Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dream a Little Dream of Dinosaurs

Image © National Geographic Society

Lately, I have been plagued by some crazy dreams. The other night I dreamt that I was still living in the house I grew up in (in New Jersey—hang on; that's not the scariest part!). I looked out an upstairs bedroom window at the neighbor's house only to discover that it had been converted into a kennel that housed both dogs and, um, dinosaurs. The resident T-Rex kept slamming his head through the window to roar at me like a pointy-toothed Mr. Ed. No one else in the dream seemed particularly perturbed by the fact that dinosaurs roamed among us or that the biggest and fiercest of them all was stopping by to say "hey." So I tried a logical approach to an argument. I said, "I'm not going to be able to get much work done with all that noise." I don't remember what happened next. It's probably just as well. Carnage, I am sure, ensued.

Sweet dreams!-z

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seeking Other Leash-Free Realms

Now that Animal Control is once again on the prowl, it might be prudent to consider other leash-free options that are also legal. (A novel idea.) Auditorium Shores is one such option. Roma was too old for water sport, and Muzzy is not too keen on it--being from Oklahoma and all, but I've heard that the mood at Aud Shores is relaxed (as are the standards, compared to our Park). Still, I regularly get e-mails from Austin Parks and Recreation, and today's told about an upcoming doggie event at Lady Bird Lake. Here are the details:

Bark Park Day at Auditorium Shores on April 24th
Dog Lovers, We Need You!
Show your support for Auditorium Shores by participating in “Bark Park Day” on Saturday, April 24th from 8:30 - 11am. Join fellow dog owners in giving back to the park we all enjoy.
Saturday, April 24
8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Register online by April 22, 2010 -

Schedule of Activities
8:30 – 9:00 Volunteer sign-in, pick-up a raffle ticket, group photo
9:00 – 9:30 “Scoop the Poop” park-wide cleanup: five teams, door prizes
9:30 – 10:00 “What are You Telling Your Dog?” Workshop on Owner Behavior
10:00 – 10:30 “What is Your Dog Telling You?” Workshop on Dog Behavior
10:30 – 11:00 Walking Tour and Update on Park Redevelopment Plans

Supervised dogs and children are welcome. Cleanup materials provided by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

Invite your friends – forward this message.
See you at Auditorium Shores on Saturday, April 24!

The Auditorium Shores Bark Park Day Team

Register online by April 22, 2010 -
The City of Austin's Scoop the Poop program is a joint venture of Watershed Protection, Parks and Recreation and the Off-Leash Area Advisory Committee.
City of Austin Off Leash Web site:


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Home Invasion

Yesterday I had a small adventure in my own neighborhood. Recently, I had noticed, while trying to fix my decrepit wooden fence, that one of my neighbors had in her yard a big plastic bucket that had been collecting rainwater over the winter. It was tucked away behind a shed. The neighbor, a woman I've never talked to and only seen and waved at while on walks with the Muzz, surely had no idea that the thing was out there or that it was a) a serious  mosquito-breeding site and b) going to drive me crazy. Just knowing the thing was there, writhing with thousands if not millions of mosquito larvae was sending me into a tizz. 

I had a couple of options. I could leave a note on the neighbor's door. Then I could wait and watch and drive myself crazy when the neighbor did not immediately remedy the situation. I would become one of those crazy ladies who is always peeking over the fence and scowling. Or I could simply go into the neighbor's yard, dump the bucket over, and be done with it. 

So I took the Muzz for her walk around the block and parked her in the neighbor's carless driveway. Then, for good measure, I rang the doorbell to make sure no one was home. Imagine my surprise when after a few moments, I heard a deep "woof" from the recesses of the house. Another few seconds passed before a big, sleepy-eyed Golden Retriever appeared at the window. "Woof," he repeated, but without much conviction. He looked like Dug, from the Disney pic Up

Since Dug didn't seem exactly riled, I figured that I would take the chance of sneaking into his back yard. It wasn't until I went through the side gate that the words "dog door" entered my mind. Not to worry. There was no dog door. Instead, my neighbor had left her patio door partly open. Still, Dug was nowhere to be seen, and the yard was strewn with intact dog toys, so I crept across the yard toward the shed way in the back. 

Dug was surprisingly stealthy for a huge beast. I was halfway to the offending bucket when he hip-checked me and knocked me sideways. Not to fear. Dug just wanted to say hello and get some quality butt-scratching. I made all the obligatory joyful noises. Dug wagged and shrugged and whimpered. He was a sweetheart, but all I wanted to do was to empty the mosquito farm and get out of that yard. I managed to get around Dug, complete my task, and cross the yard back to the gate, all while crooning to and patting my new best friend. Dug clearly thought he was coming with me now that we were BFFs, and I had to hold him off while I backed out of the gate. Once the latch clinked into place, though, Dug deflated. He stopped wiggling, put his ears down, and sighed before slinking back inside the house. 

It really was kind of risky of me to go into a neighbor's yard without knowing whether the dog-in-residence was a sweetheart or a killer. I was totally relying on my Dog Park experiences with Goldens, most of whom are the most flagrant love sponges, hurling themselves at the knees of strangers in their endless search for affection.  In this case, the stereotype held true. However, I did discover that my neighbor's backyard is even trashier than my own—weed filled, unmown, and filled with mismatched lawn furniture, empty and broken flower pots, and dog paraphernalia. Invading your neighbor's space: Stupid. Making a new friend and knowing that your yard is less crappy: Priceless.