The letter L.

There’s a problem in suburban America.

It’s the pedal to the metal. It’s hightailing it home. Full throttle. It’s the valet guys taking Cameron’s dad’s red car in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The letter L.

Lead foot driving.

I’m not talking about the local teenagers drag racing down the street. Although, I don’t like that either. Stop it – you’re going to wake up my kids and probably kill yourself. I’m talking about daddy and mommy dearest flying through neighborhoods.

Being an adult mostly sucks but being an adult also means you don’t have to be lectured anymore.

Until now.

Are you guilty of Fast and Furious’ing through your neighborhood? Yes. We all are. Were you trying to kill an innocent child, jogger, or dog? No. None of us are.

I get it. I do. I’m human. I can feel the lead in my feet. I did speed up to try and kill a coyote running across the road. It was a normal street, not a residential one. And by speed, I mean I just didn’t bother to slow down. Before you judge, a coyote tried to kill my dog. I merely played karma with an engine. I also don’t swerve for roadkill. I run over it and make it more flat. Scott thinks this is psychotic but I don’t think so. Bumpbump. You’re welcome.

I’m good at driving slow through neighborhoods. I used to live on a busy street. I know how much it sucks. I rarely let the kids play in the front yard because of the traffic. If one of our dogs took off, the first spot I checked was for a smashed dog in the street. I could stand and yell at drivers all day to slow down and no one would listen. Like damn children.

I live on a cul-de-sac now. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Fast traffic doesn’t exist and my neighbors cross dress which is awesome. But I still see the fast drivers. I see the little preschoolers. Dogs are still at risk.

I can spill out stats on pedestrian fatalities or tell you a sad story about someone accidentally hitting and killing a small child. It’s rare but it happens. One of the first lessons we teach children is to look both ways before crossing a street; you can’t trust drivers. As parents, we never stop repeating this phrase.

But sometimes the adult needs a lesson too. Slow down in residential neighborhoods; you can’t trust a child. I can’t sit shotgun in your car to slap you and remind you to slow down. You’re going to have to calm your ass down by yourself as you turn into your neighborhood.

I thought of some helpful reminders.

  • Let Beethoven bring it home. Classical music has a relaxing effect on our minds. Turn that shit up once you turn into a neighborhood. Roll in like a boss.
  • Observe your neighbors’ houses. Go ahead, slow way down to a crawl. Take landscaping notes. Determine who has the greenest yard. Take a peek to see who’s grilling. Wave. Stop and say hello. But still watch the road. Observe your neighbors. Because they’re observing you and your driving speed.
  • Spray lavender in your car before you pull into the neighborhood. Lavender calms the mind and hopefully your lead foot. I hope it doesn’t make you sneeze because nothing is more reckless than sneezing while driving.
  • Pretend you’re driving a boat. Residential streets are ‘no wake’ zones. I don’t know, I’m getting desperate for ideas here.
  • Pretend your kids, your dogs, your cats, your grandma all live in your neighborhood and BOOM RUN OUT IN FRONT OF YOU.
  • When you turn into your neighborhood, remember that blog post you found on Facebook by some girl named Julie or something. She’s kinda funny and she speeds too and she was very nice about asking the general public to slow down where you live. She knows deep down inside you’re not a murderer.

I know, sometimes your mind wanders and you forget to slow down. I’ve been reminded by the green plastic man and orange cones too.

If it were up to me I would make kid and dog ghost holograms dancing in the street straight up from The Haunted Mansion in Disney World. If you hit a ghost, I would send the ghost home with you and haunt your ass.

No one needs to speed home. Don’t let your lead foot down.

This is my public service announcement.

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The letter H.

Hello.

Hello?

It’s the weekend. From a blogging standpoint, the weekend means no one is reading this. No one is reading this because weekends are for running errands, shopping, day drinking, or sitting in a folding chair somewhere on a sideline watching recreational kids sports.

The letter H.

Hairy butts.

It’s technically furry butts but I used the letter F on my husband’s weather woman crush.

The shit I deal with.

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This is Belle and me earlier today. We were in line, waiting to exit the soccer park. Exiting the soccer park is like leaving a parking lot after a concert only you’re excited to get the hell out of there because you have errands to run. But before those errands you have to go home and wash your dog’s asshole. I’m praying her asshole isn’t touching my sleeve.

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What is this photo I’m showing you?

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That would be my father-in-law and Belle. They’re watching Emma’s soccer game. No one is around them because they’re standing in the Burton shit storm of 2017.

Scott is Emma’s soccer coach. Scott and Emma have to be at the field early to warm up. That leaves me to bring Kate. I decided to bring our yorkie poo, Belle, to the game.

In my typical life fashion – shit happened. I brought a baggie and some paper towels because this ain’t my first rodeo.

As soon as Kate, Belle, and I stepped on grass, Belle hovered her hips.

“Kate, stop. Belle’s pooping.”

Belle continued to walk and hover.

“Come on, Belle. Pick a spot. We’re late.”

I pulled out my baggie and the paper towels. Belle stood hovering. Then she sat.

“Kate, did she go? Where is it? Where’s the poop?”

“I don’t think she pooped, Mom.”

Belle sat and watched a crowd of people walk by.

“Belle, come on.”

Belle looked up at me with her eyes without moving her head. She wouldn’t walk towards me. Kate pulled her leash. She stood like a statue.

“Dammit.”

I dropped our folding chairs on the grass. I picked up Belle’s hips. A golf ball sized turd hung under her tail like a damn Christmas ornament. The wind picked up and the scent of shit blew around us. I took a paper towel and grabbed the turd. Belle whined.

“Oh, no. Kate. It’s stuck. I might have take her home. Do you want to sit with Nana and Papa or go home with me?”

“I want to stay with Nana and Papa.”

“Ok, I need to get this off her before she gets in my car. Stay here for a sec and I’ll take you to the sideline with the other parents.”

A little boy walked up to us.

“Can I pet your puppy?”

“Oh, she’s not feeling that well…”

“Peeeewwww!”

The boy ran off. I picked up Belle’s hips again. I grabbed a new paper towel.

“Ok. Count of three. One. Two. Three.”

I squeezed and pulled. Belle whined. The golfball turd collapsed into thick paste. I tried again.

“EWWW! Mom!”

Let me try to wipe her up. I wiped her with a third paper towel. By the time I was done, Belle was waddling back and forth like a damn penguin and her whole backside looked like she sat in a pile of spicy mustard.

“Here. Ok, let me throw these paper towels away and I’ll drop you off with Nana. I can’t take Belle to the game. I’ll take her home.”

I walked Kate to the sidelines. The other parents pulled their shirts over the noses as we passed.

“Hey, I have to go. Will you watch Kate? Belle took a steamy dump and it got stuck and it’s smeared all over and oh! Don’t let her jump on you! She’ll want to sit on our laps if I stay. Oh no, she’s butt dragging. It’s bad.”

My father-in-law took the leash from me.

“I’ll take her!”

“Are you sure? You need to keep her far away from us.”

“Ok, we’ll stay away.”

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20 minutes. I spent 20 minutes of my life shampooing, snipping, and scrubbing a dog’s hairy ass.

The letter H – hairy butts. Don’t let your butt hair grow out of control. Or fur. Whatever.

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You can milk anything with nipples.

I spent weeks looking for it.

The flaw.

We rescued a cat for Kate’s 7th birthday. We rescued a 3-year-old adult cat, named Penny. Penny spent the majority of her life at an animal rescue shelter in Kansas City. Before placed at the rescue shelter, she was a stray kitten. That’s all the information we had to go on when we brought Penny home to Kate.

I’m not a fool. What’s wrong with her? Why didn’t anyone want her? There would be a flaw, every pet has one much like every human has one. I made it a mission to find the flaw. My flaw is finding flaws in everything.

I checked the litter box every morning and I smelled every room for cat pee.

The litter box is full. There are no scents of a cat living here. Penny has no problems with bladder control.

Ok, cat pee is a non-issue. Scratch marks. I’ve never had a cat with a full set of claws. I searched for scratch marks on the couch and the bed posts. I looked for the cat hanging from the window treatments when I pulled into the driveway.

No destruction. Her scratch posts are used on a regular basis. The only time I see Penny in the window is when she’s on her cat tower.

I waited.

Hairballs?

No hairballs.

I got it – got it. Maybe she’ll hate the vet. Cats hate the cat carrier and cats hate the vet. Maybe she has cancer.

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Penny smiled for me once I told her that her vet got his veterinary degree from K-State, of course she loves her vet. He’s a Wildcat. She let the vet feel her up. She has no signs of cancer.

Fine. Maybe she hates dogs.

Penny is a lover, not a hater. 

Then maybe she hates the kids chasing her.

Penny loves the kids chasing her. 

No way. There is no way we adopted the perfect 3-year-old cat.

Penny is Kate’s cat. But is Kate Penny’s human? Maybe Penny would chose our bedroom, or even Emma’s bedroom, as her home base.

Penny decided her room would be Kate’s room and she sleeps with Kate. 

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STOP.

What the hell is that?

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I found the flaw. Penny nurses herself to sleep.

It’s a thing. Google it.

Penny’s favorite part of the day is snuggling in bed at night. She snuggles next to Kate. They wait for their bedtime story to be read to them.

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Goodnight Moon. By Margaret Wise Brown.

Good night, room. Good night, moon.

Good night, cow jumping over the moon. Good night, cat nursing on the blanket next to me. STOP IT, PENNY. 

The cat’s flaw is solid gold.

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We should have named her Focker.

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A nursing kitten is cute. A nursing 3-year-old cat is not cute. Watching an adult cat nursing next to you is like watching a three-year-old human nursing next to you. If you’re a mom nursing your 3-year-old, that’s totally cool. I don’t care what you do to soothe your kid. I’m all for breastmilk. I’m all for formula. I’m all for cow’s milk.

But if you whip out your boob in front of me in my own house because your 3-year-old says, “give me some nums nums” or whatever it’s called once a child can speak, that’s going to make me fall silent and stare at the ceiling. I don’t know where to look and I’m terrified the kid will pop off and start talking to me.

The Focker cat is making me focking uncomfortable.

Don’t believe me?

Here, latch on. No one believes me until I show them this.

Although the phenomenon is rare, there are different reasons adult cats nurse on a blanket or a shirt or Robert De Niro’s nipple. They may have been taken away from their mother too soon and in some Freudian way, it needs to suckle because it missed out when it was young. The cat may be trying to show you signs of stress. The cat may be soothed by nursing, much like an older kid with a pacifier. No one really knows why an adult cat nurses.

If no one knows why Penny suckles in bed then no one can tell me how to stop it.

I found Penny’s flaw – the adopted cat just needs a mom.

Little Focker.

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7 years and 9 lives.

It’s called “midwest nice.”

I have it. I have the midwest nice.

The midwest is a part of the country that is known to be friendly. I’ll hold doors open for you. I will not honk the car horn even if you have a big, bad truck and think you own the road. I tip well because maybe your terrible service just means you are having a bad day. I say please and thank you. I apologize when I’m wrong and I shut up when I’m right.

I also avoid the word no.

Maybe. I’ll think about it. We’ll see. Possibly. I’m busy. I’m not sure. Let me ask around first.

Those all mean no.

Kate has been asking for a cat ever since our dog, Bailey, died a year and a half ago. Bailey’s loss was devastating. Walking into our empty home felt unbearable to all of us – all of us, except for Kate. Kate asked for a cat minutes after Bailey’s final heartbeat.

Read how Kate grieved like a mini serial killer without emotions here.

Over the past 18 months, Kate adjusted her high-pressure sales pitch for a cat.

Kate: Can I get a cat?

Scott: No.

Me: We’ll think about it.

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Kate: Can I get a cat?

Me: What did your dad say?

Kate: No. But you’re the mom so that means you’re the boss.

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Kate: Hey, let’s go get a cat and leave it on the doorstep and pretend it just showed up.

Me: A stray?

Kate: A stray. Yes. Then daddy will say yes.

Me: You are evil.

Kate: Can we watch cat videos then?

Me: Fine.

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Kate: What’s cat nip?

Me: It’s a plant. Cats are attracted to it. They love the smell.

Kate: Oh. We should plant that and not tell daddy.

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Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday?

Me: Would you want a kitten or a cat?

Kate: Kitten.

Me: What about a cat? Older cats need rescuing because no one wants them.

Kate: Ok, then get me a cat.

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Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday? One of those older cats?

Me: Well, there’s a place called Wayside Waifs that does animal adoptions. Let’s check out their website. Just to see. Aw, they have videos!

Kate: Let’s watch.

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Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday?

Me: Daddy says no. I don’t care but your dad says no.

Kate: Work on that. Remember you’re the mom and you are the right one.

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Kate: Let’s watch the cat videos at, you know, that Way place.

Me: Ok.

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Kate: It’s my golden birthday this year. I turn 7 on the 7th. That means I should get a cat.

Me: Do you know that cats poop and pee in a box and you have to clean the litter box? And cat pee smells worse than dog pee.

Kate: We can put the litter box in Emma’s room.

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Me: Kate, Nina and Nana want to know what you want for your birthday.

Kate: A cat. Nothing else.

Me: You can’t tell the family you want a cat.

Kate: Yes, I can. I already texted them.

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Me: Bye Kate, have a good day at school!

Kate: Go get a cat while daddy is at work. Surprise me after school!

Me: No.

Kate: We can hide it!

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Kate: Are you going to get me a cat for my golden birthday?

Me: We don’t know how a cat will tolerate having two dogs in the house.

Kate: Just get rid of the dogs. Please, mommy! I will love you forever. And not daddy.

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Kate: I’m going to get 20 cats when I get out of here and move to Florida.

Me: Please don’t.

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Kate: Can I get a cat?

Me: You need to work on your dad, not me.

It’s May 7th. Today is Kate’s birthday. We got her a cat.

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Scott grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – the part of the country where no means no. Kate targeted me because she knows I’m weak. She whittled me down.

I sent a message to Wayside Waifs, asking which cats would tolerate dogs because I was just curious.

I drove to Wayside Waifs while the kids were in school just to look.

I looked at a cat in a caged window. I read her notes. She was brought to Wayside Waifs three years ago, as a stray kitten. It said she did well with dogs and would love a home with playful kids. She was already spayed and up-to-date on shots.

Her name was Bailey.

It was a sign.

I texted Scott. Kate whittled him down too. He said yes.

A few hours later, Scott walked in the house holding Kate’s cat. Kate had no idea. Her eyes stared in awe at her new friend.

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Are you my mother?
Kate changed Bailey’s name. After all, there’s only one Bailey. Kate named her cat Penny. She told both of us thank you. She gave Scott a hug and told him, “you’re the best daddy ever.”

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Why did she name her cat Penny? “Because I really like money.”

Or she’s good at sales and won’t take no for an answer.

Happy Birthday, Kate! After the loss of Bailey, all you wanted was to rescue a cat for your birthday. You can’t get anymore midwest nice than that.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. I’ll post pictures of Penny’s adventures.

Momma has to do everything.

What’s it like being married to Scott?

I’ve never been asked that but I’ll go ahead and tell you – he’s a man’s man. He’s the dream son every dad wants. At 34-years-old, he looks like he has the body of a 22-year-old because he’s disciplined at the gym and I’m a terrible cook. He hunts. He fishes. He killed a 10-foot alligator. He’s thrown a bar fight punch or two. His voice is deep and he grows a full beard in November.

Every day I’ve known him he’s made me laugh. Even the hard days. Scott is also kind. He likes helping people when he can and he never expects a thank you.

I have known Scott for 15 years. I have lived with him for 11. When you know someone for that long you will find oh, let’s just say the things that make us human. The negatives. I’m talking about the negatives.

Now. I’m not saying I’m the cleanest person in the world but DAMNIT, SCOTT.

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Blink again.

It’s the coyote Scott shot 10 days ago. A coyote resting in peacing in a pool of frozen blood under all my dinner meals.

Scott’s reply to my all caps text: But his paws would poke through a trash bag. It’s frozen. It’s fine. I’ll take it in to the taxidermist if it bothers u that much.

My meals smell like iron.

I swear, some days, I feel like I have two daughters and a teenage son. Momma has to clean up her kids’ messes.

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Fine. He has a point with the paws thing. But at least I don’t have a piece of aluminum foil in between my manicotti and coyote anus. Hey, is this thing smiling at me?

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Wait.

I never did get a picture of Belle and the coyote. Triumphant Belle, the yorkie poo. Coyote attack survivor.

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Come on, kids! Stop pretending you’re driving my car. Follow me.

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VICTORY.

You try to kill our Belle, you will be hunted down, frozen, and thrown out on my blog.

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Warn the rest of ’em, coyote.

Momma has to do everything.

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Stop staring at me holding a carcass, Belle. I’m not the crazy one here. 

 

Are you a “dirty” person or a “clean” person? What would you do if you opened the freezer to a dead coyote? Is the manicotti ok? Maybe I’ll have Scott taste-test first. Have you ever held a frozen coyote? I did wear gloves and Scott’s jacket. 

The Labrador Retriever.

And here we are.

Can I vent here? Sure, I can. It’s the Internet.

I am assuming you read the title. I am also assuming you know this post is about a dog, a labrador retriever.

Your assumptions are right. Her name is Stella.

Stella is six months old. A six-month-old, black labrador retriever puppy.

A puppy. There’s just something about the word – puppy. Wagging tails. Puppy dog eyes. Barks that sound like squeaks and squawks. Slobber left on your face because you love to press your nose into that mysterious, coffee-scented puppy breath.

You smiled didn’t you.

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Ah, now you smiled.

  • Two days ago, I turned on the lights to find Stella squatting in pitch black, taking a steamy dump.
  • I still have one diamond earring in a small dish on my bathroom sink. The other went through the bowels of my dog and is now sitting, somewhere, in a pile of dog crap. I don’t know what to do with the one diamond earring.
  • “Just knee her down, kids. Take your knee and pop her chest down. Harder. Don’t be shy about this. She needs to learn not to knock kids over.”
  • “See? She lost some teeth! Let’s push some more baby teeth out, maybe she’ll stop chewing.”
  • Google search: how to get dog urine out of mattress pad because husband is dumbass and allows dog to sleep in our bed.
  • Did you know if you clip a dog’s nails too short, they bleed? Yes. They do. The blood gushes out at jet speeds, spraying the kitchen down from five feet away like she’s Spiderman. Woman. That was my fault.
  • We purchased a bark collar that increases the shocks the more she barks. It sounds a little cruel but she was in a downward spiral into the classification of a yippy, barking, Chihuahua that’s mad at the world.
  • She stole my Taco Bell taco from the counter top.
  • “Thanks for coming on short notice. Yes, yes you did just lay carpet down in our brand new house a month ago. You see, when we bought a house, we also bought a puppy. Yeah, a lab. Yeah, I know. No, we’re weren’t drunk. I don’t know, does my head look screwed on to you?”
  • Falling asleep to the soothing sounds of crickets or ocean waves? Try this, Sleep Pillow App – dog slurping her crotch.
  • “Scott, she’s sitting two inches from my face because I’m drinking wine. She likes to lick the wine from my lips.”
  • “Hey, have you guys ever seen a lab hump a yorkie poo?” Her spay appointment is getting close.
  • “Mom, how old is Stella in human years?” Stella runs into the kitchen, jumps on the dining room table, slides off and lands on floor.
  • Labrador retrievers are smart dogs. Too smart. They know your schedule. They know as soon as the kids put their backpacks on, it’s time to go in the kennel…and round and round we go, around the kitchen island. Stop. Change directions. Round and round we go wait, is that a treat?
  • “Son of a bitch. Why does this dog get so many Instagram likes? If they only knew.”
  • Scott spent a whole weekend planting new trees in our backyard. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Stella spent 30 minutes digging the root ball back up for a re-do, in stealth mode. No one saw her do it.
  • “Scott? Hey, Stella ate something bad, I think. I don’t really know but she has diarrhea and threw up all over her kennel and it spewed all over our walls and hardwood floors. Well, it is big deal because it’s flat paint. I told you to spend the extra money on the eggshell paint. Yeah, well it’s too late to be cheap about this now. I know you can’t do anything about this over the phone but I was right. I just want to hear that I’m right.”
  • “MOM! Stella ran down the street!! She has daddy’s underwear!!”

Scott and I are ‘ole veterans at puppy raising. Stella is our third puppy. Why? I don’t know. The same reason people have eight kids, probably. Insanity.

She’s family now. And like any 3-year-old in human years, we can’t return her.

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Have you ever raised a puppy? Are labrador retriever puppies the worst? Did you swear to yourself you would never get a puppy again? Have you read Marley and Me? Tell me your bad stories – go ahead, vent. It feels good.

Pup Pals.

Married. Female. Two kids and two dogs. Lives in a suburb of Kansas City. Writer for a Kansas City magazine.

Read into that all you want – that sums me up.

I probably sound boring. Or exciting. However that sounds, you have an image of me in your head but there’s no way of knowing who I am based off that description.

If a camera followed me around, you would find out more about me. I am quiet, sometimes even awkwardly quiet. I don’t like attention on me. You’ll notice I probably have my phone in my hands too much. I’m just reading. Thinking. Trying to find something to make me laugh. I write a lot. I am constantly wondering if I am good at that.

Zoom out and you’ll see my kids are school aged. Scott and I are in what some call the “honeymoon of parenting years.”

Our kids are independent enough to make their own small meals. But they are still young enough to catch the microwave on fire then hightail it down the street screaming, “THE HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”

My kids are, for the most part, easy. Our life – it’s getting easier.

And when life gets easy, Scott and I immediately purchase a puppy.

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ADORABLE.

Social media said so.

That’s Stella – female, black, labrador retriever, loves ice cubes.

But those cameras are still rolling. Meet Stella – clothing is her preferred chew toy. She is a simple dog. She is simple in that she doesn’t care for nice things. In fact, brand new hard wood floors is her favorite place to squat and pee. But Stella is a good running partner. She fits in well with an active family. She also loves to cuddle, despite her ever-growing body. Stella just needs time to grow up and she will be the perfect lab for our family.

Now, that is painting a real picture of a puppy. But with words not a camera.

My friends in New York City speak for the rescue dogs. Pup Pals mission is to increase the rate of foster and rescue dog adoptions. They do this by making a high-quality  video production, highlighting the dog’s personality. They rate the dog’s personality in categories such as housing, social skills and grooming.

Fosters and shelters have found that these individual dog videos produced by Pup Pals get dogs placed in forever homes faster. When one dog finds a forever home, that opens space for another dog to get adopted. Quick turn-arounds are a good thing.

Ladies and gentleman – Justin Liebergen and Samantha Northart, creators of Pup Pals.

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Me: Justin. Samantha. Let me get this straight – your mission is get dogs rescued faster by making short videos of the dog, highlighting their personality instead of listing the traditional stats. Your videos includes positive and negatives aspects of the dog so the potential family is not surprised by their addition.

So you are basically the ESPN highlight reel for dogs. Have you considered sponsoring the Puppy Bowl?

Samantha: Anytime we can combine puppies and football, I’m on board. But it’s not the puppies who need our help the most. It’s the dogs living in foster and shelter homes.

Me: How did you come up with this idea?

Samantha: I’ve been working in foster and rescue for over a decade and felt there was a need to showcase some really great pups that were just getting looked over. I fell victim of taking home a pup who wasn’t right for me. But I didn’t want to bother the foster family and not give the pup a home. I realized there must be lots of people who probably don’t even reach out to adopt because they feel they might do the same. I felt there was a better way for people to see the true personalities of the dog than just a couple photos and generic bio.

Me: You guys are based in New York City. What other cities have you helped? And will you be coming to Kansas City? Dogs love Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. They have strong noses. I just know these things.

Justin: You mean Joe’s KC BBQ? Yeah, I know we still call it Oklahoma Joe’s. It looks like we’ll be in Kansas City in October. So far, we’ve worked in NYC, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.

Me: So here’s my favorite part about Pup Pals – honesty in the ranking system. So the dog up for grabs doesn’t like cats. That’s cool. You make sure your viewers know that.

I know the rescues know the personalities of the dogs. But how much time do you spend with the dogs when you’re filming? Do you make your own assessment about the dog’s personality or do your rely on the rescues description?

Samantha: Thanks. It’s important to us that we are honest about the dogs. We want the fur-ever family to be a true fur-ever family. You don’t get that by pretending challenges don’t exist. It’s just finding the right fit.

Justin: Typically, we spend about an hour with each dog. We usually rely on the foster families and rescue workers who specifically work with that dog to help with information. And since dogs don’t lie, we’ll know pretty quickly if something they say isn’t up to snuff – or sniff – so far everyone we have worked with has been wonderful in helping us highlight these pups.

Me: Have you ever been bitten while filming?

Justin: By the dogs or the people?

Me: Have you been peed on?

Justin: Again, we’re talking about the dogs, right?

Me: Went home with chewed on camera equipment?

Justin: Actually, no to all. But I certainly bring a few sets of wipes for all the noses that hit the lens.

Me: Stop it. That’s adorable! Wipes! But seriously, you can tell me. We are in an honest space here. Our puppy, Stella, bites, pees and chews all the time. Would you like a puppy named, Stella?

Justin: Yes, please! My top dog, Cosmo, would love a Bonnie to his Clyde.

Me: AH! Halloween costumes! This is my whole world right now. I love Halloween. Ok, just kidding. I’ll take back Stella now. I need her for Halloween.

Justin: Hey, wait!

Me: Let’s talk cats. Will you be extending Pup Pals to cats too?

Justin: We would love for this to expand to cats as well as all sorts of pets. For right now, we are dog fans so we thought we would start in our wheelhouse.

Me: I think the biggest fear in adding a dog to a family is you don’t know what you’ll get.

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Hold on a sec. The dishwasher? Really?

Stellaaaaa!

Ok. If everyone could pick a dog based on their personality, I think we would all be dog owners. Look! Stella wants to be Bonnie for Halloween too! Yay! Justin, go get Clyde.

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Now, our other dog Belle – the Yorkie Poo, we did rescue.

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My only requirement of Belle, when we got her 6 years ago, was she sleep through the night because I had a newborn (named Kate) on her way. And Belle did sleep through the night. She’s the perfect lap dog. She’s not yippy but she’s protective of her family. She ran up to a coyote about a month ago when it came into her yard. The coyote picked her up and ran. She would have died that night but Scott saved her.

Justin: That sounds like a great dog!

Me: She really is. And I think you both are the “Scott” in Belle’s story. And the coyote represents the needle. Sing it, Sarah McLachlan.

Samantha: We will talk about that, actually. There are a lot of stats and figures about rescues and shelters that are depressing. Instead, we are trying to be hopeful in our approach. We focus on dogs who are in safe situations – either a foster or a no-kill shelter/rescue. When you see a video, it will be about if that dog is perfect for you. Not just “do you need to get it safety.” Our job is to help the shelters by highlighting the over-looked dogs. Once a dog finds a home, it opens up space to save more dogs.

Me: I love that. The dogs think you’re heroes too. But they can’t talk.

Cosmo Driving

Me: Hey, you brought CLYDE!

Justin: It’s Cosmo.

PicMonkey Collage

Me: Catch ’em if you can!

Ok, so what we’re here for – money. My kids think it grows on trees. And dogs like to pee on that tree. Please explain to the readers what all these generous contributions go towards.

Justin: The donations go towards travel, shooting and post production. Each time we visit a new city, we also start to put together a local team. We work in multiple cities simultaneously. Our goal is to meet with rescues, film and highlight ten dogs per week. The long term goal is to have a team in every major metro, highlighting ten dogs a week in each city.

Samantha: We don’t ask for any money from the fosters and rescues because part of our goal is to increase their revenue. We do this by decreasing the amount of time and money each dog spends while in rescue.

Me: So for now, we are “relying on the kindness of strangers.”

This may sound terrible – but usually when I say that someone else agrees with me – but with a donation to Pup Pals, we get thank you gifts. I get to help a dog find a home AND I get a Starbucks gift card! It’s like you know how much I love a good pumpkin spice latte.

Samantha: Me too, girl! Which is why the “latte challenge” is so near and dear to my heart. We are hoping folks will take it with us. It’s the $65 Latte Perk level. That’s the cost of one latte per month for a year. So just think, “skip a latte, save a life.” But let’s be real, I’m still gonna get my latte.

Me: I want to thank both of you for chatting with me. It’s refreshing to watch good happen in the world. A dog is an eternal optimist. They shouldn’t be defined as just as male, neutered, hound/lab mix, loves Bonnie.

At a point, they aren’t a dog anymore. They’re just a family member that can’t talk.

Justin and Samantha: Thanks for having us!

If you would like more information on Pup Pals, please visit the Pup Pals page. RIGHT HERE. There’s a dog out there that needs your help. If anything, just watch some cute dogs all day.

Wile E. Coyote.

Somewhere in Africa, a lion named Cecil fell dead and the Internet exploded.

Somewhere in Kansas, Scott and I were sneaking trophy deer and fish mounts into our new house because the Internet shamed the sport of hunting.

Ok, the shame fell more towards poaching. I hope. As it should be.

But still, we’re trying to make friends in this neighborhood and a lion’s death 8,835 miles away didn’t help.

Our trophy mounts are on the walls so the animals can watch us drink beer out of our frosty mugs. Jalapeño venison stick?

To be honest, we’re not concerned about a lion showing up in our backyard because this is America. 

And in America, more specifically at the Burton household – Wile. E. Coyote will be toast. His head will be raised up next. He will have the prime spot to watch the clinks of the whole neighborhood with their frosty mugs.

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Belle, our yorkie poo, was attacked by a coyote on Saturday night.

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Scott was outside on our patio. He was laying down on the patio couch, watching TV. From the angle the coyote came in, Scott was hidden. The dogs barked. Scott popped up in time to see a coyote pick up Belle and take off in a field.

Scott’s hunter instincts kicked in and he took off on foot. He headed at a full sprint towards the coyote. Belle was dangling in its mouth. The desperate screams that came from Scott scared the coyote enough to drop Belle in the field.

“Julie. Julie.”

“Yeah? I’m in here, trying to help the girls with the shower.”

“Belle was attacked by a coyote.”

Scott appeared with Belle in his arms. I couldn’t comprehend what he said. All I saw was a blood drenched shirt, Belle, and the horror in Scott’s eyes.

My stomach dropped. Bailey. I couldn’t handle telling Emma and Kate about another family member’s death. And a violent one, at that.

The ER vet called her one of the luckiest dogs he’s ever seen.

Surviving a coyote attack is rare. The coyote didn’t press down hard enough to puncture her lungs. She is severely injured but her organs are intact. Scott’s hunter instinct saved her. There’s no doubt in my mind Bailey was right there, flying over Scott’s shoulder.

Belle is healing. She’s slowly getting back to her normal self. She’s well enough to stop her pain meds. She’s still on antibiotics. Her rabies is up-to-date. Her regular vet said she is healing beautifully.

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She will survive. The rest of her family developed the hunters instinct overnight. The neighborhood is on watch. We have family members we need to protect.

I have contacted the city and discovered there is a coyote problem. The city sounded grateful Belle survived and we have ER vet documentation of the attack. Most people cannot come up with documentation simply because the animal does not survive. There may be a chance of the city setting up traps. We’ll do everything we can to push it. And if a coyote ever comes onto our property, well, you know. Cheers.

In this story, the hunter always wins.

Explode away, Internet.

Do you have a coyote attack story? I have heard at least three a day since Belle’s attack. Are you concerned about your dogs or cats when they go outside? What would you do if your pet was attacked by a coyote in front of you? 

Hello. Welcome to my iPhone.

Sure, swipe through the pictures. I’ll add commentary:

Butt licker.
My dog licks cat butt.
I couldn't decide whether to avoid this person at the gym or find my new BFF.
I couldn’t decide whether to avoid this person at the gym or find my new BFF.
"If you don't stop fighting, I'm going to turn around and take a picture of you." Works every time.
“If you don’t stop fighting, I’m going to turn around and take a picture of you.” Works every time.
Sad face!
Sad face!
Where have I seen this face?
Same damn bird. Now it has mastered the Bert stare.
Bert stare.
The Bert stare.
Weirdest thing. Found a car hanging upside down.
Weirdest thing. Found a car hanging upside down.
Scott: Bad day at work. Me: I don't feel bad for you.
Scott: You won’t believe the kind of day I’ve had at work. Me: Oh, really?
Old picture. Still funny.
Old picture. Still funny.
She is her father's daughter.
She is her father’s daughter.
My dog lies.
My dog sits on a thrown of lies.
Men will never learn.
Dads will never learn.
Didn't the vet know who he was talking to?
Didn’t the vet know who he was talking to?
I can't even make this crap up. It's a stick. A STICK. Nothing more to see here.
I can’t even make this up. It’s holding a stick. A STICK. Nothing more.