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The Neglected Cricket

 

Cricket has been giving me the evil eye more often lately. She sits in her dog bed and rests her chin on the edge and stares at me. She jumps on my bed, climbs on my chest and stares. She especially crawls under her couch, looks up at me, and stares.

"Harumph."

“Harumph.”

I have started to imagine the letters Cricket would send me, if she could write.

 

Dear Mommy,

            You have been using too much of my blog (The Cricket Pages!!!!) to talk about Butterfly. I am cute too. I am exciting and interesting and doing lots of great stuff. So, stop being a doodie.

            Yours truly,

            Cricket

 

I’ve tried to explain to this imaginary Cricket that early on, the blog was entirely about her, but I’m afraid this would not go over well, and she would begin to reminisce about the good old days of being an only dog.

The fact is, with all of the health stuff Butterfly and I have been going through lately, we haven’t been focusing enough on Cricket’s need for adventure. We’ve almost entirely given up on training. Cricket hasn’t been to the beach or been able to run full out or even been able to go on her long walks. Her resentments must have been seething under the surface for quite some time.

"I'm not tired at all!"

“I’m not tired at all!”

 

            Dear Mommy,

            Have you seen how high I can jump? And I don’t need shots or blood tests and I only bark at really important stuff, like dangerous intruders trying to kill my family! Write about me!

            Your neglected puppy,

            Cricket

 

I’ve been trying to think of potential blog posts that would be all about Cricket. Maybe a post about her tiny stump of a tail, and how she uses it to communicate alternate messages to the looks on her face. She can’t send mixed messages verbally, the way humans can, so she has to make do with mixed body language.

But that’s not a whole post, and it might lead to rhapsodies about Butterfly’s long plume of a tail, and the way it dances in circles and swings like a fan dancer. Clearly a danger zone.

If I had more energy, I could take her on some adventures just for her. Cricket would love to go on another car trip, or to fight with seagulls at the beach, or to a lake to meet some frogs or turtles. She’d love to go to the duck pond and chase the geese, as long as she wouldn’t fall into the water. She’d like to go on long walks and sniff new things. But she would not like to go to a training class, or to the vet or the groomer. She’d love to go to Petco to find treats and toys and other doggy smells, but not if it meant trying on outfits. She especially likes to poop on the floor there.

I would love to be able to send her to school for half a day. She could have gym class and meet new dogs and learn to read, of course. And that would be a rich source of new blog topics, about her athletic triumphs, and social anxieties, and public speaking disasters. And then she could come home exhausted and not give me so many dirty looks for the rest of the day. This is a very good idea. This is the next thing we should be doing in America: public school for dogs.

In the meantime, I did find something fun for Cricket to do closer to home that fulfills her need for excitement and lends itself to pictures for the blog. Her favorite poopy area in the backyard has been getting crowded out by weeds, and Cricket loves to battle weeds. All I have to do is pull one or two weeds up to show her the way, and she sticks her head in the ground and searches for more roots and digs and bites and steals the weeds and runs around in a frenzy. She especially likes the tall fat weeds that look like juicy green sticks.

Criket, guarding her treasure.

Cricket, guarding her treasure.

"Mine!!!!!"

“Mine!!!!!”

"Don't interrupt me while I'm weeding, Mommy."

“Don’t interrupt me while I’m weeding, Mommy.”

For minutes at a time, Cricket is unbelievably happy, and distracted. She comes back in the house with a smile and dirt all over her face and a light in her eyes. It’s a good thing we’ve been getting so much rain lately so that the weeds can keep growing and taking over the yard. The longer this Cricket happiness can last, the better life will be, for everyone in Cricket’s house.

"Shh. We're sleeping."

“Shh. We’re sleeping.”

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

81 responses »

  1. I can understand how Cricket feels. Chienne must feel something similar since we seem to be focused on the health of The Man and trying to make him more comfortable. Still I have been sneaking her out for walks whilst the Man has been asleep so she is not totally neglected.

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  2. It’s amazing how they can make us feel so guilty isn’t it?

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  3. Dear Cricket,

    Stop whining and take matters into your own paws. Don’t wait for someone else to do something, do it yourself. I have my own blog and I control the content. Sure, it’s a little work, but you get what you want. Think about it.

    Get off your butt and solve your problem, :)

    Kyla

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  4. Isn’t this so very true. Cricket does have a point here–just like when a new baby comes home and garners all the attention, while the older siblings are overlooked. Cricket–we will come up with a plan. My cats will think of something and be back in touch. Until then, enjoy the weeds.

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  5. Poor cricket. They do know how to make us feel bad. Maybe set aside a few minutes each day just for cricket. Mine gets the same way

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    • Cricket makes sure she gets more than a few minutes for herself, it’s just not enough. She sleeps on top of me during nap time and makes sure I can’t move.

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      • Ha, they are just like spoiled children. I’ve got a cat that will bite to bone and sit on face if he doesn’t get attention the dog isn’t much better but at least she doesn’t bite.

  6. Pups are masters at communicating their feelings. It’s good that you can read Cricket’s messages so well – I’m sure those weeds and this post will keep her happy for a while! ;)

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  7. Cricket may certainly pull weeds at my house!

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  8. My children taught me something that has been helpful with the dogs. When Aaron and Jim were little, they did not like to share mom-attention, so often they’d wind up picking on each other instead of having the “quality time” I’d had in mind. Eventually I got it: each of them needed INDIVIDUAL time, which we called Mom-Time. They are now 30 and 32, but occasionally I’ll get a phone call and one of them will say, “Can we go to lunch? Just the two of us?”

    Gabi tends to get the bulk of my attention, but I find that spending individual time with Princess and Jojo is important – taking on of them on an errand instead of G, for instance, or taking one of them out in the yard. G pouts, but she gets over it, because she knows that at the end of the day, she’s #1. (Her theme song is, “This mom is MY mom, she is not YOUR mom, so get away dog, because she’s MY mom; this mom is MY mom, she isn’t YOUR mom, This mom was only meant for me.” (Think Woody Guthrie, and you’ll have the tune.) So to mitigate that, P and J get Mom-time.

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    • I used to take Cricket for two mile walks around our old neighborhood, and she loved that. Butterfly would not have liked that at all. I wish i could still manage that, but the hills around here are too much for me. I’ll have to think of a solution to this.

      Reply
  9. I too have a jealous kid. Only he’s a good 150+lbs, so it’s not pretty when he acts up. My younger K9 kid, Gideon, has an auto-immune disease AND diabetes. He requires more attention. That doesn’t matter for Cascius, my eldest, he only sees the attention going to the baby– by baby I mean 7 yrs old– and not him. It’s a hard line we walk to make everyone happy. Isn’t it? They are so smart.

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    • I don’t think I’d still be alive if Cricket were 150+lbs. Though maybe she’d just sit on me and get her attention by force, without quite killing me. She’d also need an enormous amount of chicken treats to fill her needs.

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  10. Oh! I wish Banjo and Darby would do my weeding for me! We have almost 2 acres! Send Cricket over to teach them.

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  11. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Awesome and thank you for sharing

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  12. Cricket: you sure do write a good letter! And so glad you found that spot (battling weeds) sniff (play) around in. Hope all the health issues your end are getting better.

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  13. Poor cricket!
    My Lily sends her sincere empathy as she too feels very put out since her new little sister Poppy arrived. We have made extra efforts to make sure Lily feels loved still and she maintains some privileges that poppy has not earned yet, such as sleeping on our bed with us.
    Give cricket an extra snugly cuddle! X

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  14. A dog who can pull weeds is worth her weight in gold. Cricket should have an online course – I’d make Pearl and Millie subscribe. If they were busy gardening (as opposed to just digging holes) they might not bicker so much about who deserves the most attention.

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    • The only downside of the weeding endeavor is that a human has to show Cricket which plants are weeds and which plants are flowers. She gets into such a frenzy that anything with dirt on it becomes her prey.

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  15. They don’t have to say a word to let us know is on their minds!

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  16. Rachel–help! How were you able to insert photos in between your text? With the new WP format, I cannot figure out how to do that so have to ‘create a gallery’ which is not what I want to do at all. And then I list tags and they don’t show….! I should go out in my yard to weed just to release my frustrations! :) Thanks for any help you can give.

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  17. I fear that Spike and Tennis Ball Obsessed Chelsea might write a similar letter to the old woman Slow because they’ve overheard Slow and Pretty talk about how much they miss Smokey Lonesome Ollie and Paw Licker Annie. TBO Chelsea and Spike need a public school in the worst way – just to make them a little more interesting and less needy.
    Public School for Pups! Let’s run with it…:)

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  18. Cricket is so adorable! I look forward to seeing her next adventure.

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  19. Dogs are just like (human) children. They crave attention.

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  20. Cricket is such a cutie! I love your letters from her. I wonder what my Millie would say if she could talk! :)

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    • I’m afraid Cricket may have picked up some unsavory vocabulary from watching television with me. they really should have dog ratings for tv shows, along with the ones for children.

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  21. I try on a regular basis to spend some time out side with BabyGirl or Midnight with that special one on one. It does wonders for them to be with only you for awhile. It also gives them something to look forward to.

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  22. Isn’t the guilt god-awful when you get the stink eye from one of the fur kids? But rest easy knowing you’re a good dog mommy even if Cricket might think she’s not getting enough adventures. <3

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  23. Our dogs are the cutest!

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  24. Just tweeted, Rachel :) Hope Cricket see this as a compliment. :)

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  25. Rachel, I can definitely relate to your post about Cricket, for our Charlie is, I am afraid, bored with my blogging which takes away from his “play ball” time. I was just this morning thinking about how I sometimes don’t take the time just to “be” with my fur babies — it always seems as though life is spinning by somewhere else. Anyway, thank you for this thoughtful post that has given me reflection about my own fur babies. And let me just say that both of your dogs, Cricket and Butterfly, are simply adorable (and so photogenic, too)!

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  26. Awww, she is so precious. Dogs are the best because their love is unconditional!

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  27. Similar problem with Louise and Sofie. I love the weeds. For a moment, they are puppies again. Other dogs grass is always greener, I guess.

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  28. Imagine that, a weed-pulling dog. I wish Isabelle would do that. Maybe Cricket would enjoy a trip to a dog park if there are any in your area. She could run and sniff to her heart’s content and meet other dogs too. That would put a bit of excitement in her day.

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    • Cricket finds dog parks overwhelming, even the ones that are just for small dogs. She hides behind my legs or under benches. She’s only big and brave when there are no other dogs around.

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  29. Our Black Lab Marshall went through a period of depression when our German Shepard Rex came to us, it lasted six months. It was tough to watch but when he got over it, he went back to his good old rebellious self and became very parental towards Rex. They were thick as thieves. :)

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  30. As I began to read your post, I had to laugh
    My two little “babies” do the same thing.They are our little children,’Notice me Mommie, I’m cute/smart/adorable too!”.

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  31. I have just now tweeted this :)

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  32. Oh Cricket, how we love you so!!

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  33. Cricket is one smart cool pup. She knows she is individual and proves it time and time again. My special Giant Black Schnauzer Asia Sunrise (Greek word for Sunrise is Asia, pronounced A, as in letter (A – Sha); nothing to do with the continent; different pronunciation) was the same; she was docked when she came to me, which moved me to immediately say to her “You don’t have a wagger, you have a wigger”, as that was the movement she made with her tail lol! From then on her nickname was Wigga, shortened to Wig, Wigs or Wiggle, which showed her how special she was; she was the ultimate in character dogs, keeping me laughing forever; the tricks she got up to and the friends she made throughout her life were phenomenal. I have written many poems and pieces of prose for her; one of which is The Canine Ham Poem, (blogged on Animal Logic), which epitomises her to a “T”. Just an absolute character and a half, as is Cricket <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  34. Just tweeted three posts about Cricket :)

    Reply

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