Paul Rudd is sitting on a park bench watching his two giggling daughters and says, “I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.”
I express a similar sentiment to Koopa on a fairly regular basis, but it’s not bubbles Koops goes bananas for (actually, now that I think about it, he probably would go bananas for bubbles). No, I wish I liked doing anything as much as he likes doing everything.
By that I mean anything new. If Koopa and I are inside and I ask if he wants to go outside, you’ll believe there is nothing, NOTHING, he desires more than to go outside. Now let’s say we’re out in the great outdoors — taking a stroll, smelling some smells, rolling around on pollen-coated flora when mom turns her back. When I ask if he’s ready to go in, he bounds up the steps and through the door with so much enthusiasm you’d think there was nothing, NOTHING, he wants more than to go back indoors.
Physicists could use him to disprove the property of inertia. A Koopa at rest becomes a Koopa in motion with just the turn of a knob.
Wanna fetch your toy? More than life itself, says his desperate scramble across the living room. How ‘bout seeing who’s that at the door? Just you try and stop me, dares his extended, high-pitched greeting.
Hey Koops, (insert shaking car keys here) ... wanna go?
Word to the wise: Do not, I repeat, do not utter the “G” word unless you are ready to leave at that exact moment. I’m talking shoes on, lights off, keys in hand, cellphone located and one foot already out the door. Dogs do not hear terms like “it’s almost time to ...” or “we’re getting ready to ...” They just hear “go.”
So they go.
Even though I don’t find the act of exiting and entering my home quite as thrilling as my Koops, I do find it thrilling to see him thrilled. And so I spend a rather sizeable amount of my non-working, non-sleeping hours in search of places from which I can come and go with dog in tow.
Since becoming Annistonians, we’ve embarked on a self-guided tour of the pet-friendly venues of Calhoun County. In the absence of an off-leash dog park (and if I’ve overlooked it, please enlighten me! The drive to Hoover just keeps getting longer), Koops has become partial to the Duck Pond at McClellan and Oxford Lake — he likes the rows of baby ducklings ... not much use for the squawking daddy ducks, though.
A search on bringfido.com — far and away the best resource I’ve found for locating hotels, restaurants and attractions when traveling with pets — showed McAlister’s Deli in Oxford as our area’s only dog-friendly eatery, but there are a few other places we’ve sniffed out that don’t mind seating a well-behaved Lab mix in outdoor dining from time to time.
And of course there’s our weekly Pickette’s trip to stock up on the stuffed, squeaking toys now fated for certain death.
I do love our routine of park, patio and pet store outings, even if I leave the bananas-going to Koops. But give me a dog-friendly event — a fun, new adventure in a fun, new place with fun, new smells and fun, new friends — well, let’s just say if I had a tail it’d be wagging.
In our first few months here, the two of us got to do a lot of tail-wagging — his actual and my hypothetical. In September, Koopa dabbled in paw-painting at AMC’s PetFest. In October, he dressed as a bumblebee for Bark in the Park’s costume contest. Around Christmas, he had his picture made with Santa (dog refused to smile, gave the camera what my sister calls the “whale eye”).
Then the cold set in, and being the Gulf Coast natives that we are, we’ve been hibernating ever since.
Now that the weather is starting to warm back up — and I hope that didn’t just jinx it — so, it seems, is the canine social circle. Which is a good thing because Koops and I were coming down with coinciding bouts of spring fever. Now, however, our calendar is filling up.
On Friday, May 10, we’ll be packing a picnic lunch and heading over to the fourth annual Cupcake’s for Critters, sponsored by SAVE, for a garden tour, silent auction and, of course, cupcakes. The suggested donation is $5 and the proceeds could not go to a more worthwhile cause — providing low-cost spay and neuter services to reduce the overwhelming number of homeless, unwanted pets in Calhoun County. Visit alsave.org for more information.
Then on Saturday, May 18, one of the biggest pet events in the state will kick off on Birmingham’s Highland Avenue. Now in its 33rd year, DoDahDay draws pet-lovers from across the country for a day of dogs, music, crafts, contests (Koops has got best movie costume in the bag), food, beer, face-painting ... oh, and a parade.
They had me at “event.”
Dog Dish Pet of the Month
Jasmine and Dixie are just two of pet mom Kendra Edinger’s four furbabies. But these pit bulls share a special bond, Kendra says, no surprise since they’re mother and daughter. “And two of a kind,” she says.
Kendra and her husband adopted Dixie in 2007 when she was 6 weeks old. “She was an adorable mess but she was a daddy’s girl.”
Jasmine joined the family eight months later, after Kendra’s brother rescued her from an abusive environment. The mama pup was “skin and bones,” Kendra said, but still eager to please, wanting nothing more than to love her new family. And she and Dixie reunited as if they’d never been apart. “They just constantly played and cuddled together.”
Today Jasmine is a happy, healthy 80 pounds and “a bigger baby than her daughter.”
Kendra wanted to share Dixie and Jasmine’s story to help dispel the negative stereotypes their breed faces.
“This shows how a pit bull’s love can be strong,” she said. “Anyone that has ever met these two could not help but fall in love or leave feeling like they have gained a furry friend.”
Want your dog to be Dog Dish Pet of the Month? Do you have the adorable pet photos to prove it? Send them in! Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Pet of the Month” in the subject line. Or send them to Brooke Carbo, Assistant Features Editor, The Anniston Star, P.O. Box 189, Anniston, AL 36202. Be sure to include your pet’s name, age, breed, and tell us a little about your pet baby.