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This is War

On most nights, the routine goes like this: read to Dimples, check a few e-mails, then travel down the long hall to the living room for my daily dose of The Daily Show.

As soon as I cross over from the Forbidden Section, Wonderbutt (who is usually forlornly sprawled as close to the border as possible) perks up and follows me to the living room.  I settle myself into our big old leather chair, and Wonderbutt places himself on the floor directly in front of me, and whimpers a couple of times.  When he first started this, I thought he was angling for an invitation to join me on the chair.  (Which is silly, because it’s the one piece of furniture on which he has always been allowed.)  Under this erroneous assumption, I would pat the space beside me several times.  Eventually, he would leap up, and make himself comfortable, sometimes resting his head in my lap, but oftentimes stretching out on his stomach and kicking me squarely in the crotch.  Fortunately, I am female, so crotch kicks are not quite detrimental to my health.  Also, fortunately, like Wonderbutt, the chair is oversized. With a little manipulation, we both fit on it quite well.  In a matter of minutes, I am turning up the television so I can hear Jon Stewart over Wonderbutt’s snores.

One day, I realized that he only demands an invitation when I am on the side of the chair closest to the end table.  (Wonderbutt, not Jon Stewart.  Jon Stewart is invited to share the chair any time he chooses.)  If I am on the other side of the chair, the dog hops right up with no hesitation.  I tested out this theory and, sure enough, right side – whimper, left side – immediate leap.  So, it seemed that the whimper was not a “Please, may I sit with you?” request, but a “Get the Heck off my side of the chair” rebuke.

Being the troublemaker that I am, I decided that, from now on, I would always sit on the right side.  I needed to prove who is boss, after all.

Last night, I finished reading to Dimples and wandered out to the living room, fully prepared to engage in the nightly ritual of “allowing” Wonderbutt to settle on the less desirable side of the chair.

And, there was Wonderbutt, already fully esconced on the chair.  Pretty much taking up the entire space, but quite obviously occupying the right side, his declared favorite, with no room for me.   His head leaning on the arm rest, and his tongue sticking out in what I’m pretty sure was an “F you” expression when combined with the look in his eyes.

Wonderbutt has no doubt about who’s the boss.  It appears that I underestimated my opponent.  Again.

It might appear that he is snarling, but that is just a combination of his sleepy look and his underbite. I think.

How He Got that Wondrous Butt

My daughter, Dimples, had the bright idea of bringing an inflated exercise ball into the living room from the garage to see how our bulldog, Wonderbutt, would react.  She predicted that we would want to videotape it, and she was right.  We finally found a ball that is just the right size for Wonderbutt.  Of course he had to use it to careen right into Mrs. P.I.B., our long-suffering golden retriever…

Wonderbutt Ate the World (Most of It)

Before we get started, I would like to remind you that this is the last day of the WhatIMeant2Say Membership Drive.  Our goal was to get around 5.9 million new subscribers.  So far, we have 2.  I would like to thank jenn at and an anonymous subscriber who writes great haikus, but prefers not to be tagged.  (See how sensitive I am to everyone’s needs?)  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Also, thanks to all of my 3 current subscribers, including my sister, Crash.  Your loyalty is both admirable and questionable, and somewhat haphazardly appreciated.

In other news, our bulldog, otherwise known as Wonderbutt, has finally achieved his goal of consuming almost the entire planet Earth.  I knew it would happen sometime, but was not expecting it quite this soon.  The problem is, I can’t quite figure out which portion got saved.  If you are reading this, I am assuming you are part of the lucky landmass I rescued.   If you are not reading this, then I am very sorry for not being quite as vigilant as I planned.

I am somewhat geographically and majorly map-amatically challenged.  But I am pretty certain that our planet has currently more than the 2 continents originally included on Wonderbutt’s Orbee ball.

These would be the post-Pangean continents of  Laurasia and Gondwanaland, I am assuming.  I can’t really identify them by their shape.  But the one below is the one I saved after Wonderbutt focused all of his chewing ability on the ball for 20 minutes straight.


The other continent showed no signs of detaching, so I gave the ball back to Wonderbutt and made a mental note to check on him every five minutes.

I forgot.

About 15 minutes later, the other continent was gone.  Due to Wonderbutt’s incontinent chewing.

I won’t go into detail about what happened to that ill-fated section of terra firma…

The Big Red Planet

This particular Orbee ball, which received a 5 out of 5 on its “Chew-o-meter scale” according to the company literature, will, unfortunately, not be the recipient of the P.A.W. (Product Approved by Wonderbutt) award.  Although, I have to say that the planet without continents seems to be quite sturdy.

I’m sure there is a message in that somewhere.

Godzilla is no match for Wonderbutt. As far as I know, Godzilla never actually consumed an entire continent. (I don’t know what the deal is with Wonderbutt’s suddenly corrugated tongue.)

Speaking of Balls…

It has been awhile since I have shared a home with a persistently Obsessive Compulsive Dog, but our bulldog is quickly reacquainting me with the fine points of dealing with an O.C.D.  Not to stereotype or anything, but every O.C.D. that has lived in our household has been male; we’ve even hosted an O.C.C. (Obsessive Compulsive Cat) – who also happened to be male.  I don’t really know what this means, scientifically, but our track record is definitely not good.

Our current O.C.D., Wonderbutt, has recently developed a fixation on a ball.  The kind you roll.  (If this is not why you are reading this post, I am sorry to have disappointed you.)  Anyway, this ball was originally purchased for Mrs. P.I.B., our 11 year old Golden Retriever, as Wonderbutt kept ramming her in the side of the mouth to steal her tennis ball – even if he already had an identical tennis ball in his mouth.  In a shocking turn of events, it turned out that Wonderbutt much preferred the new super-duper rubberish ball, and Mrs. P.I.B. was more than happy to stick with the stinky, old tennis ball that Wonderbutt now spurns.  Everybody’s happy, right?

If you know the Firepants Family, and I think you do, you know that there are precious few moments when everyone is simultaneously happy.

Wonderbutt loved the new ball so much, we worried that he would give it the kind of attention that he gives all of the objects that he adores – endless licking that evolves into chewing and, before you know it, there are tiny pieces everywhere and it’s a miracle the dog hasn’t choked.

So, we rationed his time with the ball.  We would play with him until he sprawled out on his stomach, panting, and then gently remove the ball from his jaws and put it somewhere out of his view and reach.

Wonderbutt did not like this routine.  So, one day, instead of bringing the ball back to us, he started racing around the house with it.  My daughter, Dimples, was happy to comply with this new game, chasing him until they were both out of breath.  But, we still got the ball in the end.

The other day, Wonderbutt led Dimples on a merry chase around the kitchen table, and then blasted through his dog door to his outside pen.  The Poop Pen.  I am fine if he brings a toy out to his Poop Pen.  But, as far as I am concerned, that should be a one-way ticket.  No toy returns allowed from the Poop Pen.

This ball, however, was an exception.  It had outlasted any other toy Wonderbutt has ever owned, and I didn’t want to sacrifice it to the Poop Pen.  So, we coaxed him to bring the darn ball back in, washed it off, and put it away for a couple of days.

Wonderbutt is like an elephant, though.  In more ways than one.  From then on, as soon as he got hold of the ball, he would race with it to the Poop Pen.

Dimples got the brilliant idea of closing the dog door during a play session one afternoon.  It really was smart – until she forgot that she had closed it, and wandered off to do other important things.

Concrete floors are very slippery when wet.  And Moms who slip and slide on concrete floors are very upset.

Sometimes I think, “I am a human being.  No dog is going to outsmart me.”

Then I go outside and clean the Poop Pen.

Cornered, Wonderbutt watches Dimples’ hand slowly creep toward his mouth.


I glanced at my search terms the other day, and noticed that someone had chanced upon my blog by searching for “Wonder rut”.  This leads me to believe that Scooby-Doo is trying to find my posts about my lovable bulldog, Wonderbutt.  Either that, or someone is trying to communicate to me (like that Evil Captcha Witch) that Wonderbutt’s unruly behavior is starting to become ho-hum boring.  He has been in kind of a rut lately, I must admit.  Pretty much every day, when we arrive home, we find some variation on the following theme:

This was the day before we were hosting a party at our house. Yeah.

And, as more than one someone pointed out on yesterday’s Science Fair post, how come the dog did not put me out of my misery by eating my daughter’s bread-that-refuses-to-mold experiment?  I mean, we even placed it on the kitchen counter, near the edge, and the dog still hasn’t touched it.  Don’t tell me he has standards.  He eats couch foam, for heaven’s sake!

Anyway, I am starting to get a bit nervous about Wonderbutt’s lack of imagination lately in the demolition department.  Without him, this blog is going to quickly lose the smidgen of appeal that it currently possesses.  I think the two of us need to have a serious talk…

Synchronized Dog Paddling – the New Sport?

Dimples, our 9 year old daughter, is involved in synchronized swimming.  This weekend, she is participating in a meet, so today’s post will be short.

As Dimples and I walked out the door to head over to the meet, Wonderbutt bulldogdozed ahead of us, and hopped into the car, where we had just piled all of her required “equipment”.

He refused to leave the car.  Perhaps he is eager to try swimming again, and would like to perform a routine with Dimples?

I doubt it. He's not exactly a team player.


First Step – Admit Your Dog Has a Problem

A couple of months ago, our bulldog, affectionately nicknamed Wonderbutt, (but often called Pudgy Butt by my husband), was declared to be obese by his vet. I was certain he – the dog- would be a good candidate for The Biggest Loser.  However, it appears they have a silly requirement that participants be human.  Considering the stellar quality of reality show competitors in recent years, I would think adding canines to the roster would be a step up.  Guess that’s why I don’t make the big bucks.

As I was hunting for information on Wonderbutt’s latest dog food, however, I found that The Biggest Loser does have some interest in chubby pets.  The show is coordinating with the makers of Science Diet to offer a site with tools for learning how to slim down your pet – as well as a sweepstakes prize package that includes a trip to the finale of The Biggest Loser.

It’s too bad I don’t have any desire to actually attend the finale of The Biggest Loser.  Money – or new sofas that haven’t been chewed up by Wonderbutt – would be a much bigger incentive.

But I still thought it was helpful to take a look at the site.  I was gratified to see that my hometown, San Antonio, TX, is not on the list of the top 17 Chubbiest Pet Cities. (Although, if you note the path at the top of the picture, these can also be referred to as “Cubby Pet Cities”.)

Houston is on the list, so I probably should warn our cousins, the Globetrotters, to be mindful of what they are feeding Monte and Lola.

Getting a recommendation to confer with my vet was a bit redundant.  That’s kind of how I got here in the first place.

The exercise tips were interesting.  I think the Dog Squat Tease might be fun to do, except that Wonderbutt has a tendency to fall flat on his back when we try this game – which might be painful for him on our concrete floors.  And then I would have an Upward Facing Dog who would have a very reproachful look on his face.

Speaking of which, Doga is an option I found on the internet that seems to be catching on, but I think Wonderbutt is relaxed enough already.

It seems to me that the most obvious weight loss solution warranted for our dog is to try to find an obese cat exercise partner and let nature take its course.

Or, perhaps he should just stop eating our dang sofa.  I’m pretty sure at least 11 of his overweight pounds is the cushion foam he ingested.  I would send him to a therapist, but he would just eat the couch.

Happy Wonderversary!

Our infamous bulldog, AKA Wonderbutt, arrived in our household one year ago.  It’s hard to believe that one year and a day ago, I was trying to figure out how my dear husband, the inestimable Cap’n Izzy Firepants, could have missed the interminable number of clues I had dropped for six months about my desire for a bulldog puppy.  It’s pretty clear now that he didn’t miss the clues – just chose to ignore them.

But Cap’n Firepants saw the light on December 26, 2010, and now things are quite different.

Last Christmas, we had carpeting with carpet padding.  We also had a Christmas tree in the main room unbordered by baby gates.  We hung our stockings from the mantel above the fireplace, instead of on high bookshelves.  And we could toss our shoes wherever we wanted without fear of having them repurposed as dog chew toys.

Last Christmas, Cap'n Firepants did not have to share his leather chair with anyone but me.

366 days ago, Dimples could open her stocking without canine supervision.

And our aging golden retriever, Mrs. P.I.B., could play with her new tennis ball...


...without being sacked.

Yes, life was simpler back then.  And quieter.  No incessant squeaking of a Kong Wubba to which Dimples added by squealing, “Stop it!  Stop it!  I can’t stand the noise any more!  Would someone please take that toy away from him?!!!!!”

No jumbo jet engine snoring.

And our house might have actually passed any toxic fumes testing done by the EPA.

365 days ago, our life was turned upside down by a 12-pound-destined-to-be-65-pound bulldog bully, the gift that keeps on taking.

Who makes me smile every day.

It’s Official – I’m Not Martha Stewart

Yesterday was our annual Cookie-Baking Extravaganza with Grandma.  Per tradition, the three of us (Grandma, nine-year old Dimples, and me) donned our Cookie-Baking Extravaganza aprons.  Dimples insisted on wearing the one I personalized for her when she was five.  It’s far too short, so I tried to hand her a slightly larger one, labeled “Little Helper.”  But Wonderbutt had a different idea.  He grabbed the apron himself.

Since Wonderbutt seemed so insistent on involving himself in the process, I decided to outfit him with the apron that Dimples refused to wear.  Apparently, tearing around the house with it in his mouth was much more appealing to Wonderbutt than actually wearing it.  Thus, my dreams were dashed of my handsome dog ever becoming a canine clothing model.

Our "Little Helper"

Or not.

Once Wonderbutt clarified what he intended to be his role in this whole event, we set to baking, and he set to sticking right by me in case I dropped anything.  It did not matter to him in the least that he was completely in the way.  This was his best chance to get something yummy, and he was not going to leave the scene for a moment.  Even though we were completely using up his prime napping time, he steadfastly remained, his eyelids growing heavier and heavier and his face looking more and more dejected.

Meanwhile, I could not spare much time to feel sorry for Wonderbutt, as we were trying out some new cookie recipes, and I needed to concentrate every working neuron on trying to overcome my measuring disability.  In addition, Dimples had chosen a recipe to make cookies shaped like pretzels – completely oblivious to the fact that all three of us have a spatial disability, and cannot, apparently, make pretzel shapes.  I like how the recipe, by Martha Stewart, simply stated, “Shape like a pretzel.”  Cap’n Firepants pointed out that there was a picture of a finished pretzel shape to help me, to which I shot back that it was clearly no help at all to someone who can’t find out where she is in the middle of a mall even when she is looking straight at a directory that says, “You are here.” Things got tense in the kitchen until I finally said, “Who says pretzels have to be a specific shape?  There’s stick pretzels, too.”

This is the closest I got to making a pretzel shape.

I swear Wonderbutt did not make this one himself in the back yard.

Besides, no one is coming to our house for Christmas, anyway.

The evening was topped by me walking into the living room where Wonderbutt was seated in the armchair, and Grandma was standing in front of the television watching The Sound of Music.  Grandma had been sitting on that chair when I left the room fifteen minutes earlier.  Apparently, Wonderbutt first tried to solicit an invitation onto the chair by sitting at Grandma’s feet and looking up at her determinedly with his sad eyes, but she did not understand his intention.  So, he went across the room, and took a running leap onto her lap.  At which point she decided to surrender the chair to him.  Her comment?

“I guess dogs like him do things like that.”

And that pretty much sums up Wonderbutt.

The Perfect Present Predicament

Our nine-year old wants a rat for Christmas.  Given our recent struggles with establishing boundaries for the rodents that inhabit our neighborhood, my husband, Cap’n Firepants, is loathe to grant this wish.  He offered to give her a dead rat, but she has made it clear that this would not fulfill the requirements she expects from a pet.

Dimples’ Perfect Friend has a pet rat.  Technically, she has two, since she and her brother each have one, and the rats share the same quarters (apparently one should not own just one rat, as it can get lonely).  You might question how Perfect Friend can maintain that moniker given her imperfect pet choice.  However, I have no problem with a rat that is not sneaking around my habitation or dying inside the walls.

Dimples has done everything right in trying to achieve her pet rat goal.  She acquired several books on rats, studiously read them, and used Post-It notes to mark all of the applicable passages.  She can tell you anything about rats.  Except how to keep them out of our house.

Cap’n Firepants had a brilliant idea.  He suggested that Perfect Friend spend the night, bringing along her Perfect Rat.  You might think he was being quite open-minded.  However, he was hoping, I think, that Dimples would realize a rat is not an ideal pet in a household with two nervous dogs – one of whom paces and pants heavily whenever something out of the ordinary occurs, and the other of whom who attempts to rip the heads off any beasts that have the bad luck of falling within his path.

Perfect Friend brought Perfect Rat in his traveling cage, and set him up in Dimples’ room.  The dogs had no clue Perfect Rat was in the house.  In retrospect, that should have been no surprise, seeing as how they have been absolutely no help in deterring any of the other rodents who have breached our heavily fortified enemy lines.  But the Cap’n still had a backup plan.  Knowing that rats are nocturnal, he was certain that Dimples would go crazy trying to sleep with Perfect Rat around.

No such luck.  Not a creature stirred that night – not even the rat, according to Dimples.  So, the Cap’n had to finally confess to Dimples the one reason no rat would ever be a pet in the Firepants household.  “It’s the tail,” he said.  “I just can’t get over the tail.”

Dimples, who has her heart set on a rat (no hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig will do) and the Cap’n, who has his heart set against it, are at an impasse.

I know how Dimples feels, as I was in a similar situation last Christmas, hoping for a bulldog puppy under the tree.  No other gift, no matter how great, would substitute.  It wasn’t until the day after Christmas, however, when we made a family trip to the pet store to get Dimples a fish, that Cap’n Firepants relented, and helped to make my Christmas wish come true.

Last Year's Perfect Present - Wonderbutt

Dimples is probably hoping for a repeat of last year’s post-Christmas pet presentation.  There’s one major difference, though.

Wonderbutt Has No Tail.

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