Sharing Day: Gone to the Dogs (and cats and monkeys and … ) Edition

Pets have a long and rich history in super-hero comics, from the massive Superman menagerie to Ace the Bat-Dog to Gropey the Spider-spider*. And in my own life, we have a plethora of critters from horses to miniature donkeys to our great dogs (including one named Monster who really needs his own comic book). So our Sharing Day topic this time out is:

Tell us your favorite true-life pet story.

Preferably it would be about your own pets (or those of someone you know personally) and not, you know, a cut and paste of “Call of the Wild”. Here’s mine.

We were still living in Texas on hour hundred acre place, and had driven our truck out on the back part of the property for some reason or another. We had Flash, our big male Shiloh Shepherd, with us, and we let him out so he could run a bit while we were working. We thought our four miniature donkeys, vulnerable little cuties that they are, were safe on the other side of the ranch, near the barn. So we were startled when a few minutes later we heard loud, aggressive barking and some frantic braying — apparently the donks were very close, hiding in the trees, and big ol’ Flash had tracked them down!

We started to dash off towards the sound, convinced we’d find nothing but mangled equine parts and a happily-munching dog, when suddenly the barks turned to panicked yelps and we see our ferocious guard beast pelting at breakneck speed back through the cedar trees, Jack the angry miniature donkey hard on his heels, two feet tall of towering fury. Jack chased him around the truck three times, his braying beating out the yellow-bellied yowls of panic, until we finally opened the door and let Flash into the truck, where he remained cowering and safe from the prey turned predator. We dubbed him “Honorary Pussycat” for the day and he never lived it down.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite pet story? In return for playing along, you can (if you want, no obligation) ask me a question about whatever you like and I’ll answer truthfully. Photos of the pets in question are very much encouraged.

*(NOt an actual thing, but dammit, it should be!)

24 Responses to Sharing Day: Gone to the Dogs (and cats and monkeys and … ) Edition

  1. Obviously my tale is colored by nostalgia and the fact that this was the first dog who was “my dog”. When I was a kid, I had an Old English Sheepdog who was born in China, and only understood Mandarin, so I had to learn a little bit of a foreign language to interact with her.

    My favorite memory of her is of me reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time. I had a really hard time with the style of writing, and so I read it out loud, to my dog. She just stared at me, probably not terribly interesting, but she never interrupted, or told me I was silly for reading in English to a dog who didn’t understand the language, and when I took breaks from reading Shakespeare, she was kind enough to let me rub her belly and told me I was a good boy and that I’d done good.

  2. I had a newfoundland named Tiny. Tiny was one of the smartest dogs I have ever seen. to his detriment. For example Tiny figured out if he put his nose up to the plastic seal on the door of the fridge it would pop open, but was not smart enough to know that drinking an entire case of beer from licking it off the floor was ill advised! He had gotten into the brew by biting into the can and waited till it was on the floor. This was as well thaught out as any Dr Doom plot, but like any supervillain plot some oversighted weakness brings the villian to his ultimate defeat. This defeat for poor Tiny came the next day when he spent the next day lying in the corner as he wimpered and trying to block the sun as if he was Dracula’s dog. Never again did he indulge in the libations that led to his day long dispair! Rather his ill gottened gains included chicken soup and NOT grampa’s caugh medicine

  3. The Atomic Punk

    I’m watching my mom’s house until we sell it. The doctors recommended assisted-living. The money will go to help pay for her new place. Anyway, I inherited her cat, who used to be my niece’s cat.

    Chloe thinks she is a dog. She plays fetch with balled up paper. She sleeps at the end of the bed. She loves to lay against my leg while I’m sitting in bed or on the couch. Chloe runs to the door when the doorbell is rang. I mean she goes flying through the house to get there. She will go into “stalking” mode when the pizza delivery guy is there.

    She also hisses at school busses. And, like a dog, she has absolutely no sense of time like most cats. I’ll feed her and refresh her water in the morning. By the time I get out of the shower, she is standing at the door. When I start walking to my room, she will nudge my legs, trying to “steer” me back to her dish.

    Don’t know where she will wind up once everyone moves out of the house.

  4. once some asshole neighbor poisoned this little kitten. so we are rushing to the vet the kitten wrapped in towel in my arms so he wont thrash about. hes definitely dieing. hes alternating between yelling and seizing. suddenly he makes this awful face and dies. my moms all crying and such so begin performing cpr. my mouth over his nose and mouth. using my thumb to massage his tiny chest. few seconds later he makes this garbled choking sound and then begins crying. boom! im cat jesus. he lived many many years. became the baddass tomcat and we named him killer.

  5. This has nothing to do with the topic at hand and for that I apologize.

    Jeff, you think it’d be possible to name the items in HM3? Like as you hover over an item, the name of it shows up somewhere (much like the name of the color).I’ve been having a really difficult time trying to figure out the names of some of these clothing items. It would also help for discussion purposes in the forums.

  6. I grew up in northern Virginia and we had a beagle named Lucy. She was a pretty sweet dog, adventurous, always digging under the fence and exploring the lands nearby. When we adopted a kitten from my Aunt’s cat’s litter, she took him under her wing. Eventually when little Whiskers (I know, I was the master of original and creative pet-naming) got old enough he began to wander outside on his own, as cats are wont to do. Well some of the neighborhood cats started bullying him. He’d come home with patches of fur missing, and one time he got a nasty scratch on his face (almost over the eye!) We were going to turn him into an indoor cat for his safety. One night Lucy was asleep on the foot of my bed. I heard my mom going downstairs in the middle of the night (probably for a glass of water or something trivial), but Lucy suddenly sat up and started growling. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and all of a sudden I heard the loudest scream from the kitchen. Lucy bolted out the door and down the stairs, beating me to the kitchen where I found my mom trying to regain her composure. Apparently one of the bully cats had chased Whiskers in through the pet door, scaring my mother, and Lucy had chased it back out. I looked to the backyard and heard Lucy snarling and barking, followed by the cries of several terrified cats. The bully cats never bothered Whiskers again and he grew up to be an active outdoorsman (outdoorscat?). Years later Lucy would have to be put down due to an untreatable illness, and after she died for a couple weeks afterwards Whiskers would wait by the pet door, watching for Lucy to come home.

    Long story short, basically my dog was Batman.

  7. I never had my OWN pet, but one day myself and a neighbor (we were about 5.) found out about a feud btw a mailman and a neighbor’s dog. We, being 5, took the dog’s side. We took two pairs of pliers with built-in wire cutters, a mound of wire hangers of questionable origin and condition (we had our tetanus shots, ttl) and figured out o-rings. Yes, we began making and fitting the dog with chain mail.
    The dog was fine and probably just loved the attention until it’s owner came out and scared the dog. The owner was pulling the homemade chain mail off and yelling at us, and we were begging him not to hurt the dog, and the dog was terrified and having his fur pulled out.
    Not my finest hour. To this day, I wonder what would have happened if the owner had set his face and said, “You two take that off my dog or I get you in trouble. Take your time and don’t hurt my dog.” But then, asking authority figures to be correct and act wisely has almost always been too much to ask.

    @Jake: I have wondered whether Jeff would appreciate one of us or some of us making an Excel spreadsheet with names of items so he could post it and occasionally update it as it grows. It might be some help as an organization tool . . . and I’d be willing to submit a first draft . . . PM me on forums if this is good? I never use my own e-mail.

  8. We used to have three cats, but when we moved, two went to my father and one went to a friend of the family.

    Well, I was at my dads and our cats are similar to the atomic punk’s cat, as they act like dogs. They love company and they love to lay in my lap. Excusing the fact that they like to put all of their weight in each paw as they get there, this is generally a mutually beneficial relationship. The cat gets rubbed and we get an excuse for someone else to get us something. “Oh can you get me a can of coke, I can’t get up.” However on this one day, I was sitting and I had a lapcat and just as I asked for my brother to get me a drink, the cat flits off and I’m left excuseless. To make matters worse, he decided to sit on my brother’s lap, so now I had to get him a drink. I love the little guys, but sometimes they can be annoying.

  9. A few years back, I had gotten my fourth dog, Duncan, to replace my second dog, Tucker, who had gotten hit by a truck. We usually had two dogs at a time (now being the exception since I have three). Now, I had never really thought all that highly of my dogs’ intelligence, but I loved them anyway. For Emma, my third dog, my perception of her intelligence changed when I found I no longer had to go through the effort of teaching Duncan the meaning of the word “stay.” Duncan, like Tucker before him, had a tendency to run away when he was outside without a leash, so we couldn’t just let him out on his own. After trying (and failing) several times to teach him to stay inside, one day I told Duncan to stay in, and Emma approached Duncan and casually pinned him in place. I was rather amazed at this, to say the least. She continued to do this every time I told Duncan to stay until finally Duncan would stay inside when commanded. Thankfully, Emma is still alive and well, and continues to be a relatively active dog despite her old age and the fact that she had a tumor removed from her leg not too long ago.

  10. Ah, forgot my question! I am currently working on a drawing of a character, and the character is supposed to be both female and covered in bulky muscles. The problem is that, unfortunately, if I make her too bulky, she looks like a guy, and if I try to increase her, uh, “size” to compensate, she just looks ridiculous. I tried looking up pictures of female bodybuilders, and managed to deftly avoid the xxx stuff, but that left me with far too little reference material, and none of exactly the right proportions. Any advice?

  11. Define ‘favorite’, if you would. I’ve got a few minor points I enjoy about my parents’ cats, but the star of our family has to be my sister’s dog.

    The cats are a humane society find named Gracie, and a street cat (pure black) named Amy. Amy got her name from a habit of hers that became a family game – the only part of the traditional ‘meow’ we ever got out of her was the ‘ow’ part. So, my mother started calling her by going ‘Me?’, which would lead to this softly yowled ‘ow’. ‘Me? Ow.’ ‘Me? Ow.’ You get the idea.
    Gracie, for her part, has learned (probably from watching us do it) that if someone’s sitting down at the computer, it’s possible to get their attention by tapping them on the arm. Whether it be solitaire, web surfing, or actually attempting to work on something, it is very common for computer time to be interrupted by this little ‘pat-pat’ on the lower arm.

    But for real superhero-quality pet stuff, we have to go to my sister’s pet dog, CJ. (Humane society find; we’re still not sure what the breed is.) The first time my sister brought her to my parents’ house, she bought a dog-walking vest (for the dog, clips the leash to the back). When they came over, the dog was allowed to run in the fenced-in back yard with my parents’ collie. However, my sister left the leash attached to the vest – a mistake that could have been fatal.

    My parents’ yard, you see, is about seven feet or so higher than the section of the driveway leading to the garage. And while there was a fence there to prevent people from falling, the thing wasn’t designed with smallish animals in mind. CJ turned out to be skinny enough that, even with the vest on, she was able to slip through the fence rails, and fall to the ground below…but the leash managed to catch itself between the railing and the wood plank ‘floor’ by that area. CJ’s rear feet were able to hit the ground, but with the leash caught, her front feet were about two, two and a half feet off the ground, and she was stuck in that position. I found her there when I drove up – at which point she had been outside for about forty-five minutes, and trapped for who knows how much of that. I am convinced that vest saved her life – had she been wearing the leash on a collar instead, I’m certain she would have strangled herself in the process.

    And, apparently, this ‘trauma’ became the origin for her apparent super-powered escape tricks. CJ, you see, has been known (twice that I know of) to spend the night in someone’s car…because she managed to slip through the car door without anyone realizing it before the door was shut. We’re not talking about some toy breed here – she’s about two-thirds as tall as I am when standing on her hind legs, so just under four feet tall. This is the same dog who, while my parents were watching her when my sister was at college, had to be kept inside an electrfied kennel – the two ten-foot tall chain-link fences (inner and outer) of the kennel were insufficient to keep her in; she climbed them. There’s a reason this dog received the nickname ‘Furry Houdini’.

  12. I think Dogs are probably the best animal for a raconteur to own. They’re kind of dopey, but that makes them endearing, and a good source of stories. The only one I’ve ever made friends with was an ancient Corgi who would refuse to walk on anything other than grass (put her on concrete and she’d just become monorail dog) and who liked being groomed with a vacuum cleaner (which was just weird)…

    I’m a cat-person, and being the owner of a large, blue, exceedingly grumpy cat (http://www.flickr.com/photos/woogle/239147108/in/photostream) i’m slightly short of anecdotes. However the fact that she recognises the noise of my car and waits for me when I go out (just so that she can complain when I come back) is quite endearing…

    jadebrain I think it’s more about muscle definition, with athletic women, than it is about size. These two images are of GB heptathletes, who have to be as good running the 110m hurdles as they are at the shot put. They’re both pretty ripped, and probably quite close to what you’re aiming for…

    http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article1153152.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/Jessica+Ennis

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/08/20/article-0-008E395D00000258-838_468x446.jpg

  13. Jadebrain:
    Ah, forgot my question! I am currently working on a drawing of a character, and the character is supposed to be both female and covered in bulky muscles. The problem is that, unfortunately, if I make her too bulky, she looks like a guy, and if I try to increase her, uh, “size” to compensate, she just looks ridiculous. I tried looking up pictures of female bodybuilders, and managed to deftly avoid the xxx stuff, but that left me with far too little reference material, and none of exactly the right proportions. Any advice?

    Jade 1) you are WAY off base this post was meant to be about PETS and 2) You are on the right track. You problem(The problem is that, unfortunately, if I make her too bulky, she looks like a guy, and if I try to increase her, uh, “size” to compensate, she just looks ridiculous.) Exists In Real Life too. My suggestion is you need to find a balance that you can live with wether it is more towards She Hulk or Chyna Doll(sp?) the pro female wrestler is up to you.

  14. Back when I was pretty young, probably about 4 or 5, I would, during the summer, wake up fairly early, before my parents. Usually I’d be good with watching TV, but there were a few times that I would grab my toy shovel and bucket, go outside (still in my pajamas mind you), and take my dog Toby with me to go digging under our porch. I had to bring Toby, partly because he was my best buddy at the time, and partly because, as a dog, he could dig faster than I could. And, at least when it came to digging, Toby was surprisingly good at taking orders.
    This of course drove my parents crazy, not the least of which was the fact that I wasn’t in the house when they woke up. But after I was brought in and cleaned off, my dad would get to work filling in the hole that Toby and I dug. Even to this day, Mom and Dad will tell the story of me and Toby trying to “dig a hole to China,” but the truth was that I had aspirations to create an underground Super-Villain lair, and Toby was going to be my henchdog.

    No question right now.

  15. Myro:
    Back when I was pretty young, probably about 4 or 5, I would, during the summer, wake up fairly early, before my parents.Usually I’d be good with watching TV, but there were a few times that I would grab my toy shovel and bucket, go outside (still in my pajamas mind you), and take my dog Toby with me to go digging under our porch.I had to bring Toby, partly because he was my best buddy at the time, and partly because, as a dog, he could dig faster than I could.And, at least when it came to digging, Toby was surprisingly good at taking orders.
    This of course drove my parents crazy, not the least of which was the fact that I wasn’t in the house when they woke up.But after I was brought in and cleaned off, my dad would get to work filling in the hole that Toby and I dug.Even to this day, Mom and Dad will tell the story of me and Toby trying to “dig a hole to China,” but the truth was that I had aspirations to create an underground Super-Villain lair, and Toby was going to be my henchdog.

    No question right now.

    Silly Myro. Dogs are too good natured to be villains. At most he could be a canine minion or lackey pooch. I seriously doubt he’d ever rise to the rank of henchdog.

  16. Just Joe: Silly Myro. Dogs are too good natured to be villains. At most he could be a canine minion or lackey pooch. I seriously doubt he’d ever rise to the rank of henchdog.

    Oh sure, it sounds silly now, especially since Toby was a border collie/cocker spaniel cross that weighed in at about 40 lbs, but 5 year-old Myro would have deftly debated that issue with some “shut up, stupid!”‘s and “nuh-uh”‘s until you came around.

    Having said, I just read the part where Jeff said that pictures of the pet in question are very much encouraged. I will actually try to remember to scan and post a picture of me and Toby tonight. I can promise it will be adorable and ridiculously non-villainous.

  17. KEric: Jade 1) you are WAY off base this post was meant to be about PETS and 2) You are on the right track. You problem(The problem is that, unfortunately, if I make her too bulky, she looks like a guy, and if I try to increase her, uh, “size” to compensate, she just looks ridiculous.) Exists In Real Life too. My suggestion is you need to find a balance that you can live with wether it is more towards She Hulk or Chyna Doll(sp?) the pro female wrestler is up to you.

    First of all, how was I off base? This blog post’s comment section is designated for people to share stories about their pets, and if they do so, they may then ask a question if they desire. I posted a story about my pets, and then I posted a question.

    Second of all, I didn’t even think about She-Hulk for reference, and I’ve never heard of this “Chyna Doll” you speak of, so I’ll have to check those out. Thanks!

  18. I had a Toby, too. :) He was my college graduation present to myself. We were together 11 years.

    I’m just going to share a gallery of him, because even though it was almost a year ago we lost him, it still kinda hurts, and I don’t want to bring the thread down.

    http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad197/girlwiththelime/toby/

  19. KEric: Jade 1) you are WAY off base this post was meant to be about PETS and 2) You are on the right track. You problem(The problem is that, unfortunately, if I make her too bulky, she looks like a guy, and if I try to increase her, uh, “size” to compensate, she just looks ridiculous.) Exists In Real Life too. My suggestion is you need to find a balance that you can live with wether it is more towards She Hulk or Chyna Doll(sp?) the pro female wrestler is up to you.

    Hey, KEric. You missed Jadebrain’s story about Duncan and Emma the dogs in the post before.

  20. dblade: Hey, KEric. You missed Jadebrain’s story about Duncan and Emma the dogs in the post before.

    Yeppers, I sure did, to which I must say I’m sorry. It was posted in the box right above the Question, And I scrolled right past it. I blame my roller ball on my mouse!

  21. Well, I could have sworn I had more pictures of me and Toby together. This is probably the best one I have. And while he’s still pretty young and has a bit of growing to do here, I’m thinking that 40 lbs might have been overestimating it.

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv217/Myrowire/myro_toby_zpseac066c7.png

  22. Jake: Jeff, you think it’d be possible to name the items in HM3? Like as you hover over an item, the name of it shows up somewhere (much like the name of the color).I’ve been having a really difficult time trying to figure out the names of some of these clothing items. It would also help for discussion purposes in the forums.

    That is technically possible, but practically it would be a massive undertaking to go back and do it for the thousands of existing items. I am extremely unlikely to do so.

    Plus I had a really hard time naming things in HM2. Some items I didn’t know the names for and had to make up something stupid. On some I just gave up and used whatever name was there from the old set I was using to start with, so you’d have an umbrella named “wrench” or something.

    It’s clunky, but you can use “second screen, row 2, column 3″ to refer to specific items. At least it’s precise and can be done without reading a save string.

  23. Lime: I’m just going to share a gallery of him, because even though it was almost a year ago we lost him, it still kinda hurts, and I don’t want to bring the thread down.

    He was adorable! I know what you mean, I still get a little teary when I look through old pet picture albums. Thanks for sharing him!

    DiCicatriz: Long story short, basically my dog was Batman.

    Best TL;DR ever.

    Just Joe: when I took breaks from reading Shakespeare, she was kind enough to let me rub her belly and told me I was a good boy and that I’d done good.

    Dogs are so patient with us! And she was probably one of the most literate animals on the block after all that, I bet.

    punkjay: Never again did he indulge in the libations that led to his day long dispair!

    If only he’d known how to make literal the expression “hair of the dog.

    The Atomic Punk: Don’t know where she will wind up once everyone moves out of the house.

    Oh gosh, I hope you can find a home with a trusted friend, she sounds like an awesome cat and it would be really sad for her to end up at a shelter.

    barbario: im cat jesus.

    We have cat jesus and batdog in this thread, that’s awesome!

    Herr D: @Jake: I have wondered whether Jeff would appreciate one of us or some of us making an Excel spreadsheet with names of items so he could post it and occasionally update it as it grows. It might be some help as an organization tool . . . and I’d be willing to submit a first draft . . . PM me on forums if this is good? I never use my own e-mail.

    Sure, knock yourselves out!

    Vampyrist: Excusing the fact that they like to put all of their weight in each paw as they get there, this is generally a mutually beneficial relationship. The cat gets rubbed and we get an excuse for someone else to get us something.

    Pet bonds are often mutually beneficial, that’s why pets are great!

    Jadebrain: After trying (and failing) several times to teach him to stay inside, one day I told Duncan to stay in, and Emma approached Duncan and casually pinned him in place.

    That is too funny, we had a dog (German shepherd mix of some sort) who did that to our two border collie pups. We were out in a field and the puppies raced out to chase the horses, who were pelting in. They’d have been trampled, and were way too fast for us to catch up to. We were yelling at them to no avail when Hannah, the older German shepherd, raced out, caught up to them, and knocked them over. Then she chased them back to us before the horses got there, saving both the pups and our sanity.

    Jadebrain: I tried looking up pictures of female bodybuilders, and managed to deftly avoid the xxx stuff, but that left me with far too little reference material, and none of exactly the right proportions. Any advice?

    I’ll second the advice to use She-Hulk or Chyna as reference.

    EnderX: There’s a reason this dog received the nickname ‘Furry Houdini’.

    Sometimes I swear pets have super powers. Absolutely. In this case, were it a cat you could have named her “Kitty Pryde” because she walks through solid walls (ahem).

    fuzztone: The only one I’ve ever made friends with was an ancient Corgi who would refuse to walk on anything other than grass (put her on concrete and she’d just become monorail dog) and who liked being groomed with a vacuum cleaner (which was just weird)

    I’ve seen videos of cats who liked being vacuumed but not dogs, that’s funny!

    Myro: Even to this day, Mom and Dad will tell the story of me and Toby trying to “dig a hole to China,” but the truth was that I had aspirations to create an underground Super-Villain lair, and Toby was going to be my henchdog.

    I think Toby the henchdog, Cat Jesus, and Bat-dog ought to band together to form a Legion of Pet Justice. I would pay for a comic like that!

    Thanks so much to everyone for your great stories and pictures. I’m glad there’s a lot of animal love out there.

  24. PS: A Q for Jeff.

    Miniature donkeys. They sound great, but how did you end up with a herd?