘high-five’, ‘shake hands’, ‘roll over’ and – bizarrely- how to cross the road safely (!)
  • She learns very quickly
  • She pulls like a train and loves her rope toys (if you have a dislocated shoulder, she could easily reset it for you. However, if there’s someone you don’t like and wish they had a dislocated shoulder, it wouldn’t work. She’d just call 999/911. She’s about bright enough to.)
  • She can be hyper focused, but also easily distracted (ha! she takes after me!)
  • She’s obsessed with food. Especially chicken (nope. Not me. Well, the chicken part.)
  • Even more than being given food, she loves finding it herself.

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: No! Pleeeeeease! Don’t go!

And then, when faced with a puzzle ball containing treats…

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: (30 minutes later) Nom-nom-nom. Did somebody say something? Nom-nom-nom.

She’s also very communicative. She lets you know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And doesn’t want!

Do parents of small human children have this problem?

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Okay, let’s get your harness and lead and everything on and you can go out.

DOG: Don’t wanna.

ME: Then you can’t go out for walk.

Five minutes later…

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Then we’re putting your lead and everything on.

DOG: Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.

ME: You know the rules.

DOG: (grumbling) Pfft. Ohhh, alright then.

Gets harness and everything on (with much muttering on her part).

DOG: Don’t wanna go now. Spoilt my fun.

ME: Oh, we are going now!

10 minutes later…

DOG: Woweeee! This is the best day ever!

And nearly an hour later, after lots of (shall we say) negotiation as to route, we get back. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air. She’s enjoyed the stretching-her-legs.  And the sniffing. There’s always lots of sniffing. Grass verges are like Facebook for dogs. “Hmm. Nice post. Just leaving a comment…” We’ve both enjoyed the exercise. She is nicely worn out.

So what does she do next?

Run around the house like a thing possessed and then charges out like a mad fool into the garden.

Surely she can’t still have some reserves of energy in that little furry body? Have I not walked her enough?

Nope.

She is simply running out to survey her kingdom. For she is… Wonder Pooch! There she stands: ears up, tail up, right paw up, in full-on protection / surveillance mode. Have there been any threats to the kingdom in her absence? Any pretenders to her throne? Any evil crows, seagulls or (heaven forbid!) cats with a wicked design to overthrow her benevolent rule? Are there any individuals (regardless of number of legs) who have dared trespass upon her property to upset those under her kindly protection?

Nope.

Okay, all good.

And she trots back into the house again.

She plonks herself in front of the fire and gets back to one of her favourite jobs – destroying her rope toy.

All’s well with the world. I have protected you another day, my beloved hoomans. Chomp chomp chomp.

Whenever, Wear-ever

Time to rattle the odd cage, I guess. Let’s play a game of “Let’s-see-who-reads-things-properly-and-doesn’t-go-off-in-a-huff-after-one-sentence”…

Okay, so we finally got some nice weather and people are digging out their summer clothes. Now, do not expect me to bang on about what people should or shouldn’t wear. Obviously, I have to cover up from the sun but that’s my issue. So, do I choose to wear tiny shorts and spaghetti strap tops? No, I don’t, and true, for me, it is as much about modesty as it is about keeping evil sunshine off me… But does that mean I’m going to rail against anybody who does choose to wear that? No! Let me get on with my thing, I’ll let you get on with yours. End of story – no backlash required, thank you!

I don’t know why everyone gets so worked up about clothes… And by that, I mean how they are the perennial excuse for treating someone in a certain way, based on what they’re wearing in one snapshot of time when we see them. I always remember a colleague asking the circumstances of a family we both knew. Her comment was: “Well, I’d hate to think that someone was needy if they’re actually just badly dressed.”

But there is an alarming aspect about this, which is an issue (shocker!) with women, rarely with men. There is the old thing about dressing for safety. You know what I mean… ‘Oh look what she’s wearing’.

I’m afraid that defence doesn’t wash and funny how that only seemingly applies to women.

So for argument’s sake, let’s say a bloke decided to walk around wearing a T-shirt with a target on the front and on the back it said: ‘please shoot me’… I think we’ve all been brought up to know that responding to that message and acting upon it would not be a good idea.

I mean, does anybody put on a T-shirt like that thinking “Oh, I think I’ll put on my target T-shirt. I wonder if anybody will shoot me today?!”

No, they probably put it on because it’s a cute top and it’s comfy et cetera.

However, there is a dark side to this. Chances are that somewhere in the hundreds/thousands of people that person may meet/bump into today, there will be that one person who doesn’t get the joke. For them, the message is real, and they have their own interpretation. And they will act upon it.

Does that mean he can never ever wear that top again? No, of course not. But he just needs to be aware (if you need to be aware at all) that in those thousands, there might be that one sicko who’ll misinterpret the message of what he’s wearing. And act upon it.

And of course don’t forget the power of the fashion industry image: telling him that he should wear that ‘inflammatory’ top because it’s the thing to wear this month.

After all, how often have you seen someone in the middle of a heatwave wearing tiny shorts, a tiny top and them big, massive furry boots..?

Or tottering around in a tiny, tiny skirt and an even tinier top without a coat on, in the middle of December and complaining about the cold?

Or…

All the guys who wear jeans that seem to be permanently heading for the knees, and as they walk along, they’re constantly fighting with gravity? Clue, guys: gravity will always win. Sadly that also applies to girls. Eventually.

I mean, I’ve seen guys and girls wearing shirts saying “Bite  Me”. Tempting, but no thank you. Thankfully, I have the good sense to understand that they decided to wear that top because it’s cute/comfy/funny. They’re not wearing it as an open invitation to all vampires.

And I’m not going to treat it as such!

 


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Smart move.

Donkeys and Bottoms

This isn’t about Midsummer Night’s Dream… And I’m getting in there quick because I just know what some people out there are like…

“Aaaaactually, as any idiot will tell you, it’s an ass…”

You said it, buddy.

But you…. you’re not like that. I know you’ve got more sense. I know you’ll be thinking, “Hmm, there’s an odd title. I wonder where she’s going with this…” And you’ll read on until that light bulb moment when it suddenly makes sense. I like that about you. Thanks.

However, there’s no avoiding the fact that people like you are few and far between, and it seems, sadly, that your numbers are dwindling day by day.

Remember ages ago, I said I wasn’t the bitey kind of vampire? Well, I’ll stand by that. And yes, I did admit that there are times when I’m tempted. People like the above “Actually” would be first in line. Although, ‘actually’, thinking about it… No.

A good example of a Mr Actually happened a while ago. And yes, like most of these instances, it happened online. Oh! The arrogance of online anonymity! I had made an innocent comment, stating an opinion about a subject that I happened to have several decades of knowledge/training/experience.

Mr Actually said, “You know, I’d never thought about it like that. That’s a very interesting point of view. Thank you for your thoughts. I always appreciate hearing a viewpoint that differs from my own.”

Only joking!

Of course he didn’t! Mr Actually went into full-on rant mode. He was like a terrier on a rat. His pages of diatribe and foul-mouthing I will tactfully condense into the following cute little couplet…

You’re wrong, I’m right.

You’re stupid, I’m bright.

I then went on to reply that, quite simply, this was my opinion. I didn’t bash him over the head with the whole knowledge/training/experience thing. None of it could be a match for his obvious expertise. Indeed, rather than accepting my statement, he behaved as though I had suggested that his mother had had a restraining order slapped on her by the local donkey sanctuary.

And the vitriol continued. I learned my lesson that day.

Pre-internet, I remember (decades ago) discussing a thesis of mine with someone who, miraculously, knew more about what I was doing than I did, even though he was hundreds of miles away. It also happened recently. Now, I know I’m technically a genius, but the intellect of these naysayers must reach such dizzying heights as to be beyond my simplistic understanding…

Anyway… My take on the matter now is this: You can disagree with me all you like: it doesn’t make me wrong. Or you right.

If you have to deal with people like this, may I politely suggest you try this out as a mantra? It’s actually quite invigorating.

Opinions, you see, are like, er, bottom-holes. Everybody’s got one.

The reason I would never succumb to temptation and bite is quite simple.

I would never eat something that disagrees with me.


Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire

Genetics Schmenetics!

Before I start my tangent-ridden ramble, I thought I better put your mind at rest.  There’s that one question, isn’t there? The one you want to ask. The fangéd elephant in the room…

Can someone be turned into a vampire?

Actually, the real question is, if we were to meet, would I bite you? You just didn’t want to upset me by being that direct..? Well, we’re back to genetics again. It’s like anything, I suppose. It can live dormant in your cells and you may never ever know you are a carrier. Until of course, the right bite comes along. I guess in that respect, it’s a bit like a cold sore. A cold sore with benefits.

And, while we are at it, let’s get a few more stereotypes binned. No, I do not waft around brooding mysteriously. I am not lovesick for some mortal. In fact I am happily married, thank you very much.

I do not drink blood. I mean, imagine that: every meal, every day – yuck? Dull. In fact I can’t even eat red meats, or any meat -or any milk, even. I used to when I was a child, but then it started getting weird. I went from liking steak as a burnt offering (which was just as well, as my mum used to use the smoke alarm as a timer to tell her when dinner was done), to gradually preferring medium steak and then getting progressively rarer, until one day I found myself eating it raw. And craving it. That’s when I realised I had a problem and I stopped. It was making me ill.

No surf and turf for this baby.

So… no brooding, no blood, no real sparkling, no spontaneous combustion, no wafting around in gloriously Gothic garments while listening to Lacuna Coil. Okay… perhaps I’ll admit to that last one. But then, I am equally likely to be found listening to Imagine Dragons or AC/DC. I’m eclectic.

Oh, and of course, I don’t rip anybody’s throat out. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted to, on occasion. Let’s face it, who isn’t?!  That temptation is not unique to vampires! Generally, if anyone gets annoyed with me, I like to say ‘why don’t you bite my head off? It will make jumping down my throat so much easier.’

Garlic. Love it. It’s just the papery stuff on the outside that I can’t stand. Smells all dusty and shroudy plus it hurts like a bad ‘un if you get it stuck under your nails when you’re cleaning it. And I prefer to keep my nails short. I can’t stand long nails. Oh, we’re back to the talons again. But these beautiful girls you see with those long nails (Banksy should hire those nails out by the yard)…. How do they live? How do they wipe their bums? I guess they can toast marshmallows well. Unless of course that shellac stuff is flammable…

People’s views of my eating habits are wide and varied. My carnivore friends think I’m a vegetarian. My vegetarian friends think I am a vegan. My vegan friends think I am a raw vegan. I have never asked my raw vegan friends what they think I eat. I’m running out of links on the food chain.

I remember, one day, my mum catching me down in the cellar, licking my broken umbrella. It tasted deliciously metallic. The same day she had decided I was old enough to have my first cup of tea. That was a thing in my family. It was some kind of right-of-passage thing. Anyway. I was presented with this steamy cup of milky oblivion (milk? Really, Mother!) and was expected to drink it on front of this baited-breathed audience. The Roman Coliseum had nothing on this.

So I took a mouthful. Hmph. Not impressed. It had a metallic tang, but nothing as satisfying as my umbrella handle.

And that’s when I said it.

“I’d rather drink blood. “

Needless to say, I was never made to drink the stuff again. And my little TMI moment was never mentioned again. It was a relief, to be honest. At least they never sat me down as a self-conscious teen and gave me the “Have you tried not being a vampire?” routine.

I know my parents did blame themselves when they finally realised I wasn’t like my brothers and sisters. Still, I guess they have their own demons to deal with. Mine just happens to be me – if you listen to all the occult ‘experts’ and people who’ve watched way too many movies on Netflix.

But luckily for me, no one has staked me through the heart. Although you’d be surprised at just how many things that will kill. And no, I’m not counting that unfortunate time when I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition and got a cocktail stick stuck in my foot while wondering through the aperitifs bar. That was painful and, far worse: it was downright embarrassing. Imagine being slain by Buffet the Vampire Slayer… Oh! The shame! I still can’t look at mini sausages without wincing.

I didn’t answer your question, did I? The one about biting you?  Oh well…

 


Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire