Pets Say the Darndest Things

In Episode 4’s sucky moment of the week, Nicole divulges one of her best-worst nightmares of her dog EATING her couch beyond repair.

Pets say the darndest things. Having grown up with dogs I have finally learned they always project our energy through their actions. This all hit a pain point when Angela mentioned “Pets can’t talk but they can really give us a lot of advice.”

Let me tell you about Mandy.

Mandy, 9. Talks a good game but can’t spit it. Wears a hoodie and does ‘hood rat things’ with her day camp furriends. ‘T-Rexes’ on the regular. She was once scared of life itself and now she just doesn’t give a PUP. Be like Mandy.

mandy hood rat Mandy T RexMandyWine






Of all the dogs in my life, Mandy walked right into mine. A rescue organization picked her up from a high kill shelter the night before she was going to be euthanized. As you can imagine, she lived her foster life mostly in fear. I remember meeting Mandy at Mr. ‘B’s’ lovely home right before I started graduate school. He let all 7 of the foster dogs out into the backyard patio area.

“Sorry, she is a bit afraid to go out on her own without the pack.”

“Oh I can only imagine what it must be like. I just moved to Texas and I’m still getting my bearings before grad school starts. I have always had dogs in my life and I think I’ll feel more comfortable settling in here with one.”

“Look, we have had quite a few people come in to check out Mandy. We picked her up the night before they were going to put her down. To be honest, we didn’t notice she was there until we saw her big brown eyes. We thought she was cute and she’d find a new home right away, but she barely comes near anyone new. She is just getting comfortable with my partner and I…Unfortunately the pictures on our website make her appear smaller than she really is, and when people try to meet her for the first time she runs and hides behind the big dogs… and by the way-”


Mandy jumped right in my lap.

That night we put her blanket on the couch and hid several rawhides around the living room in case she got nervous and needed something to chew on. She ate ALL 7 of them. She ate all five pairs of my flip flops- even the ones I tried to hide on the kitchen table. She hyperventilated non-stop when it rained (how did she not keel over and die yet?) and scurried away from anything and anyone during our walks around the apartment complex. The list goes on. It seems like everything sent her over the edge.

I had no idea what was wrong with her until I realized there was something wrong with me. She was desperately trying to tell me that my anxiety was quickly growing out of control since grad school started. I didn’t have time to take care of myself and I spent way too much time at the lab and worrying about all kinds of things that at the end of the day was a drop in the bucket.

She could feel me cringe as I walked out the door every day to spend hours in the lab, teach undergrads, and somehow finish my homework for class. She felt me dying inside as I came home every night fearing I failed a test, said the wrong thing while teaching, and spent too much time thinking out experiments that could possibly fail anyway… pretty much anything started to send me over the edge…

Ma look at me jumping on you pay attention to me stop freaking out seriously look at me NOW

Ma look at me jumping on you pay attention to me stop freaking out

Ma look at me jumping on you

Ma look at me


Mandy crazy face
One night I had worked in the lab late. As I came home I noticed she had a little accident. I was reeling from my newest failed experiment and about to mentally implode. Then I noticed that I never opened the dog door hatch. My poor little Mandy had gone most of the afternoon without being able to go outside.

After a lot of tears and dog snuggles, I took a really good look at my life. I decided to work on letting go of what I could not control and help Mandy break out of her shell. She now happily approaches other humans for affection, runs freely outside without the fear of inanimate objects spooking her, and gets along with her fur sister for life, Ebbie. I don’t think I could ever break her fear of the rain, but I have broken the cycle that fuels my anxiety. Thanks to her wake up call.

A Cat’s Love

Nineteen years of cuddles, comfort, and play. It’s only been a day since my sweet kitty has been gone, but I miss her more than I imagined was possible. My heart physically aches. She was my best friend.

We were both babies when we met. She was 6 months old and I was just a 20 year-old college student. Together we lived in San Antonio, Austin, Boston, and Dallas. We had many different roommates, friends, and parties.  She was by my side through every gut-wrenching break-up and with me the day I married the love of my life, John. She loved him, even though he wasn’t a “cat guy,” and she certainly knew it. She even tolerated a new addition to the family, Roxy, a DOG. She cuddled with me through an exciting first pregnancy and a very painful second one. She became besties with Luke and even let Zoe pet (pull) her fur.

Throughout my entire adult life, Bella and I were inseparable. Up until her last moments, she was by my side. Most cats hide when they are sick and ready to die. The only time she left me was when John and I were desperately trying to get her to eat something. She retreated to the closet as if to say “Mom, stop. I am ready.” Moments after I texted the vet that we were going to let her go, she came out of the closet and never left my side.

Pets are incredible creatures. They are such intuitive beings. They know when we hurt. They take care of us when we are sick. They celebrate with us when we are happy. They remain loyal, no matter what we say or what we do. They love unconditionally. And all they ask for in return is nourishment, love, and comfort. It’s really pretty simple and a lesson we can all learn.

Today was my first day without her. I woke up to silence. There was no meowing at the foot of the bed, no purring in my ear, and no soft fur on my face. Roxy slept in her place all day and looked at me with sad eyes. I swear she misses her too. John, the guy who doesn’t like cats, had tears in his eyes. While it hurts so very much to say goodbye, I am so grateful that she was there the day I went to the Humane Society of San Antonio.

Sweet Bella, you were an incredible companion. I am so glad you are at peace. As our vet Mandy said, “Enjoy your wings, girl.”