Dear Dogs: Memos from The Management

At the suggestion of a few of my Facebook friends, I’m sharing this collection of letters from “The Management,” to the canine residents of my personal Little Green Inn for Wayward Dogs. These are Facebook status updates dating back to 2012. Memos are chronological, beginning with the most recent. I’ll keep adding to this post whenever The Manager feels the impulse to pontificate.

Please note that the intent is humorous, and the writing is deliberately pompous, overwrought, and silly. Those of you of a certain age may be familiar with a 1970s British sitcom called Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese of Monty Python renown. Cleese played the bumbling, monumentally inept proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast inn where nothing ever went right. The guests were loons but the innkeeper was loonier. This was the inspiration for the Little Green Inn for Wayward Dogs.

September 5, 2015
Inn drama – Saturday afternoon.
[Scene: front hallway of Inn.]
[ Action: all four canine residents mill around, vocalizing, as Manager’s dad attempts to get a leash on Amos to take him for their afternoon male bonding ritual walk in the woods. All four dogs attempt to bolt through the door at once; Manager grabs both short dogs by collars with one hand and restrains them as Granddad, Amos, and Weasel exit.]

Aggie: “SCreEeEEEeeAmmmMm! snaaaark! snap! growl! snarksnarksnark-snort-squeal.”

Beasley: “Grrrrrrrrowl! Yapyapyap-hic! sneeze! yap-squeal grrrrrr! yapyip!”

[Eyes bug out. Spittle flies. Manager slams door and separates the debaters.]

Aggie: “How dare you, you short, squatty, snorty, funny-looking, stinky little old man interloper! This is MY house and MY mom and YOU freakin’ TOUCHED me! I oughtta rip you limb from limb, you illegal alien, you. And you’re FAT.”
Beasley: “Oh shut yer pie-hole, you ill-tempered, short, pudgy, self-important, drama-prone little tri-colored trollop! YOUR mom came and got ME out of a shelter just like she did you, so SHE wants me here. I don’t care what you think, and while I’m here it’s MY house too. You snore louder than I do, BTW, and you have no manners or respect for your elders, so sit your plump dumpy rump down and shut up and get out of my face.”

Manager: “Stoppit, you two little short fat bad actors. Aggie, you are not in charge here. No one is stealing your glory. Beasley, she’s all mouth and no action, so don’t egg her on. You’re old enough to know better.”

[Manager rolls eyes so hard she dislodges a contact lens.[
[ Both short dogs run into the back yard and howl at granddad for not taking them walking with the tall dogs.]

September 8, 2015
Dear Mr. Amos and Mr. Beasley,
It is forty minutes until the appointed dinner hour.
Standing on either side of the Chef de Cuisine, yelling in stereo, will not get your dinners any sooner.
Unruly diners may be removed to the patio so as not to disturb the better-mannered guests.
Civilly (just barely),
The Manager

September 2, 2015
Dear Amos Coonbritches,
The Manager does not appreciate raccoon hunting BC (before coffee). Neither do the neighbors. At 5:30 am.

August 24, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The Manager just removed fourteen battered dog toys – four defluffed stuffies, seven bones, and three balls – from the daybed in the office. It was so cluttered with toys there was no room for even one dog to lie on it comfortably.
Upon arriving home this afternoon, the Manager also noted that the living room couch had been ransacked; there was a puddle in the foyer, two dead wasps on the Manager’s bed, several new trenches dug upon the grounds, and one dog – whose name shall remain unspoken but rhymes with Cheesel – covered head-to-toe in red-clay mud.
The Manager needs one canine psychologist, one boot-camp-style drill sergeant trainer, and one large (50+pound), high-energy, boisterous, playful, friendly young dog with a bomb-proof disposition and a rhinoceros-thick hide to make daily visits to address Miss Cheesel’s incorrigible behavioral issues.
The Manager values the living Residents far more highly than the inanimate furnishings of the Little Green Inn. But let’s not get ridiculous.
To the one-dog demolition crew: you’re fired.
With much irritation,
The Management

August 21, 2015
Dear Dogs,
When the Manager gets up at 5:15 and opens the patio door for you, that is an invitation to GO OUTDOORS to potty rather than on the living room floor. You are all adults and were – at one time – fully housetrained; there is no need to be afraid of the dark. If this is some kind of passive-aggressive protest, the Manager is missing the point.
“Out, damn’d Spot!” to quote Lady Macbeth.
The Pissy Management

August 11, 2015
Dear Amos M. Coonbritches,
Community members within a half-mile radius of the Little Green Inn who tried to go to bed early tonight may be showing up here at any moment with torches and pitchforks. The Manager notes that your resonant, elephant-like calls have successfully removed those dangerous deer from the vicinity.
Right now the Manager considers those clarion calls, along with the thunder of your paws charging up and down the fenceline, to be the most beautiful sounds on earth. The neighbors can suck wind.
Bay to your heart’s content, beloved boy.
The Management

August 14, 2015
Steamed spinach on the dogs’ dinner.
Weasel: “Seriously? Do I look like Popeye to you?”
Aggie: “Whaaaah… well, this is different.”

July 18, 2015
The Manager walked into the bedroom to check on Amos Coonbritches during the thunderstorm and found this.

June 27, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The Manager can’t understand why you find the whistling tea-kettle so irksome. Vengeance is mine, saith the Chef. Bwaaaahahahahaha.
The Management

June 17, 2015
Dear Amos M. Coonbritches,
The Manager does not consider hound slobber a condiment. Snatching food off the Manager’s plate WHILE THE MANAGER IS EATING FROM IT will not earn you extra recreational privileges. 
Nor will licking the fork or the iced tea glass. 
Inhaling loudly and insistently will not have the effect of suctioning fruit across the table like a vacuum cleaner.
Please refer to Miss Manners’ Manual of Coonhound Etiquette regarding dining decorum.
The Management

June 16, 2015
Dear Miss Agatha,
Thank you for scooting your little anal glands across the bed at 11p.m.
The Management

May 29, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The Management would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your remarkably proper deportment today while the Manager was on the road cheating on you with other dogs.
Miss Weasel, we appreciate that you released the chipmunk you caught this morning at 8:05, and that he appears to have made his escape by climbing the tulip poplar tree, and has not been found dead or alive. You were observed almost catching a squirrel at 5:15PM, and there is a reliable report that you chased a deer yesterday. You must realize at some point that live toys are quite breakable; this is why you have three dozen non-biological toys in your toy basket. We recognize that you are some kind of Jack Russell Terrorist/Greyhound/Pointer hybrid and cannot control your need to chase and wave trophies around. The Activities Director will look into lure coursing, which would be an ideal sport for you.
The AD will also consider trying to procure a life-sized, radio-controlled dummy raccoon on wheels for entertaining Mr. Amos, who joins the rodent pursuits too late and too vocally to catch anything. The Kitchen Attendant and Housekeeper have suggested that we try affixing the dog water buckets to the floor with marine epoxy, since you knocked the same full, 2-gallon bucket over twice this evening and four large towels were needed for cleanup.
Miss Agatha, considering the patio door was left open for you, there was no need for you to poop in the dining room, unless you simply prefer a cooler ambient pottying temperature or the grass outside was tickling your bum.
Mr. Jesse, we hope you value being hand-fed bites of organic chicken on these days when your appetite is sub-par. You are a lovely old gentleman and the Manager does not feel offended when your ADD kicks in and you wander away with kibble on your nose. The Manager will even continue providing your medications in tinned deviled ham on a Ritz cracker, even though potted meat products are revolting.
The Residents left the Little Green Inn for Wayward Mutts in remarkably sound and tidy condition despite the Manager’s seven-hour absence. The Management is grateful and will provide BACON at breakfast.
The Cruise Director

May 16, 2015
Dear Dogs,
While your zest for seizing life with all four paws is admirable, your choices for expressing that zest are – at best – sketchy. The Manager is sure that fresh, abundant, glistening pile of whitetailed deer poo looked tempting, but rolling in it, eating it, and fighting over the last morsel – all three of you – is a breach of house protocol.
This fecal obsession is not healthy. Please re-read the Manual, Section 14, Article 3, on the consequences of poo-eating.
This evening’s yoga class has been rescheduled for a time when the three of you do not stink.
The Management

P.S. The Groundskeeper has not forgotten this morning’s Snake Incident.

May 13, 2015
Dear Amos M. Coonbritches,
Dinner is served promptly at 6:00pm. It has always been served at 6:00pm when the establishment observes daylight savings time, and at 5:00pm on regular time. It will always be served at the same time. In your fourteen months at this establishment, you have never missed a meal. You can count on the toes of one paw the times your dinner has been late because the manager has been late.
You are back down to a respectable weight of 88 pounds from your Biggest Loser high of 106, and still do not need to eat every hour on the hour, no matter how many times you suggest it. The Manager is not fat-shaming you; she does not want you to explode.
It is not necessary to bay at the Manager for a solid ninety minutes every evening as a reminder of when you should get your dinner. The Manager is more intelligent than she looks.
We shall now observe a few moments of pre-meal silence. Kindly do not mistake these moments as an opportunity to pray that your dinner comes a half hour early.
The Management

April 24, 2015
Dear Miss Agatha,
Read the Handbook. “Thou shalt not dissect and defluff the bed pillows” is in the Commandments Appendix: Article IV, Section 107c.
The Management

April 15, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The Manager would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your thoughtful gifts today. A soggy dead wren, three dead carpenter bees, a large chewed-up stick, and a trail of poo leading from bedroom to patio door: each is a delightful and personal gesture.
The Manager must remind you, however, that the Green Cottage for Wayward Mutts is a not-for-profit asylum, so attempts to buy influence with extravagant material bribes may be frowned upon by Corporate Headquarters. Please consider leaving live birds, live bees, chewed sticks, and poo outdoors where both Residents and Staff may enjoy them fully with no appearance of impropriety.
If the offering of gifts becomes unavoidable, modestly priced Scotch may be deemed appropriate.
You may expect an extra portion of Taste of the Wild at dinner this evening.
The Management

April 10, 2015
Dear Dogs,
You are behaving like assholes tonight. Stoppit immediately.
The Manager

April 8, 2015
Dear Dogs,
A quorum of Residents has insisted that, since it’s warm outside, the patio door remain open throughout the day so that residents may run in and out of the fenced recreation area at will. While this is undoubtedly loads of fun, the Mansion of Misfit Toys is now full of red-clay mud, last year’s dead leaves, mosquitoes, and stinkbugs.
In addition, the Housekeeper collects eight or ten muddy toys from the outdoors every day, wipes them off, and returns them to the toy basket in the kitchen. One Anonymous Resident immediately begins moving toys back to the outdoors.
The Housekeeper has filed a medical report citing purple funnel syndrome – a rare variant on carpal tunnel, caused by repetitively picking up after weaselly dogs day in and day out, sweeping and mopping up mud and leaves, swatting mosquitoes, and removing stinkbugs back to nature.
The Housekeeper has requested a brief sojourn in the Bahamas. The Manager suggested a toddy and a nap instead.
The Anonymous Resident is politely advised not to leave any more squirrel half-carcasses on the porch; we are running short on liquor, and reliable housekeepers are hard to come by,
The Management

March 17, 2015
One of the Residents, who shall remain anonymous but whose name rhymes with Cheesel, rolled in wildlife poop today and failed to report the incident in a timely manner. The Manager does not appreciate the late-night olfactory assault occasioned by this Resident’s demand for snuggles.
A bath will be scheduled in the near future once the Manager regains consciousness.
The Interim Manager

March 13, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The Manager is waiting patiently for the rain to abate so that she may venture out in search of Miss Agatha’s missing collar and tags, which Miss Weasel thoughtfully removed from Miss Agatha’s person and hid somewhere in the back forty.
The Management does not sanction unscheduled games of Hide the Collar. Please refer to your Code of Conduct Manual, Section 113, Article 61B: “Residents will not steal another resident’s identity.” Appropriate penalties will apply.
The Management

February 28, 2015
Dear Dogs,
The housekeeper reports that when she closed the bedroom door this evening to furnish the bed with clean linens and sweep up wreckage from your last soirée, certain individuals staged a full-scale riot, worthy of a World Cup defeat, outside in the hallway.
The alleged instigator was She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-but-whose-name-rhymes-with-Cheesel; however, a large Coonhound and a small Beagle were reportedly baying, whining, squealing, and scratching on the door while using a Terrier as a battering ram.
The housekeeper is threatening to retire to the Caribbean if the residents’ delinquency, vandalism. and loutish yobbery continues. Please be advised that competent housekeepers who work for free are hard to come by.
Tonight’s jamboree has been postponed for lack of staff.
The Management

January 13, 2015
The Manager: “C’mon, Dogs, it’s time to go out and pee. Sun’s coming up.”
Dogs; “It’s raining. It’s 36 degrees. Sun is not coming up. We are not going out. We will hold it until we explode.”
The Manager: “Daybreak! Out! Time to do business! You can come right back in when you’re done!”
Dogs: [Four dogs look out open door. One crawls back onto bed. One goes into bathroom and stands expectantly beside space heater. Two wander into commons room and pee and poop on floor, then crawl back onto bed.]
Manager: “Aaaaaaugh.”

December 24, 2014
Dear Manager,
For the third day in a row, it is cold and raining.
I did not order this weather; please take it back and remove all charges from my bill.
While I may appear to be a large, uncouth-looking dude—the Larry the Cable Guy of the coonhound world, as it were—I am, in fact, quite delicate and fragile. Prissy, even. I do not like getting my dainty, dinner-plate-sized paws wet. I resent being dragged into the woods like some common peasant to do my business, so I “held it” for three days until I looked like a piñata and then deposited a Matterhorn-sized load right in front of your porch.
Since I have done my duty under protest, you must now dry me thoroughly—the green towel, please, not the red or beige one—and then I will go roll on your bed, joining my small female companions who’ve already raced in there, sopping wet, and sullied the bedclothes with muddy paws and dripping hair.
Then you will offer me a bacon treat, whereupon I will chomp your fingers to the third knuckle.
I request a Walker Hound-sized serving of sunshine tomorrow. It IS Christmas day, after all.
Amos M. Coonbritches, Esq.
Resident, Bawlty Towers Inn for Wayward Dogs

December 5, 2014
Dear Miss Weasel,
The concierge’s computer mouse is not to be mistaken for a chew toy. At your current stipend, we do not believe you can afford to replace it. Please confine obsessive-compulsive mastication to appropriate non-electronic objects.
The Management

July 26, 2014
Internal Memorandum:
Aggie and Weezy are digesting some dense subjects. They’ve sampled Deutsch Heute,Zielsprache Deutsch, Mélange Littéraire, Western Civilization, The Illustrated Pepys, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, and Problems in American Environmental History. My old college textbooks have become chew toys. Brats.

July 12, 2014
Dear Dogs,
Awakening the entire facility at 5:30am on a Saturday by stomping up and down the stairs, baying, is inconsiderate of other guests.
The Management

June 24, 2014
[Internal memo]
Flea preventative time = Rodeo Nite in Point Peter. Chase 4 dogs through the house (one by one; the remaining two are on Trifexis), corner them under furniture, drag them out, sit on their heads and hope they don’t bite my butt, and listen to them wail while I apply the Advantix II. You’d think I was gonna pull their toenails out with pliers. Dear Lord, please send me some normal, well-adjusted dogs next time. My special-needs kids take a lot of work.

May 15, 2014
Internal Memorandum:
Bratty canine activity will be the death of me. Miss Agatha Friskie CANNOT stay out of trouble. While I was on the phone, she sneaked up to the kitchen and stole a “roach motel”—a box-shaped sticky trap for pantry insects that doesn’t have any pesticides but has a weird maple-syrup smell—out of the broom cabinet. She took it to a rug to chew on, and Dad heard weird noises. Aggie had chewed the trap open and gotten one paw stuck to the glue inside, and was walking around thumping and bumping and whining. I got the trap unstuck with some vegetable oil. Aggie lost a few whiskers too. If I have a coronary anytime soon, this is why.

April 18, 2014
Dear Miss Agatha Friskie,
The Management would like to note that screaming, snarling, squeaking tri-colored Beagle-diva temper tantrums are no more attractive nor sanctioned in the South Carolina establishment than at the Georgia one. Your big brother Amos did not mean to lie down on your toy, nor was he responsible for you being left behind in the rain while he got to go for a ride today. He didn’t make you refuse your dinner or poo at the foot of the stairs. The housemaid washed all your toys because they were rank, not to torture you. Amos ate your portion of veggie burger because YOU walked away from your dish and he assumed you were done. Little 24-pound ladies should not beat the hell out of their 87-pound buddies, scare them into a howl, and crush their delicate Coonhound feelings. You should really be ashamed of your spoiled-brat drama-queen self.
One more violation of social policy and you will be given house arrest, affixed with an ankle monitor, and assigned a parole officer.
The Nerve-wracked Management.

March 18, 2014
Dear Aggie,
Mom sees what you are doing. Santa will not visit you until you are at least five at this rate.
The Management

February 28, 2014
Dear Dogs,
The Management posts entertaining notes about your hooligan behavior, your late-night canine karaoke, the interesting items you destroy, your uncivilized potty habits, and your mealtime demands. However, the Management would not trade you for a winning lottery ticket, because of your unconditional love. Without that, the Manager would have checked out permanently long ago.

February 25, 2014
Internal Memorandum:
Management just caught Minnie, Max, and Aggie engaged in a territorial war of words in the driveway over… a turd.
Why don’t we ever have normal dogs at this establishment?

February 20, 2014
Dear Dogs,
Residents may not become nocturnal without written permission from the Management. Whacking the Manager in the head at 11:15 pm with a Nylabone will not hasten policy change. Kindly stop partying and go to bed.
The Management

January 25, 2014
Internal Memorandum:
Three dogs are mad at The Management. They barked and tore up the house for two solid hours and I finally yelled at them.

December 14, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Yes, it is raining. Yes, there are puddles in the yard, and water falling from the sky. No, you will NOT melt if you actually step off the porch to do your business. You will not die if your delicate undercarriages touch wet grass. The Manager would, in fact, much appreciate you risking getting slightly damp rather that doing said business indoors. The Manager is irritated that she had to go out into the yard and stand in the rain in order to inspire you to leave the porch. By the way, the Lodge used to have nice fuzzy rugs on which dogs could wipe their wet paws… until dogs urinated and defecated on said rugs. Thank you for eliminating OUTdoors in designated areas despite the inclement weather. In front of the TV in the living room, the corner of the bedroom, the middle of doorways, and the dirty laundry basket are NOT designated areas. The butler, housekeeper, bellhop, and scullery maid gave notice years ago and the Manager is running this establishment alone, overworked and underpaid. She now has soggy shoes, bedraggled hair, and a headache.
The Management

November 11, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Last night was chaotic at the Casa de los Canines.
We had a report of poo in the bedroom; the Management was unable to locate physical evidence, so must assume someone was hiding a dingleberry.
Miss Agatha tossed her cookies on the bed at 1:03 AM. This is what happens when one consumes newspaper, twigs, and part of a Rubbermaid bin in the course of a single day.
Mr. Max and Miss Minnie decided to hold a singing competition shortly after 2:00 AM.
Thereafter, the Manager had to go pee, and someone used this interlude to grab the Manager’s iPhone and chew it beneath the comforter.
Later the Manager’s feet got cold because all three canine residents opted to sleep on her head and chest.
The Management hopes that these issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of all guests. Your bills will be amended accordingly.
Curfew is at 11:30 PM and proper indoor voices and mannerly comportment will be enforced.
The Management

November 3, 2013
Internal Memorandum:
Several canines (names withheld to protect privacy) are having hysterics at what they perceive to be the Management’s negligence 10 minutes past their appointed dinnertime.

October 31, 2013
Dear Princess Agatha,
It is against palace rules to rip the bedsheets in the wee hours of the morning. Spoiled princesses who awaken the royal household by said method between 4:30 and 5:00AM to initiate rambunctious play shall be banished to the tower. And remind your big brother Prince Max that loud snoring and farting are ill-mannered and are reserved for the moat dragon.
Ye Management

October 4, 2013
Dear Aggie,
Mom has a sinus headache. Bashing her in the head with a chewed Pop-Tarts box will not cure her, nor will yapping into her left ear.
The Management

September 17, 2013
Dear Agatha,
Just because it’s called “Reader’s Digest” doesn’t mean it’s digestible. Waiting that extra ten minutes for dinner wouldn’t have hurt.
The Management.

September 15, 2013
Dear Miss Agatha Friskie,
The management looks forward to the day when you lose your last two baby fangs, and to the day when you realize bedtime need not be preceded by 40 minutes of unbridled hyperactivity, loud yapping, pouncing on the other residents, stealing towels, and leaving the manager’s hands and arms perforated and bloody. Until that day, please enjoy restful nightly repose in your crate.
The Management

August 29, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Next time you decide to celebrate Let’s Be Annoying, Destructive, Loud Pains-in-the-Butt Day spontaneously, please give the management 24 hours’ notice so she can sedate you—and herself—accordingly.
The Management

August 5, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Thank you for jumping up and down on my head, chest, and nether regions precisely one-half hour prior to the customary dinner time to ensure that I don’t actually nap through your favorite three minutes of the day.
The Trampled Management

August 2, 2013
Internal Memorandum:
O.M.F.G. For a baby puppy, Aggie has the musical repertoire of a seasoned Met contralto. Thirty minutes in the crate and she’s still giving me pieces of her mind. Her basic Beagle cry of rage sounds like someone who’s never had a lesson blatting away on a clarinet inside a galvanized dustbin after visiting the dentist for novocaine in both lips. She alternates this with impressions of a Canada goose, a sea lion, a Siamese kitten, and someone banging on said dustbin lid with a ball-peen hammer. She is telling me in two-and-a-half octaves that diva babies belong in mom’s lap, not a damned airline kennel. I am SO happy she feels good enough to complain to the management, but I need a Xanax and some headphones.

June 22, 2013
Dear Nice Dogs,
We appreciate your majority decision to stay up all night scratching, chewing, pacing, wandering from room to room, whining, getting toenails hung in rabies tag loops and screaming bloody murder, wallowing on mom and the bed, knocking over the fan… all without my vote. The full moon is TOMORROW and no, you do not need to practice being pains in the butt. You have it down to a science. At this rate mom will be the one howling at the moon. 2:30 am is not party time in this house.
The Management

June 7, 2013
Dear Dogs:
Your repeat of last night’s 3:00am play session has been cancelled; tentatively rescheduled for A Decent Hour (like noon). Your mom needs her beauty sleep.
The Management

March 22, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Thank you for the entertaining game of musical chairs you played in my bed last night. You made four hours feel like a year! I will enjoy the heartburn, black eye, and bruised spleen from being trampled, rather like waking up with a tattoo after a monumental jaegermeister binge. Please do not be surprised if I wake you from your naps every 15 minutes all day to ask if you’re comfy or need more blankets. Or sit on your heads to show you you’re loved.
The Management

March 5, 2013
Dear Dogs,
Dinner will be served tonight at the usual time. Just because Mom opened a can of something for herself a few minutes ago, it doesn’t mean she had your dinner herself and will leave you to starve. Jumping on Mom, barking in her ear, tugging her pant leg, and sitting 14 inches away staring at her will not be necessary. Dinner is at 6:00PM sharp.
Thank you,
The Management

January 22, 2013
Canine Complaint Department Instructions:
Please write complaint in black ink on a 3″ x 5″ index card. Fold card 3 times and shove it up your arse.
Thank you,
The Management

November 8, 2012
Dear Dogs,
November is upon us. The season comes with wind, rain, fallen leaves, and cold.
Mom will not be leaving both the front and back doors open so you may race joyfully through the house all day long. Sorry that dapper doorman with the Burberry trench coat and golf umbrella is no longer here to open doors for you every five minutes and to call the bellhop to carry your luggage so that you can roll in leaves and mud and then on mom’s bed.
The concierge, room service, and housekeeper are also on furlough; we had to lay off those ladies and gentleman due to the economy.
The new house rules are: Dinner is at 6:30pm. You play outside when it’s sunny and mild. You play inside when it’s cold, rainy, or dark. If you refuse to come when called at 10:00PM, your ass will freeze.
Mom’s bed is not the place to dismember dead birds and mice, or to chew up fallen pecans and litter the room with pecan shells.
You will be charged for use of the mini-bar and fridge.
Thank you,
The Management

November 4, 2012
Memo to Dogs:
There should be no barking in Mom’s face at 4:15 AM on a Sunday unless something’s on fire.
Thank you,
The Management

October 24, 2012
Dear Magnificent (furry) Seven:
Thanks to you and your evil overlord—he of the toxic socks, who leaves a toilet looking (and smelling) like Hannibal’s army encamped overnight and all the elephants had Taco Bell takeout—the house and yard are now eligible for an EPA Superfund cleanup grant. Given, thinking like chess players is not your forte. But pissing all the rugs into oblivion and shredding/unstuffing every one of your dog beds means that wood floor is gonna be awful cold and hard this winter.
You will not all fit in Mom’s bed, and Mom is not sleeping on the couch or buying you replacements that will only last ten minutes. Mom’s underwear is not dental floss. 6-roll packs of paper towels are not for filling the hallway with fake snow.
Recycling is not actually YOUR job—the county handles paper, plastic and glass off-site, not all over the lawn.
And really, is a plastic soup ladle worth fighting for?
The eight non-Mom occupants of this house need to start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks to earn their keep.
Thank you,
The Management.

September 29, 2012
Dear Dog(s),
Three drops of rain do not constitute “severe weather” and do not justify peeing on the bath mat instead of going outside. Don’t make me call a town hall meeting to discuss local ordinances.
Thank you,
The Mayor

April 15, 2012
Dear Dogs:
Thank you for waking me up at the crack of dawn by standing on my chest barking, just so you could take over my bed. It’s now 1:00pm and I am waking you up so you can go fold laundry and clean the kitchen.
Mom (source of the free lunch and comfy big bed).

April 28, 2012
Dear Dogs:
Number one Saturday rule is no hyperactivity before sunrise. Read the memo.
The Management, bleary-eyed

April 23, 2012
[External memo]
Dear shelter dog adopter:
I am so disappointed that you find it inconvenient to drive 45 miles to meet and complete paperwork for the dog you saw online and wanted to add to your family.
Do you realize that some crazy people drive 800 miles or more round trip to take rescued dogs that aren’t their own to people they’ve never met, and don’t get paid to do it?
It’s all about priorities. What are yours?
Rescue Supporter

photo by author

photo by author


You’ve seen those gruesome-twosome couples –  sometimes teens, sometimes wa-a-a-a-ay old enough to know better – who conduct their personal beeswax a little too openly on social media, right? Here’s a little homage to excessive fromage, in the style of Ogden-Nash-meets-Dorothy-Parker. Yes, three couplets is a crowd.

“Playing footsie,” they’d call it in old-school vernacular.
With posts set to public, it’s sadly spectacular,

romancing on Facebook like Dr. Seuss porn.
She waxes his ego; he tweetles her horn.

I guess in late summer they don’t need sunglasses
with their heads shoved so firmly up each other’s asses.

Confessions of a lingerie hoarder

Oh dear. The afternoon’s long-procrastinated cleanout of the underwear and sock drawers has reinforced my worst fears. I am an unmentionables hoarder. A braphiliac. A panty packrat… a negligéelitist. A lingerieniac. I’ve revealed Victoria’s secret and – it looks like – about five other women’s. There were undergarments in there I swear I’ve never seen before, much less worn. Some are teeny; some are gargantuan, some are slightly obscene. Surely they must reflect my mood swings and shifts in self-esteem over the past 25 years. Sheer, opaque, lacy, satin, silk, cotton, nylon, possibly PVC and Kevlar, hookeresque or grannyfied, and everything in between. All sizes, shapes, colors, prints, and configurations, most with two leg holes and a top opening, or two cups, two straps and elastic, but I’m not confirming any of that at the moment. It’s like Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Maidenform, and Bali got into that bureau and had some kind of orgy. And I’m pretty sure they’re all mine.grannypanties3

I know what happened: over the years, I couldn’t find a particular favorite item, or the elastic in a prized female undergarment stretched out so as to fit a medium-sized rhinoceros, so I went out and bought several more, washed them, and stuffed them into drawers, where they hid like mice and reproduced. Some, I must confess, I got too fat for… or as I prefer to say, they shrank in the wash. Because they weren’t worn out – and possibly while I was smoking catnip or drinking muscle-relaxant-vodka-and-chocolate cocktails – I decided to SAVE THEM ALL!! Homeless knicker rescue! Saved them in the improbable event that I might one day lose half my body weight and wear them again. How do you recycle old lingerie that is four sizes too small and that you’ll realistically never, ever fit in again unless you develop a terminal wasting disease? No one wants used undergarments (at least, no one I’d be caught hanging out with), but they were too nice to toss out.

And the poor socks…. My dogs, permanent and foster, separated and destroyed many mated pairs, and the dryer ate others. Some of the canines sneaked socks outdoors to play with, so the lawn mower could ravage them, or just because they made colorful lawn decor (neighbors appreciate a yard decorated with “art”). Even the holey ones I must’ve felt sorry for and couldn’t bear to throw out. The sock divorce rate is shocking; faithful, bonded, intact couples hid in the back of the drawer to keep from being ridiculed by the burnt-out, swinging-singles majority.

So finally, today, I decided to “organize and inventory.” Since I have OCD tendencies, it’s now all nicely folded and sorted by color and style. I have enough miscellaneous underthings and mismatched socks to outfit a dozen bag-ladies and one nearly plus-sized yet still fashionable and feminine old spinster for life.

Now for the next dilemma: do I call my therapist about this?

Sattiday in the country

Given the weekend entertainment proclivities of many of my fellow residents of rural Oglethorpe county, I think I have the perfect product concept — one that will at last make me wealthy and independent. It’s velcro-seat shorts for the four-wheeler enthusiast. You know, to keep their drunk redneck asses secured in place in case of potholes/wheelies/rollovers/collisions with livestock. Crash helmets – even ones with insulated cupholders and curly straws attached to the sides to accommodate the Bud Light or Milwaukee’s Best tallboy – won’t sell in the ain’t-wearin’-no-stinkin’-helmet wilds, but safety shorts might.

The denizens of the northeast Georgia dirt-road wilderness love two things above all others on a balmy Saturday: randomly discharging firearms in their backyards all day and night, and taking the entire clan cross-country four-wheeling. Both activities reinforce the biological theory of natural selection. The guns-as-entertainment thing keeps me — and my terrified dogs — indoors to avoid random ricochets. It’s just loud and annoying. But the four-wheelin’ is a spectator sport.

My own favorite Southern-fried weekend activity (when I want to avoid work but don’t want to leave home) is sitting on the shady porch, watching my dogs, the local flora and fauna, and the rest of the country world go by. Wait long enough and I get to see the Redneck Family Robinson (probably not their real name) tearing up the county road on their three- and four-wheelers — also known as ATVs. The whole clan gets in on a raucous, exhaust-belching convoy: Dad, dad’s five or so brothers (numbers vary depending on who’s speaking to whom on a given weekend), mom, sisters-in-law, kids of all ages and sizes, aunts and uncles, toothless Cousin Bo, occasionally the grands, even the shirtless, sunburned, Pampers-clad 18-month old riding in Daddy’s lap, cushioned by Dad’s beer gut and seatbelted with one tattooed arm while the other adult hand clutches a Miller Lite.

I hear the roaring, chugging, buzzing engines first, then the woohoos and yeehaws and shouted conversation. Guys in flapping t-shirts (the hairiest ones in tank tops, naturally), camouflage cutoffs, flip-flops or Redwing work boots. Gals in tube tops and jean shorts with a lot of whitebread or salon-tanned flesh hanging out. Kids as young as seven or eight on their own machines, with toddlers clinging behind them like baby ‘possums. Not a dang helmet on a one of ‘em. The posse screams by, east to west, headed from Madison County toward Lexington. Fifteen minutes later, here they come again, headed east. They’ve run the entire length of the 2-lane county highway— about 16 miles — turning around at an abandoned country store on the east end and in the dirt parking lot of a deer-processing outfit on the west, and will do this over and over until the sun sinks low or they run out of gas, beer, diet Mountain Dew, and Marlboro lights.  On occasion, the whole mob will disappear for a couple of hours, then reappear covered in red-clay dust or mud, indicating they actually found some recently cleared pulpwood acreage to off-road on. Near dusk, they mosey back east, contra the sunset, leaving a wake of aluminum cans and exhaust fumes.

My dogs love to run the fence, barking maniacally, as the ATV clan rumbles by. Y’all come over and sit on the porch with some sweet tea and watch the show. We can sew some big Velcro patches on the butts of some shorts, sell ‘em out by the road. Make us some spendin’ money. But please leave the shotgun at home…. It’ll scare the mutts.

Ooooh, that smell

Confession: I stink at being a typical female. OK, I’m not a typical anything. Growing up, I tried really hard to conform—to look, dress, accessorize, paint, curl, bejewel, coif, and smell like what social norms expect a girl to be. Genetics limited my success. Under all that fluff, I was still me. But once upon a time, I made the effort and kept a well-stocked arsenal.

One of the most challenging of the feminine come-hither accoutrements I never could quite get the hang of was perfume. “Smell-good stuff,” as one of my older relatives dubbed it. Whose idea was it for us to put on aromas that are not our own? I’m not writing a history of perfume here, but the most popular response from begins, “Perfume was first created by Egyptians who put animal fat on their heads.” Oh-kaaaaaay. The stuff was popularized by English and French aristocrats back in the early sixteenth century, the days when people didn’t bathe. Really. You got washed when you were born and maybe when you got married and/or died (not implying that these two life events are usually concurrent), and for the balance of your life, you just stewed in your own au jus. Queen Elizabeth I was famous for her sensitive schnozz; she quoth something like, “Forsooth! What foul and onerous stench, what putrid essence now offendeth my delicate nares?” and the answer was her own pungent, hairy armpits. Et voilà…. Perfumes to the rescue. Using a similar theorem, the French also invented all those fancy sauces that made Julia Child swoon and that no one who isn’t French can spell, to cover up the taste of rancid meat in pre-Fridgidaire days. But I digress. Perfumes have been around forever, invented first to cover up our natural aromas and later used to woo—or perhaps gas into helpless oblivion—potential mates.

I really wish they would go away.

Not that I don’t have some memories. My paternal grandmother, who lived a modest, rural life in Alabama (that’s a euphemism for being poor in the country), kept a tiny, cobalt-blue bottle of Evening in Paris on her dresser. Twenty-five cents back in the ’60s, and that was real money. As a small girl, I loved looking at that little sapphire dime-store vessel and sniffing the contents when she allowed it. As far as I know, she never went anywhere to use the fragrance, but that memory has lasted me 45 years. If you were a teenaged girl in the mid-’70s (that’s 1970s, not Tudor nor Elizabethan times), I bet you remember Love’s Baby Soft and Jōvan Musk. Every high school gal doused herself in one or the other, and smeared her lips with Bonne Bell Lip Smackers in flavors like wild cherry and Dr. Pepper. Good times. Then in the late ’70s and ’80s, the designer scent thing got really out of hand. There was no escaping the choking, pervasive waves of Halston, Polo, Giorgio, Obsession, Poison, Drakkar Noir, Red Door, and Eternity. In the ’90s, celebrities—mostly actors and musicians—jumped on the signature-fragrance bandwagon. Now everyone who’s anyone has a perfume on the market… even professional athletes and politicians. Esprit de Tennis Socks? Republican Breeze? Gaaaaah. No, I do NOT want to smell like a famous person!

At some point after I turned 30, I slowly started giving up on all that female artifice that wasn’t getting me anywhere. I realized that most perfumes for both women and men—and colognes and splashes and body sprays and other miscellaneous odoriferous products marketed to people who want to smell as loverly as they look—not only assault my senses in a very nonsexy way, but most of them stir up my allergies. Migraine headaches, hives, sneezing, nausea, and the desire to flee the scene post-haste probably wouldn’t make good advertising copy for perfumiers. Plus, perfumes are jarringly out of place in most settings: grocery stores, restaurants, the gym, the botanical gardens, the animal shelter, the county fair. I’d rather breathe the aromas of the real world, thank you, even when they aren’t so pleasant.608-03011874

Anyway, what’s wrong with smelling like clean, respectable, natural human?

I remember reading about a couple of studies done around 2007 where study admins attempted to measure the effects of male sweat pheromones on women’s hormones, stress levels, and brain activity. The general conclusions were that women were calmed, irritated, and/or excited by men’s natural aromas; even female fertility may be affected by male pheromones. Well, duh. They needed to spend grant money to figure that out? Results of a study in which a component of male sweat was applied to a female subject’s upper lip found that exposure to the scent raised her level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Any surprise that women are stressed out by men? We’ve been screaming about that for over 2,000 years. One such study even went so far as to suggest that a woman could find a sexually compatible man based on whether she is attracted or repelled by his sweat. In this study, participants were hooked up to EKGs and also asked for verbal feedback, then were given an assortment of slightly sweaty men’s T-shirts to sniff, and asked to react to each one. Grossed out? Avoid the guy. Turned on? Date material. I could’ve told them that every heterosexual woman on earth thinks that some men smell amazing, some stink, and at some point you have to tell even the sexiest among them, “Dude, take a shower. I’m not touching that.” Seriously. Axe body spray not required.

So what about women wearing perfume to attract men? I guess there are men who are impressed by—and remember her for—a woman’s store-bought fragrance. I don’t know many such men past high-school age. Not that this is a frequent conversation topic, but most men I know prefer a woman to smell like herself, not “a light floral with woodsy undertones and a note of amber.” They care about as much about perfumes as they do to ask whether her nail polish is called “perkiest pink” or “vixen violet.”

But if I were going to formulate and market a perfume guaranteed to turn the head of every man in a room and make him drool like a hound dog, I’d go for elements that men actually like to smell and that stimulate their imaginations as well as… oh, never mind. Base notes of concentrated diesel exhaust tempered with oil-pan drippings from a mid-’70s Chevy pickup. A sprinkling of fresh oak, pine, or poplar sawdust. Mid-range fragrances of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and coffee brewing; add a dollop of ballpark hot-dog with mustard and onions. A whiff of aged Kentucky bourbon. A curl each of acrid smoke from his late granddad’s cigar, grilling steak (medium-rare, with a splash of charcoal lighter fluid), and late-night campfire. Just a hint of wet Labrador Retriever or Coonhound. For real intimacy and the subliminal pleasures of familiarity, a top note of dirty gym shorts and a smidgen of beer-fart, and the heady blend is complete. Oh, yeah… let us not forget bacon, so essential that it has become cliché.

Distill these elements, age well, and decant into recycled brown beer bottles. Sell in plain paper bags for less than ten dollars. And every man in America would line up to buy it for his significant other. I could become a multimillionaire and never lack for a date.

Any ideas for a name? How about just calling it what it would be: True Love?

OK, see y’all later. I’m off to sniff a few sweaty T-shirts.

Puppy in the Powder Room

Guest post by Willadean, aka “Shredrica,” once a foster puppy; now adopted into a great home.

Our house has this one little room that I don’t get to go into much, and I couldn’t figure out why Mom always shuts the door when she goes in. So this morning, after she shut the door, I scratched and hammered and jumped and yapped and whined and managed to open the door by myself. And y’know what? Mom let me stay, and closed the door behind me. It was nice and warm in there, although the tile floor is cold and the hard, white furniture is, too. Not very inviting for a puppy. But…. The furniture all makes running water! How cool is that? Noisy, splashy, wet, wonderful water, like rain except inside!

This is all new and intriguing for a pup!

This is all new and intriguing for a pup!

At first Mom was sitting on the thing that’s kinda like a chair. I wanted to get into her lap so I’d know what she was doing. It’s great getting in Mom’s lap ‘cos she cuddles and pets me and lets me kiss her. This time there wasn’t any lap-room. I figured Mom was up to no good, so I stood on my hind legs and dug my claws into her haunch so that I could poke my whole head down her butt-crack. I wanted to experience whatever was goin’ on with all five senses! Mom got irritated and said she didn’t need my help. Darn. I’m learning to be a dog. Sniffing butts is what we do! It would’ve been so much easier if Mom had just peed and pooped in the living room like I do. Mom unrolled some of that soft white paper that I love to shred up, and reached back and put it in the chair. She puts unrolled paper on my pees and poos too, so I can grab that and play with it later. She gets very animated when I decorate a room with torn-up paper. She wouldn’t let me have any of this paper although I wanted to tug-o-war with it. Then she pushed a lever and the chair-thing said, “grrrrrrOWWWWWLROAAAARWHOOooosh!” – I was startled but I looked in, and got to see water going round and round! Man, I wanted to play in that whirling water and I asked mom to press the lever again, but she closed the lid on the chair and the noise stopped.

Next Mom went over to the tall white bowl and – guess what? – more water came out! She opened a tube and put some minty-smelling stuff on a stick and started chewing on it. Slurp, scrub, slurp, scrub – it made her foam at the mouth! So funny! She wouldn’t share. I share my sticks. Mean Mom. When I stood real tall, I could see into the bowl and see the water running. I stuck out my tongue as far as it would go but couldn’t catch the water. I did taste a little of the minty stuff Mom spit out. She must not have liked it either: she washed off the stick and put it back in the cabinet. Blech. Mom, a plain stick would’ve tasted much better.
After that Mom took off her pajamas and left them on the floor. It’s hilarious when she does this, because she looks like a big, squishy, pink squeaky toy with no fur. I discovered when I try to squeak her, sometimes she squeaks really loud. Better than my stuffed sheep that both squeaks and baaaaas. Biting or pawing some parts of Mom makes louder squeaks than biting others. That’s another thing I’m not supposed to do. It’s hard to be good when there’s that much toy to squeak! Mom went and stood on a flat, rectangular thing in the corner. I peeked. She waited for some numbers to appear in a plastic square where she was standing; then she said a very bad word.

The last piece of furniture in the little room is a great big dog bowl on the floor with a sheet hanging down in front of it. I tried to pull the sheet down to play with and got told, “NO.” Mom made water start running in the big bowl, and then – magic! – rain started pouring down from the sky, just like outside! Mom got into the dog bowl without clothes, right in the rain, and pulled the sheet to hide from me. When I peeked, my nose got wet. She stood in there, in the rain, for like… forever. It must’ve been at least eight minutes. She kept putting smelly, foamy stuff all over her and letting the rain wash it off again. I tasted some of that stuff… yuck. She says I’m silly for running around out in the rain, so I guess she is silly too.

I got bored waiting on her to come out of the rain, so I piddled on the bath mat, and went and stood on the rectangular thing that made mom cuss. Since I couldn’t tell what the numbers were, I took a poop right in the middle of the thing, but the numbers didn’t change. Who knew Mom would say another very bad word when she saw what I did? I pulled her clean clothes off of the counter and rearranged them all over the cold tile floor to make it warmer. I got some stuff out of the little trash can to decorate with…. None of that stuff tasted good either, but it was fun to chew. So was Mom’s dirty sock. Yummy. That sock has extra openings now so her toes can breathe. She was still in the rain, so I curled up on her pajamas with her sock in my mouth and took a little nap. Finally the rain stopped and Mom came out from behind the sheet. I wanted to play steal-the-towel but she is stronger than I am. And louder. So I helped by licking the water off her legs and feet. She said if I kept helping, she’d have to go back in the rain again. Humans have some strange idea

Before Mom collected her clothes off the floor and put them on (oh, I love to play tug-o-war with clothes!), she got out some more weird-smelling stuff and rubbed it on her. It smelled like fruit and flowers but tasted icky. Peanut butter, Mom…. That’s what you should be putting on you, so I can love you even more than I already do! It’s sticky and goopy like that flowery stuff but much tastier.

Mom was not very impressed with all the work I got accomplished while she was in the rain behind the curtain. She put my poo in the chair-thing and made it roar again, and then the swirly water and my poo disappeared! That was neat. I didn’t get to play in the water, or with the towel any more, or the soft shreddy paper, or Mom’s pajamas and socks, because she put them all in places I’m not supposed to go. She didn’t sit on the chair and let me in her lap either. Mom, you know this would be a whole lot more fun if you stayed out of the rain in the big bowl and we played with all your stuff instead.

My time in the strange little room-with-water was still interesting enough that, now, I want to go in there with Mom every time she goes, just to see what she might do next. Maybe I can bring in some of my toys and play in the rain with her! Right now, though, I have to run. I think I tasted too many interesting-smelling but gross-tasting things in that room, and I need to go throw up in the middle of Mom’s bed.

(Proofread by foster mom, January 4, 2013)

"REALLY, mom?"

“REALLY, mom?”