dog

Ramona the Spider-Slayer (in training)

Ramona loves food more than anything in the world.
It does more than keep her alive. It keeps her happy. It fulfills her. Every morning, she sits outside the kitchen window and watches me mournfully as I get my breakfast & lunch ready… it’s like she is trying to telepathically send me a message: “feedmefeedmefeedme.”

And when you take food to her, she jumps, and spins, and tries to hug you to convey just how happy she is that you are bringing her food. Then she runs into her doghouse, spins in a circle, comes back out and sits by her bowl, tongue hanging out, anxiously awaiting the moment when you pour the food into her bowl so that she can commence The Eating.

Usually, feeding her is Jonathan’s job. Partly because she respects him enough to not give him full-on bear hugs when she sees the cup of food in his hand. Partly because when she does give me bear hugs, she is big enough to knock me over and at this point, I’d never be able to get up. And partly because the only thing she might love almost as much as food is Jonathan, and I’d hate to deprive her of a visit from “her” man.

The other morning, though, her man had to leave for an early meeting, and he left the duty of feeding her to me… as long as the yard wasn’t flooded. It had rained the other night, and our yard has no drainage at all. As in none. When it rains, it turns into a swamp. Ramona doesn’t care… she’ll still prance right through it, spraying mud and rainwater all over you as she tells you just how happy she is that you’re bringing her food. But once I am dressed and ready for work, the last thing I feel like encountering is a Puppy of Unusual Size dancing through her own personal fire swamp (minus the fire) to celebrate the Food.

Luckily (or unluckily), the yard wasn’t too flooded on this morning. A little damp, but nothing me, my rolled up dress pants and Jonathan’s shoes couldn’t handle. I measured out her food, opened the gate, and was met with a giant pink tongue and the happiest puppy-smile ever. I could almost hear her saying “I love you! I love you! It’s breakfast time! I love you!”

I had to dump mud and leaves out of both of her bowls, and I knew a rinsing was necessary before I poured food into either one of them. I carried one over to the water spigot to do it, when I saw it.
(insert scary monster music here)
A green (yes, green), hairy (yes, hairy), spider the size of my head my fingernail. On the spigot. Right on top. Where my hand needed to go to turn on the water.

I turned to tell Ramona that I was sorry… mud-flavored food might be good after all, and who needs fresh water? But she was standing there with such anticipation in her eyes, being so good and not bear-hugging me… I knew I owed her mud-free food and water. So I used the only weapon I had around to slay the beast: I beat it to death with her water bowl.

The metal water bowl on the metal spigot was loud enough to give the spider a heart attack, even if I missed… which I did, the first 3 or 18 times. The little monster ran, climbed, dodged and ducked all over the water faucet as I banged the bowl down around him. Ramona spun in circles, barking her encouragement (or distress; those two barks sound so similar). Finally, it held still long enough for me to aim, pull back, and SMACK. He still didn’t fall, though; he just hung there from his little thread, dangling underneath the faucet, very still. Hoping he was defeated and not just playing dead so that I would put my hand near him, I rinsed out the dog bowl as fast as humanly possible. As Ramona planted her two front feet on either side of it and devoured her food, I rinsed and filled her other bowl (also as fast as humanly possible), and got far away from the (hopefully) dead spider.

“Ramona,” I said, “if you want to eat when Jonathan is gone, you’re going to have to learn to take care of these spiders yourself.”

She ignored me. She was eating.

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RIP Pete

Pete Hochstetler
2005 (ish) – 2014

petePete Hochstetler passed away on February 4, 2014. He was believed to be a Catahoula Leopard dog, presumably born in Southern Alabama in early 2005. He had been a resident of the Hochstetler home, having adopted them in the summer of 2005. He chose to keep them after they found him he found them in some bushes near their home.

He was believed to be an active member of the Jack Springs Doggie Fight Club, and was known for his prowess and strength and incredible will to live. He enjoyed the many things that a dog life has to offer, such as eating, sleeping in the sun, rolling in gross smelling things, and cozying up to the lady dogs in the nighborhood.

Pete was a veteran of many battles associated with a dog’s life, having survived being shot, getting hit by multiple cars and trucks, snakebites, and countless fights with many different kinds of animals.

Pete fought his last fight on Sunday, and, unfortunately, lost a subsequent battle with infections in his wounds.

Pete is survived by his human parents, four human siblings, one human brother-in-law, a cousin dog, many girlfriends and countless offspring (fondly known as RePetes).

A Celebration of Life service was held on the evening of February 4, at approximately 6:00 pm in the backyard.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you quietly take a nap in a sunny spot in your yard today, to honor Pete’s memory.

A Guest Post from Ramona

Dear humans,

My people left me behind for the day, so I thought maybe I could tell you about my life, because people really don’t pay enough attention to dogs.

My man is named Jonathan and my lady is named Lacey. Lacey wears really nice shoes; some of them are shiny and I like to lick those, and there is one pair with bows that I like a lot. One day I know she will let me eat one of the bows, or maybe both of them. I try to show her that that is the thing that I want most in the world, by licking them and jumping onto her feet when she wears them, but she does not like that.

Jonathan plays with me, with the rope that he gave me when I first came to live with them. Sometimes he lets me have one end in my mouth, and he holds the other one in his hand, and we pull and pull until he has to let go of the rope and I win. I think if he held it in his mouth, too, he sometimes would win, but he is not smart enough to figure that out.

My favorite part of the day is when I get to eat food. I know that my food is kept in a drawer in a desk in my bedroom. Sometimes Jonathan and Lacey forget where it is kept, so I have to show them by standing beside the drawer and barking. Then they remember and they give me scoops of the yummy food. One time I got so excited, I wanted to thank Lacey for feeding me so I tried to give her a hug, but I stepped in the bowl and my food went everywhere. I tried to show her that I did not mind eating off of the floor, but she cleaned it up anyway. She missed some pieces though, and I ate those later for a snack.

My least favorite part of the day is in the morning when I really have to go potty, and it takes Lacey so long to come let me out. When she does, I try to invite her to come along, but she doesn’t. She stands in the doorway and waits. So I run as fast as I can outside, and I go potty, and run inside. Sometimes I run so fast that I crash into the car, or slide on leaves. That is not fun, and Lacey laughs at me.

I am not allowed to leave my bedroom. There is a whole big house here, but I have to stay in my bedroom. I do not like this, but when I try to explain that, they will not listen. So I like to drag all of my toys and my blanket and my food bowl into the doorway of the bedroom, so I can get as close to Jonathan and Lacey as possible. I want them to know that I love them, so I try to show them by telling them, or by kissing their shoes. They do not seem to understand that is what I am saying, though.

Sometimes, they put me Outside. Outside is a very big place. I have a big wooden fence to keep me safe, but it is such a big place that I still get a little scared. They usually give me my rope and my water bowl to keep me company, but it is still scary. There are funny looking cats with big fluffy tails that live there, and it seems to be their Outside, and I do not want to make them mad, so I stay far away from them. Lacey says that makes me a strange dog, but I think it makes me a responsible one. I have a hole that I have dug underneath a window. It is warm and safe and I can hear my peoples’ voices from there, so I know they haven’t left me. There has been talk of me moving Outside permanently, when I am bigger, so I am doing my best to stay small and be good so that that day does not come.

I also do not like Bathtime. It is very wet and cold and my shampoo smells funny. But sometimes after Bathtime Jonathan points a black tool at me and it sprays nice warm air. I do like that part.

Jonathan likes to play a game he calls “Lion King” with me too. He hold me up in the air so I can see very far away, and sings a funny song. He thinks I like it, but Lacey says I do not, and she is right. It is scary up there, and it makes my belly feel strange.

Well that is all about my life. I think you can see it is very exciting, but also boring in some parts.

I love you very much.

Ramona-sig

PS, I forgot to tell you about my bear! It is my favorite toy. It is soft and it squeaks when I jump on it. I like to cuddle with it at night.

That is all.