Category Archives: Animals

Zippy Takeover, #13

The Game

I know I told you before about the game I like to play with my humans. They have these big black bags of all the fun things they don’t think are that important. Most of the time, they take them away before I ever get to play. Worse, when I try to play, they really move and take those bags away.

So now I wait until they’re sleeping or until they leave me all alone. I used to like being alone, but now I miss them when they leave. So when they forget, I run straight toward the black bag and slide into it. This makes the bag open and the opening falls to where I can reach it.

Oh, then I’m just… well… happy beside myself. I dig into the bag until all the toys are all over the floor. Then I roll and roll and bat things and wiggle my tail. Sometimes, I pick up things with my teeth and run into furniture to feel how the thing gets when it hits something. Sometimes, I hide things all over for my humans to find (but lately, they close doors so I don’t have too many hiding places).

But when they come home, they don’t look too happy. They’re not excited like I am. They look almost mad. Then they pick up all the toys, put them into the bag, and the bag goes out to be stolen after a few nights.

The Other Game

These humans so like and forget they like their weird bones. The bones do such wonderful things: pictures on the box change, air blows from the wall, warm places come from the floor. I’m starting to try to protect the weird bones so my humans don’t lose them. They always seem to forget where the bones are and act like they can’t get them. Don’t they know how important it is to always know where your bones are?!? So I’ll help them. But again they don’t seem to like it too much when I help. I don’t understand.

I’m Confused

I used to have a second bed in my Mom and ‘On’s room. Sometimes, I even got to sneak up on their bed.

But lately, my bed moves. I have been with each of the whelps for a few nights. Every few nights, the whelps move me to another whelp room.

Is this a special reward? Did I do something right? Or am I doing something so wrong I can’t be with Mom and ‘On? I don’t understand.


Nika’s Dream

Nika curled in the cave. Although the darkness covered her, she had images in her pack memory. She wrestled with her brothers and sisters in her whelp. She nursed from her momma; nursing was always so safe and happy. Outside of herself, even in her sleep she whimpered and gnawed her own paw when her jaw didn’t throb.

She flashed back to a sunny spring day. Her momma was licking her fur, behind the ears first, then down her back. Nika had her eyes closed, and she thought momma had stopped licking. Just as she was about to yip at her momma, another tongue took over.

It was rougher and the smell was more male. It was strong, really strong. She peeked through a half-opened eyelid, and she almost yelped away in surprise. It was her momma’s daddy. He led the whole pack. He’d done it for years.

He was doing something usually only females did. His tongue, though strong, was as gentle as a female’s. As he finished between her ears and down her spine, he howled. It wasn’t the calling howl; it was the howl of an alpha who just won a big fight.

She didn’t understand, so she closed her eyes. The image faded, and she whimpered as the cold set in. She stretched and rolled, trying to bat at her sore jaw again, then she curled up and continued to sleep.

She started to feel like she was being licked, but in the wrong direction. It started at her tail and worked toward her ears. She hated it, but it was a strong tongue like her momma’s daddy. She whimpered in surprise as the tongue went down her snout and then back up to the eye and down the jaw, first the good side, then the sore side.

Nika was happy and afraid all at once. Happy that she felt like a young pup always cared for with no jobs to do and scared of who or what might be licking her. As the tongue kept licking the sore jaw, she sniffed. It was an alpha male, a really strong alpha male, stronger than her momma’s daddy. He smelled like nothing she’d ever smelled before.

As he went back along her snout and between the ears, she peeked. It was an alpha male, but he was pure white with pink eyes. She tried to control her shock so she wouldn’t give herself away. The old stories had a white alpha who put himself in the way of a lion to protect the first pack; he died and the pack lived. Sometimes, the pack and its pups thought they had seen him. But no wolf like that ever survived very long these days.

As he licked down her back, she rolled over to submit to him. He was gone. She felt loved and safe, but also scared that something had come into her safe cave. As she stretched and went to look out the mouth of the cave, she realized her jaw didn’t hurt anymore. She had no pain. She felt almost like a new pup.

After sniffing the air and looking around the cave and its mouth, she curled up again. She didn’t know if the white wolf was real, but she no longer hurt. She curled up again, feeling peaceful. True darkness again overtook her.

Nika’s Darkness

Author’s Note: A while back, I was researching a topic loved by my daughter who wants to train dogs. I must’ve gotten lost because I found myself watching videos in another language (Farsi, Ukranian, Mongolian — it doesn’t matter) of dogs just this side of wolf that shepherds in rural desolation had fighting things larger than those dogs . That session inspired this piece.

Nika shook, sniffed the air, and bolted without tripping over her tail for the little cave she used to share with the pack.

She was confused. She could follow leaders, but it was four-leggeds not two-leggeds.

Inside the cave, she curled like she used to when her mom was caring for the brothers and sisters in her litter. She tried to make her tongue reach where she ached, but it could never reach the jaw leading back to the base of her ear.

She didn’t understand the two-legged. She’d howled and snarled, trying to warn him that her former packmates though still her friends were scenting on his dumb sheep. She pawed at the place they’d marked near the flock so they could find it during lambing.

Nika stretched, began to roll in the dark dirt, and bat her sore jaw with her paws.

He did not understand, and he kept barking those two-legged sounds. They were painful to hear, and she didn’t understand. She smelled that two-legged angry scent. Most two-leggeds walk away when they get like this. But this one… she marked as she rolled while seeing his image in her pack memory, then she shook and curled whelp-style.

She was confused. Some of her kind ran with the pack, and some of her kind stayed with the two-leggeds and their dumb sheep.

She didn’t understand why two-leggeds loved sheep. The sheep couldn’t find food, couldn’t smell danger, couldn’t even stay out of danger. They don’t even play. Admittedly, the sheep do taste good when the two-leggeds give food.

She wanted in the pack that served the two-legged. Usually, he was good about feeding and watering them and getting them to run again when they’re sick. So she couldn’t understand when he started pointing that long branch at her what he was going to do. For the others, he threw it for them to find and bring. For her, he whacked her with it.

Nika stretched again, whimpering. She didn’t know what to do.

Should she go back to her old pack? They were rough and tumble. They did kind of smell awful. And sometimes food wasn’t there.

Should she crawl back to the two-legged and try again? His pack was somewhat older, and they needed new members. Dumb sheep usually mean the food is good. Maybe he’s not a bad leader. Maybe he’s just not used to how her pack runs.

Nika curled up again, and true darkness overtook her. She was alone and confused without a good leader. Sleep in a place hidden from dangerous predators was good food.

Zippy Takeover, #12

Bone from ‘Zee

I’m so excited. My friend ‘Zee, she’s been home a lot. I get to visit her more since the sun shines more; I only wish it wouldn’t be so warm.

She had this nice, long bone. It was so nice. I got so caught up in chewing it that I took it with me when it was time to leave. My humans tried to take it, and I growled at them, so ‘Zee’s Dad let me keep it. Zee didn’t even growl or whimper!

‘Zee is so nice. But the bone is nicer.


I am starting to really enjoy having a human family. I miss them when they’re not here, and I really wish they’d be here more. But when the house is empty because they’re all gone, it makes it nice to sleep. I don’t feel like I have to stay awake just because they’re here.

The two look-alike whelps of Mom’s have been gone, so I’ve been stuck with ‘Tee’na. She’s not as good with me as either of the look-alikes. But she remembers to feed and walk me better than anyone, even Mom. And she does let me sleep and not wake me up. I just wish I could tell her the growling is a game; she doesn’t smell so good when I do it, and her energy doesn’t feel good either. Maybe I should think about not playing that game with her?

Mom and ‘On worried me for a bit. They didn’t seem to ever be together, and they never seemed to do that play wrestling humans do, and they always smelled like they weren’t happy about each other. But the last few weeks, it’s been like they’re happy puppies again. Maybe that ‘Eezus of theirs did something–I still don’t believe he exists but they smell like they did some of that stuff about him they do when they’re gone that makes them smell good. I can’t taste him, smell him, lick him, paw him — he can’t be real.


Zippy Takeover, #11

Fake Treats

I love treats. All kinds–big ones, short ones, round ones, long ones, bone ones, even the bizarre dry and chewy sweet ones.

However, my mom does something very mean to me. I don’t understand why. Every now and then, without any warning, she goes to the cupboard and gets me two treats. She acts all excited like I’ve done something really good. I take them, and then I’m done.

They taste so bad. They are worse than cat poop. I don’t know what they really are, but there is no way they could be treats.

Lately, she’s putting on them that brown stuff that makes my tongue stick in the top of my mouth. It’s so good, but then I can’t push those fake treats out for anything.

Indoor Showers, Again

My mom’s whelps need to learn to listen to me. I don’t like the indoor rain room. I hate the indoor rain room. They take me there too much, and then I don’t smell like I should. I smell too human and clean; every cat around makes fun of me.

Then, that one whelp that looks like the other whelp wraps me in a cloth. She takes away all the water so I can’t give those whelps an indoor shower of my own.

A New Game… with Special Bones

I really hate these special bones my mom and ‘On have. They hold those bones and point those bones and sometimes put those bones over their weird ears; they won’t put those bones down to hold me and touch me and point my face at them.

So, I’ve found a new game, but again my family doesn’t like it. I hide their special bones. It is so funny when the sun is just starting to shine. I scoot those special bones under my body before they come out of their rooms for their sleeping couches. Then they get their artificial fur changed–sometimes it would be better if they kept the old fur because the new fur doesn’t smell right–and start to gather their books and bags.

They look through their bags and a funny look crosses their face. They start to smell… well, not happy… and they run all over looking for something. By my tail I believe if they had tails they’d chase them.

After many wags of my tail, they get a different look and start to show their teeth and smile. They come over and they scratch me and move me and find their special bones. They get all happy and move my face around and pay attention to me.

Good humans. Lesson learned.

My Latest Daydream

Lately, I’ve had this odd sensation in buildings. It’s not true claustrophobia where the walls are closing in and I can’t breathe and I have to escape immediately. It’s been more like a vague dissatisfaction I cannot name operating just below the surface of my soul, singing a siren song in a language I can’t process.

I wander with my arms crossed, wrapping myself in a cloak of invisibility to the rest of the world, feeling as though I’m a police officer walking a beat looking for some nameless, faceless criminal engaged in some petty crime.

Inexplicably, I find myself at the nearest window. If there are no mountains, I move on, still troubled and unsettled.

With the mountains, something happens. The world around me melts. The mountains are suddenly at my back. My hands are wrapped around the dark mane of a horse. I don’t actually see the horse, but I can feel it galloping across an endless expanse of grassland.

Nothing is in front of me. The wind whips my hair. Whatever I’ve worn to the office become stiff leather pants and my shirt is some soft, supple material that flows with the rhythm of the breeze and steed, sensually caressing the hairs on my arms standing bolt upright due to the intense electricity of the moment.

I am alone. I am free. I have power. I have joy.

I exhale, returning to the hum of fluorescent lamps and the insect chatters of the others in the office. I return to my seat, melancholic at the oppressive loss of something I’ve never really had.

Zippy Takeover, #10

Santa Paws

It’s that time of year. Santa Paws came again. I always get so confused. I don’t understand why he brings me things when Mom and ‘On already take care of me.

I don’t like my new bed. I wish Santa Paws hadn’t brought it. My Mom and ‘On don’t seem to understand that I don’t like being on the floor. I like sitting where they sit and seeing what they see. I learn more that way.

I do like my new treats. They are so good, and I don’t get so itchy with them. I used to get so itchy I thought I’d bite my own paws off.

Santa Paws does seem to be smarter about who I am than Mom, ‘On, and the whelps. He didn’t bring me any toys this year; he knows I always prefer humans to toys.

Red — Go!

My Mom and ‘On and their whelps play a new game with me and I have so much fun with this game. I can feel my tail starting to wag just thinking about it.

Out of nowhere, this red… thing… appears on the floor. It is so bright. I must chase it. I must catch it. I have to give it to them because it seems to follow their hand instructions better than I do. They just point, and it moves!

I sometimes get tired because the thing is so smart. It even knows how not to have a smell when it appears and disappears. I sniff and sniff and get nothing. It does sometimes let me catch it, but then it comes back.

When I get too tired, it just goes away for a while.

The New Game

I am still trying to work on my humans for my favorite game. They have that thing they call trash that they keep getting rid of. But sometimes, I’m sneaky and can get it.

I love smelling it and rolling in it and shredding it. I put it all over the floor in the best dog designs, and then I sit and wait for them to come play with me for being so good.

But they still don’t get the message that it’s good. They get all upset. I get the “bad dog” sign. They smell scared. And I think they make their voices really loud.

I wish ‘Ginz or ‘Zee could tell me what they’re thinking.