Ashley, The Most Wonderful Bratty Poodle

Two weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our Ashley.

She was the most wonderful brat any family could have as a family pet. Ash fell ill when she was two but recovered so we got nine (or 63) extra years with her so it is important to remember the good times.

We were all very sad and I still miss her goofy presence, but Ashley was the happiest poodle ever so this post is a celebration of the joy she brought us.

It’s important that I write a post about her cause Ashley’s ghost may come over and leave real (and not ghost) poop  in my shoes just to teach me a lesson. She could be spiteful like that!


Ashley on other Dogs
Other dog at dog park: Hi, I’m a dog.
Ashley: I’m a dog too. We are best friends forever. I love you. You are awesome. Let’s play.
Other dog at dog park: Okay.


Ashley on People
Stranger at the dog park: Hello pretty poodle.
Ashley: We are best friends forever. I love you. You are awesome. Let’s play.

Ashley on Food
I love it all. So much that I am willing to look for some on the kitchen counter.
Except bananas.
And popcorn. It scares me. But I will beg for it and then mash it into the carpet.




Ashley on Preferred Hydration Method
Bottled water? I guess it’s okay.
Champagne? I guess it’s okay.
Water from the toilet? The best thing ever!!!!


Ashley on Toys
Everything is a toy.
Oh look I found a stinky sock. It’s a toy.
Oh look a 2L pop bottle to kick around the house. It’s a toy.
Barack Obama’s book. It’s a CHEW toy!
Dead squirrel tail. Run around the house with it. Look at Mommy chase me. This is the best toy ever!


Ashley on Being a Showgirl
I like it when my fans fawn over me like a Rock Star.
Too many baths.
Too much primping.
No rolling in mud.
I sensed human displeasure when I pooped in the ring. Twice.




Ashley on Obedience School
Too cool for school!
Ashley on The Other Puppy She Constantly Sees In The Glass Door of the TV Stand
I hate that bitch.
That bitch followed me to Florida!


The Kool-aid Incident of 2003
My favourite Ashley story  occurred when  I was taking care of her while Mom was in Florida. We  were enjoying a nice Sunday evening in front of the TV. At that time, Mom had two dogs. Hope was her older poodle and frankly, very patient with Ashley’s highjinx*. Poor Hope sometimes did not get too much individual attention so I went to the fridge, poured myself a big glass of cherry Kool-aid and sat down on the floor to give Hope a nice ear scratch. Ashley was immediately consumed with a case of intense poodle jealousy due to my blatant display of not focusing all my attention on her  behavior.

Ash’s first problem solving technique was to bark at Hope. Hope ignored her. Ash’s next problem solving technique was to bark at me. I waved her away and  threw a toy and she was momentarily distracted but then returned even more perturbed. She let out several barks including:

Hey what are you doing bark?
Look at me, I am adorable bark!
Dammit, pay attention to meeeee bark!

This went over for almost 10 minutes. I ignored her and continued to focus my attention on Hope who was at this point was lying across my lap, her eyes glazed over with ear scratching bliss.

Ashley was at her breaking point. She could not take it anymore. She let out this angry snort, marched over the end table, lifted her right paw and defiantly knocked the full glass of Kool-aid onto the floor.

This was no accident. This was the spitefullness I was talking about earlier. This was a caculated act of pure poodly evil.

Ashley got a 45 minute time out in a crate to think about her unacceptable behavior.  After 45 mins she was released but her expression was that of the oppressed political prisoner who will not be silenced.

As mad as I was (it was the last of my kool-aid!) you had to hand it to the brat. That level of disobedience was at the level of a human and not a dog.

This is why I loved the brat like a child!

Hope and Ashley December 2001

* It took about 8 months before Ashley went to far with Hope. One day I came over and there was a rather large wound on Ash’s muzzle.

Rule # 8 – Do Something That IS Difficult and Requires Self Discipline

Life is hard in the 21st century but then again; it’s also REALLY easy.

We have the internet, access to so much food we are becoming a nation of fatties. We have antibiotics that keep us alive past the age of 43. Most adults are allowed to vote.  I did not spend my life pumping out baby after baby until I mercifully died at age 39 after my 17th pregnancy.

So, that being said, We also have modern roadblocks like the never ending stream of technology/communication, spoiled children/spouses/parents, jerk bosses, keeping up with the Jones, terrorist threats, a shaky economy, the list goes on. There are challenges, but really, most of us lucky enough to be born in a rich country have it pretty darn good.

It’s easy to get sucked into the life of ease and luxury we live. The more we have, the more we crave the next thing, whether a gadget, a car, a whirlwind vacation, or an exciting adventure. What about trying something that is difficult and in order to accomplish this goal you must exercise self discipline?

I think that because we have so much handed to us in life, we have lost some of our ability to follow a task through from start to finish. The self discipline muscles needs to be flexed every one in a while.

The “something” that is difficult and requires self discipline does not have to be an epic project. You don’t have to write a best selling book, or fix the economy or remodel the entire house.

In September 2012, I celebrated my 600th book review. It took me over 6 years to write 600 book reviews. I never said, “I’m going to write 600 book reviews.” If I had said that I probably would have over thought the whole process and paralyzed myself with fear and doubt. Instead I sat down and I wrote one review. Then I finished a second book and wrote a second review. I did that for 6 years, even though sometimes I wanted to stop, and here we are 600 reviews later. So what was the point of writing 600 book reviews you ask? The point is that I like to write and this project gave me an opportunity to write something on my own terms. I will admit some of the writing is not very good but I stuck with it and I am sure that my writing improved. When you perform a task, whether it is short or long term, that requires attention, focus and diligence, you may find yourself using these virtues in other aspects of your life.

Yes, it’s true, doing something difficult will make you a better person. I have never met a person who did something really really hard and did not benefit from the experience.

Adorable Quirks But Not Quite Rules of Jo (Yet)

#1 –  I Write in Pencil

I was a teenager during the era of typewriters so it was either type it or write it. Since I squeaked through grade 9 typing with a (pity) grade of 52%, writing by hand was my only option.

Computers and word-processing software were non-existent when I was in school so I took pencil to paper.

Note: I  LOVE word processing. Back in 1988, I once typed the same two page letter 27 times for my asshole boss because he kept changing it. It was not even work related and after version 27, I told the other boss that I was not going to type that fucking letter again.

I like to write in pencil. I like the way pencil feels on paper. I find I have no control over ink, it’s way too slippery.

When I was 15, I had an independent thought and decided that I preferred to write in pencil. I like to be able to change my mind many many times and erase my thoughts, and re write them and then erase them and then re write then again. Over and over again until I articulate my jumbled ideas into a coherent sentence.

The strangest thing about my love of pencil writing was the reactions my teachers had to my choice. You would have thought that I had announced a plan to submit all future assignments and tests in kitten blood. I think there might have been a teacher/parent meeting (well also about other things, like why did I suck in school, but pencil writing deviance was, no doubt, discussed). Wait, you have students coming to school drunk and/or stoned, dropping out, fighting, struggling with basic literacy and math, and you are worried about me writing in pencil? Yeah, three words:


A few weeks ago, I found myself in possession (perhaps from the supply closet at work) of some pencils made of recycled paper. One day I was procrastinating writing a blog post, so I took a match to one to see if the paper pencil would burn. Six matches later, the pencil did not burn, I had to clean up a mess and still think of another activity to delay my writing.

Now that I think of it, perhaps the idiot teachers astutely recognized my future criminal tendencies, but I suspect they were just jealous of my steadfast approach to writing,  erasing, re-writing, erasing, re-re-writing the perfect sentence.

I owe this all to the humble pencil.