Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

I thought the little one was a toy but noooo, it’s real. On a related note, everyone thinks their own kid is adorable, amirite? Same here.

Yep. I’ve seen ’em all.

I know what you’re thinking – myself and my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied must be running out of ideas. To that we say never! Hey, you said the same thing a few years ago when I ranked numbers 0 through 9 and that story received lukewarm reviews was an internet sensation! If you haven’t read it here you go:

Ranking Numbers 0-9

Seriously, I ranked numbers.

Today, however, we shall discuss oddly satusfying sounds. Before we get to the good ones, though, let’s talk about a few that don’t don’t really fit the “oddly satisfying” category yet they are special in their own way. To wit:

  • The sound the icemaker makes in my fridge can startlingly terrifying, especially late at night. To this day I cock my head to listen, thinking for just a second that some ne’er-do-well is in my kitchen.
  • The Wondering Soul – I came across this horrifying video on YouTube late one night and may or may not have sat huddled in the corner the rest of the night. Also known as “Ghost Tape Number 10” was an audio mix the US military used for psychological operations in the Vietnam War against the North Vietnamese. It played deeply on the Vietnamese belief of ancestor worship, spirits and the afterlife.The Wandering Soul was played on loudspeakers installed on helicopters, PCF boats or by infiltrating infantry ‘loudspeaker teams’ on known enemy areas usually at night deep within the jungle. Diabolical, man. So yeah, bad sound.

  • We have a lot of coyotes in our area, and occasionally you’ll hear their pups all calling out at once. Someone told me their mom is out getting them food and they’re calling to her. Whatever cause it, it sounds like somebody opened the Gates of Hell.

Some sounds can elicit completely different feelings depending on the situation. For instance, there used to be an elementary school about 100-yards from my house and it was always great to hear the kids on the playground yelling, laughing and having fun during recess. On the other hand, one time when I was teaching in a really old school building I had to go to my classroom after scouting a basketball game to pick up something I’d forgotten. As I sat at my desk, looking through a drawer with only my desk light on, I heard a child giggling in the dark hallway. I assumed another teacher had to stop in for something as I had, so I went out and looked around. Nothing. Chills, man. I got the hell out of there.

But on to the cool sounds, the sounds of life that I love to hear. I won’t include music because that’s sort of obvious, is it not? Let us proceed . . .

  • The sound the sweeper makes when it pick up little rocks. I’m right, right? You know that damn sweeper is doing its job when you hear that sweet crackle.
  • A basketball swishing through the net. Of course I love that sound, especially in a quiet gym. Just a little twish or swoosh as the ball drops through. Love. It.
  • A basketball bouncing in an empty gym. I love the little “poing” sound it makes as it hits the gym floor. Of course, I also like the sound of 30 basketballs bouncing during a camp too.
  • Birds. Any birds. I got my love of birds from my mother, and I love any bird making any sound at all.
  • A screen door slamming shut. This goes back to my childhood, and I still love that sound.
  • Baby sounds. Yeah, 3-weeks ago this wouldn’t have been included, but now that I have my first grandchild I’ve been reminded how cool all the cooing and gibberish really is. Amazing.
  • Rain hitting a tin roof. I used to stay with my grandparents a lot as a kid, and they had a tin roof. As I slept in their living room with the windows open the sound of the rain hitting the roof put me right to sleep. So soothing.
  • Crowd, heard from the locker room. Sure, the crowd noise during a game was great, but there was something about being down in the locker room and hearing that muffled roar before we took the court that was always thrilling.
  • The crunch of Fall leaves under your feet. When you live in an area that has an annual Fall Festival of Leaves this has to be included, right? PS- In the Fall southern Ohio is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
  • Whir of a fan on a hot summer night. I’m talking about one of those old-fashioned oscillating fans. Like many I can’t sleep without a fan pointing in my direction.
  • Popping bubble wrap. Ah, the age old favorite, universally liked by almost everyone.
  • Walking through crusty snow. There’s something satisfying about that crunch, amirite?
  • Waves crashing ashore. This, this is why I always leave the windows open when I’m at the beach.
  • Opening an airtight jar. Something about that little “pop” that is cool to hear.
  • Sparky’s nails clicking on the floor when I get home. Of course I love most of the sounds The Spark makes, from his gentle snoring to the way he growls and whimpers while having a dream.
  • Bacon sizzling. This also happens to be a top smell. Bacon is at the top of many a list with me.
  • Fire crackling. Preferably during a cold Winter’s night or around a campfire.
  • Outdoors at night. – Frogs, crickets, it doesn’t matter. I’ve always been a night owl and I love the sound of being outdoors in the country.
  • The electric click of a mosquito flying into a bug zapper. Weird? Come on. You know you like it.
  • Popping open a can of beer or soda pop. Something about that click and hiss, that pffft, that . . . whatever you call it I like it.
  • Horse trotting down a street. That clickety-clop is sort of mesmerizing, no? Plus it gives me an excuse to post one of my favorite videos of all time:

Man, I love that video.

I also like certain words, like hush, serendipity and shenanigans. Hell, I wrote a few articles about words called Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need To Make A Comeback , Here Are 7 Words That Are Older Than You Think and Word Up: Snorkel, Curds and Uranus. Check ’em out!

So whaddaya say? What sounds make you happy? Let’s hear it!

We all have our odd traits, right? For instance, I have a head the size of an award winning pumpkin. Seriously, they had to order a special helmet for me when I played high school baseball. When I put on somebody else’s hat I look like one of those bears riding a tiny bike in the circus. They always have a little hat on, right? And I’d fit right in on a Charlie Brown comic strip with all those giant headed kids walking around. Anywho, I digress. My point is my girl Eris here has a snout the size of a kayak yet she is absolutely gorgeous and I love her. Take a gander.

PS- Man, that’s a long schnoz. 

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Ruby, man. Just giving affection right and left. She knows it’s better to give than to receive. Here she is at doggie daycare doin’ her thing.

You’ve all heard many a story about a little dog called The Spark. He’s battled coyotes, squirrels, horseflies, spiders, sweepers, the occasional hobo, and a lady in a power suit. Little dude is fearless, and he proved it again today.

Sparky and I welcomed a new addition to our family a few weeks ago, a little Maltipoo named Lilly that needed a home. Sparky has welcomed Lilly with open paws (ok, he does have to let her know who’s boss every now and then) and for the most part it’s been smooth transition. Whenever we’re around other dogs Sparky makes it clear that he’s Lilly’s protector, always staying between her and any potential danger.

Which brings me to our latest adventure . . .

Today I took Sparky and Lilly to a local state park, a place with a huge lake and plenty of room to run around. As I pulled into the parking lot near the dam I noticed a large American Black Vulture sitting there. It had its wings outstretched and it was massive. It had to have a wingspan of close to 6-feet and of course had one of those hairless heads and nasty looking hooked beak. I’d read about these creatures before and knew how mean they could be. Just recently I’d read this in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

They’ll devour slimy newborn calves, full-grown ewes and lambs alive by pecking them to death.

First the eyes, then the tongue, then every last shred of flesh. 

Yeah, so I knew I needed to keep an eye out, and especially up.

As we parked it flew away, but not before Sparky had spotted it and gave a low, gutteral growl. Not much gets past The Spark, man.

I got out of the car first, just to have a look around and scan the skies. I mean, I was pretty sure we’d scared the beast off but better safe than sorry, especially where my dogs are concerned. Plus, I figured no flesh eating bird in its right mind would swoop down with a human standing right there.

All was clear.

The pups hopped out and started doing their thing, trotting around and sniffing everything in sight. I made sure to stay close, especially to Lilly. After all, Spark is 22-pounds, experienced and a badass, but Lilly weighs probably 8-pounds and wouldn’t know danger if it stared her in the face. Spark was about 20-feet to my left, Lilly no more than 15-feet in front of me.

And then it happened.

First I thought Sparky had spotted a squirrel or rabbit and was making a mad dash for it. He was heading straight ahead so I thought he’d fly past Lilly in his hot pursuit. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw it – the damn vulture was making a dive at Lilly.

For a brief instant I thought Sweet Lilly was a goner. What flashed through my brain was that poor little girl, who’s already been through so much, being carried off to be eaten alive by that winged monster.

Fortunately, somebody wasn’t going to let that happen, and that somebody was Sparky.

Not on my watch, you flying freak.

I promise you that behemoth was 20-feet up and diving as The Spark made his charge, growling and barking like a dog possessed. He leaped up and I swear, for just a split second, that I thought he was going to make contact. Instead, the beast made an excellent life choice – it got the hell out of there.

And as the big bird rose and flew away, Sparky gave chase, looking up and growling as he ran. I’m telling you that dog would still be giving chase had I not ordered him to come back.

Lilly? She was standing under me, shaking, and did so until Spark trotted back and they nuzzled noses together.

And as we walked back to the car, Sparky constantly the skies, ever watchful.

In retrospect, Lilly tore a toenail a couple days ago. It’s being treated but she’s still limping pretty badly. I believe the Black Vulture saw that and estimated Lilly was easy prey.

What it underestimated was the furry ball of protective fury they call The Spark.

I gotchu, girl.

 

 

This question was asked on Twitter, and one man’s answer touched my soul. Here it is:

My wife, my 3-year daughter and I were on a vacation in Alaska. One evening we went for a walk after dinner. Upon our return we found a Grizzly Bear between us and the door to our cabin. As we came through a clearing it stood up on its hind legs and roared, showing its teeth and growling. It then made a move towards us.

Without hesitation my 11-year old Bull Terrier, Duke, charged the bear and leaped towards its throat. As that was happening I ran my daughter and wife into the cabin, grabbed my rifle and ran back outside. The bear and Duke were gone, but I could hear sounds of the battle off in the dark woods.

Finally everything became quiet and I could hear the bear crashing away through the forest. I looked for what seemed like forever for Duke, and I was assuming the worst. Finally he came limping through the underbrush to me, bleeding badly. He’d fought like a son-of-a bitch. 

I rushed him to a local vet and he licked my neck and face all the way there. He seemed to be more worried about me, and that he was glad I was ok. When I got there I found out he had a broken leg, broken jaw and a 9-inch gash on his side.

He never made it.

Would I give five years of my life to Duke?

Yes.

After all, he gave my entire family our lives.

Dogs. They’re truly a gift to mankind.

Aw, man. Check out those Tiny Horses. Just adorable as hell. Tiny Horses, also known as Miniature Horses, were first developed in Europe in the 1600s and . . . ah, screw it. Just enjoy these photos. Anywho, Tiny Horses.

So I was perusing a website called Terribly Terrier today and found an article entitled Jack Russell Terrier: The Adrenaline Junkie of the Dog World. It contained info and facts about Jack Russell Terriers, so of course I couldn’t help but see if Sparky fit the stereotype. Let’s take a look . . .

If you’ve never heard of a terrier who can jump 5-foot fences, spend hours tenaciously pursuing a rodent, and keep the whole family continually entertained with its antics, then you don’t know Jack.

The Jack Russell Terrier is arguably the epitome of terrier-ness, possessing in spades all the traits that make terriers what they are.

Jacks were originally bred to hunt foxes in England in the late 1700s. But like other terriers who started as hunting dogs, they have more recently leveraged their intelligence, charm, and scruffy good looks to become beloved household pets.

Jumping 5-foot fences? Check. Keeping me entertained with his antics? Check. Intelligence, charm and scruffy good looks? Yep. That’s my Spark.

Jacks are feisty, funny, affectionate, loyal, smart… and entirely too much for many people to handle.

My Sparky is all of those things and more. In fact, I know for a fact that my little dude is smarter than many of my former 5th graders and more loyal than most of my friends. Affectionate? You tell me.

The Spark, as we speak.

These active pups need lots of daily activity. They a chance to burn off their excess energy in positive ways.

Hence my hikes and trips to the cemetary and soccer fields. Dude loves to run.

Jacks are generally good-natured, especially toward members of their own pack. However, they’re not afraid to mix it up with other dogs – even dogs that are several times bigger than them.

Gee, ya think? Sparky has not only scrapped with dogs several sizes larger than him, he’s had scrapes with possums (it bolted after a quick scuffle, didn’t play dead), nutrias (OBX critter), raccoons (thankfully he didn’t get bitten), stingrays (seriously, in the shallow surf), geese (it attacked first, bad decision), buzzards (it was eating something in a field and Spark took offense), skunks (somehow he didn’t get skunked), snakes (it lunged and was dead in about 3-seconds), and yes, coyotes (he won). Click on that link for the story. We won’t mention chickens due to the Statute of Limitations.

Jack Russells love to dig. If you have a garden that’s precious to you, you might want to consider another breed.

Well, Sparky once spent nearly an hour at my Mom’s digging and trying to get to some sort of critter. He’d still be there if I hadn’t bribed him with a Chicken McNugget.

Some pooches just aren’t cut out for social hour at the dog park, and that includes a lot of Jack Russell Terriers. If they aren’t acquainted with other dogs thay may show aggression. 

Mmmmm . . . yeah. I shall plead the 5th on this one.

Unfortunately, because a lot of people get Jack Russells without realizing how much attention they need, you can also find a lot of these dogs surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations. If you’re up to the challenge of owning a Jack Russell, consider adopting an adult dog that needs a home.

First off, anyone who surrenders a dog to a shelter should be beaten about the head and shoulders with an 18-inch Nylabone Big Chew Toy Bone. Secondly, sure Jacks are a bit of a challenge. They’re energetic and need attention. However, if you want a loyal, affectionate, intelligent, charming and funny companion, Jack Russells are the way to go.

Seriously, rescue a Jack Russell. Sparky coming into my life is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

So over the weekend I attended a local basketball game and as always The Spark accompanied me. Sparky usually goes with me unless I’m going to be out of the car a really long time or if the weather is too cold or hot. Anyone who has seen my car knows the backseat (and sometimes the front passenger side) is basically Sparky’s territory and is always filled with a doggie bed and some comfy blankets. Anyway, the game ended around 9:30pm and I set off to meet some friends at a local establishment.

However, as I drove there Spark hopped up between the seats and nudged my ear with his snout, his way of telling me he needed to use the bathroom.

Well, I was in the middle of town so I made the quick decision to pull into the new library’s parking lot. Of course the place was empty and also had plenty of grass for Spark to do his business, which he did.

Keep in mind that Sparky is generally well behaved so unless I’m in a high traffic area he’s rarely leashed. Plus he looks both ways before crossing the street, so there’s that. And yes, I’m serious.

Anyway, as we walked back to the car Sparky spotted a little Weiner Dog in somebody’s front yard, and before I could stop him he ran to the street, checked for traffic, and headed to meet a new friend. Just as I trotted over to get him, a man opened his door to let his pup back in, not even looking down as his little Weiner Dog ran back into the house. He head was actually turned back inside like he was watching the TV or something.

You know where this is going, right?

Yep, Sparky walked right into the house with his new buddy.

And just as I was about to yell something, to my horror the man shut the door behind him.

Let me tell you, although the Spark is a constant source of entertainment with his neverending antics, this was certainly a new one.

All I could do was speedwalk up to the door, give it a knock, and try to explain myself.

Guy, opening the door about 3-inches: “Can I help you?”

I swear to you the dude was oblivious. He had no idea my dog had snuck into his house.

Me: “Uh, I was walking my dog and he went into your house.”

Guy: “What? How? What do you mean?”

Me: “He saw your dog in the yard and when you opened the door to let him back in he walked right in behind him. I’m serious. He’s in there.” 

But the guy still wasn’t buying it. I’m pretty sure he suspected I was a serial killer trying to con my way into his house.

Guy: “There’s no way. I would have seen him. Also, my dog’s a she.”

Well, that certainly explained a lot. But seriously, at this point I was starting to get a little upset. I mean, the guy was being very nice, but there was zero chance I was leaving without my best friend.

Me: “Listen, I’m telling you he’s in there. His name is Sparky. I’m going to yell for him.”

Guy: “Sure, give it a try.”

Me: “SPARK! Get out here!”

Of course, the next thing you knew Sparky and his new sweetheart came strutting around the corner, happy as larks, grinning the way dogs do. The guy was incredulous and amazed that Sparky had pulled that off. Being dog people, he and his wife (no, she hadn’t noticed either) gave Spark a belly rub and a treat before we went on our way.

The Spark. He’s the only one I know who can sneak into a stranger’s house and leave with a belly rub and a milkbone.

 

 

Sometimes the narrator makes a video substantially better. This is one such video.

Good boy Monster. Good boy.

New studies show that having a dog as an inside companion can lengthen your life by as much as 24%.

New Yorkers are nothing if not adaptable.

So occasionally I take Sparky to a local cemetery and let him run around a little, just to get some exercise and fresh air. Of course I pick up after him and to be safe I put his leash on if another person comes close to us with their own dog, but usually it’s just a relaxing time for him to smell the smells and hang out with me.

Usually.

The other day? Not so much.

You see, I parked in our usual spot, unleashed The Spark, and of course he leaped out if the car to do his thing. He sniffed around, going from tree to tombstone to crypt, tail wagging with that dog-smile on his face.

But then . . .

As I watched he stopped, stood still, his ears perked up, and off he went like a Jack out of Hell. He bolted over a slight rise and down the other side, snarling like a dog possessed.

I gave chase, calling for him to come back, but as I reached the top of the small hill I saw what Spark was heading for.

A burial.

In progress.

With people standing around solemnly listening to the preacher’s final words in honor of the deceased.

Oh good Lord.

I still have no idea what Spark was so upset about. All I know is that there I was, in a t-shirt, basketball shorts and sandals, sort of whisper-yelling for my dog to get the hell back to me as about 50-sets of grieving eyes stared at me.

Awkward.

All I could do was mumble a “I’m so sorry” several times as I scooped up my furry ball of terror and speed walked back over the hill to my car. Oh, and just before we disappeared Sparky gave one last yap at whatever the hell he was so upset about.

Me? I didn’t look back.

Hero.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A dog suffered multiple snake bites Monday night in Davidson County while protecting his owner.

Haley McCormack was headed inside her home after work and said she didn’t see the copperhead snake that was lurking near her front porch. “As I pass the corner of my front porch, the snake is already recoiled back,” McCormack explained. “Arlo lunged out and actually grabbed it by its tail.”

Her pit bull, Arlo, proceeded to kill the copperhead snake before it could bite her. While trying to kill the snake, McCormack said Arlo suffered at least three bites to his face.

The dog was rushed to the emergency vet and doctors administered antivenom.

According to McCormack, doctors gave Arlo a positive prognosis. “He’s my hero. He didn’t hesitate to jump in and save me.”

Hell yes Arlo jumped in to save Haley McCormack. That’s what dogs do, jump in front of dangerous animals and save their owners. Arlo didn’t think twice about ripping a highly poisonous snake to shreds, even if it meant getting bitten in the process. A cat would have hightailed it out of there and eaten your corpse after you were dead. Dogs, man. We don’t deserve ’em.

PS- Somebody in Ross County has been driving around and calling the authorities on people who leave their dogs tied outside when it’s too hot.

PPS-

 

According to a French study of social interactions, men who approach a single woman on the street will get her phone number one out of 10 times. If the same guy approaches women while walking a dog his odds go to one in three times. The research says that a man with a dog signals that he has the resources and the willingness to care for others.

Slingshot leaped 35′-3″. The world record for humans is 29′-4 1/4″. Good boy Slingshot. Good boy.

U.K.- Owners who are convicted of beating their pet could face up to 5-years in prison under a new bill being proposed by the UK Government.

This will see the very worst cases of cruelty, such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, as well as gross neglect of farm animals, hit with much harsher sentences.

It also marks a massive increase on the current sentencing guidelines for animal abuse, which put the maximum prison term at just 6-months.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced the groundbreaking piece of legislation, which will represent one of the toughest crackdowns in the whole of Europe.

He said: “There is no place in this country for animal cruelty. That is why I want to make sure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law.”

Hell yes people who abuse animals should go to jail. It’s a proven fact there’s a connection between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans, and most serial killers killed animals when they were kids. Hey, even if there wasn’t a connection these idiots should be tossed in the slammer. Nothing worse than a coward who picks on defenseless animals. Hate ’em. And Michael Gove is my kind of guy. He’d have my vote all day, every way.

PS- The proposed Dog Chaining Ban in Ohio has yet to be passed. Hit this link to learn more:

Ohio Introduces Dog Chaining Ban

Awww.

PS- There are no ugly dogs. Period.

Of course, not all dogs can be perfect like some . . .

They call him The Spark.

Some headlines just write themselves, ya know?

Alabama investigators are currently searching for a man who allegedly kept an “attack squirrel” inside his apartment and fed the caged animal methamphetamine in order to maintain its aggressive behavior.

Since Mickey Paulk’s Athens apartment was searched on Monday morning, the caged squirrel has been released into the wild, Limestone County Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Officer Stephen Young confirms to PEOPLE.

According to Young, officers responded to a report on Monday at approximately 8:30 a.m. that Paulk, 35, was allegedly keeping an “attack squirrel” caged inside his home and feeding it meth.

After obtaining a search warrant, Young says animal control and narcotics officers searched the home, located in the 21000 block of Piney Chapel Road, where they seized a number of illegal items, including the squirrel, meth, drug paraphernalia, ammunition and body armor.

First of all, I’m shocked that Mickey Paulk was in possession of illegal items. Dude looks like a model citizen. Secondly, owning an attack squirrel seems like an odd choice, amirite? Seems like a mountain goat, a saltwater crocodile, or a honey badger would be better choices. Maybe a komodo dragon. Anywho, glad the little tree rat is free to roam the forest terrorizing forest creatures and whatnot. Those meth hangovers are a bitch.

PS- When I was in college at Ohio State guy I know had an attack rat. He’d turn that rodent loose and it would come straight at you. Horrifying.

Dude’s just scrolling The Gram like a boss.

PS- Bonus video of smart animals below.

Gotta respect the commitment.

So you guys know about Google Street View, right? It’s the feature that allows you to punch in an address and see a view from the street of that address. The photos are taken by a car with weird looking cameras on top of it. Anyway, one such photo shoot was hilariously ruined by a little dog that chased the car and ended up in every damn photo.

Love. It.

Awesome.

Check out that Skinny Pig, man. The Skinny Pig is an almost hairless breed of Guinea pig. They typically have hair on their muzzles, feet, and legs but are hairless over the remainder of their bodies. Some of them have a thin covering of fuzzy hair on their backs as well. A Skinny has skin that is mostly smooth with some wrinkling around the legs and neck, the body is full with no appearance of spine or ribs. “Skinny” is the term used for them to describe the illusion of their visually thinner appearance. The modern Skinny Pig breed originated with a cross between haired guinea pigs and a hairless lab strain back in 1978. Anywho, Skinny Pig.

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