animals

Animal Magnetism: Baby Chapter 14

J&EPheromones caused it all. Some kind of magnified parallax whereby all things mammal were attracted to Bashert for good or bad. Remember how the animals knew about her pregnancy before we did? Apparently, it spread to the neighborhood animals too.

At the time Bashert was pregnant, we had the original two dogs, Elisheva and Shit Dog. Elisheva had not one maternal bone in her 20 pound body. Really. She growled at puppies and had no use for children at all. She alone seemed impervious to the pheromone power of Bashert. She didn’t change must during the pregnancy except to possible get even more clingy than normal. E-girl had issues.

Shit dog was normally a fairly easy going guy save his ongoing and imposing Napoleon complex. He had no time for other small dogs; no they were beneath him. He preferred the company of large dogs, the bigger the better. He would put on airs about being able to stand up to the fiercest looking Rottweilers, but somehow magically be somewhere else when any altercation started. He was also known to run away from cats. His bark (high pitched as it was) was definitely worse  than his bite. That is what made what happened all the more impressive.

One of our neighbors had the grand idea to keep an un-neutered Bullmastiff in an 1100 square foot (102 M2) townhouse. Those dogs do not have “mass” in their breed name for nothing. Jasper easily weighed a good 200 pounds (90 kilos) and his humongous head reached chest level. It is a cliché, but small children really could saddle up and ride. The dog was big. And territorial. And his idiot owner allowed him to walk free inside the courtyard.

One morning, a very pregnant Bashert put Shit Dog and Elisheva on their leads and walked out into the courtyard for their first potty break. As soon as Bashert got to the end of our patio, Jasper charged. He slammed Bashert up against the brick patio wall with visible intent of attacking. At that moment, all the courage of all the mixed breeds inside Shit Dog rose to the surface and he lunged at Jasper. I ran outside at the commotion and saw an amazing thing. Shit Dog was holding  that freaking monster at bay! Between all of the shouting and Shit Dog’s devoted response the idiot owner was finally able to body slam Jasper away from the scene. (E-girl was no where to be found.)

A shaken and bruised Bashert made it safely back into the house and Shit Dog lived high on the hog for quite some time. Never did we think his bravado would actually amount to anything – he proved us pleasantly wrong. (As a side note, after some legal discussions, idiot owner finally realized she needed to place Jasper in a better situation for a dog his size and he went to live in the country.)

Outside of our home environment the pheromone effect took a different path, one of less resistance.

Before it became too uncomfortable to walk any distance, Bashert and Nenè would take evening strolls. It was not unusual for me to get a morning report that this dog or that dog would come up to them as the were on their walk around just wanting to bask in the glow of Bashert’s being. A few would trot along with them for a while and then return from whence they came. But apparently one night the moon, stars and all in the universe lined up correctly – Bashert became the piped piper of all the loose dogs in the neighborhood.

Around 8pm, I received a phone call from Bashert. This was on my desk phone as we still did not have cells and for her to call me at work was odd, especially when I heard the tone in her voice. “Cee-ee, I don’t know what to do…” I started to panic, but I could hear Nenè laughing in the background. What was going on?

“They followed me home, Cee, they all followed me home.” I was beginning to get the picture. She repeated, “I don’t know what to do” and added, “there’s seven of them!” I immediately sat straight up in my chair and said, “Please tell me you haven’t let them in the house! Do not let them in the house!” I asked her to put Nenè on the phone. “Nenè, please tell me Bashert has not let those dogs in the house!” Through choking laughter she confirmed that yes, there were indeed seven dogs and they still remained outside. She gave the phone back to Bashert.

“Oh, my g-d, Cee one of them is looking in the window!” That, I-need-to-take-care-of-every-stray-animal tone was slipping into her voice. I put on my air traffic controller tone to match hers and talk her down through situation. “Bashert, just do not engage. Do not look through the windows. Do not open the door. They will give up eventually and go back to their own homes.” I knew neither of them would go out and shoo them off.

“But Cee, they are looking at me” – gales of laughter from Nenè – “and now they are knocking on the door!”  More laughter and a muffled voice in the background, “I swear they are knocking on the door Mom!”

“Bashert just back away from the window and turn out the front lights. That way they can’t see in and will give up.” “And tell Nenè to be quiet so they can’t hear y’all in there!” They complied and went into stealth mode. I remained on the line a few minutes more as the only outside contact and then had to get back to work. I was getting funny looks by then.

The next morning I got the rest of the scoop. After they turned out the lights and quieted down from the  laughing, it took maybe five minutes for the Bashert-worshipping doggies to go on their disappointed way. I think it took Bashert and Nenè hours to get over the ridiculousness of them both crouched in the darkness hiding from those dogs as if they were unannounced guests and the house was a mess.

All I could do was shake my head and mumble, “Only you Bashert, only you.”

The number of her faithful followers never reached that number again, but to this very day I can attest to the fact that we have at least one dog (or cat) try to tag along when we go out for a walk. – a hormonal hold over I guess. She just has that animal attraction…

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Mondays with Yoda

On Mondays, well most Mondays, since I don’t work Sunday night I take Yoda to school.  It’s a great opportunity to catch up on our conversations.  This morning we started with a discussion about chemistry then we turned toward a more anthropological slant.  Here is but a snippet of the 30 minutes before we left for school:

Biscuits and Chocolate Milk:

Me: Ah, the wonder of chemistry. (Said while taking the biscuits out of the oven.)

Yoda: What’s chemistry?

Me: The mixing of things to make new or different things.  Like your chocolate milk, the chocolate and the milk mix to make a solution, but the milk stays milk and the chocolate stays chocolate.  But with the biscuits, we mix flour, salt, sugar, yeast, baking soda and water together then add heat to create something new.

Yoda: So its the baking soda that makes it rise?

Me: Partly.

Yoda: I love science.

Kittens:

Yoda: Why is Ruthie so wild?

Me: Kittens play wild and bite stuff to prepare them for hunting their food.

Yoda: You mean like rams and sheep and stuff?

Me: Well, I was thinking more of mice and rabbits, but okay.

Prehistoric Animals:

Yoda: You know they’ve found thousands of bones in the tar pits.

Me: Yep.  Big ones and little tiny ones.

Yoda: Even the mask of a short-faced bear.

Me: Yes, it’s really amazing what they have found in that asphalt.

Yoda: Sabertooth Cats (not Tigers), got stuck in the La Brea tar pits because they thought the buffalo and mammoths stuck in there would be easy prey.  Same goes for the grey wolf.  The gooey stuff isn’t like quicksand, you don’t sink, but you get stuck.

Me: (I’m thinking Tar Baby effect.)

Yoda: Sabertooth Cats hunted in packs so that they could take down large prey.  After all, they only weighed about 60-70 lbs so it took several of them to bring down a gigantic mammoth.  Their long teeth were only used to deliver the killing bite, you know to get all the blood and stuff.

Me: Yuck.

Modern Animals:

Yoda: A lion might could take an elephant, but an elephant’s trunk is hard and could knock the lion out with one swipe.  Lions like to hunt sheep and rams, but will take them away from the cheetahs in the area.

Me: Really?

Mummies:

Yoda: I know a lot about Egypt.

Me: You do?

Yoda: Yes, they make mummies.

Me: Like me and Momma?

Yoda: (Giggles) No, like the dead guys. They are covered in oil, salt and sugar then wrapped in toilet paper and they put them in a giant box. They even take their eyes out, but they still rot. If you left them in the giant box for say, oh, 18 years and then opened it up you would see that their eyes are taken out and that they may have a cut open head and stuff like that.  Sometimes the toilet paper gets all mushy and tears up and you see parts of them sticking out.  It just freaks me out.

Me: Does sound kind of freaky.

Yoda:Yeah, it just freaks me out.

Monday conversations, gotta love ‘em.