and now for something completely different.

I want to take a minute to talk about something not ball of fur related. Shocking, I know. Don't worry, I included a gratuitous photo of the ball of fur annoying her cousin over Easter to soften the blow.

What I want to talk about is something I have never discussed publicly.

I want to talk about dating.


ball of fur owners.

The ball of fur charges boldly down the sidewalk. 
One of the things about having a ball of fur in an apartment is that you must take that ball of fur on walks, for both exercise and peeing purposes.

This is, for the most part, a good thing. You and the ball of fur bond on walks. You get to know their habits and personalities better. You get exercise and fresh air and time away from it all. I also tend to listen to podcasts on our daily post-work long walk so it's a good time to learn a little something too.

Some times it's a bad thing, like when there's a snow or rain storm or when you have what you thought was a cold but was actually the flu. Not that either of those has happened.

Walking a ball of fur is also a good way to meet the neighbors.

Well, the neighbors that have their own balls of fur or are fans of balls of fur.

And if I've learned nothing else, I've learned that ball of fur owners can be divided into several categories. I'd like to discuss those categories now, in no particular order.



My heart hurts this morning. Not a physical ache but an emotional one, the kind that puts you right on the edge of tears.

Since Friday a realization has slowly been dawning on me. I fought it because I didn't want it to be true. But it's inescapable now.

When I adopted Ronni, the shelter listed her birthday as 12/13/2007, making her just 9 days past her tenth birthday. The vet never said any differently but then again it's hard to age adult dogs when you don't have their full records. Teeth are one of the main things they look at and we have no way of knowing if her teeth are decayed due to age or a combination of only eating wet food and not getting any dental care over her previous years. Once they get to this age, the only thing you can tell definitively is that they're old.

There's always been something different about Ronni than other 10 year old beagles. You see, beagles have am average life span of 12-15 years. It's also fairly common for them to live to 16 or 17. So I thought I would get at least a solid 2-3 years with Ronni, probably closer to 5.

But then I started noticing things. They were all little things, really.

Ronni has fairly advanced arthritis in her hips, neck, and knees.
Ronni is very lethargic, content to spend her whole day sleeping in her bed.
Ronni has bad teeth, to the point that I have to break up any milkbone type treats, mix her food with wet food, and heat it all up to get her to eat.
Ronni struggles with incontinence.

For the most part, those are all little things.

But they're not things that a ten year old beagle should be dealing with. Not yet, anyways.


little ball of fur pees her pants.

About two weeks after the little ball of fur came to live with me I had to take her to the vet for a booster on one of her vaccines. I made the appointment on Saturday morning for later that day. The ball of fur and I proceeded to chill for a bit before getting ready.

But then something strange happened.

The ball of fur was normally good about asking to go outside. She'd go sit by the door and stare at me like excuse me I need your attention please. As I'd one day find out, staring is the ball of fur's way of asking for things. Hungry? Stare at the food container. Want pet? Stare at the nearest human. Want up on the sofa? Stare at it intensely. She'd had only one accident, and that I chalked up to stress because it was the first day I'd left her home alone while I was at work and her first day in the apartment. I would probably freak out and pee on the floor too if I was a ball of fur. She regularly went 9 hours with no trouble.

Back to the Saturday of the ball of fur's first vet appointment. She was nosing around in the living room, looking for leftover crumbs from the chew I'd given her earlier.

Then suddenly she was peeing. It just sort of happened. One minute she was snarfing up crumbs and the next she was peeing.
The ball of fur looks quite pleased with being outside in the sitter's yard


the truth about rescues.

We're missing some important information.

Let me explain.

We've all seen the pictures, the Buzzfeed articles with 21 shelter dogs meeting their furever family for the first time or 17 shelter dogs on their way home from the shelter, the article about the rescue dog that changed someone's life.

It looks so easy. You bring home this adult dog, saving it from a life of abuse and neglect and abandonment and the horror of a shelter. You think it'll be so grateful and happy. You think it will take minimal work, maybe a brief refresher course in not peeing inside but not much more. Sure it may be timid for a few days but then surely it will settle in and love you unconditionally immediately.

Here's the thing.

That's never the case. Okay maybe one in a million dogs is like that. But what no one tells you, what all the articles and listicles and photo stories leave out is that your new adult rescue dog will not settle in right away. You're not in for a few rough first days.

You're in for a few rough months. At least.

You see that rescue dog has a history.

They've been abused. They've been neglected. Yet they still loved their humans because that's how dogs work.

And then they were ripped away from their home either because their owners dumped them at a shelter or someone (likely animal control) came and took them away. But all they know is that they're not at home anymore. No, they're now in this loud scary place, locked in a concrete pen next to rows of other concrete pens full of scared, angry, noisy dogs.

It's terrified.