Dogs That Eat Bugs & Spiders That Eat People

If you know me in real life (or even just read this blog or my Twitter occasionally) you’ve probably figured out that I have three dogs who are equal parts crazy and awesome (and by equal parts I mean 97.4% crazy, 2.6% awesome). They occasionally wreak havoc on the neighborhood, but once in a while will do cool things like keep me from getting a speeding ticket….or save my life when my husband isn’t home.

A bit of a back story:

I am terrified of spiders. Terrified may not be the right word, more like completely phobic of them. It’s seriously irrational and absolutely ridiculous, but I cannot control. In Psych I learned that I qualify for an actual diagnosis based on the DSM criteria for specific phobias.

One summer night after my freshman year of college I was staying at my mom’s house overnight while she was out of town or something. After I ate dinner that night I walked around the corner and into the hallway to find what can only be described as an octo-legged, girl-eating monster staring me down from the rug. My first inclination was to run for my life and scream for someone to kill it.

Then I remembered I was home by myself for at least the next 24 hours and at some point I would probably need to go down that hallway, considering it was the only way to get to the either of the bathrooms in the house…whose idea was that design?

This wasn’t just any spider, either – it was a wolf spider. If you’ve never encountered one of these satan-filled creatures be warned, they not only have the ability to jump Mr. Chow-style right at your face, but they are also not more afraid of you than you are of them…especially if you’re me.

Now, I never kill spiders if I have a choice, but if I’m the only one around I’d rather knock the sucker off on my own than let it run under a couch so it can hunt me down while I sleep, therfore Raid is a staple in my house.

Unfortunately, I was staying at my mom’s house and while she did have Raid, it was the type that’s meant for taking down wasp nests…basically it shoots chemicals out with the force of a fire hose in attempt to drown an entire nest of flying aggressors before they can attack you in buzz-filled anger.

I seriously considered going to the neighbors house and having them come help me out, but I was afraid it would disappear before they came and then I’d be forced to sleep in my car.

Anyway, I used the Wasp Raid from approximately 12 feet away to knock the creature off (along with his friend who appeared in what I can only assume was an attempt to save his buddy or claim revenge on the buddy’s murderer) and it got the job done…in fact I’m pretty sure any insect within a 30 feet radius likely encountered rolling waves of bug-killer emanating from the pond created by my weapon of choice.

I then proceeded to leave the body on the floor under a large bowl until my mom could get home and dispose of the body the next day. That night I tiptoed past the body, locked the bedroom door and slept on top of the covers with my chemical-filled fire hose in hand.

Because I was afraid it would wake back up and come for it’s revenge? I don’t know…it seemed like a good idea at the time.


A bit more recently I was sitting cross-legged in my desk chair reading about the Kreb’s Cycle or something equally interesting and was totally ignoring Wrigley, who was playing with what I thought was a toy right under my chair.

When he started growling I almost didn’t even hear him, he does it all the time – usually when he’s playing or trying to get my attention.

Why does he growl?

Because, by failing to appropriately channel my inner Cesar Milan, I praised him for it when he was a baby. Come on! It was just so cute. Imagine a little 2-lb baby Wrigley growling at your toes.

You know it’s cute. You would have encouraged it, too. Stop judging me.

When the growling evolved into a manic bark accompanied by insane cat-like scratching I finally glanced down to figure out what all the commotion was about. I’m sure you can guess what I found – a (slightly smaller but still rather large) creepy arachnid hanging out right where my feet would have gone had I uncrossed my legs.

It was in about four pieces by the time I looked down, which was totally gross, but I guess that’s my fault for ignoring the dog’s initial warnings of what I would call danger and I’m sure Wrigley would call total-excitement-slash-yummy-snack.

So, my 20 lb dog basically saved me from the heart attack that would’ve occurred had I set my feet down on top of that thing and since then he’s alerted me to numerous other offenders in the house.

It’s like he can sense that I need someone to protect me from them…

or he likes to eat bugs.

Either way it’s a win-win…and that’s why I no longer get onto my dog for eating bugs. 

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What’s your biggest fear?!

Always Zip Your Backpack Pockets…

or risk losing your favorite study snacks to a vicious predator with long hair, big eyes and a wet nose that is apparently ridiculously good at it’s sniffing job.

Do I look sweet & innocent? Good, that’s what I’m going for…
I’ve often discussed the fact that I own dogs who could, if canine-psychiatry was a real life field, likely earn themselves a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Generally, when I’m talking about my dogs thieving things it’s in reference to our Red Heeler procuring balls and other toys from the neighbors’ yards using her superhero-like skills to scale our 6-ft wooden picket fence…

but not this time.

In addition to supplying us with uncharacteristically good food, the hospital cafeteria attached to my medical school conveniently stocks little packages of peanut butter to put on toast and bagels. Occasionally when I eat there I will have a random package of peanut butter left over and I have taken to throwing them in my backpack with some saltines for a high-protein snack during study hours.

At home our office is the first stop from the back door after you make it through the laundry room and as such my 480 lb. backpack generally ends up living in the most convenient place to drop it when I come in from a long day of studying – on the floor by my desk.

I had been studying at home one day and, being the irresponsible dog-owner that I am, was paying more attention to charts on renal function than I was to Wrigley, my youngest “child,” and the un-zipped backpack sitting right next to me. A little bit later I walked into our bedroom and noticed shredded white paper all over the floor. At first glance I had no idea what it was and, since this dog’s favorite past time seems to be destroying paper towels and dryer sheets, I ignored it under the assumption he’d been dumpster diving again. Then…I smelled peanuts…and noticed this laying on his bed:

I walked back into the office to find a furry white body hanging out of my backpack, the head presumably attached to the front end of said body completely submerged in the front pocket of my backpack searching for a second peanut-buttery treat for the day:

I guess he knew I was about to steal away his tasty treat, so when he noticed me taking pictures he took off running. I tracked the deviant creature down in the kitchen and, naturally, snapped a couple more pictures before snatching away the prize he was so obviously proud of. 

Look Mom! It’s delicious, you should try it…
Not to worry, I was so proud of the little dude’s first cranial nerve and the fact that he had tracked down peanut butter at the bottom of my backpack and formulated a way to rip through the plastic packaging to eat all of it without me knowing, that I opened the package and let him and his sisters chow down. 

What can I say? I’m a bit of a pushover.

And the moral of the story is…
peanut butter is irresistible, zip your backpack pockets.

Avoid a Speeding Ticket Using Your Dirty Dog

Baby Jaden. Born 4/4/11 – 7lbs, 7oz. Adorable.
I was about an hour into the three hour drive home from visiting one of my very best friends and her absolutely precious new baby boy, listening to Dr. Goljan explain Serous Ovarian Cystadenocarinoma through my car speakers and generally minding my own business when I saw flashing lights make an abrupt u-turn as I passed them.
I silently willed the lights to transform into an ambulance. No luck. I wished my misfortune onto the tan car that had been following me. Still no luck.
 Pause Dr. Goljan and his Gynecology lecture. Roll down window.

Do you know why I’m pulling you over ma’am?
 blank, innocent stare
Speeding. Is there a medical emerge…
HEY! that dog looks JUST like my Cockapoo! confused stare
He’s cute! glance at Wrigley. wonder how he even remotely resembles a Cockapoo.

I kid you not, friends, the officer interrupted his own
onlyspeedinemergencies speech to talk to about my dog. What can I say? He’s just that cute.

So, naturally, I asked him if his Cockapoo was as dirty as the orphan-looking dog riding in my passenger seat who, I’m 90% sure, has not seen sunlight in at least 4 weeks thanks to his neglectful parents failing to secure him a trip to the groomers. I glanced to my right and gave Wrigley an
if-you-growl-at-the-cop-I-swear-I-will-leave-you-on-the-side-of-the-road* look and my obedient animal friend happily wagged his tail and gave his best puppy dog eyes.

Thanks, Buddy. I promise we’ll cut your hair soon.

However, thanks to that haircut issue, I highly doubt anyone could even see his eyes – but, officer, if you could see his eyes I swear they would be big, black, please-don’t-give-my-broke-mom-a-ticket eyes.

Mr. Highway Patrol left with my info and subsequently returned to my window wielding a white piece of paper. He flashed a “you’re welcome” grin at Wrigley and handed me a typed-up warning without saying anything.

Then he stuck his arm through my window to try and pet Wrigley. Again, I willed my constantly suspicious four-legged child not to growl and, miraculously, he obliged. Then Mr. Hwy Patrol and I had a long conversation about what kind of dogs we have and he told me how great he thought dogs were. I agree, sir. I agree…especially when they flash those puppy dog eyes through 12 layers of matted hair to get you out of a speeding ticket.

And, for the record, I happen to think dog-loving officers are really great, as well. 

Tell me your law-enforcement stories! Have you ever gotten a ticket you didn’t deserve? How about gotten out of one you probably did deserve??

*When Wrigley was a tiny little 2 pound puppy he would growl at my fingers and I thought it was SO cute and made him do it all the time. Thanks to my marvelous parenting skills he now thinks growling at people is how he should ask them to pet him. Trip to the park? Growl at small children. Walk in the neighborhood? Growl at neighbors. It makes total sense.

My Cattle Dog Is A Criminal

Highjacked Bouncy Ball

Last week I was taking the trash out and Mae, our 5 year old Red Heeler, brought me this ball to play fetch. She is a fetching machine, seriously – as long as you throw the ball (or frisbee, she is actually partial to frisbees) she will bring it back to you. Anyway, so what’s the big deal? Well, that ball is not ours. No, that ball belongs to Callie & Brunson, the neighbor’s dogs.

Allow me to explain…

I remember the day we figured out what was happening…the handsome guy that I eventually conned into sharing my med school debt marrying me and I had been sitting on the (disgusting blue, dirty, bachelor pad-esque excuse for a) couch, most likely procrastinating some type of school work, when a trio of knocks
resonated through the room. 

We answered the door to find Redneck Neighbor:
“Yir red dawg out dur is jumpin’ my fence and eatin’ my pup’s food.”

What’d that crazy cowboy say ’bout me?
He’s lying.

I think at the time we both thought he was crazy, little did we know this would become a defining moment in our animal-parenting lives. We chose to do nothing and we ended up raising a hardcore canine criminal.

It wasn’t until about almost two years later that I thought about this again. I pulled up to Donnie’s house and
 who do you think I saw basking in the sun with her ears pointed straight to the sky? (no…not her…she uses an all natural, citrus fruit-based spray to get that sun-baked look) Yup, I saw Mae the red dog in all her fence-jumping glory. And, when she spotted me, she fled – directly over a 6 feet wooden picket fence. It was more like a leap-anchor-catapult move, but she made it over nonetheless and I saw it with my own two eyes.

Obstacle in the way of frisbee? No problem.

Other than the fact that her jumping has made for some seriously stressful missing-dog events….and oh man has it made for some seriously stressful missing-dog events (3 days missing in the woods after fleeing from a boarding facility…oh purina…I’m nauseous thinking about it…) it really hasn’t been too big of a hassle. In fact it’s been a source of occasional amusement – she’s great fun to watch catching frisbees, backflipping if you toss a tennis ball just right and climbing trees.

Anyway, here in West Texas we have some really awesome neighbors. The Hearn’s are a couple who love their four-legged children as much as we love ours and they are really, freakin’ awesome people on top of that. Naturally, since they like their dogs so much, they keep a plethora of squeaky, colorful, plastic things stockpiled in their back yard. 

**Let it be known, before I continue this story, that our dogs have toys, as well. Lots of them. More than any three dogs should ever have. In fact there is currently enough stuffing in my hallway to stock a Build-A-Bear shop for 6 years.**

When I started walking outside last year and finding toys I didn’t recognize, it didn’t take me too long to figure out what was going on. There were really only two explanations…

  1. The neighbors bought their dogs really flippin’ sweet toys that could, as my grandmother would say, grow legs and walk to our yard or…
  2. My fur-child was an all out thief of all things round & squeaky.

Luckily, as I mentioned before, these neighbors are really great and they find it pretty hilarious that Mae likes to mosey on over and snatch things from their yard. They offered to cut a hole in the fence so it wouldn’t be so much trouble for her, but I’m pretty sure she’d just start heading for the other neighbor’s yard if we did that (and they have a very small chihuahua that I’m almost certain could be mistaken for a squeaky toy). 

Yes, people, my dog is a thief. She is an unabashed, Kong-stealing, criminal. I’m just waiting for the fateful day when the feds to show up to inform me that they matched her paw print to the scene of a massive Petsmart heist.

Now, excuse me while I walk my delinquent dog to the
neighbor’s and make her apologize for what she’s done.

Until that day I’ll just keep tossing abducted tennis balls back over the fence while I lecture Mae on how her toys really are just as cool as theirs (unless I’m wrong & those toys do pull a Toy Story worthy stunt to get to our house….in that case, the neighbor dog’s toys are, in fact, far cooler than any tennis ball I’ve ever paid for). 

Did you ever steal something as a child? Or maybe your child highjacked a candy bar from the grocery store (I swear I have no personal experience with that…don’t ask my mother, though)? I would ask for stories of thieving pets, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one raising a criminal Cattle Dog. Tell me your stories!

These Are My Hairy Kids

Since my post this weekend will be a lovely story concerning one of our dogs and her misbehaviors, I figured I should go ahead and let you all meet them. How could you not love those goofy faces?? Yes, we’re the crazy dog people.

Black & White With Crossed Eyes – Sage
Flying Red Dog With Pointy Ears – Mae
Fluffy Cotton Ball With Long Tongue – Wrigley 

Who else has an animal they love? Cats? Dogs? Birds? Monkeys Disguised As Small People? Tell me about them! Or better yet, show me a picture. 🙂

It’s Because I’m Green, Isn’t It?

If I had a dollar for each time someone has called me cuddly-as-a-cactus since my previous post I’d have a million dollars. Okay, that’s a total lie – I wouldn’t have any dollars (which is not so different from the amount of dollars my bank account has, so I’m in good company), but I did feel very judged after admitting my aversion to Frosty the Snowman. 

So, in attempt to reconcile with my audience the four of you who read this and with my family (Christmas is here, there are gifts that will require my acceptance) I will explain myself further.

“How do you hate Christmas music? I LOVE this time of year.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold yir horses there cowboy. I didn’t say I hate Christmas or this time of year. Au contraire grasshopper, I love almost all (non-musical) things Christmas and I greatly enjoy this time of year. In fact, making, sending and receiving Christmas cards has to be one of my favorite things ever. This year we actually had a wonderful photographer, who also happens to be a wonderful friend, take some “family portraits” for us.
If you follow me on Twitter you know I am ridiculously happily married to my (intensely handsome and exceedingly geeky) college sweetheart and we have three children crazy dogs. We have been a “family” for almost 3 years now and despite having an absurd amount of pictures of our dogs, we have no pictures of all 5 of us. So, I decided Christmas cards would be a divine excuse to obtain such a picture. I mean, if we’re going to force our friends and family to look at pictures of us and our hairy children, they might as well be good pictures, right?
So, in my giddiness to create Christmas cards I contacted my friend and we had a little photo shoot. I peed my pants the day our cards came in the mail. Unfortunately, it seems not everyone gets this delighted to send and receive Christmas cards. My cognizance of the Christmas Card Haters was born following a riveting conversation I had at a local drug store:

Me: “Are there 20 stamps in each booklet? I think I need two sets.”

Checker: “Yeah. What do you need so many stamps for anyway?”

Me: (Alright meddling woman, I’ve been looking for stamps for an hour….freaking sell them to me so I can get on with my life.) “To mail our Christmas cards.”

Checker: “WHAT!? This is a LOT of money to spend on Christmas cards. You should just send a text. My Christmas card is a mass text to my friends.

Me: (WHAT is wrong with your my generation!? Snail mail is dead and part of my heart has died with it. You kids and your new-fangled mePhones and weemail….pick up an ink pen dagnabit) “Thanks, Merry Christmas. I’ll text you.”  

Merry Christmas, Friends – With Love From The Joneses
Danielle, Donnie, Wrigley, Sage & Mae
More photos and hilarious blooper shots on our post at Linda Schillberg’s blog

So, rest assured hollyjollychristmasers, that I know how you feel when you tell me it makes your peanut brittle to hear that I hate Christmas music. I felt like I’d be given a stocking full of coal when I discovered there was a breed of folks out there who hate Christmas cards. The only thing I love more than designing and sending our Christmas cards is receiving cards from our friends and family.

Some of the cards we’ve received from friends & family this year.
Tell me, readers, what do you think of Christmas cards? And please tell me you aren’t mass texting your friends and family as their holiday greeting….I need my faith in our generation restored.