Sunday, December 19, 2010

Past pets part 2 and future pets

My family moved to Colorado right before the start of my 5th grade. We again, lived in another apartment until my parents decided that we would live here for awhile. They looked for a house and promised me that I can finally get a dog since we'll finally have a yard to keep it in.

So I did my research. I borrowed or bought every single dog breed book available and spent years reading through them making a list of the breeds of dog I wanted. My parents threw breed like "cocker spaniel," "Alaskan Malamute," "poodle," at me while I shot down their suggestions. "Cocker spaniel? You have to get those groomed; professionally groomed. That's extra expenses!" (In reality, I just plain don't like cocker spaniels. I hate their weird shaped apple heads, their doleful eyes, their clumsy looking paws, and I dunno, they just didn't look like my dream dog). "Alaskan Malamute? They're huge! They have way too much energy and we won't have a yard big enough for it! You hate going for walks!" (Reality: I wanted a Siberian Husky. I love their pale blue eyes and Malamutes just don't have those pretty pretty blue eyes). "Poodle? No." (There, at least I was honest. I think it was my mom who wanted a poodle but again, they don't scream "dog" to me, it screams "priss").

My parents bought a house and after we got settled in we started browsing the classifieds for a dog. I was hoping for a Siberian Husky, Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Samoyed, something that was sturdy enough to endure Colorado winters and a dog that was beautiful and loyal. Again, my parents lied to me. Screw what I wanted and the fact that I spent years of my life extensively researching dogs that appealed to me. My grandpa called (the same one that ate my chickens) to tell us of a friend who has a Jindo that just had a litter of puppies and was willing to sell on to us. WTF? I didn't want a Jindo! I wanted a German Shepherd! Or an Irish Setter!

Alas, we got one of those puppies. She came to us on Christmas day, a tiny shivering pup cowering in the back of her airline kennel. I went with my dad to get her from the airport (my grandpa came too) and the first thing my grandpa says is "Don't stick your fingers in her cage; she's vicious and she'll bite you." As I saw her peering at me through the cage door, I stuck my fingers through. Right as I remembered my grandpa's warning and was trying to pull my fingers back, she scurried over and licked me. And I knew that everything I wanted in my dream dog, I was going to have in her.

She just knew that I was going to be her owner. She was so loyal and quick to learn, she was devoted and faithful and amazing in every way possible. At least to our family; try as we might, we couldn't get her socialized enough and she was so territorial that she wouldn't even let people walk between me and her. If they stared too long, she'd lunge at them. She never gave a warning growl and always attacked first. Luckily, she only nipped at a small child when she got loose and the kid was playing hopscotch in our front yard. At least she didn't break the skin and the kid's mom was totally ok with it (I guess that was the only plus side of having meth heads next door).

I had her for 7 years. Seven years and then my parents split up and my dad took Sari with him to Washington. I've seen her twice since my dad moved, and she's still alive but she's getting really old and my dad being the cheap asshole he is, hasn't taken her to the vet even when I offered to pay.

Everything I wanted to give to Sari, I give to Cooper. In some ways it's because I feel bad and maybe I'm trying to make amends to Sari. I know it's not fair to her, and Cooper is certainly spoiled beyond belief and Sari is still silently suffering at my dad's. When I did see her those two times, she was so excited she started crying and wagging her tail so hard she had trouble standing. Her ears pinned back and you could just see joy in her. Cooper never greets me like that even if I've been gone for a week. He just doesn't care or if he does, he does a really good job of not showing it.

Anyway, she's 13. My brother and I are pretty sure she has at least another 3 years in her.

As for future pets, I still hope to get a German Shepherd. Before I got Cooper, my then boyfriend and I were talking about dogs and I really wanted a German Shepherd but we decided against it since we were going to live in an apartment for awhile. As soon as I can afford a bigger place and if Cooper's not around, I hope to get one and hopefully, he'll have the qualities that I love about Sari and the ones I love about Cooper.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Past pets

For the majority of my life, I lived in apartments. Most of the ones I lived in during my childhood allowed pets but coming from a traditional Korean family, my parents didn't believe that animals should be inside. So while my friends got to go home and play with their kittens or dogs or even fucking guinea pigs, I got to go home to Darkwing Duck and hordes of stuffed animals as poor substitutes for the real thing.
I guess at some point my grandma felt kind of sorry for me, or maybe it was just her greedy insistent ways, but she somehow managed to get two chicks for me from our priest (he raised chickens for fun or something in his backyard). I was ecstatic and as they were tiny tiny tiny, my parents were surprisingly ok with me keeping them in my room in a box under a lamp for warmth. I gave them names, fed them religiously and made sure they had clean water. I thought they would get cold and dressed them up using my mom's expensive silk scarves and of course, they shat all over her scarves. Oops.
Eventually, they started getting big. My grandparents lived about half an hour away and since we went to visit them every weekend, my family came to the conclusion that I can raise the chickens at my grandparent's house since they had a large yard and the potential to fit a chicken coop somewhere. It was ok I guess, after awhile I got annoyed by the shrill peeping noises and they smelled kind of weird and someone told me you could get lice from birds and I was a little wary of my new pets coming too close to me to infest me with their lice. Plus, when i got to visit my chickens at my grandparents' house, we would run around the backyard together and I would push them around in a baby stroller and force them to play house with me. So it worked out, right?
No. One day my grandpa said to me, "Wow, isn't it a nice day? It is so should go for a bike ride or a walk and enjoy the weather!" My tiny 7 year old brain was thinking, "Why yes, it is a glorious day! How simply marvelous! How did I not notice it until now? Fine idea, Grandfather! A walk sounds glorious! Onward ho!"and I went for a supervised walk with my aunt or someone. Coming home, I ran to the backyard to tell my faithful chickens of all the glorious things I saw only to see feathers everywhere and their little heads with their eyes closed on the back patio. My screams could be heard for miles, I'm sure, and I screamed loud enough to scare birds out of the trees.
Lunch: chicken soup. Picture a heartbroken 7 year old sobbing hysterically at the dinner table while her heartless mother plunks down a hot steaming bowl of chicken and rice soup. Fuck you, family.
I didn't have any luck with fish. My uncle bought me a beta fish and it repeatedly tried to commit suicide and I would come home to find it flopping around on the floor. Even when we got a screen for it's bowl, it still managed to try to kill itself. Eventually, it succeeded. I don't think I named it.
I had a hamster. After incessantly whining, crying, pleading and threats of running away unless I finally got a pet with fur, my dad decided hamsters were harmless enough. They weren't villianized as having diseases or carrying the Black Death and to him, hamsters were cute enough. So he took my brother and I to the local pet store and while I picked the cutest and most rambunctious one I could find, my brother picked the biggest and fattest hamster who happened to be sleeping. We brought them home and Surprise! My hamster's a boy and my brother's hamster was a girl and guess who had lots and lots of babies? That's right...Hammie and Harry. I named mine Hammie, so original, I know.
Anyway, we didn't know what to do with them and they kept eating their babies which I found horribly fascinating and eventually, we figured out that we needed to separate the hamsters. Unfortunately, being the cheap asses that my parents were, they refused to buy another cage for Hammie and I was forced to keep him in my aquarium after we gave up on those stupid suicidal fish. Because my hamster liked running, we kept the wheel in his house while Harry slept all damn day and somehow had more babies.
Anyway, long story short, my dad made me keep the hamsters outside on the porch because they were making too much noise and they kept waking him up. Hammie's wheel got stuck on something, so he was able to climb on top of the wheel and make his grand escape into the backyard somewhere. In the morning when I went to feed him, he was long gone and again, the neighborhood got to hear the heartbroken screams and wails of a 9 year old girl whose hamster ran away.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


For about 2 years, Cooper has been on a diet. It was mostly my fault; when I lived in suburbia with no sidewalks as we lived in an area that was constantly being developed, I didn't walk Cooper for as long as I should. So he gained like, 7 pounds which is a lot when you're just a little guy.
For the last 7-8 months, I've been feeding Cooper diet dog food; about 3/4 of a cup a day. I walk him for at least 40 minutes every night and we play fetch and tug of war around the house. Because he was looking kinda skinny late fall, I started feeding him more and now he's packing on the pounds. I wonder if he has a thyroid condition; my mom has one and it is impossible for her to lose weight but she gains it easily. It's the same for Choo Choo, it took about a year and a half for him to lose 5 pounds and it looks like he's gained 3 in the last couple months. I'm cutting back on his food to 3/4 cup a day and see if that helps. As he's due for another yearly check up and shots in January, I will bring up his fluctuating weight and see if there's something wrong with his thyroid. God, I hope not, he already has enough health problems to deal with.
I worry more about my dog's health and weight than my own. He eats Blue Buffalo brand dog food which flaunts that it's "holistic and all natural" with "human grade/quality meats and veggies!" Cooper needs a grain free diet and he really likes Blue Buffalo so it's a win/win for him. I eat like shit; mostly sandwiches and junk food and there's no way in hell I'd spend half a paycheck for a week's worth of food from Whole Foods or some other "organic" place. I also haven't been to the gym since March, but I make sure Cooper gets his daily dose of excercise. I've been getting better about going to the doctor and stuff, so I guess I beat out Cooper in that one. Alisa-1, Cooper-9 million and counting.