Category Archives: Pets

A Slice of boundaries

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

It’s cold in the morning
I pull on slippers, and walk downstairs, still yawning
My 2 cats meow.
Luckily, the dog is still sleeping upstairs.

I want to give myself a prize for remembering to set the coffee timer last night
I turn the heat up a few notches, choose a mug, pour my coffee, sit on the couch
with just a few of my mom’s crocheted blankets.

There’s not actually time to be lonely
Talula, the tabby, is content to sit near me for just a moment
She allows me one or two quick scratches on her soft, soft head
Theodore, the orange and white nudging fluff ball?
He wants constant attention
It’s harder than you think to balance coffee, a cat and a phone
So I alternate: Sip coffee and pet the cat; Flip through emails and pet the cat; Sip coffee and pet the cat; Flip through Facebook and pet the cat. . .

I’m in love with quiet mornings on the couch, and time with my cats without my dog’s jealousy.
(Is this betraying my dog? I don’t know…)
It’s cozy here, but I have responsibilities
Theodore purrs and settles in on my lap
He doesn’t understand that I have to shovel, salt, shower, take the dog out, feed the dog…
All before making sure my kids are up and ready for the bus

I look at Theodore, content and fluffy and I know.
I know that it’s time to set some boundaries
As I apologize and stand up, he runs away, disappointed
A few minutes later he is back in his own bed, asleep

Setting boundaries for your cat must be a
stepping stone
to a life-time of healthy boundary setting –

A Slice from the Porch (with a Pooch!)

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Up and bark and run and down. Repeat.

My dog won’t stop with the crazy barking tonight. I mean, the other dogs up the street won’t stop either, I think they started it. But it doesn’t matter. Every time someone walks by, or a bird lands too close, or someone is walking their dog on our street, or he thinks maybe a chipmunk is under the bush, Finnegan jumps off of his chair to leap into the yard and bark.

“He’s on a lead!” I yell. Mostly because I accidentally bought a clear lead. And invisible leads don’t instill much confidence in passerbys.

Maybe the dogs up the street are a bad influence.

Maybe I’m a bad dog mom.

Maybe he’s tired. He started with a new trainer today, and he had to learn new rules.

I’m annoyed, but I think there is probably a metaphor for life somewhere here: on my porch with my dog. (A porch pooch!)

I’m sure there’s meaning here because now that I’ve written it all out he has jumped back on his chair, given me a few weighty sighs, looked at me with droopy puppy dog eyes and he might, just might be falling asleep.

#sol20 March 9 A Slice of Mountain Mystery

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

The scene: A cabin nestled in the mountains, hours past sunset.

The facts: It was dark, it was late. We had enjoyed dinner on the screened-in deck and enjoyed the mystery of the noise we heard somewhere below the deck,  in the dark forest.  A few of us had spent some time looking into the woods to try to see what was making the noise. The kids were convinced it was a bear. I said, “It’s probably a rabbit. Stop worrying.”

There was one thing we had left in the van: Mr. Thought’s BiPAP machine.

Also, the dog had to pee.

Mr. Thought and I decide that we should go outside together. We had read the binder about the cabin — be watchful for wildlife!

We walk out with the dog and are about to walk up to open the sliding side doors when we see something in front of the van.


We back back into the house before Finn notices, and we tell the kids to be quiet. We turn off all of the lights in the kitchen and look out the window.

“What is that?” we ask each other as we stare out the window.


“It’s a bear.”

“Look,” I say. “It’s furry.”

The kids go berserk.  I mean, there is the crowding of the window, the loud shushing of others, the crying.

“How are we going to get your sleep stuff?”
“How will Finn pee?”
“Don’t go out there. You can’t go out there.”
“Call Animal Control!”

H says, “No. That’s just a rock! Look at the pictures we took before our walk!”

So we look at the pictures. But there only seems to be the wooden slab. No big rock.

Plus, it is furry. And breathing. And is that an eye? It is so hard to see out the window!


Should we beep the van to make it move? But then we won’t know where it goes. Should we shine a flashlight at it? Is it sleeping? Should we knock on the window?

“Wait,” one of the kids says. Is this because I didn’t pick up my apple core?

Earlier, on our walk, we had put the apple core on the ground in front of our van – meaning to pick it up on the way back inside. But then we had forgotten.


“Is it a rock?” Someone asks. “Or a bear?”

I text my parents.


Mr. Thought devises a plan. He’ll go out the side porch to secure a door that is out there. This way, he can get a closer look – with screen door protection. I’ll stand by the window to get his thumbs down (It’s a bear) or thumbs up (It’s a rock!) and then we will know for sure.

The children do not like this plan. They can only think of bear attacks and death.

“Daddy. If you go out there and get killed by a bear, I’m going to be so mad at you!”

At some point, one of them googles what to do when you face a bear. They start reading us directions like “speak calmly, back away, do not run…”

We tell the kids to chill. Or maybe we yell at them to chill. I’m not saying it is our finest parenting moment. “Sit on the couch and let us figure this out, or go upstairs! We are the grown-ups!”

Then H remembers he has binoculars and runs upstairs to look from the window up there. The other kids follow.

“It’s a rock!” the kids shout, “It’s definitely a rock.”

But when L comes down and looks out the kitchen window again, she is unconvinced again.

We can see fur, and breathing, and is that an eye?

There’s only one way to find out. L sets her phone on the windowsill to capture the drama on video. Mr. Thought goes to the side porch. I watch as he slowly walks to the door that leads to the front.

Thumbs up.

It’s a rock.

A spotlight turns on from our movement, and it becomes obvious.

H says, “I told you! It’s a rock!”

Mr. Thought goes to get his stuff, I text my parents, they laugh.

We are so relieved – not only is it not a bear but now we have a story to go with the time our cat was missing right at the same time we had a mysterious large critter roaming our bedroom. . .






#sol20 March 6 A slice in a Parking Lot

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Listen, I admit it. I’m the kind of person you might look at funny in the parking lot of Trader Joes.

Listen, I admit it.  If I’m putting my groceries into my car, and I suddenly realize that I have been hearing a whining sound from behind me, I’m going to turn around.

Listen, I admit it. If I turn around and the whining sound stops, I’m going to pucker my lips out a little and start questioning the dog in the car beside me – the dog I didn’t notice before.

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to ask him if he just wanted attention. I’m going to say, “Was that you? Were you trying to say hello? What are you doing? You’re all serious now, aren’t you? Are you trying to pretend that wasn’t you whining a second ago?”

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to realize mid-speech that it maybe isn’t totally normal to be chatting with a dog you don’t know. I’m going to realize that people might not even see that there is anyone there – canine or human. I probably look like I’m talking to myself.

Listen, I admit it. After I realize this, I’m going to start talking again. “Oh!” I’ll say. “You are super cute even though you are trying to look all serious. What are you thinking about? Where’s your person? You’re such a good dog! A front seat dog!”

Listen, I admit it. I’m going to take a picture before I put my cart away…because look at that puppers!


A Slice From my chair

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan’s head popping up from my leg –
He’s just noticed the neighbor’s new puppy, Gus on a walk.
He will jump up any second, I think.
I can see Gus too.
But the light is getting dim out there.
The blinds should be closed by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I feel
The heat of the fireplace –
I love to watch the flames, even out of the corner of my eyes.
I will turn it off soon, I think.
I can hear the sound of the fan too.
But it’s getting a little hot in here.
The fire should be off by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I hear
The boys talking –
About bickering, “you can talk about bickering without bickering.”
I am told this as I type.
I can hear the oven beep too.
But I haven’t made the rest of dinner.
I should have fed my children by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan back on my leg –
Sleeping after his big adventure looking out the window.
I will have to move him soon.
He is all snuggled in too.
But I have to turn the fire off
And I need to feed the children now.

#sol18 March 27 The dog is crying

Slice of LIfe   

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

the dog is crying
in his crate
even though he's been sleeping in a crate
up until 6 weeks ago
when susie died 

the dog is crying 
in his crate
even though we moved it to the room he loves
because we didn't want him 
to be lonely

the dog is crying 
in his crate
even though I could really use a moment of peace
a moment that isn't a reminder
that I can't keep everyone happy

the dog is crying
in his crate
even though I gave him lots of love and a treat
as if to remind me,
"You didn't let your human babies cry it out."

#sol18 March 25 A sunny Sunday celebration slice (from my chair)

Slice of LIfe  celebrate-image 

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! I’m also celebrating with Ruth Ayres today! 

I sit to write at a sunny window. It’s quiet-ish around here, and I look around. From my chair, I see some lovely Sunday celebrations. I see…

H sitting next to me, his mini paper towels are complete, and he’s working on his mini Harry Potter Book. He sits chatting and singing Into the Woods songs, making miniatures.


Finn,  somehow still downstairs, not staring at the the bedroom door trying to sniff out the kittens. He sees something outside and leaps to our rescue. I don’t know what it was. A bird? A neighbor? A leaf? We will never know.


E,  drawing monsters in the kitchen. He has pages and pages of creative monsters he’s drawn. They have strengths, weights, evolutions, and awesome names. So many details, so much color.


Things don’t stay the way they are for long. That’s the only thing that’s constant around here: Change.

E was frustrated with his pictures, he’s taking a break from his coloring. H is done with this miniature book, he’s searching for his next project. Finn is finally tired out enough to rest on his couch in the sun. (As he should be, since I took him out for a 2 hour walk…) And that, friends, is something to truly celebrate.


#sol18 March 24 Before That… Kitten Edition

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 



Home to slice, before I go hang out with my dog, and then snuggle the new kittens.

Before that, we went out to dinner. I confess, I mostly wanted to go to get a little break from our dog, Finnegan whining about the new kittens.


Before that, we spent time trying to get Finnegan to calm down at the closed door where the kittens were playing.

Before that, I took Finn on an hour walk, hoping to tire him out a little.

Before that, Finnegan was crying at the door and straining at his leash to see those kittens.

Before that, we had the dog sniff the carrier holding a fluffy orange and white kitten. He stared a little, whined a little, and lunged a little. Fluffy kitten didn’t care — Didn’t even flinch.

Before that, we took the tiny tabby kitten in her carrier towards the house. Finn sniffed, and the cat hissed. She was scared!

Before that, we drove 2 kittens home from the shelter.

Before that, we sat at the shelter deciding. We knew we wanted the orange and white cat, but the little tabby sat on my chest, all curled in. She was purring.


Before that, we walked in. The kids went to the orange and white fluffy cat they knew they wanted. A little tiny tabby cat stared up at me, so I picked her up.

Before that, the shelter volunteers told us two cats was better than one, and that it didn’t matter if we got one later.

Before that, we took our one pet carrier out of the car and walked into the shelter. We only needed one. Because we were only getting one kitten. The orange and white fluffy one.


Before that, the pet supply store people told us that we should get one cat now and two cats later, rather than two cats now and one cat later.

Before that, I took a deep breath, reminded the kids that it was going to be a lot of work training Finnegan to ignore any new kittens.

Before that, the kids did so many things to remind me that they needed kittens. I didn’t argue. I  need cats in my life too!

Before that, I saw a quote online. “Sometimes the best way to honor the life of the pet you lost is to save another. . . Don’t wait too long, a shelter animal is waiting for you…”

Before that, we were a home without cats for the first time in a long time.

Before that, Susie passed away.

Before that, Billy passed away.


#Sol18 March 22 Finnegan’s Medicine

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Finnegan’s Medicine

The vet’s office said Finnegan would like his medicine.

“It’s in a chicken suspension, so it shouldn’t be a problem. He should like the taste,” they said.

I stared at the huge syringe and thought, ‘Ok.”

But, they were wrong.

Yes, those are my Valentine’s Elmo socks. I wore them under my boots today.  Then, I had to throw my boots away because they are broken now. That’s a different slice. A sad slice. I was going to crop myself out of the picture, but then I thought, I should be my authentic self.

The vet was very, very wrong.

I’m sure there’s a better way to do this.

Finally, most got in his mouth, but some did splash on the floor.

“UGH! Chicken juice on the floor!” my vegetarian family groaned.

Luckily, Finnegan did like the taste when it was on the floor.

If he ever needs this medicine again, I plan on just pouring it on the floor.

Dogs are weird.

(But sweet and cute enough to make it up for it)