Browsing Category



The Rabbit Died

July 22, 2013
black and white bunny

No, I’m not pregnant again.

Sadly, our adorable little Henry died this morning. It was unexpected and it was horribly sad.

Still is.

Henry came into our world a couple of years ago. He was a rescue bunny who had lived on the streets for while but eventually ended up at the Humane Society where we found him. I have no idea what kind of rabbit he was but he had a paw print on his behind that looked like a clue on Blue’s Clues.


They weren’t sure of his age but put him at 2 or 3 years of age. I have no idea how you tell the age of a rabbit because in the years we had him he didn’t look any different.

Henry was a wonderful bunny. He had the softest fur and had a habit of rubbing his chin against everyone. We have many animals in this house and of all of them he had the softest fur. Holding Henry was like a little slice of heaven.

He never came when I called him unless I had blue berries or blueberry Pop Tarts for him. He’d eat the strawberry kind but not with the same enthusiasm he had for the blueberry variety.


Henry was a house bunny and never went out side. We kept in the office in the basement, an area we could secure from the cat and the dog. He had the run of the room because he was litter box trained and never left little surprises for me to clean.

Henry liked to chew on cords and blankets but mostly he liked to sit next to the desk and watch whoever happened to be there.

Henry died unexpectedly in his sleep. He showed no signs of illness and was his normal, hoppy self last night when we said good night to him.

We won’t be getting another rabbit, we still have a hamster, two guinea pigs, a cat and two dogs. No, there will only be one Henry, there is no way we could possibly replace him. His cage has been cleaned and is in the garage, out of sight.

We’ve cried many tears today but I know Henry is in a better place. A place where they have endless blueberry Pop Tarts and and plenty of electrical cords for chewing.

Rest in peace, dear Henry.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Contests Pets

Indestructible Dog Toys

April 17, 2013
Lt. Dan, indestructible dog toys

We go through a lot of dog toys around here. Ruby, the lab/boxer/pitbull puppy can destroy any dog toy within minutes. I’ve searched high and low for a dog toy that lasts longer than one day. I’d also like to find one that doesn’t make a mess.

This is the cow toy with another toy inside. It’s got a tennis ball on a rope inside of it. There is also a little pocket above the udders to put treats in but that got ripped off right away. The udders, not the little pocket.

Indestructible dog toys after Ruby

After ten minutes. The udders are gone, the head is gone and the tennis ball looks like it’s gone through a shredder. Every squeaky thingy has been consumed.

Indestructible dog toys before Ruby

I thought this one might last longer because it had more squeaky things in it and she likes those. Turns out she doesn’t like them they annoy her and they must be removed.

Lt. Dan, indestructible dog toys

7 minutes later we’re calling him Lt. Dan.

I’ve bought stuffing – less dog toys and dog toys made of heavy duty nylon and still she gets them apart.

Note – when the dog toy says it has no stuffing there is still some stuffing in it and my dog can take that little bit of stuffing and spread it all over the house.

Here is the challenge: Tell me about your indestructible dog toy and I will buy it and test it out on my destructing dog. If it passes her test, you’ve got a million dollar toy.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Pets Things that piss me off WTF?

I Won't Be Shopping At Petco Anymore

March 4, 2013
Description unavailable

Why I won’t be shopping at Petco

I loved Petco. I spent a ton of money there each month because we have two dogs, two guinea pigs, one rabbit, one cat and one hamster. I buy premium dog food and gobs and gobs of dog toys and chew sticks because I have a puppy that really likes to chew and we have run out of Barbies.

I loved Petco because they were conveniently located in Highland Park and the sales associates there were usually pretty helpful and always friendly. They are a tad overpriced, I can find everything I get for quite a bit less (except for the premium dog food) at Walmart. But I preferred shopping at Petco over Walmart because it isn’t Walmart.

Why won’t you be shopping at Petco anymore, Jen?

I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore because they ended up costing me $137.00 and are unwilling to do anything about it.

So here’s the story. I bank at a local bank that is currently used by University of MN students. I bank there because my son has to bank there and I can transfer money to him easily this way. I keep it run down as low as possible because I don’t use it much and I don’t really trust banks anymore.

I went to Petco in January to pick up some of that premium dog food and had left my wallet at home. I had my checkbook so I wrote a check. I never write checks anymore because no one takes them and I don’t usually carry checks but props to Petco for still taking them because it would have been a wasted trip otherwise and my dogs were getting hungry.

I made a mental note to myself to transfer funds from one account to another and continued on my way.

As you have probably guessed I forgot all about transferring funds.

Life goes on and about a week later I get a notice from the bank saying that my check had been returned and I better cover the check. I promptly transferred the funds I meant to a week earlier and figured the check would be represented and all was good.

Ten days later the check was presented for the second time and paid. Since that time I have spent over $100 on pet food and dog chews.

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: dno1967b)

End of story.

Or so I thought.

Ten days after the check was paid my bank account was pinged for $30. from Petco. Apparently they charge a service fee on checks returned. Not bounced checks but checks returned once but still paid.

Because I don’t use the account, and I had seen that the check had finally been paid on the second presentation I didn’t have more than $10 in the account so when it was pinged for the $30 fee from Petco my bank rejected it. In the process, because they are a bank and are all about making money on their free accounts, they charged me $37.

My bank sends me a notice of this overdraft but they send it through the old fashioned mail because I haven’t set up an electronic alert on my account. I get the notice about a week after the first overdraft. By the time I get the notice Petco or Telecheck  has attempted to collect this $30 fee two more times. Each time causing my bank to reject the payment and charge me $37.

When I get notice from my bank I head on over there and talk to a very nice manager who tells me that I need to talk to Petco. My banker states that she has never seen a company charge a service fee on a check that was paid. She goes on to say that if a company draws an electronic service fee they do so right away. They don’t wait ten days to pull the fee.

Which is nice. My banker understands that I had covered the check, left a few extra bucks in the account and that was it. I was ahead of the game for ten days when they tried to pull this fee that my bank rejected.

My banker suggested that I talk to Petco because she was unable to do anything about it. Policy, you know.

I called Petco, corporate Petco from their website, and got India. After yelling in the phone for half an hour the nice Indian woman told me to call the Highland Park, MN Petco. She was still unsure why I was calling, she couldn’t understand why they would charge me when the check had been paid.

Think about that. The nice outsourced, customer service rep from India understood that the check had been paid and therefore there should be no service fee.

I called the Highland Park, MN Petco and talked to Carla, the store manager who was very nice. She listened to my story, remarked at how strange it was that I was charged a service fee when the check was honored and then went on to tell me how she bounced a check to McDonald’s for $25 that turned into $500 worth of bank fees.

Carla said she would contact corporate and get back to me in the next day or two. I mentioned that I had a bit of a time constraint because my bank was threatening to close my account if I didn’t bring it into the black. I would have done so when I spoke with my banker but she was concerned they would continue to try to take the service fee and suggested I stop payment, which we did, and not deposit anything into the account until all was settled.

Carla called me back right away and told me that Petco uses Telecheck and that I must talk to them. That it is their fee that they are trying to recover.

I’m exhausted just retelling this story.

I explain to Carla that Telecheck doesn’t care about any of this and because Petco has sold my supposed debt to Telecheck they aren’t likely to help me. They, Telecheck, want their money and will most likely do whatever they can to collect it.

I ask for a number or email of someone at corporate to contact. I tell Carla that I don’t want to drag her into this mess and that I was sorry for getting her involved (because we live in MN and default to apologies). She says she understands and would do the same thing if she were in my shoes.

Carla tells me to call her back after I call Telecheck and let her know what happened. She seems to understand that they aren’t going to do anything and is trying her best to help out even though Petco corporate isn’t supporting her at all. Carla wants to help.

I call Telecheck and get a woman who, while residing in the US, hasn’t quite mastered the English language yet.


To make a long story short I am told by Telecheck that they can’t do anything. It is there policy – which may or may not have been posted at Petco. She then tells me that they are reporting this to the credit bureaus and how did I want to pay the $30 fee?

I called Carla back and told her what had happened. I again asked for a contact at corporate to help resolve this because while it may have been their policy, and it may or may have been posted, the debt was paid long before the fee was charged and the fee was applied without notice which caused me to be charged over $100 by my bank.

Grrr – I’m getting frustrated just trying to retell it.

Carla said I shouldn’t have bounced a check and that I needed to pay the fee. Carla didn’t care that I visited the store at least three times a week and that now Petsmart or Walmart or Chuck and Dave’s would be getting my business. Carla may have but corporate didn’t. It’s hard to tell because Carla was the go between. I don’t envy her position because she truly was stuck in the middle. I’m not thrilled with her condescending attitude at the end — especially in light of her large overdraft due to a $25 check to McDonald’s — but what do I know?

I spent more than these fees each month at Petco. I won’t even go into the whole story about the dead guinea pig. I am a Petco Rewards card holder and usually earn two rebates a month. Petco had a good customer in me until today but were not the least bit interested in working with me to make this right. I expected a little more from Petco than this.

So, I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore.


Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta
Dumb Shit I Do Pets Things that piss me off WTF?

Bad Dog

December 12, 2012

File this under I Should Have Known Better.

I put away all the remotes, coasters, books and anything else that was lying around at puppy eye level. I’ve learned my lesson, I thought, as I picked up my daughter’s favorite teddy bear and locked it in her room for safe keeping.

Then I left the house to go to the Y for a quick work out before coming back and doing some more editing on my book Minnesota Nice (feel free to like the Facebook page for it on the right sidebar over there ->->-> ).

Bad dog, dog who ate Christmas tree ornaments off the tree, things dogs do when you go to the Y, things dogs do when you leave the house

I really should have known better.

What’s worse is that the other dog, and the cat, didn’t do anything to stop it. I actually feel betrayed by Stanley. Ruby, the puppy, sat at the tree and just gnawed at the ornaments. Many of them were hanging in the tree half chewed.

ornament chewed in half by a dog, dogs who eat the ornaments off the Christmas trees

What’s remarkable is that she doesn’t have a scratch on her. She has no cuts or any sign that she ate roughly three boxes of glass ornaments. She even ate Toilet Paper Man.

Guess who’s on the Naughty List this year?

Enhanced by Zemanta
infographic Kids Pets

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

October 15, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about zombie attacks lately. Maybe because Halloween is just a couple of weeks away (seriously, when did summer end?) and because lately I have seen more and more of those stick family stickers with zombies. You know, the stickers that perky people put on their back car window to show off their family?

At least that’s how I look it at.

I tried to make one last night. There is a website where you can design your own stick family stickers. You get to choose the mom, dad, kids and pets. Problem was there wasn’t one for ex husbands and being as the first born is away at college I wasn’t sure if he should be included. It would have been confusing to include a tall male (those are the options. Parents are tall and children are short but he’s really tall so I got hung up on that) because I would have liked to explain that he is a child and not a soon to be ex husband.

They also didn’t have stickers for pets besides dogs and cats. While we have plenty of those we also have guinea pigs, a hamster and a rabbit.

I like the idea of the zombie stickers better. If I get it wrong it can just be because they ate the other one. Zombies eat zombies don’t they?

Anyway, this cracked me.

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Browse more data visualization.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Stupid Pet Tricks

October 8, 2012


I’ll probably get sued for using that title but I live on the edge.

This video is what happens when you have an overly affectionate puppy and an old dog who does not like public displays of affection.


Keaton and Ruby

August 22, 2012

This is Keaton (the boy’s cat who is visiting) and Ruby (new puppy) who are fighting over one of Keaton’s toys. Keaton arrived the day before Ruby did. When we got Ruby she was smaller than Keaton and Keaton had the advantage. Now she is twice the size of the cat and can easily tackle Keaton.

For your viewing pleasure.

Enhanced by Zemanta
People Pets Writing

Writing is Hard

July 30, 2012
Ruby the puppy, black lab puppy, black lab boxer mix puppy, rescue puppy

So how has your summer been going?

I haven’t been around much these past few months. Some of you may know I am writing a book, a memoir, about growing up in a pretty strange environment. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, a long while since it seems I never update anymore and therefore you wouldn’t have a clue what I am talking about if you just stumbled here and never checked out my archives and why would you because you don’t know what this blog is about because it’s more like a ghost town than an active blog.

I need to catch my breath.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, I am writing a memoir about growing up with a gay, closeted dad, a mentally and physically handicapped mom and a Republican brother. Talk about shit that will mess you up!

Did I mention it was a humorous memoir? I do a lot of name dropping because I know people. Garrison Keillor is in my book as is Nick Swardson. Just think, you don’t even need Kevin Bacon to tie those two together if you know me.

Other than that it’s been a typical summer. Kids are driving me C.R.A.Z.Y!!!

Oh, and we got a puppy.

Because, you know, it’s not chaotic enough around here.



Kids Pets

RIP Nutmeg

June 23, 2011

Yes, it seems as if animals are dropping like flies this week at the Brown House. Monday we lost our beloved Reuben and yesterday we said goodbye to Nutmeg.

Nutmeg the guinea pig, how to replace your dead guinea pigFor those of you who don’t know who Nutmeg is (and you wouldn’t because she died before I could introduce you to her) she was a guinea pig we adopted this past Sunday. We aren’t really sure what happened to Nutmeg, the vet seems to think she may have had a stroke. All I know is one moment everything was fine and the next minute there was a lot of screaming followed by a search for a box, a drive to the pet store and ultimately returning with another guinea pig.

Nutmeg was a sweet little guinea pig with tan spots. She was a little shy but warmed up to my daughter who loved her with all her heart. Nutmeg loved to eat lettuce out of my daughter’s hand and sit on her lap while she watched TV.

Nutmeg made funny little guinea pig noises that reminded me of the sounds of Pac Man.

Nutmeg was not just a pet she was my daughter’s best friend. They had many moments together having fun and being together.

Nutmeg was sort of curious, I think. And she really liked to be with people, I think, not really sure since we didn’t have her that long. Nutmeg probably liked to play with toys and run around the house with the other animals but we never got a chance to introduce her to anyone else besides Smokey the hamster. Nutmeg only had one name since we didn’t have time to change our minds and her name.

Nutmeg will be dearly missed but we know she is in a much better place. A place where she can hide in her pigloo all day long and no one will grab her and scare the living crap out of her.

Yes, Nutmeg is gone and will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Nutmeg, we love you.

Oreo the guinea pigWhile I have you here let me introduce you to Starburst, I mean Oreo, the newest member of our family. Oreo is a black guinea pig who also likes to eat lettuce out of my daughter’s hand and who also gets the crap scared out of her all day long as children try to grab her and play with her. We probably should have named her George.

Ex#2 Pets Things I Really Like

RIP Reuben

June 21, 2011

14 years ago my ex husband (then boyfriend) and I were driving along a country road in Western Wisconsin when serendipity struck. We were in the right place at the right time and something wonderful happened. It was the middle of January, late afternoon, when we noticed two small animals on the side of the road. When we opened the car door to investigate, two little puppies made a beeline for us. We weren’t far from a farm house so we grabbed the pups and drove into the driveway. After knocking on the door for a while, a strange looking woman who was missing a few teeth, and in much need of a root touch up, answered the door. Upon opening the door ten more puppies scampered out into the cold.

Reuben in the Cascade Mountains


We returned the pups and as we were getting back into the car the strange woman asked us if we would like one of the puppies.

We didn’t need a puppy, we didn’t have time for a puppy, we certainly didn’t want to train a puppy.


black lab dalmation on the couchWe were chosen by the smallest dog in the litter, we named him Reuben, after the sandwich. There was always confusion about how we should spell his name but since I am telling this story we will spell it the right way.

Reuben was half dalmatian, half black lab and 100% retarded.

He was also one of the sweetest dogs I have been blessed to have. My ex husband was remodeling my parents’ cabin, it was a long project that took nearly a year to complete. Reuben grew up at the cabin. He spent his days in the lake chasing rocks and the occasional fish that swam by. When he wasn’t chasing rocks he was spinning.

Reuben had OCD. When he was in town with me he didn’t have access to a lake to chase his rocks and would instead find a sock or rope toy and spin with it. He would spin for hours if we let him. The spinning was entertaining but a little disruptive to the house and any children who were nearby so we tried to stop him before he got going. Once spinning, the only way to stop him was to take away the rope and find something else for him to fixate on, usually me cooking dinner, until he forgot about the spinning. We had to put the toys up on the china cabinet or the top of the door so he didn’t get them and start spinning again.

Reuben didn’t like to be left alone. When we had to leave him alone he made his displeasure clear by pulling down the blinds or uprooting my potted plants. Sometimes he pulled the stuffing out of the couch.

We took him everywhere, he was even at our wedding.

Reuben was always happy. The sun was always shining in Reuben’s world. The sky may have been a different color too. As long as Reuben had rocks to chase and spinning to do it was a good day for Reuben.

Reuben protected my children and made me feel safe even when I knew he would hide under the table if someone tried to break in. My ex husband and I had locked ourselves out of the house one night and had to take the back door off the hinges to get in. I watched from the patio door as Reuben hid under the dining room table only to bark fiercely once he figured out it was us. When I was pregnant with my daughter Reuben would rest his head on my belly and then bark when the baby kicked. It never got old and he never figured it out. After she was born he would come and get me when she cried. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to make it stop and that he hadn’t developed any kind of Lassiesque traits.

Reuben and his RocksReuben loved apples, carrots, cucumbers and especially green beans. He loved them so much we couldn’t plant them in the garden because he would eat them before we could harvest them. Reuben loved car rides, long walks and he especially loved my ex husband. He loved me too, I was his mom, but I was also the one who took him to the vet for neutering, gave him his medicine when he was sick and pulled the 3 X 5 inch square of carpet  that he ate out of his ass.

As Reuben got older he suffered from arthritis and a torn ACL. He’d had surgery on it a few years back but because he couldn’t sit still it never healed right. The pain didn’t seem to stop him much or maybe he just didn’t understand why pain happened. We couldn’t keep him out of the lake. He would stay in the lake for hours until he was shivering and my ex husband had to wade in and bring him back to shore. If there were rocks to be chased, Reuben was in heaven.

Which is where he is now.

I don’t know when it happened but Reuben got old. He become incontinent, he couldn’t walk up or down the stairs without falling,  and he was nothing but skin and bones. His body had given out but his mind didn’t tell him that. He was still happy which made the decision we had to make so difficult.

Last night, after months of putting this off, my ex husband did what had to be done. He buried him up at the lake he loved so much and marked his grave with all of the “Reuben Rocks” we had collected over the years.

I know he is in a better place. I know he is chasing the big rock without any pain and spinning to his heart’s content. I know all this, but I still miss him.