Tag Archives: Buffy

Buffy.

I’m writing this now, ahead of time. Before we know. I felt it would be easier this way. That I would be more level-headed, less emotional this way. Although I’m already crying so that pretty much backfired. 

Then again, is it ever possible to write about your dog without tearing up? 

The vet said we should start with a chest x-ray, which is scheduled a few days from now. To see if it has spread. There’s a small chance that the tumor on the roof of his mouth is benign but I know that even if it is, this is still probably the beginning of the end. He’s almost 14. The average lifespan of a dog is 10-13 years. We’re already living on borrowed time. 

Whatever the diagnosis, I’m a bit at a loss of what to do. Soon there will be decisions to make. Hard decisions. 

And yet, just like he always has, he trusts me. 

The thing that haunts me the most in this awful limbo between knowing and not knowing is an equally awful question. Did I give him a good enough life? It’s only now, as we head toward the inevitable end, that I’m fully realizing the nature of our relationship meant he depended on me and my family for everything. We were his world. But just like the world at large, we were a bit of a dumpster fire.

All the mistakes. There were so many. I didn’t socialize him enough as a puppy. I fed him the cheap stuff. I wasn’t consistent on training. There should have been more fetch and less binge-watching Netflix while sneaking him french fries. 

I took him on a thousand walks. It should have been two thousand.

And yet, in spite of it all, he loves me. 

I was 24 when my roommate showed me a recently rescued bedraggled ball of fluff that smelled like hot garbage. 

“You did say you wanted to get a dog.” the roommate said. 

I picked the ball up and looked in its terrified brown eyes. Sold. Instantly. I kissed the top of its furry stinky head. Regretted it. Instantly. 

“It’s a boy, you say?”

“Yeah,” he replied. 

“Remember when I said if we get a dog I’m naming it Buffy?”

The roommate smiled. 

“Buffy it is then.”

(And that is also the story of how the roommate eventually became my husband). 

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It was this male dog named Buffy who forced me to grow up. He was so smart. Part border collie. He was constantly outwitting me. He was also anxious. Fearful. Edgy. Understandably so. He had been dumped in a field in late fall. And we suspect he’d been abused before then. 

But that also made him fiercely loyal and loving. 

He even eventually forgave me for leaving him for days and then returning home with a baby in tow. And then managed to forgive me again, a few years later, when I did it all over again. I spent months ignoring him while trying to keep these tiny interlopers alive. Months yelling “stop licking the baby!” and “drop it, that’s the baby’s toy!”

And yet, he patiently waited to be noticed again, sneaking onto my lap on those rare chances when it was free. 

It’s often said that we don’t deserve dogs. That they’re too good for us. For this world. But what I find amazing about dogs is that they keep inspiring us to try. Even though we humans are basically giant bags of meat and flaws, we keep trying to deserve them. That’s how strong a dog’s love is. Strong enough to make selfish and self-destructive humans look in the mirror and say quietly to themselves “today I’m going to be the person my dog thinks I am.” 

And even though we fail in this, over and over and over again, whenever we look into their eyes we vow to try again the next day. 

My hope is that some day, some beautiful, bright day, we will finally learn all they are trying to teach us. But until then I want to say thank you, Buffy. For all the lessons. I was a horrible student. And yet, through it all, you never gave up on me. 

I’ll be damned if I give up on you now. No matter what the future holds. 

And when we finally do know what that future holds, I promise to be there until the very end, my friend. 

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How to simplify your life in one easy step

When you become a parent, you quickly find yourself looking for anything that will make your life easier. This is exactly why I own no less than five Fisher-Price devices that are all just glorified chairs, each of which moves the kid in a slightly different way. Oh, you’re tired of vibrating? How about swinging? No? Bouncing chair it is then.

Seriously, most of my day is spent just moving the kid from chair to chair so I can do fun parent stuff, like washing the covers of whatever chair he is not currently in because he doesn’t consider it a successful day unless he’s pooped through his diaper at least three times.

And suffice it to say, my kid is an overachiever.

But this quest to make my life just a little bit easier has led me to my greatest idea of all time. I am currently writing this using a speech-to-text app. Yes, no more trying to write with a squirming kid climbing all over my face. I just talk and it types. I know. I know. I am brilliant exclamation point.

Oh crap. Well, I’ll just go back and fix that later.

Where was I? Oh yeah, simplifying my life. Oops. I forgot it writes down everything I say. Don’t forget to erase this part.

Thankfully, we modern parents have fabulous technology available with just a click of button to help us out. I mean, I can’t imagine how hard it was even a few decades ago for a mom to try and work from home without all the conveniences that we have BUFFY, STOP LICKING THE BABY’S FACE. I mean it. I will spank your little puppy butt if you don’t knock it off.

New paragraph. Oh, son of a beach. Come on.

Well, at least the auto correct works on this thing. Thank Bob.

OK. So, modern conveniences. Just imagine, for example, how much time is saved with disposable diapers and the freedom that is gained with a breast pump. The fact that I can pump and leave my husband with a bottle so I can leave the house is pretty much the only reason that my sanity is still intact. I would have gone crazy long ago if Riker, get that out of your mouth. How did you even manage to pull that much hair off the dog? No, icky. Give it to mommy. Bob, I can’t wait until summer is over and the dog stops shedding.

Technology. Technology. Maybe insert some joke about Angry Birds raising my kid. No, that’s dumb. No one plays Angry Birds anymore. Words With Babies? Is that anything? This is going to be my worst column ever BUFFY, I SAID DUCKING KNOCK IT OFF.

Oh, sweetie no, don’t cry. Mommy was yelling at the dog, not you. Come here, little butt. Man, I really need to think of a better nickname for you. You’re going to kill me someday when you’re older and it gets out that I called you little butt when you were a baby. Speaking of which, do you need a diaper change? Oh, I think you do.

Whoa. Buddy, that’s a lot of shot. What have you been eating? Or, I guess, what have I been eating? With little butts come big packages, eh? Oh my Bob, I have poop on my shirt. When the he’ll did that happen?

OK, we a happy boy again? Who’s a happy boy? Who’s my happy boy? Wanna go in your chair so momma can finish dictating her column? Alright, let’s try Mr. Swing. I’ll even turn on the Bob awful music feature, where all the songs sound like they were composed on an eighties keyboard. No? You don’t like the swing today? OK, how about the highchair that feels like it’s made from Nickelodeon slime? You good there? Yes? Yay! That’s my good BUFFY! I will punch you in the face if you don’t quit it. That’s not your ducking toy and you know it. Drop it. I SAID DROP IT. Good boy.

Oh Bob. It wrote all that down? Shot, this was a horrible idea. I’m so ducking tired. And I should probably do the dishes before that leaning tower of plates collapses.

Hmm. I guess I could just come back later and fix all this. I’m sure I won’t forget. I mean, ha! Even I’m not that sleep-deprived.

Yeah, screw it. I’m gonna go stuff my face with chips.

The Tail of the Bald Puppy

This is a story of how a puppy ruined my life. And not just any puppy. An ugly, wrinkled, bald puppy. An ugly, wrinkled, bald puppy who doesn’t even know proper butt sniffing etiquette.

But I get ahead of myself. First allow me to introduce myself. Or re-introduce, as the case may be. You may remember me from the last time I took over Aprill’s blog. I’m Buffy, her long-suffering male dog.

Oh yes, you read that right…MALE dog. Apparently being a Joss Whedon fan means you no longer have to acknowledge gender when coming up with a pet name to impress your stupid, geeky friends. Never mind the psychological damage you inflict on said poor animal when the Duke’s and Princess’s of the world get wind of the name. Dogs may be man’s best friend but they can be complete assholes to their own kind (butt sniffing is not nearly as innocent an act as you guys assume). You’d think taking my manhood when I was a puppy (a PUPPY, for canine’s sake!) would be enough emasculation for any creature but oh, oh no. Let’s also add a frilly name from an obsolete 90’s show that only people with extensive knowledge of their parent’s basement watched.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

But back to the bigger issue.

Now, when they first brought the bald puppy home, I thought it was great. My very own interactive chew toy! Complete with neverending battery! And super gross smells!

Unfortunately, within the first 30 seconds of our initial meeting, it was made clear to me, in no uncertain terms, that this was not the case. I swear, that stupid crying lump’s first words are going to be “Buffy” followed by “No” followed by “I said ‘no,’ dammit!”

Buffy 1

And things only went downhill from there. For instance, every time the bald puppy cried (which was A LOT, by the way), I would growl and bark. In my mind, the only reason for any creature to make that much noise is when there is an imminent threat to all of our very lives, such as the neighbor from three houses down had closed a door or the wind blew through a tree in Delaware. So I was simply trying to help the bald puppy alert our owners that there was obviously an emergency on hand, such as the mailman was on our porch and was probably going to pee on all the spots in the yard I had peed on.

Incredibly courteous of me, right?

Alas, Loud One and Spiky Head (my not-so-affectionate nicknames for my owners) didn’t see it this way. I was told, rather rudely, to shut the hell up and then threatened with not just a rolled up magazine but a rolled up September Vogue magazine (the leading cause of concussions in dogs).

Meanwhile, the bald puppy, who was making just as much noise as I was (if not more) was cuddled and actually rewarded for his whiny bark with food!

FOOD!

My very favorite thing in the entire world besides BALL and ROLLING AROUND IN DEAD THINGS!

Can you believe it?

And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, when I wasn’t getting yelled at, I was being completely ignored. Judging by the smell, the bald puppy was going potty every hour or something insane like that. Inside the freaking house! Which is something I’ve never been allowed to do if I don’t want to see the business end of the Sunday Times. They even put a wonderful poo catcher on his butt so he could do it whenever he wanted. And I’m all just over here, like, hey, I haven’t gone outside in 14 hours. But don’t mind me. I’ll just slunk off to the corner and eat my dog food…oh wait, my bowl is empty.

Again.

Buffy 2

It was getting ridiculous.

So then, deciding to make nice with the bald puppy, who was obviously here to stay, I began licking his face (mainly aiming for directly into the mouth, of course) whenever he happened to be within tongue’s reach. And I tell you what, I would get no more than six licks in when Loud One would suddenly push me away.

Knock it off, she said.

Buff, that’s gross, she said.

Well, let me tell you something, lady. You’re gross. Not to mention a hypocrite. I’ve seen you stick your tongue down Spiky Head’s throat many a time so you can just get off your high horse.

But before you go thinking that my owners are just absolutely horrible people, I should mention that they are trying to make it up to me. I get extra treats all the time now and during those brief moments when the bald puppy is asleep in his giant crate, they shower me with love.

And in their defense, they do look horrible these days.

Buffy 3

I’m starting to think they’re being punished by the bald puppy just as much as I am. Apparently he is the new Alpha and we all exist merely to satisfy his every whim (even if that whim is to walk him in a giant counterclockwise circle for three hours while singing “Close To You” by the Carpenters at 3 a.m.).

But let this be a lesson to all you other dogs out there. If your female owner starts to look like she has a giant ball hidden underneath her shirt, RUN.

Run away as fast as you can.

And hide out in the neighbor’s yard until the bald puppy is old enough to start dropping food on the floor.

UPDATE: The Battle for the Back Porch continues…

Three days ago, I surrendered my back porch to two power-hungry and maniacal winged insects (which you can read all about here if you missed my last blog post).  But now, after hunkering down inside my house with my tail between my legs, I had had enough.

I was going to take back my territory if it was the last thing I did. So I decided to go nuclear on their asses and bring in my secret weapon:

CAPTAIN CANINE!

Yes, I figured if anything could defeat my sworn enemies, it would be my dog, a fearless creature who will eat ANYTHING (except, of course, for cheap dog food).

Or at least I thought so up until a few minutes ago, when Buffy and I stepped outside and this happened:

Buffy-Bee1 Buffy-Bee2 Buffy-Bee3 Buffy-Bee4 Buffy-Bee5 Buffy-Bee6

Yeah. I’m pretty sure we have to move now.

Butt fur the grace of God

There are many distinct advantages to having a dog vs. having a child. For instance, when your child is misbehaving and you just can’t take it anymore, sticking them in a crate for six hours while you get some much needed “me” time usually results in “jail” time. Likewise, it is frowned upon by authorities to hit your kid with a newspaper (and/or a September Vogue when they’ve been a VERY BAD BOY!) or to rub their face in their own feces to get your point across. Not to mention, have you ever seen a toddler sit and stay upon command? Without the assistance of duct tape, that is?

But the one area where dogs don’t have a distinct advantage? Sickness. Specifically the flu (or whatever the dog-version of the flu is, which is what I suspect my dog Buffy currently has). Because when either one gets sick, it’s pretty much the same scenario for the caregiver–

You will spend at least the next 24 hours cleaning up every manner of vile substances that can squeeze (and/or explode) itself out every orifice imaginable from their tiny bodies.

Which is why my Tuesday thus far has consisted of:

Taking my dog outside so he can poop.

Taking my dog outside again so he can poop.

Cleaning up the vomit I discovered after I got out of the shower.

Taking my dog outside again so he can have an explosive case of diarrhea and then immediately dragging my dog to the bathroom without having his backside touch anything (Note: I was unsuccessful).

Throwing said dog who has an intense hatred of baths into the tub so I could cut out his butt fur that had been tainted with said diarrhea.

Scrubbing his backside in case I missed any of the tainted butt fur.

Trying to get him back into the tub after he escaped and then rinsing him off as his wet body clings to mine with a strength I honestly didn’t think his 32-pound body could possibly possess.

Disinfecting the tub and bathroom floor with the butt fur and diarrhea remains.

Cleaning up all the other areas where he decided to spontaneously sit while being dragged to the bathroom.

Scrubbing my hands for 45 minutes until they bled and then sitting by the water bowl trying to coax Buffy to take a drink since I know I have personally just cleaned up every single ounce of liquid his body could possibly hold.

And that pretty much brings us up to date, with my exhausted dog cuddled up next to me on the couch as I sporadically check to make sure he’s still breathing while I type this and the vet’s number queued up on my phone in case he gets any worse.

Now, I could be angry about this situation. Or at least unhappy. Or at the very least starting to question what horrific life decisions I had made that had led me up to this point where I spend the majority of my Tuesday scrubbing a dog’s butt.

But I’m not. Because as it turns out, this couldn’t have happened at a better time considering I woke this morning to the Facebook announcement of yet another person in my circle happily proclaiming that they’re pregnant. A proclamation, I’m not proud to admit, that made me irrationally mad.

See, after my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in October, my husband and I have started to try to conceive again, which has yet to be successful and which is subconsciously bringing up some of those horrible feelings we dealt with this fall. And which is why instead of being happy for couples who are expecting like I should, I react with:

“But that’s not fair! They already have kids! And now they get another one? Like it’s just so easy to get pregnant! How dare they! How dare they be so happy when I’m not! How dare it be so easy for them when it’s not for me!”

Like I said, irrationally mad. And exceedingly unfair to the happy couple, I know.

But after today, I realize it’s probably a lot harder (and a lot more anxiety-inducing) to deal with a sick kid. Or to deal with even a healthy kid. Because poop-covered-fur-cutting-out aside, my dog is pretty self-sufficient no matter what the circumstances. And if I was dealing with a sick kid, I wouldn’t be able to drink this vodka I’m currently holding in my hand.

So, I’m holding onto that for right now, because I need to hold onto something other than the disappointment of getting my period yet again. And for right now, it’s enough to just try to find the upside of only being responsible for the life of a dog, a creature that has more instincts for self-preservation than a toddler who thinks sticking a fork into a light socket sounds like a downright dandy idea.

And to try to remember that there is always next month, which, of course, is easier said than done, but hey, it’s something.

Looking for like in all the wrong places

The one thing about moving to the city and being just another face of the faceless masses?

It can be hard to make new friends.

In the year or so that I’ve been in Boston, I’ve managed to snag a small group of good friends that I occassionally get to see when our (OK, their) schedules allow it (I’m a freelancer…my schedule is as wide open as Paris Hilton’s legs). However, these friends are all somehow or other related to my husband’s job, meaning the number of friends I’ve made on my own is…let’s see…carry the one…divide by pi…yup…zero.

Because you know what makes it really hard to make new friends? When you work from home, are no longer in your 20’s and happen to be married. Because you know what’s really creepy? Having a married 30-year-old freelance writer come up to you at a bar and ask if you want to be besties.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Boston isn’t necessarily known for being a city full of friendly, happy, shining faces (voted Meanest City in America, ya’ll!!!! Woot!). And it also doesn’t help that I’m not necessarily what you’d call a “joiner.” Unless your book club, sewing circle, writer’s collective, flash mob, steampunk convention or volunteer organization is meeting at the bar, I’m likely to just stay at home (and drink).

And it seems I’m not the only one struggling with this. A quick Google search (NOTE: make sure to type in ‘how to make friends as an adult’ NOT ‘how to make adult friends’ unless you want to be taken to a WHOLE different section of the Internet), brought up 30,900,000 results, at least 12 of which weren’t spam or thinly veiled porn.

Granted, the vast majority of articles on this subject belong to Mommy Bloggers, who are lamenting the fact they don’t know how to make friends anymore since their life has been reduced to wiping up the various fluids and semi-solids that spew forth from their offspring. Which didn’t help me much considering 1. I don’t have kids and 2. I think having kids would be a super easy way to make friends. You literally have an adorable 13-pound excuse to talk to someone else with an adorable 13-pound poop machine.

Because you know what else is really creepy? Having the childless 30-year-old woman come up to you at the playground and start trying to bond with you over how taking care of her neurotic dog is just like what she imagines taking care of a baby is like.

(Although in Buffy’s defense, he is wicked smart for a dog. Yes him is. Him such a smart, wittle puppeh).

The rest of the results were pretty much lame tips on how to make non-sexual adult friends, like join a gym, start a hobby, go to church and hang out at Starbucks, all of which are qualities I am not looking for in a friend.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, although it hasn’t worked so far, I think I’m going to continue with my Lazy Friend-Making Plan (mainly because it doesn’t involve putting on real pants), which is two-fold:

1. Continue to stalk my virtual Boston-based Facebook and Twitter friends like @BarHavoc until they take pity on me and invite me somewhere.

2. Finally work up the courage to ask my hairstylist, Vildan, out on a friend date, since I’m pretty sure we’re soul mates. Although there’s a good chance that could blow up in my face due to the Hairstylist Theory.

(Quick summary of my Hairstylist Theory: They are trained like courtesans, skilled in the art of flattery and anticipating your every need, which is why we all want our hairstylist to become our best friend. Alas, for them, it’s just strictly business. They tell all their clients they have amazing cheekbones.)

And in the meantime, I’m going to take my dog to the park so he can terrorize little children as I chat up their moms.

“Isn’t he just the cutest! What’s that? Oh, no. They’ll be fine. He’s neutered. And he only humps the kids he really likes.”

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

Owning a dog has a lot of benefits. For instance, you will always know the precise moment the mail comes. You are always well aware of just how good your human food smells considering it has compelled your dog to crawl, military-style, across the floor until they are steathily hidden underneath the table. And you will always know ahead of time the answer to the question “What’s that smell?”

But perhaps most importantly, owning a dog, at least in my case, has alerted me to the very important fact that I don’t live in a quiet, little neighborhood like I thought. Oh, no. I apparently live in a place teeming with dangerous, unsavory characters. Specifically, characters of the feline variety.

Yes, there is a gang of cats residing on my street, threatening the peace and quiet with all their menacing aloofness. And every single time I take my dog, Buffy, outside, a turf war explodes. For instance, yesterday we were walking to the park when suddenly Buffy turned into a bug-eyed, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic and the following confrontation took place:

Buffy: “Bark Bark!”

Random cat: “Hissssssss…”

Buffy: “Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark!”

Random cat: “Hisssssssss…”

Buffy: “BARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARK!”

Random cat: …*saunters off unnecessarily slow*

This exchange, roughly translated, goes something like this:

Buffy: “I see you! Come here! I want to chew on your head.”

Random cat: “You come here, [BAD WORD]. I dare you.”

Buffy: “AH! I hate you! I’m going to eat your face off!”

Random cat: “Good [VERY BAD WORD] luck with that, mouth-breather. P.S. Nice leash, loser.”

Buffy: “I WILL KILL YOU UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD! AND THEN KILL YOU AGAIN!”

Random cat: “Bored now.”

It’s a well-documented fact that dogs and cats don’t get along, no matter how many “puppy and kitten cuddling” Internet memes pop up on Facebook. But what I want to know is, when did this war start? How far back does it go? And what is the main beef these two have with each other?

Did it all start with Noah’s Ark? Did maybe being in such close quarters for so long cause a dog and cat to get to know each other in the “Biblical” sense, thus resulting in an offspring abomination now known as the Chihuahua and the two species have been fighting out of shame and guilt ever since?

Or is it simply idealogical differences? That cats don’t view themselves as pets so much as captives and so they are contiually plotting an insurrection against humans, which the dogs are constantly thwarting because they love being pets and having their main responsibilities be eating, sleeping and pooping?

Or is it perhaps more of a Hatfield-McCoy feud? Some hillbilly dog drunk on moonshine killed some hillbilly cat and then the cat’s relatives retaliated, killing that dog’s uncle brother and so on and so on and the current hostilities stem from that?

Alas, we mere humans will probably never know the answer. That is, unless the cats are finally successful with their revolution and we suddenly find ourselves being forced to wear sparkly collars and make boom-boom in a sandbox.