Today call me peeved.

Today call me peeved. As in pets. But not Pet Peeves.

(Like when people wait until the checker has rung up all their groceries before fumbling in their bags for a checkbook. And also people who write checks.)

No, I’m talking about actual pets. Who peeve.

(Although I hate the word peeve; but that’s a topic for another post.)

First to dispose of the double standard:

My dogs don’t actually peeve me. Sure they eat grass and puke—usually at midnight and always on a patch of rug or carpet; they drink water in great gulps, their wet chins dripping across the floor; their claws scratch the hardwoods and their fur decorates my furniture.

But I love them shamelessly. So.

Here’s our brand of dog discipline:

“Bailey. You aren’t supposed to sleep on the couch. Come here, sweet girl. Have a treat.”

Or this:

“Bella. You aren’t supposed to eat garbage while I’m at the grocery store. Let me sweep these banana peels and coffee grounds from the floor while you rest up for the midnight vomit-fest.”

For best results, imagine my voice extra-gentle and love-filled. That’s how we reprimand Gardner-style.

So our kids and dogs run amok. Maybe.

But the true pets of my peeving (peeves of my petting?) are as follows:

Two Betta fish, A.K.A. Birthday Party-Favors Gone Awry. The hostess warned us they’d die before we received a thank-you note, but ours lasted three long years. They brought nothing to the table besides separate bowls—“or they’ll kill each other”—and oh yeah, a righteous stink. My children were too young to clean their environments, so the task fell to me, the one who didn’t get cake at the party. Eventually, Treasure and Flounder finned their way to that great underwater sandcastle in the sky; but only after I accidentally added sparkling water to their bowls one fine—I mean sad—day. (Sorry, PETA. It was an honest mistake. And their tails didn’t twitch when I flushed. Promise.)

Speedy, my son’s Gecko, should get his own post, he became that expensive. Purchased on sale at Petco for $25.00, Speedy was—at first blush—a bargain. But he ate costly mealworms. And also live crickets which required their own (refrigerated!) food. Then he developed an eating disorder—true story—so we bought him anorexia paste (who knew?) which Bella promptly scarfed. (Irony rules!) When Speedy didn’t plump, I took him to the animal clinic so I could tell Jack I tried everything! I told the vet, “No extreme measures,” and I may have winked at my bottle of sparkling water. I thought the doctor understood until he whisked Speedy away for biopsies, fecal smears, and X-rays to rule out lizard cancer. I laughed when the receptionist said I could write a check for the $365.00. Then I cried. Hard. Still, Speedy lived another year, which averaged out to a dollar a day to extend the life of an anorexic reptile now buried in our backyard. (Rest in peace, Speedy. And really? Food is tasty.)

Our still-living peeve-worthy pet is Oreo, my daughter’s long-haired guinea pig. Despite exhaustive pre-purchase research—if exhaustive means I was too tired to read—I didn’t realize his hair would just.keep.growing. Also, I didn’t realize Karly was incapable of trimming dreadlocks of crap-clumps on an “intact” male without clipping his genitalia. Therefore, twice a year, Oreo is professionally groomed at a cost that’s twice his initial price tag. At that rate, we could purchase two new guinea pigs twice a year. But Oreo is cute, he doesn’t like sparkling water, and he’s not anorexic. So.

You might be thinking this:

Get a cat.

But no. My husband cries, “allergies!” To which I respond, “Wimp!” (In my extra-gentle, love-filled voice.)

So we’re stuck with crap-clumps, a gecko grave, the lingering stench of overly-aggressive Betta fish, and two ill-behaved dogs who may or may not be peeing on my living room rug as I type.

Which means the only question left to ask is this:

Am I rightfully peeved or completely insane?

And also do you think a reputable pet therapist accepts checks?

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77 thoughts on “Today call me peeved.

  1. HA! I have already told my kids NO REPTILES and NO RODENTS.

    We have wild bunnies in the backyard. Rats, too. They can play with them.

    Also, my two dogs also have the amazing ability to find the one patch of carpet to use for their vomit fest or shit storms. Thankfully, they’re cute. Kind of like kids, it explains why they’re still alive and well-fed.

  2. Hilarious. We had a goldfish that lived for eight years when I was little. I don’t remember cleaning out the bowl once. Must have fallen on my mother. They are always such pet martyrs, aren’t they?

    Also, I had two hamsters that I called Cookies’n Cream. Kind of the like the generic version of Oreo.

    In fact, all my pets were food themed. I was a weird (and apparently hungry) kid.

    I’m sorry for your anorexic lizard. You should have named him Rachel Zoe.

  3. Oreo’s poor little parts! Clipped – ouch! {Is it wrong that I laughed, out loud, at that, though?}

    Our beta fish lived 275 years, too, and was ignored by the children who begged for him. They never even noticed when he died. I finally sat my oldest down, a month later, and pretended the fish had just died. My son wept one stage tear and went on about his day.

  4. Julie

    Yes yes yes Cheryl. My dogs start to gag and I can SEE them scanning the room for the nearest rug.

    What IS that?

    And you are wise to have established your rodent/reptile rule.

    Stick to your guns or be prepared to learn about things like lizard anorexia paste.

    What the HELL?

  5. I’m still kind of reeling at the idea of someone keeping a gecko as a pet. When I lived in Miami, we used to see millions of them. Lamp posts were like little gecko gravesites filled up with gecko bones. I bet if you waited long enough, you could just wait for one to enter a lamppost and then catch it. Maybe that’s how the pet stores get them. Seriously, a gecko? Not that I’m judging, but seriously, a gecko?

    Also, check writers should be forced to write their checks using their mouths. At least then they’d be entertaining while they are insanely slow.

  6. Julie

    Ilana – Cookies and Cream is the PERFECT kid pet name for a duo of anything. Oh lord, I would have begged for two of ANYTHING just for the opportunity to name them that. And now? I’m hungry too.
    (Rachel Zoe – ha! I love you!)

    Missy – You are officially my new favorite person. You crack me up! One stage tear. Awesome.(and yes. you should SEE the testicles on Oreo. Impressive? No. Now that IS wrong.)

  7. Santa gave my youngest a beta fish one year. Except, the first one Santa got died during Christmas Eve day, prompting Santa to run around town like a maniac. Santa should have realized the first dead beta fish was a warning sign not to replace it with a second.

    “Fishy” lived a long ass 3 years, then died when he was handed over to a friend to take care of him while we were on vacation. I didn’t know whether to hug her or hit her, because the youngest was beside herself. So I suggested a funeral to the youngest.

    Thus “Fishy” received a proper burial, with flowers and rocks, a good-bye note, an Our Father, and some tears, and probably has turned into fertilizer in my flower bed.

    My kids now say “Mom, we want another fish.” Or “Mom I want a gerbil”. Or “Mom I want a turtle.”

    And my answer is always the same: “How does it feel to want?”

    Yeah, I can be mean, but at least I don’t have to clean up after little animals that can’t show me any affection anymore.

  8. Hilarious.

    My step kids are overly fond of all the pet type things.

    Luckily I get to be the mean bitch who says NO. Ha!

    At their moms they have rabbit, snake, cats, dogs and whatever else they run across.

  9. Julie

    Carol – Check writers writing with their mouths? Genius. And as far as the gecko thing? I KNOW! Can you believe we paid $350.00 to discern that a lizard we could grab off a lamppost did not have cancer? (for the record, I did not approve of this testing. it happened. did they think we’d pay for chemo? for real?) People are crazy. And I’m one of them. Apparently.

    France – Oh my god “Fishy” is the greatest name ever. And the award for best response goes to you: “How does it feel to want?” I think I just discovered my first tattoo. Now. Where to put it???

    Annabelle – Cheers to being the Mean Bitch. I am more of the Dumb Sucker. (actually, it was Santa. now he’s REALLY stupid.)

  10. KLZ

    That reminds me. I need to get it in writing from my husband that guinea pigs and hamsters are banned in our house.

  11. Deb

    We go for a more “Darwin” approach in my house. We have a few pets but it’s Survival of the Fittest – wimpy, needy beings don’t make it here. You need to be able to survive if we *oops* forget to feed you, pay attention to you, clean up after you, etc. Actually, that pretty much describes life for the kids, too.

    Glad you got to meet one of my peeved pets yesterday, who welcomed you with a full on (yet ignored) coughing attack.

    PS – “How does it feel to want” — a PERFECT new phrase for our household!

  12. Diane

    As your loving pet sitter, I know and love the “girls ” and the peeves!

  13. I’m trying to still wrap my mind around gecko fecal smears. Like, picturing gecko crap quite vividly in my mind. Definitely not how I thought I’d spend the afternoon, but I’m digging it.

    Your gecko reminds me of my dog in that she was supposed to be a bargain (because she had mange and the rescue told us if we would give her special baths twice a week and give her meds, we could have her for free) but then after breaking her tendons in both back legs twice she ended up costing us a small fortune. But she makes the baby laugh, so she’s a keeper.

  14. Julie

    KLZ – Definitely get it in writing. Before the next baby arrives. Those little ones can be quite convincing when they hit elementary school…

    Deb – I actually got on all fours yesterday imitating Keegan for my family; when he stood there guarding his dog dish from me, I fell in love (even though he had me at the door-gag). Great seeing you, the pup, and Marcus the Baby Reader yesterday. REALLY great.

    Diane – That’s why you are their favorite. 🙂

    Amanda – I will admit, the fecal smear was a result of Speedy crapping fortuitously on the vet. It gave him the idea…then he told me to wait in the reception area which was when all the real magic happened…oh my. Sorry about the mange. But a laughing baby is worth almost anything!

  15. After our epic fail at dog ownership, and a second fail as cat ownership, (another “allergy-dad”), after 3 dead goldfish that went flush flush flush, we have settled on cyber-pets. They don’t cuddle, but neither do they shot on the expensive oriental rug.

    You are a good woman. And mother. And wife.

  16. I meant “shit” — dang auto-correct.

  17. Julie

    Renee –

    Believe me, my rugs are SHOT, so it kind of fit and I knew *exactly* what you meant.

    I’m not sure how good a woman, mother or wife I am.

    But I AM easy going about flooring.


  18. I have two cats who have the exact same aim your dogs do: the carpet every time in a house full of tile.

    I’m counting down to late fall when I’m going to have my carpets cleaned again (just too hot in summer to have door open while they clean). They were done when Lil Diva was a baby but between the cats and 15 months of her having horrible reflux, plus copious amounts of drool – my white carpets look horrible.

    And no. I didn’t pick the color. They came with the house and are too nice to replace until worn out.

    Thank god for tile on most of downstairs.

    My sister and I had goldfish for I think five years (but it could’ve been three). They both died within a week of each other and my mom felt horrible, blaming it on a bad water change.

    I’m just now realizing how awesome she was to take care of them.

    They were the only pets we really had, except a dog that died when I was still a toddler.

    My dad claims allergies to cats, but he never seems bothered by them when he visits, except for the whole not liking them thing.

    I shall avoid fish and reptiles. Thanks for the tip.

    I think we’ll stick with cats. They can visit most of the neighbors for dogs…

  19. Julie

    Kelly –

    Our carpet upstairs is from when we moved in ten years ago. And I was the mom (still am) who (stupidly but oh well i can’t be someone else) said, “Sure! Bring the Gogurt upstairs!”

    Or the play doh or silly putty or popsicles or juice boxes or ice cream cones.


    Whatever. So the kids wreak havoc. AND the dogs.

    And we’ve had the carpets professionally cleaned (drumroll) ONCE!

    I know. They aren’t so much the lovely cut berber flecked oatmeal color of their purchase.

    We ripped up the downstairs carpet and put in hardwood (thankfully) which has been decimated by the paws of the dogs.

    But the kids won’t live here forever. Or the dogs.

    And I’ll have the rest of my life to have gorgeous flooring.

    I will, right?


    p.s. I think your mom may have used the sparkling water trick…think about it.

  20. Jbutt

    We just got back from a drive-thru safari field trip. Subsequently, I want a zebra or a miniature pig more than anything right now. The mini pig might be more acceptable to our homeowners’ association though. And then I will buy it Wellingtons. And have my very own pig in boots. And be happy.

    They say pigs are as smart as three-year-olds. I don’t know who they are, but that detail is secondary to my pig-lust right now that has nothing to do with bacon. (Mm. Bacon.)

    My son was pretty well-trained by age 3. Miniature pig ownership (and consequent hipster status), here we come!
    But probably not.

  21. Julie

    Jbutt –

    How do I love thee? let me count the ways:

    1. your drive-thru safari
    2. your mini-pig lust
    3. your pig boots
    4. mmmm bacon
    5. your theory re: 3-year-olds
    6. your hipster status
    7. your eventual pig-ownership (probably not)

    You? Rock my world.

    And I’m guessing that pigs MAY also be easier than 14-year-olds. And probably cleaner.

    But I’ve been wrong before…

  22. So.many.comments. I don’t know where to begin.

    First, let me make sure I have this straight: You bought [refrigerated] food to feed your gecko’s food?

    OK, with that out of the way, I have to say I can relate. To all of it. Though from a child’s perspective. First, my mother took out hamster, Pumpkin to the vet when he (she?) for sick at 1.5 years old – which I believe is the average lifespan for a hamster (or at least about how long my parents expected him/her to live). The vet then proceeded to take Pumpkin’s temperature – RECTALLY! Ouch. I mean, the thermometer was longer than Pumpkin.

    Then the vet realized he didn’t know what the normal body temperature was for a hamster and had to look it up. I’m sure this all cost a fortune. But Pumpkin went on to live for another 1.5 years. Which is twice the average lifespan of a hamster. We think.

  23. Ahem… My mother took *our* hamster, Pumpkin to the vet when he (she?) *got* sick at 1.5 years old.

    I wasn’t drunk when I wrote that comment. Swearsies.

  24. —–Julie,
    I love love love your blogs.
    mM cat pukes all over the house. it’s the norm around here. Why? I have NO idea. But…I think he’s waiting for me to step in it.
    PS. you are insane…that’s why I read your blogs 🙂

  25. Julie

    Kristin –

    Don’t worry. I’m totally drunk. (not really, but that would be a little bit awesome. but it’s 1:15 and my kids have friends over. so.)

    Yes. We had to keep food for the crickets and the food had to be refrigerated. Next to the meal worms that were ALSO refrigerated.

    There were days when we had more food for our gecko in the fridge than for people.

    (which reminds me I need to go to the grocery store. perpetually. everyone in my family eats too much. except for the anorexic lizard.)

  26. I’m going to make you jealous: my dog sprints for the back door when she has to barf. And if we aren’t there to let her out, she at least does it on the kitchen floor where it’s easier to clean. (However, usually in a corner that doesn’t get found for a day or two. Ahem.) But she does do that water thing all across the floor. Fun to find in bare feet.

    We did have the “live-forever” fish, though. And my husband was allergic to my cat – he had to suffer, I had her first – and she lived to be 19 just to torment him.

  27. CDG

    Sweet mother of pet adventures… I have two dogs I thought were spoiled, but maybe not so much. And a strict no rodents, no amphibians or reptiles, no fish policy. Also? No cats. Been there, scooped that.

    I salute you. You’re a better woman than I.

  28. Julie

    Kim – I think anyone who has had furry pets knows the joys of puke…and for some reason, we keep coming back for more! It must be the cute factor. I need to work that angle more…instead I just plead insanity 😉

    Ally – I was/am jealous of the sprint-for-the-door dog; but then I saw that you still get surprise water puddles in your bare feet; AND you had live-forever fish; AND your husband had to suffer cat allergies. That’s when I realized that we all get ours…one way or another. Cheers to the love of pets, though. Totally worth it. (mostly.)

    CDG – Oh please please please stick to your amphibian/reptile/fish policy…to have established one in the first place means you are full of wisdom. As for the dogs? Spoil away. They are just the best. No matter what.

  29. I have two pugs who have turned into pigs who shed . they eat and rarely move about. when they decide to puke they go for the rug of course. same when a bladder infection happens. they are old and refuse cranberry juice. we had fish once…god awful. my grand daughter had two just this last Christmas…Tuna and Patty. Both have passed.could be because her brother knocked over the tank. One died instantly and the other survived a few hours after being retrieved from between the wall and the woodwork. seriously stuck in the littlest crack ever.

  30. Your dogs and discipline style with them sound just like mine.

    This post reminds me why I keep telling my daughter no more pets.

  31. Pets who require food who NEED their own food?

    You’re a saint, Julie.

    The dogs are cute, so I shall refrain from passing judgmental remarks about excessive drooling and peeing in inappropriate places.

  32. Julie

    Janie – Oh my…a dog with a bladder infection? The fear of this will now keep me up tonight. But that’s okay because I can’t stop smiling at the names Tuna and Patty. That? Is pure awesome.

    Jessica – I KNEW we should live near each other. We could hang out and let our kids and pets wreak havoc. No guilt! (must make this happen someday. for real.)

    Alison – Thank you for calling my doggies cute. But yes. We did have to feed the food for a while there I lived in CRAZYTOWN. Saint? not so much. Stupid? Yes. But all for the love of my son. (and so I can cross that off my list. never again.)

  33. Oh dear. That’s one whole {fur} ball of funny!

    I just caught another person’s fish names Tuna and Patty. OMG. Growing up we had some real zingers… a dog named Crust, a lhasa apso named Gandhi (now that is funny) and now our yellow lab is named Trajan (although that really throws people because they first think we named him after a condom). We only named the last dog though so really I can’t be blamed.

  34. CRICKETS? LIZARD EATING DISORDERS? You are like Dr. Doolittle on a bad acid trip. All of your animals sound adorably terrifying. Thank you for keeping my square ass firmly on the no-pets-allowed train (whether you meant to or not)…

  35. Eric C

    Dear Julie,

    Even though my guinea pig gets more fresh vegetables than I do, and the cats food costs more per pound than steak, and the cats barf on my bed, and the stray I feed leaves regular hairballs in front of my door, and the birds I now feed to entertain the indoor cats strew food from one end of the patio to the other, I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. If I could tame the possum who lurks in the yard I would. You are lucky though, you have two adoring children to lavish your attention on and hopefully they don’t miss the toilet as often as the cats. And Bill probably deserves some love too, even if he is keeping your house cat free.


  36. What a riot! I’ve run the gamut with ducks and ducklings, rabbits, goldfish, beta fish, and doggies. I’ve rescued squirrels, wild birds, and a lizard that needed CPR.

    Currently, two furbabies are in residence. Monster Puppy–who was supposed to be a basset hound and turned out to be everything but, and Brave Little Basset–cute as a button until he bares his vampiric teeth. Their mission is to carpet the wood floors with fur and race me to the bathroom to search for the Tidy Bowl Man they are certain will rise again.

  37. Rightfully peeved! But perhaps I should offer a disclaimer…

    We are currently pet-free. I refuse to entertain (as in laugh hysterically at the thought) the idea of a dog or cat. Snakes will happen over my dead body (the thought gives me a hear attack). All rodents are completely out of the question (or I am out of the picture). This leaves us fish. We told my son he could have two fish a few Christmases ago. We were excited when he was looking at little koi – classy and cool, right? Then the “darling” NUMNUTS pet store girl pointed out the bubble-eyed goldfish! Thanks… But “sadl” Sparkle and Sprocket now swim with Treasure and Flounder. We promptly threw away the tank.

    Now when our kids ask for a pet, we tell them we can’t have pets because we travel so much. We told them if they get pets we can’t go to Hawaii or Mexico. They pick the vacations – I love my children!

  38. My cousins were once given a fish that my aunt and uncle suspected would die within a month. They gave it the moniker Drop Dead Fred to establish early on that the fish would be a transient guest. Wouldn’t you know that fish lived 5 years. They renamed him to Never Dead Fred.

    (Your dogs are living large. Mine would start walking west if she knew).

  39. I didn’t even know checks still existed. Interesting.

  40. As a person who overreacts, I WISH I had your ability to scold with such love in your voice!

    My daughter has had a Beta fish named Flippy for 4 years now. And by that I mean we have bought approximately 27 Flippys to replace the floaters we find before she has to know. When she was really little, she’d come out of her room and say, “I think Flippy is sleeping. He floats at the top all the time.” That would be my key to have her dad pick up another one on the way home. I wonder how much longer we can carry on this charade?

    We are thinking of getting a Golden Retriever soon and I’m so nervous. Tell me it’s worth it to add something to my life that is going to poop, eat furniture and wake me up at night when I already have a baby. No, seriously. Lie to me.


    I hate pets.

    There. I said it.

    I hate them because 1. I have to be responsible for yet another being that isn’t interested in giving me the time of day; 2. They get hair EVERYWHERE; and 3. Because I would LOVE to be taken care of like that. How hard is it to be one of our cats? I don’t know, I’d have to wake them to find out.

    Seriously, an anorexic pet? Isn’t that just natural selection? You are a better person than I.

  42. this. made me laugh. so hard. I cried.

    The anorexic lizard was AWESOME.
    My sister keeps trying to donate her ball python to my sons. HA! NEVER! EVER! NEVER!

    Can you imagine? Gross.
    Anywhoo, good to know about the gecko, I always thought they were cute.

    P.S. Don’t mess with the claw.

  43. Geckos are the worst pets ever! John has one, Gary. Gary the Gecko. Between the crickets, and the cage for the crickets, and the food for the crickets, and the stupid $8 heat lamps that burn out every 2 weeks he is easily the most expensive pet we have ever owned. I hope he gets lizard cancer. Seriously, I do. I’m not kidding.

  44. JulieR

    Oh Julie, you have made my day.

    I can relate to you on so many levels. Although I beg for my dogs to have their daily (or so I’m assuming) accidents on my rugs. My house is about 60% pebble tech flooring…you know, the stuff that instantly soaks up urine and embeds vomit and fecal matter within the small spaces between each tiny pebble. So, I either can’t tell where they go or it is painfully obvious when they do. Needless to say, I have invested in a very good steam cleaner.

    I thought we were insane when we bought our first dog, Bella the Boxer. But recently my husband sprung upon me our newest addition. An adopted lab mix from the SPCA. Just when I thought my days of constantly scouring the floors for accidents were over, it starts again. Add that to having two young children, who recently ran over a pile of poo with their very large Tonka truck and managed to track it throughout the house with every turn of the wheel. Nightmare to say the least.

    But to know I am not the only one out there with pet issues puts my mind at ease…although if you know of any good poo picker uppers will you please let me know 😉

  45. Julie

    Mel – I can get behind a dog named after a condom…my son is named Jack because my husband took a shot of Jack Daniels when he found out I was “unexpectedly” pregnant.(oh yeah and we liked the name Jack so we aren’t total heathens AND I drew the line at the middle name Daniel. Because really. Did we WANT the kid to be in rehab as a teenager?)But now Bella and Bailey seem completely lame and uninspired as dog names. (Maybe Ramses and Lifestyles would’ve been better…)Is it scary that I know so many condom brands?I’m a little scared myself, now.

    Eric – In my next life, I want to be your pet. Please. I want to eat fresh vegetables and barf on your bed. Well. Maybe not that last part. But I could stand to be taken care of…I could.And I’d keep the hairballs to a minimum. Probably. XO

    Lori – OH MY GOD I think I need to use “adorably terrifying” somehow in my life now because yeah. it fits us…Maybe my next blog? Or my next novel? How can I make this work?Perhaps “My Life as a Billy Ocean Lookalike : The Adorable and the Terrifying” – oh yeah.And also, I need to purchase a ticket for YOUR train.Because I really really like food and cannot stomach another pet with eating disorders…(the fact that I even typed that is just crazy.)

    Kristal – You gave CPR to a lizard? For real? You, my friend, totally win. And as far as the basset that’s not a basset? I know the feeling. The little black pup on the right of the picture above was supposedly a German Shepherd when we rescued her. Right. Grrr.

  46. Julie

    Paige – Seriously? Your kids rock. And I would SO use that tactic except we’ve never gone Hawaii. DAMN! Maybe I should use this excuse to get us on vacation somewhere? “Honey, we HAVE to go to Maui or else the kids will want fish again…” I think it might work! (p.s. You are brilliant to have a no-snake policy. For SURE. No snakes here. Ever.)

    Erin – Our dogs DO live large and they have no idea what the real life of a dog is supposed to be. (I am a TOTAL sucker.) But at least I had the good fortune to be spared those extra two years with Treasure and Flounder. Three was plenty. I don’t know if fish years are like dog years; but it sure felt like they were around seven times longer each year than they should’ve been. I hate math.

    TGG – I know. It’s like I’m living in Little House on the Prairie or something. Except for the out house. And Nellie Olsen.

  47. hahaah! I’m glad there is another person that has had to edure what I’ve gone through (sorry, misery loves company).

    We have the same vomit prone dogs (and carpet stains to match), rodents (they’ve been to the small animal vet at the pet store and our store also takes checks -I offered my childern as collateral but they declined), crested gecko (had to have the designer lizzard with the price tag to match), fish (thanks for the sparkle water idea – who knew?), rabbits (their only redemptive gift is my killer size tomatoes thanks to their poo), hermit crabs (stinky and worthless), red ear slider turtles (their poop is the size of hershey kisses and their feeding time is barbaric. Goldfish scales et al everywhere) and cats (one of which bit the dust on our back porch and had full blown rigamortis by the time the 6yr old found him). I was prepared to provide him with a proper back yard burial when the ground thawed (he died in winter) but the hubs bagged him and “threw him away” before he defrosted. Slightly appalling…sorry garbage collector.

    Downright insane,

  48. liz

    Wow. Just, wow. Lizard cancer? Anorexic paste?!

    If someone asked me if those were real things, I’d say there’s no way those things exist.

    You are a kind, kind woman.

    Straight to Heaven for you.

  49. I can SO relate to this post! So, we love animals … have an 80 lb Lab who is my MOST well behaved child. Finally I trained someone in this house to listen. She can stay 😉 My 9yo has 2 goldfish that have lived OVER a year. I feed them, my husband cleans the tank weekly and when they grew some funny looking bump on their head I had go google it and get appropriate cleaning tools to make them better.

    Our cat which we’ve had 17 years has anxiety. He pees here and there, whines nightly. Our vet recommended we take him to the U of M for a Pet Behavior Therapist. When I went to make the appointment they required that both owners be present (my husband, an attorney was NOT going to take an afternoon off for this). The bill would exceed $400 too! So needless to say, we didn’t go that route… instead put the cat on anti-anxiety meds.

    Oh, and did I mention that I got suckered into buying a hermit crab a few years ago? One day I woke up and what looked like a Sci-Fi vision practically make me pass out. The crab died while shedding it’s skin. Gross, horrible and I still think of it when looking at soft shell crab.

  50. Really – guinea pig grooming? I would love to put that on my resume.

  51. Oh my funny friend with the big heart and the extra-sweet and gentle loving voice. You love ’em. I know you do.

    Also? They so love you! Stinky beta fish {RIP} and all!


  52. Holy crap, I’m SO thankful we never went the fish/reptile/guinea pig route!

    The labs we’ve had? Big pains in the you-know-what. But love them to death, and they’re easy compared to your “other” pets.

  53. While the boys were growing up, we had a zoo full of pets, from a pair of love birds (turned out they were both female. Who knew! Even my pets), to miniature turtles, to rabbits to rodents and pesky bugs. Oh yea and a very lonely pet rooster. But that’s another story. As for dogs and cats, we’ve had em all and loved them all. I really miss having a pet nowadays, and have been thinking of adopting a kitten. Just thinking, though. It’s cleaner and a whole lot less expensive.

  54. we were never allowed to have pets except the occasional gold fish (that died within days), and somehow my brothers had a pet turtle named Axel which was put in the pond after they stopped cleaning his “environment” weekly.

    In high school my parents let me get a cat.

    He is still alive 17 years later and his vomits on the daily (maybe he’s bulimic?), has failing kidneys, and has prescription food that is 3x the cost of normal food.

    But I love him. So there’s that.

  55. I have enough trouble keeping my kids alive.

  56. Everytime Hubs tries to talk me into a pet for the boys, I chant “The boys are enough work.”

    I have very little patience for animals. Except the fabulous cat I used to have. She was awesome. and loved only me.

  57. Nothing brings me from a dead sleep to full alert like the sound of a dog retching. I’M AWAKE, RIGHT NOW!!!!

  58. Julie

    Amanda –

    Oh I’m so sad I didn’t reply to this comment sooner because I really have good advice (whether it’s a lie or not. I refuse to tell you).

    We had out of town guests for the past three days so I was pretty much away from my computer entertaining my brother/sister-in-law and their three kids.

    But you know what we did? We swam and barbecued and played. And our two dogs swam, played and ate bbq too. They ran around the pool with balls and wagged their tails and cuddled on laps and drooled and grabbed the watermelon off the plates and tracked water in the house and also looked about as happy as living creatures are allowed to be by law.

    Then they’d curl up together on their bed while the adults stayed up late talking. They were so so so cute. And tired. And did I mention happy? (the dogs not the adults. we were happy, just not so cute.)

    So yeah. The dogs sneaked food off plates and puked (at least once) and got wet paws on my hardwood floors; but they also brought us joy.

    You have to be ready for the expense of replacing what they destroy (retrievers will CHEW and no matter how careful you are they get a hold of stuff. they just do.) and health issues you can’t foresee (my lab ate rat poison twice. not cheap to pump stomachs…) and be patient with the fact that they interrupt sleep (for pee and vomit) just like the CHILDREN you’re already taking care of…

    If you can say yes to those questions, you’re in!

    If you say no, you’ll still probably fall in love and not be able to imagine your life without your dog. (maybe after the first two puppy years…)

    Yep. It is a lot like being a parent.

    But you CAN leave them without a babysitter 😉

    Good luck…

  59. In that extra-gentle, love-filled voice – perhaps THAT is the answer to disciplining Chalupa! It would totally freak him out if I stopped yelling.

    Hilarious as always, and please tell me pets are not in my future. Because the Chalupa is like 6 labrador puppies combined.

  60. Julie

    TFC –

    IN my extra-gentle and love-filled voice, hear me saying to you this:

    DON’T DO IT!

    We waited to get a dog until my son was 8 and my daughter was 6. You know, because THEN they would be old enough to help.

    Feeding, walking, scooping poop.

    Total crap.

    The adults always do the work.

    Stick with kids. For now…

    You have the rest of your life to yell at dogs – ha!
    (p.s. I may or may not have exaggerated about my calm voice. I have, on occasion, been known to “raise” it.)

  61. We have worms. Yes,pet worms! They leave in our compost box and are dander free.

  62. Anorexic paste for lizards? You, my dear, are amazing.

    We have a dog and three cats. All but one are shelter/stray rescues and despite destroying a chair, stepping on hairballs, bagging more poop than I ever thought possible, I still love them dearly.

  63. My children would love your home.

    Their dream is a house full of pets.

    I tell them I can barely manage living humans.

  64. Reptile anorexia is a thing?

    And I totally thought fish could swim in Perrier.

    So much to learn of the wild and wonderful world of kids’ pets.

  65. How many of us can relate to this? This was so funny and true. Actually, in my house, the dogs get away with more than the kids. And mine usually eat grass, and barf it up right in the path I have to take to go pee in the middle of the night, so inevitably, I step in it. And then I say, “Molly, come up on the bed with me, sweet girl!”

  66. Julie

    JDaniel’s Mom – You have worms in your compost box? I’ll tell you what you really have, then. Brilliance. And eco-friendliness. You totally win.

    Smedette – Oh, the love we have for our pets. It’s irrational, is it not? And yet. There it is. (next to the hairballs and poop and wrecked furniture. crap.)

    Alexandra – I completely understand. That’s why we have only two children. So now I collect animals. And vet bills. (in my next life…more kids. fewer anorexic lizards…)

    Deb – Reptile anorexia IS a thing. At least that’s what I was led to believe. However, I also thought a guinea pig would be low maintenance. Today, call me sucker. Or whatever. I’m too busy picking up poop to care…

  67. Julie

    Sandra –

    Oh had glad I am to hear I’m not the only one who does crap like that – I mean “who is as wonderfully forgiving!” or something. yes.

    Wonderfully Forgiving is what we are.

    Not total suckers or anything.

    (not us.)

  68. I’ve got a very bossy and naughty chicken if you want her. Don’t tell me: You’re allergic. I knew it!

  69. Julie

    Morgan –

    If it’s Dagny, I’ll take her…

    But I can’t guarantee my dogs won’t peck at her neck.

    (poor naughty chicken.)


  70. It IS Dagny! I’m going to put her in your suitcase at BlogHer. You are coming, aren’t you?

  71. I saw those dogs faces and the title and just laughed. My sister loves fish and had to keep snails in her fridge to feed her puffer. That’s what her husband found the first time he went over – snails and ketchup. He says she has her own eco-system in there and likes the feeling of playing God. We have thus far resisted all pets, but if we were ever to get one, it would be a dog.

  72. Julie

    Morgan – No BlogHer for me. It’s my 15-year anniversary and I couldn’t tell Bill I’d rather hang out with all you lovely friends than him. I’m hoping next year, the organizers will be so kind as to check with me before scheduling their events. (I’m a paper calendar-lover, too.)

    Jennie – Snails and ketchup in the fridge? I love it. Especially the part where she had to refrigerate food to feed a pet. This makes me feel not so alone. Or stupid. Or both.

  73. Oh, our household is so with ya. Bettas (who knew they were suicidal)? Geckos (sadly, we have caused the death of geckos in multiple states/territories of the US)? Guinea pigs (which by the way surprising can become stiff like a board within mere hours of their accidental deaths)? Ducks (if the package says “don’t use this product near water fowl,” they mean it)? Pigs (suspicious canine teeth marks on his poor dead piggy back)? And of course peeing, vomiting dogs…and a neurotic kitty who I am (wimp) allergic to.

    Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  74. Pamela –

    I suppose the amorous frogs didn’t make this list because they aren’t officially PETS…Just loud and in love?

    I can’t believe you had ducks and pigs, too.
    You are Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom over there…

    Strong work. And I’ll keep my eyes open for stiff guinea pigs.

  75. Diane

    …and I have loved them all and watched you handle all of their issues with great aplomb! I also love that Oreo and Speedy spent their first nights with us!

  76. Desiree

    Nothing makes you question your sanity more than a vet visit that contains the phrase, “Here are her teeth!” as the receptionist slides the smallest envelope you’ve ever seen across the counter. You’ve just signed a credit card receipt that was twice the amount you spend on human food for a year and your hesitation to take the envelope (filled with cat teeth) has caused this woman to look at you like you just told her you eat babies. There is a small moment where you consider asking why anyone would want teeth (rotting teeth) that had been excised from the world’s tiniest rage-filled cat (did I mention they were rotten teeth?) but then you decide that it’s better not to know. That is how you know you are sane. You hold to this moment of clarity as you wrap said cat in a towel and force feed it antibiotics, twice a day, for three weeks. You cling to this small moment of sane thinking as you wipe the world’s most expensive foam (cat drool and antibiotics) from your walls, twice a day, for three weeks. You have to, otherwise you are a crazy cat lady and isn’t sanity so much better?

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