life on call

Sisters,

As you know, Phil is a veterinary technician. This career is another bullet point on his amazing and varied resume of metal fabricator, hog farm employee, summer camp maintenance guy, nonprofit assistant director, hardware store manager, community mental health mentor, special education paraprofessional, Lowe’s sales associate, baseball concessions hawker, and Indian Education tutor. He has attempted (and excelled at) so many different things. But veterinary care? The man is especially brilliant.

We have long known that Phil knows things. He just does. He knows things about things. Maybe that’s why he’s so good at so many jobs. But above all, Phil knows dogs. He is my dog whisperer. Seriously, he’s magical. He must be part dog. Or maybe he was a dog in a past life. It makes me a little jealous, because our dogs at home always love him, not more, but just a little differently than they love me. It’s this special deeper bond.

Maggie destroyed some of the first things I moved into Phil’s house before we got married. She was my dearest dog, my therapist, my best friend… but she was Phil’s best friend first and loved him as such.

 

wp-1475382624125.pngPhil and Takk are bros. We used to have this big chair and ottoman, and Takk would climb up there when Phil was sitting in the chair. We called it Chair Club for Men. Nothing makes my Buddy Buddy happier than hanging out with his pal Phil.

Fry is my dog. She really is. She is my baby. We cuddle in bed at night, especially when I’m a sucker and let her under the covers. And still, she has this different love and respect for Phil. In some bizarre scenario where she was forced to make a choice, I can’t help but think that she would choose Phil. She’d follow him to the ends of the earth.

Last spring, we visited Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. It is our happy place and this was our second visit. While Phil’s mom and I visited all sorts of animal areas- cats, bunnies, puppies- Phil stayed in Dogtown. One day, he was invited to work with Eeyore. The caregivers informed Phil that Eeyore wasn’t going to like him: Eeyore was terrified of beards, glasses, and hats. Phil was the trifecta, so you can guess how Eeyore responded.

Yeah, he obviously didn’t mind Phil at all. Because dog whisperer. #justphilthings

Phil tells me time and time again of dogs at the vet clinic who are supposedly scared of men. Phil can almost always handle them without trouble. He has become the go-to employee for handling challenging dogs. A big highly strung dog that used to take a team to accomplish a nail trim? Phil can trim those nails by himself now.

Phil has recently been added to the weekend on call schedule at the clinic, which means he is responsible for Saturday morning appointments, lunchtime and evening medical treatments on Saturday and Sunday, and may be called in at any time during off hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for medical emergencies.

I am wrapping up this post at 10:30 on Saturday night. Phil was called in an hour or so ago. Just got the text that another call is coming in, so he’ll be there for awhile. I must confess, this on call schedule thing is new for me. It’s weird. It’s an adjustment. Phil has always been the living embodiment of “early to bed, early to rise,” so it’s odd for him to stay up late just in case (a little superstition from one of the doctors… if you can make it to ten o’clock, you’re in the clear).

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Tonight, as Phil left, he apologized for going. This bothered me. Yup, him being on call is weird. It’ll take a bit for me to adjust. I’ll never be a big fan of him leaving in the middle of the night. I’ll always worry about him being rested enough. In all fairness though, I’m not sure he’ll ever be a fan of leaving in the middle of the night either. But he is good at his job, and I never want him to apologize for that. So these sleepy dogs and I will make the best of it.

We’ll leave the light on for you,

Abby

The Evolution of Dog Nicknames

Hey sisters,

First of all, both for our sake and the sake of the three people who may visit this site regularly, I feel the need to share our “no judgies” policy. In creating this blog, we were very clear that we are all leading fulfilling and busy lives, and while we enjoy blogging, it is one of those things that will get pushed to the back burner in favor of other priorities. So, I’m back after awhile… but no judgies, k? And with that out of the way…

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Our dog Maggie was named Maggie at the shelter.

Takk, however, was named Scuba Steve. We took this as a clear invitation to take him home, if only to change his name to something more respectable. So we went with Takk, the name of our favorite Sigur Ros album and the Icelandic word for ‘thank you.’

Yesterday, as I let Takk in from the backyard, I casually said, “hey Steve.”

Which got me thinking about the weird evolution of dog nicknames.

Maggie, for example, became Maggie May, then Maggie Moo, and eventually Mo Mo.

Other notable names for the world’s sweetest brown dog were Magdalynn, Magdalonious, and Snufflepupagus.

Scuba Steve, since coming home with us in 2009, has gone by (this is an incomplete list):

  • Takk
  • Takk Takk
  • Takk-a-doodle
  • Doodle
  • Doodlebug
  • Buddy
  • Buddy Buddy
  • Handsome
  • Pretty Boy Floyd
  • Turd Ferguson (it’s a funny name)
  • Dingus

Fry’s nickname Frybot became Fryboat after she developed a habit of setting sail in her dog bed at night: it would start the evening right next to our bed, but by morning it would be several feet away. We called the bed her Fry Boat but the name migrated to her and stuck.

The name I really can’t explain is Bickets. I call Fry “Bickets” all the time now. I think it started as a reference to scratching her furry bum and calling it “itchy bickets.” That’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Do you think the Oxford English Dictionary has the etymology for bickets?

Just don’t call me late for dinner,

Abby

Rainy Days, Shipwrecks, and Birthdays

Hey sisters,

It’s raining in Montana today. Well, in Helena at least. It’s a big state. Rainy days have this way of washing away all the extra gunk for me… and I hadn’t fully realized how much I was carrying until today’s rain helped clear some of it out. What a busy time the spring is, for teachers, for everyone.

Today, on this glorious rainy day, I’m also thinking of you, Sara. Happy birthday to you! One of my first graders proudly told me about the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking (April 14, 1912, of course) and it made me think of how much energy you invested in learning about that poor unsinkable ship’s history and legacy. I remember a series of videos in elementary school that focused on the ALVIN exploration of the Titanic wreckage… or was it more than just videos? Did you go to a camp or something? I certainly know that you are the person who taught me that it’s cool for girls to be interested in math and science. On your birthday, I’m overwhelmingly thankful for the smart girl trail that you blazed for your sisters to follow.

I’m not sure there’s a point in all this… maybe that some days we feel unsinkable, and some days we’re totally sunk… and some days all it takes is a little rain to feel refreshed.

Not going down with the ship,

Abby