Tag Archives: dogs

Penny the Destroyer.

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YOU GUYS. I have to tell you about something absolutely crazy that happened this morning. So I’ve mentioned Penny, Nate and his housemates’ dog, and how awesome she is and how much I adore her, right? Well, this morning Nate and Sean, one of his old housemates that is back in Seattle for the weekend, and I all took Penny to the park and were having a grand old time playing fetch with her. They have this little contraption called a Chuck-It, which has a cupping mechanism on the end so that you can use it to pick up and throw a rubber ball instead of getting dog slobber all over your hands, and we were throwing lots of long tosses to try to tire Penny out, to no avail. We were getting ready to pack up and head home when a man and his five-year-old daughter and their dog started walking toward us, and the man asked if his dog could play fetch with Penny too. We try to encourage Penny to make friends, even though her interest lies solely in the Chuck-It the majority of the time she’s around other dogs, so we said sure. The other dog’s name was Clover, and he appeared to be about three years old and just as fast as Penny. Once the game of fetch got under way, the man and his daughter started walking toward the playground within the park and eventually disappeared from sight. We kept throwing long balls and because Penny was already tuckered out, Clover kept beating her on the retrieval. In an attempt to throw Penny a bone (no pun intended), Nate chucked the ball down hard so that it would bounce only a short distance, but high so that Penny could jump for it. But Clover was determined to get it, and when they both went for it, they ended up colliding face-first into each other. The sound of their heads knocking together made a sickeningly audible sound, and we all gasped in horror.

Both dogs looked shaken and paused for a moment like they were trying to collect themselves, but then they both trotted back toward us like nothing had happened. We were ready to resume the game of fetch until we realized that Clover’s mouth was bleeding profusely, so we went and found his owner and explained what happened. We thought that he must have just bitten his tongue or something, but then Sean and I both noticed that Clover’s bottom right canine appeared to be missing. As Clover’s owner and his horrified daughter started walking away to take Clover home and clean him up, Sean walked out to the scene of the collision and started looking around. When he came back, he was holding Clover’s tooth in his palm. The tooth had been ripped clean out, roots and all, and was like three or four inches long. After showing it to us, Sean ran to catch up with the owner to show him the tooth so that he knew what he was dealing with and could take the dog to the vet immediately, all while trying to keep it out of sight of the already-traumatized five-year-old. The owner took the tooth and continued back to his home, and we three and Penny left the park shortly thereafter, but we haven’t been able to stop talking about how crazy the whole thing was all afternoon.

A few things I found interesting about this chance encounter: one, poor Clover. That dog had to have been in so much pain to have his canine knocked clean out of his head, but he didn’t yelp or lie down or even so much as whimper. He came back ready for another round! Which brings me to two: the level of power that ball held over these two dogs is somewhat disturbing. Dogs are not known to be super-rational creatures, but most know better than to blindly and voluntarily crash full-force into another dog, or anything for that matter. That ball was an object of such desire for both Penny and Clover that they would stop at nothing, not even personal injury, to have it. Kind of scary. And three: Penny has no concept of what she did to Clover. Penny walked away without a scratch on her and Clover is going to be disabled by the loss of that tooth for the rest of his life, but to Penny, it was as simple as “We were both running after the ball and I won.” Even though what happened to Clover was ultimately an accident and not anyone’s fault, Sean and Nate and I all felt a degree of guilt over what had happened; as a dog, Penny doesn’t really have the capacity to feel guilt over Clover’s tooth, and now that I think about it, Clover probably doesn’t have the capacity to feel angry about his tooth, either. But it’s interesting, nonetheless, to consider the limited range of concepts and emotions that can be understood or felt by dogs in comparison to humans, and to think about the lack of complexity in Penny’s feelings toward most things, not least of all us, her human companions.

All of which is to say: we’re really glad that physical injury did not befall Penny, and still kind of shocked at the damage our sweet girl accidentally inflicted on another pup. It’s already become a joke, though: we’ve been calling her Penny the Destroyer all afternoon, and I kind of hope that’s a nickname that sticks.

This Dog’s Life.

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As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m presently/temporarily residing with six dudes and a dog, and the most awesome part of that experience has been the dog. The dudes adopted Penny while she was still just a wee pup back in November, about a month after I moved to Amsterdam, and now she’s about eight months old and has grown into a proper awesome dog. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a little worried about returning to Seattle and meeting Penny for the first time because I’ve never really been a dog person, and I was afraid I wouldn’t love her as much as Nate and all of his housemates did, if at all. But there’s a first time for everything, and Penny is my first true canine love. She’s seriously the best dog ever. She has the sweetest temperament, and she loves to cuddle, and she’s GORGEOUS. She’s like a supermodel dog. And I know I love her because I never feel put out about having to pick up her smelly shits when I take her on walks or to the park. That’s love, you guys.

ANYWAY, getting to know Penny has made me think a lot about what a dog’s life is like, and how awesome it would be to be a dog. Think about it: dogs don’t have to work or pay rent or worry about any of the things that humans have to worry about. They get to lie around the house all day and can count on someone else to make sure they have food to eat and they get free belly rubs all the time. And they get so excited about someone throwing a ball or a stick and just running after it. I wish I got as excited about ANYTHING as Penny gets about playing fetch. That type of earnest and unbridled joy is beautiful.

I feel like I’m also getting to see the world in a new way through Penny’s eyes, almost like seeing the world through the eyes of a kid. I see how she reacts with a mixture of alarm and perplexity to things like cars and bicycles, and these things that are so commonplace to humans start to appear as strange and magical to me as they do to her. She must think our world is so weird, but when I stop to consider it from her perspective, it is pretty weird. She’s amazed by the most simple things, like someone’s watch reflecting light on the ceiling. She’ll stare at the light intently, her head following it as it moves, and then she’ll tentatively move toward it and jump up on the couch to try to get it. She has a real sense of wonder that few humans are able to retain once they reach adulthood, and it’s really endearing and refreshing.

Yeah, dogs have a pretty good life.

Man’s Best Friend.

I’ve been afflicted with a new Tumblr obsession: Celebrities and Their Dogs. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a running catalog of photos featuring celebrities and their furry, four-legged friends. For most of my life I’ve never really liked dogs, but as I’ve come into adulthood I’ve grown to think they’re pretty great, even to the point of wanting to get one myself (you may have noticed that “Get a weiner dog” is on my 23 Before 24 list). There’s something a little magical about these photos, a visible bond of love between human and canine that is just so sweet.

Photobucket Truman Capote

Photobucket Ryan Gosling

Photobucket Goldie Hawn

Photobucket Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

PhotobucketCary Grant

Photobucket Adele

Photobucket Jimmy Stewart

I really want a dog now.

Today’s Letters.

I stumbled upon this post by Jeremy Larson a couple weeks back, and ended up perusing a good portion of the archives on Today’s Letters. It’s so delightful! I’ve always loved writing/reading/receiving letters, and I think these short little letters speak volumes very quietly and cleverly. I wish I had been cool enough to think of this idea first, but I wasn’t, so I’ll just borrow it and form it to my own personal parameters, hoping that one day I’ll think of something brilliant and heartfelt first.


Dear Markle Sparkle and Mackadocious, I like to think of us as a trifecta of awesome. True happiness, for me, is listening to the two of you quote The Departed repeatedly ad nauseum. It never gets old. I look forward to a great deal of rabble-rousing in Austin with you two foul-mouthed hosers.

Dear Rebecca Black, I sing your song at work every Friday without fail. I can’t help it, even though all of my co-workers threaten to put me in a headlock if I don’t stop.

Dear Judson, sometimes I miss high school, but only because I miss sneaking out in the wee hours of the night and TPing houses with you.

Dear Everyone in America Who Is Rejoicing Over the Death of Osama bin Laden, I understand on principle where you’re coming from, but I feel sad that you are so pleased that he’s dead. Patriotism is all good and fine, but we are humans first and Americans second. Let’s not act like barbarians, shall we?

Photobucket via

Dear Future Dog, even though I make fun of ladies who dress up their dogs like little humans, I know that when I bring you into my life that I will most certainly become that crazy dog lady that I make fun of. I will try to dress you as tastefully as possible (probably in argyle polo shirts and cable-knit sweaters, if that’s okay) and always respect your canine dignity.

Dear Nate, Seizing the day has served us well, I think. I feel simultaneously lucky and dumbfounded by my luck.

Dear Bekah, I feel like a very uninteresting person in your presence. You are what Kerouac was talking about when he said “The only ones for me are the mad ones.” Being around you makes me feel hyper-alive, much like I imagine bungee-jumping or skydiving would make me feel. You are a cool breeze whipping through the tree limbs of my life, and that makes me close my eyes and smile contentedly.

Photobucket via

Dear Lady Gaga, do you offer summer internships? I would love to do a job shadow with you.

Dear Ex-Boyfriend, thank you for breaking up with me. Seriously, thank you so much for letting go when I was unwilling and unable to. Your leaving me has opened up my life to many beautiful and exciting things and people that I would have missed out on otherwise, because let’s face it, you were always holding me back. You’ve also made my parents incredibly happy.

Dear Groupon Writers, I have a deep appreciation and admiration for your witty writing. Reading the little synopses on the daily deals often makes me snort-laugh with delight, and then the people in my office give me funny looks, like “She keeps laughing to herself… is she mentally unhinged?” Keep doing what you’re doing, for you do it very well.

Dear Mark, remember that one time that we dated and I got my wisdom teeth taken out and you decided to shave off your beard that same day because you thought I would be too drugged out to notice it was gone and then I got really upset with you? I know you think I overreacted, but I think I would probably react the same way now if it happened again, with you or with anyone. Beards are nothing to joke about.