Adventures in Fur-tility: Pets as practice for children?

(Alternate post title? What to expect when you’re deflecting.)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

At the dog park |

Courtesy of my new webcomic – click to check it out!

I’m not going to ask for a show of hands, but I have a feeling plenty of us have been on the receiving end of this sort of comment.  After all, there are people who think any plans for your uterus are fair game for conversation.  (It’s called uterUS because we’re all in this together. As a society. Or something.)  And obviously any and all choices you make in life are geared toward your eventual role as parent.  (Ladies and their universal desire for babies, am I right?)

When you put those two together, the only conclusion is that you adopted a pet to practice your nurturing skills.  Sort of a placeholder until you can fulfill your biological destiny – keep a plant and a pet alive, and then you’re obviously ready for parenthood.

I’m often at a loss regarding how to respond to this sort of nonsense. (Or I think of the perfect Jerk Store comeback later, a la George Constanza.) A withering stare is always appropriate.  I’d also vote for a blunt and snarky comment about how rude this whole topic is.  Or perhaps one of these?

  • “You’re right.  Having a pet really has prepared me for parenthood.  If crate and clicker training worked for Spike, it will work for a baby.”
  • “Not only am I getting some practice in, I also have a reliable vet and groomer already lined up for my baby.”
  • “Oh, crap.  I think I did this backwards. I had a kid for a few years as practice for my pet, but I gave her up when I got the kitten. Wonder what happened to her.”
  • “So many good lessons.  If my kid cries when I leave the room, I’ll just toss him a Kong filled with peanut butter to distract him.”
  • “I figure I should practice it all – so once Fluffy turns 18 and can finally move out, then I’ll be ready for kids.”
  • “How dare you!  That’s not a dog. It’s a kid wearing a designer faux fur bodysuit.”

Anyone have a good response to this question? Share yours in the comments!

(Don’t forget to swing by Biological Clockie and check out my new comic!  You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.)


The elephant in the womb?

Please forgive me for that post title. It was the best of the worst, so just be thankful I spared you the others. Working titles included “the birth of an animation” and “make way for chucklings.” I told you they were bad.

However, the title seemed fitting, in a way. After all, it’s no secret. Over the past year or so, posts here have been infrequent. I can imagine that finding new content here could sometimes feel as unlikely as finding a Golden Ticket in your Special K.

Okay, maybe that’s not the best example. That Golden Ticket was nothing but trouble, unless you relish the idea of turning into a blueberry or almost drowning in a river of chocolate. I’m hoping that new posts here aren’t having that effect on you.

Anyway, I digress. (Big surprise, right?) I wanted to talk a little bit about my absence and let you know that my time away from you has not been in vain. I’ve FINALLY accomplished one of my goals for 2015 (and 2014 and 2013)…

I launched that webcomic I kept talking about! So, I finally followed through on that promise (or made good on that threat, depending on your point of view) and got some of the ideas out of my brain and onto (virtual) paper.  It’s out in the world, and it’s just getting started.

It’s called Biological Clockie, and she really wants to be your new BFF (Best Frenemy Forever):

  • The webcomic lives here – you’ll find new comics on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • You can sign up to get new comics by email using the form in the right sidebar on the BC website.
  • If you’re more of a feed reader kind of person, sign up here.
  • Biological Clockie has her own Facebook page and Twitter profile too – follow for updates, funny stuff, and more.

So, that’s the big news here.  I hope you’ll stop by and check out my new site – I’d love to hear your thoughts! After all, how could you resist finding out more about this face?

She's waiting for you...

She’s waiting for you…

Working on the comic has also helped me start finding my blogging mojo too, so I’ll probably be posting more regularly here as well.  It’s win-win (for me at least).


LOLCat speek hurts mah brain

I’m puzzled.

Cats. They’re the kings of the jungle. The aloof animals who will let you pet them… but only on their terms. Basically, cats are just too cool for everything. They’re kind of the original hipsters.


Growing up, I was fairly certain that cats were the smartest creatures out there. Take Garfield, for example. He might be fat and lazy, but he’s also clever and well-spoken. (Well thought-bubbled?) In contrast to sweet, lovable, dim Odie (and hopeless Jon), Garfield was clearly the brains of the operation.


My first cat, Buttercup, also gave off an air of superiority. She seemed pretty sure that she was… the cat’s pajamas. I wasn’t quite sure where the dogs and I fell on the intelligence continuum, but I knew that it was somewhere below the cat.

So, why did the Internet decide that cats have poor grammar and spelling skills? Honestly, it wouldn’t really surprise me to learn that cats actually speak in Elizabethan English. I’m not joking. Cats probably judge our grammar. (I’m pretty sure that this cat does. And this one just judges us. For everything. I told you cats were hipsters.)

I’m genuinely curious. Who decided that if adorable animals could talk, they’d sound like they recently suffered some sort of head injury? It’s fascinating that lolcat has become its own weird language. You can even translate regular English into lolcat (and it seems that lolcat has its own set of rules) – hence the grammatically tortured title of this post. (You can also read the Bible in lolcat, if that’s your jam.)

Don’t get me wrong… I’m as charmed by emoticats as the next gal. However, this whole phenomenon is beyond my comprehension. I know that some of you out there may be more comfortable with lolcat speak than I am – if so, care to enlighten me? (I mean, the guy who founded that Cheezburger site is obviously doing pretty well for himself, so perhaps I’m the one who is missing something here.)

Maybe cats are actually behind this whole LOLCat thing… they’re lulling us into a false sense of security. Then they’ll make their move.


You’ve been warned.

Do you speak lolcat? I’d love to hear why it appeals to you. If you’re not a fan, why not? What do you think cats would sound like if they could talk to us?


PFL: Panda Football League

I’ve been quite remiss in delivering your Friday linkage lately. You may wonder where I’ve been. I promise, I was not off doing this. Some days I have felt like this, however.

In any event, Friday linkage is back. I was going to bust out the formalwear to celebrate the occasion (or just some tiny hats), but I hope you don’t mind that I was too lazy to do so.

  1. First up, your punny pet names: Chick Jagger, Sheddie Money, Mane Brady, Drooly Andrews, and Robert Sniffin III.
  2. So, I don’t know about you, but I’d totally cheer for a team named the Washington Redpandas. (Sorry, New York Giants… I’d drop you like a hot potato. No, changing your name to the New York Giant Pandas wouldn’t change my mind. I’m a red panda gal at heart. You should totally do it anyway though. Cleveland Brown Pandas, you’re on notice too.)
  3. In case you were wondering how I feel when I even think of the remote possibility that red pandas could finally get their moment in the sun, this video clip should clear it up. (I’m so excited. So excited.)
  4. I’m trying not to think about the fact that it will probably never happen. It will only break my heart. (Speaking of Calvin & Hobbes…)
  5. On another panda-related note, I’m pretty sure that this was the best thing to come out of that shutdown nonsense.

I’m just going to put it out there – I am in favor of recreating all music videos with dog stars. We can call it DMTV. The videos can air at halftime during PFL (Panda Football League) games:

That’s all for today. In case you missed it, here’s what we’ve been up to on the blog since the last Friday link roundup:

Here’s hoping that the next month won’t be as crazy as the last one… I kind of missed my Friday links (whether you did or not)!


Repeat after me: “Hello. May I pet your dog?”

I happen to be a Jezebel reader. I may not always agree, but they almost always get me thinking. Today’s post is inspired by one of those thinking moments.

Recently, Jezebel published a post about the Yellow Dog Project. (Have you heard of it? It’s a pretty neat concept – for dogs that need space, owners tie a yellow ribbon around the dog’s leash or collar to signal to others that they should not approach the dog without asking. It’s as if the dog is wearing a caution sign.)

The post was actually rather complimentary about the Yellow Dog Project, but there was something about it that kind of stuck in my craw.

(As an aside, what exactly is a craw? Do I actually have one or is it just a figure of speech? Sounds like I’ve found my next Google project.)

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Hairy Garfield & the Half-Belated Birthday Doodle

Today’s topic is artistic ability. I have a little – occasionally, I can render a pretty good drawing, although I never quite mastered perspective and scale. I’m by no means an artist, so today we’re actually talking about doodles: what you doodle, when you doodle, how you doodle. (That word gets more fun each time I say it… doodle, doodle, doodle. How do any of you with a Labradoodle or other -doodle dog get anything done? I’d just repeat that to myself all the time.)

Why doodles, you might ask? Well, I’m a habitual doodler, but not terribly creative. Those that have ever sat next to me in a meeting, taken a class with me, or known me for years are aware that I have a doodle of choice. It’s appeared in countless notebooks and textbooks over the years.

Yesterday happened to be the birthday of my favorite doodle inspiration, so I thought I’d honor this esteemed personage with a belated birthday doodle…

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Revenge of the nerds… and the nerdy cats

It’s Friday… time for some linkage to send you into the weekend with a smile!

  1. Your punny pet names are for a turtle and dog duo: Shelldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Howler.  (Continuing on the nerdy theme, you could also get a bird and name it Stephen Hawking – no punnification required.)
  2. Speaking of Mayim Bialik, did you ever watch Blossom?  If so, enjoy this story about Jenna von Oy (a/k/a Six) and her pug.
  3. Do you ever watch The Soup?  If so: (a) we should hang out; and (b) you will likely enjoy this Cat Soup parody.
  4. That last clip was a bit irreverent.  This koala was shocked.
  5. You know I love a good shelter photography story. This awesome collection of adorable adoptables is no exception.  
  6. This slideshow of pets on furniture is too cute.  (This one is my favorite.)
  7. Have you ever wanted to attend Hogwarts?  Well, I can’t get you in there (I’ve already called in all of my favors), but perhaps you should check out the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry instead. I hear the Care of Magical Creatures class is fantastic.  (Also, I can’t resist a Harry Potter pun.)
  8. You know, I always wondered what made the Angry Birds so darn angry. Now we know.
Anyway, today’s video is cat-related (it’s been a cat kind of week, apparently). Honestly though, my first thought was that this is exactly what it would be like if Stephen Hawking were a cat instead of a human (hence #1 above).
(via Best Week Ever)

As a cat, he’d still be smarter than any of us (and we probably would have already welcomed those feline overlords I keep hearing about).

That’s all for today.  Have a great weekend, nerds!  (I consider that a term of endearment – I’m kind of nerdy myself, after all.)


Corgis (and Ryan Gosling)… in… space!

Before we get into the usual Friday linkage, I wanted to take a moment to thank the veterans who have served our country.  We owe them a great deal.  As always on this holiday, my thoughts go to the poem “In Flanders Field” – those verses say so very much.  If you have a chance, I also recommend you check out these amazing and inspiring photos from a new book on canine soldiers.

Now, it’s time for your usual installment of No Frown Friday…

  1. We begin, as always, with punny pet names, this time with a farming twist: Billy Goat Idol.
  2. Take an iconic album cover.  Insert adorable kitten(s).  Achieve awesomeness.  (Bonus punny pet name: David Meowie.)
  3. Also awesome?  Puppies running in slow motion.  You know I can’t resist puppies having a Chariots of Fire moment.
  4. Apparently the Internet is all about giving me plenty of slow-mo dogs this week.  Thanks, Internet.
  5. This next one’s not slow-mo, but it’s fantastic… talk about a unique dog.
  6. Now it’s time to answer an age-old question.  Forget puppies versus babies, the real cute-off is between puppies and Ryan Gosling. (I’m beginning to think Gosling needs his own category on the blog.  Oh, fine – here you go.)

Another topic that makes frequent appearances?  Space.  So, without further ado, I give you this week’s video:  Corgis… in… space!

 (If you can’t get enough space, go watch Nyan Cat too.  Someone should come up with Nyan Gosling Cat.  Get on it, Internet.)

That concludes your regularly scheduled linkage.  Before I go, you should know that a pretty cool event is going on in blogland this weekend – it’s a Blogpocalypse!  A group of wonderful bloggers will be participating in a blogathon to raise support for various causes.  I hope you’ll check them out.  (If you do, you might even see a guest post from me over at My Brown Newfies!)


Shelter employee fired for taking non-crappy photos of dogs

Ernie 24
Shameless plug – adopt Ernie!

You know I’m all about the notion that better photos can help dogs get adopted.  It’s logical, after all.  I’m always drawn to a photo of a pup with more personality.  (Speaking of personality… at right, you’ll see a photo I took when I volunteered at a local shelter last month.)

Anyway, today I’m here to share a story about something that strikes me as completely illogical.  Let’s say you’re a shelter… you have a crappy camera and have some crappy photos of adoptable dogs up on your website.  An employee decides to use her higher-quality DSLR to snap some photos of dogs scheduled to be euthanized and shares them in hopes of finding a rescue group or potential adopter who could save the dogs.

This woman displayed initiative, saw a problem, and took steps to improve the situation. Sounds like Employee of the Year material to me.  In reality, she joined the ranks of the unemployed.

According to the New York Times, Emily Tanen was fired from Animal Care and Control of New York City for taking photographs of animals scheduled to be euthanized.  Why?  Her photographs apparently violated her employer’s rules regarding photos – specifically, who can take photos, how the animals can be photographed, and how the photos can be used.  (One rule precludes showing humans in photos with the animals – apparently this extends to body parts such as a hand.  Even with my limited experience, I can tell you that it’s not always possible to get a photo of a nervous dog without a human’s arm or elbow somewhere in the frame.)

Emily took some lovely photos of the dogs that put the official shelter photos to shame.  It sounds like those photos helped some animals escape death row. Instead of seeing the potential here, the shelter fired her.  (Another former volunteer has also expressed displeasure with the fact that the shelter wanted to tightly control any of the photographs he took instead of allowing him to post them on his Facebook page.  Since when is wider exposure for an animal in need of a home a bad thing?)

Don’t get me wrong – I realize that not all shelters have the time or resources to devote to getting some truly fantastic photographs of adoptable animals.  They may not have enough volunteers to do so – in fact, the article suggests that there are only a handful of volunteers to take photos for the entire city shelter system involved here.  In addition, I’m sure there are sometimes valid legal reasons that an organization like this one would want to control the use of photos or set forth standards.

However, why not try to find a middle ground?  Perhaps the shelter could have taken this opportunity to revisit its policies and come up with a plan for getting photos of the animals that would both be acceptable to the shelter and would increase the animals’ chances of adoption.  (Similarly, in the case of the other volunteer I mentioned above, perhaps agreeing to a reasonable way that the photos could be circulated while noting that he did not officially represent the shelter would have been an option.)

This story isn’t about a lack of resources – you have an employee who is willing and able to help take better photos of the animals.  Perhaps she violated the policy, but wouldn’t a reprimand would have made more sense than firing her?

You can read the full New York Times article here.

UPDATE 11/15/11: There appears to be an online petition circulating to get Emily her job back.  If you’d like to learn more, click here.