Zoe’s Dog Blog

Zoe’s Dog Blog

Zoe is the shelter spokes dog and family pet of Lori Halligan, HHS Executive Director. Zoe shares thoughts about life, love, and the pursuit of forever homes for our shelter animals.

Animal Idioms

Zoe missed her deadline, so please enjoy this column from 2013

Things have been really busy around here! Mom has been a little overwhelmed with all the tasks on her “To Do” list. In other words, she’s been running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off!

Wow! What a terrible and inhumane phrase that is! Have you ever noticed how many of those silly colloquial phrases deal with the cruel treatment of animals?

“Don’t let the cat out of the bag!” Who put the cat in the bag in the first place and why was that necessary? And if she was in a bag, why wouldn’t a kind hearted person let her out? No one should subject the kitty to the indignity of being placed in a bag. End of story. And I don’t even like cats!

“Curiosity killed the cat.” All the cats I know are very ingenious, agile and cunning. If they get themselves into trouble, they seem to be able to finagle their way out of harm’s way. So I don’t think curiosity ever killed anything…especially cats!

How about this cat phrase: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” No there’s not. There are zero ways to skin a cat. Nobody is harming any cats in any way, shape or form. Who comes up with these crazy ideas anyway?!

Here’s another inhumane saying about animals. “Like a fish out of water.” Why would anyone take a fish out of water? They can’t breathe that way, you know. It’s supposed to mean that you feel awkward or out of place. Why don’t people just say that and leave the poor fish alone for heaven’s sake?

There are equally asinine sayings about dogs. “Don’t kick a dog while he’s down.” Don’t you ever, ever, ever, EVER kick a dog. Period. And if you do, I hope everyone you know reports you to the police and your name goes in the newspaper for animal cruelty and you have to pay a huge fine and you hang your head in shame. And then I hope you are never allowed to have a dog again in your lifetime. OK. I’ll get off my high horse about that one.

“In the dog house” is supposed to mean that you did something wrong or you got in trouble. All the dogs I know live in lovely people houses with plenty of food and water, soft beds and humans who love them and take care of them. When you say “It’s a dog’s life” that really is a good thing.

Sometimes people say that “His bark is worse than his bite.” What is that supposed to mean anyway? I like to bark. I’m not supposed to bite. Those seem like simple rules to follow.

How many idioms about animals do you know? What’s the matter? Does the cat have your tongue? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Or is it really true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Writing my blog has really worn me out. I’m dog tired, so I think I’ll go take a little cat nap.

Until Next time,


Naughty or Nice?

Did you hear the news? Santa Claus is coming to town! We’re getting ready for Christmas at my house. Mom and Dad got 50 boxes out of the attic and now there are decorations all over the place. But it’s all so confusing to me.

For instance, take the pretty velvet blanket under the Christmas tree. It’s a really soft place to sleep. But Mom says it’s not really a blanket, it’s a “tree skirt” and she says I’m naughty if I rest there. She’s not buying my argument that trees don’t wear clothes. I have a rule in my house. If it’s on the floor, it’s mine. Here’s something else to ponder. If it looks like a blanket and it’s soft like a blanket, it’s a blanket.

Also, if it’s near the floor and I can reach it, it’s mine. So don’t hang pretty ornaments near the bottom of the tree. Don’t leave delicate stuff on the coffee table. And last, but not least, forget about all those stupid bells and angels you hang on door knobs. How am I supposed to know they aren’t my chewy toys? I certainly will not land on Santa’s naughty list if something accidently breaks when I’m in the near vicinity. And teeth marks don’t necessarily mean I was responsible. This isn’t CSI, you know! I swear the squirrels tried breaking and entering the other day.

To all the kitty cats out there: Go ahead and climb any tree that your humans bring into your house. Since they won’t let you outside (for your own good, I might add!) all cats should climb the Christmas tree, perch on its branches and play “bat the ball” with any ornaments they find there. Santa will not accuse a feline of “naughtiness” for following basic instincts. In fact, scolding a kitty for doing any of the above will actually land the human on the naughty list.

Humans will be accused of naughtiness for spending too much time baking, shopping and wrapping and therefore ignoring the needs of their pets. Remember: we don’t really care that it’s Christmas. We just want to spend time with you…and eat, sleep, walk and play. If you ignore us, we might just eat all the Christmas cookies! Or unwrap all the packages. As you will recall, if it’s on the floor, it’s mine.

So of all the things I’ve been blamed for, now you know I do not belong on the naughty list! Actually I’ve been a very good girl, as long as you forget that lack of sharing business. I’m great at the “unconditional love” thing. I give excellent kisses. I’m always happy to see my family and I haven’t bitten anyone (lately!) I asked for forgiveness when my teeth accidently connected with Dad’s toes. That’s all in the past and forgotten, right?

I think all dogs and cats belong on the nice list. Where would you be without us? Lonely, that’s where! Just think of how our wags and purrs make you smile. We get you off the couch. We alert you to the phone or the door bell. We remind you when it’s time to eat or when to go to bed. Your wallet might be heavier without us, but your spirits would sag, too.

So from all the pets who have homes and all the homeless pets waiting in shelters, here’s a message to the humans: Stay on Santa’s nice list by taking good care of your pets. And we’ll return the favor and take good care of you, too! Isn’t that nice?

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Whatever your faith or tradition, I send my love!



The other night I was minding my own business while trying to do my…business… when all of a sudden… the unthinkable happened.

It came from out of nowhere and I just started following it because I was curious. And then… WOW! I didn’t really know what hit me right between the eyes at close range! I started running around like a maniac because I couldn’t see anything. Then my sweet mother (who really doesn’t have a potty mouth) yelled a word that is unfit for print. She grabbed me and took me into the house and started pouring water on me from the laundry room sink. My eyes were completely swollen shut and the stench was everywhere. There I stood, dripping wet, poor pitiful stinky me!

If you’re a dog, or if you’re a dog owner, you probably know this has been the worst “skunk season” ever in our area. Some dog groomers report 30-50 skunkings a week. I know one dog who has been skunked 6 times! (Although really, you would think he would figure out that black and white furry things equal terrible consequences.)

But dogs, being naturally inquisitive, and skunks who have few defensive mechanisms, cannot seem to peacefully co-exist.

Skunks are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and forage for food at night. So before you let your pet outside in the dark, I suggest you shine a bright flashlight around the yard. Or better yet, walk on the sidewalk under a bright street light. But if you are unfortunate enough to get skunked, I’ll give you the universal dog de-skunk recipe:

  • 1 quart hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 2 tsp. Dawn dishwashing soap

Mix it all together in an OPEN (not enclosed) container. It’s going to foam up like an over-zealous science experiment. Then pour it on your dog, being careful not to get it into your pet’s eyes. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse and bathe with regular dog shampoo. There are other products available at your local pet store, but chances are skunks and dogs will have their little rendezvous after the stores close. So either plan ahead with supplies or know how to get to your nearest 24 hour grocery store for peroxide!

After the indignity of a 45 minute bath, and a trip to the groomers next day, and then about 17 baths later, I must admit I still stink sometimes! Especially after a walk in the rain. That skunk scent is very oily and it lingers on my long fur. Some of my doggie friends had to be shaved after getting skunked and now they run around practically naked!

So a few words of final advice: Skunks are not your friends. They do not like to play. If you get skunked, you will smell, your house will smell and the neighbors might complain. But those stinky little devils sure are cute!

Until next time,
Love, Zoe

PS: Happy Thanksgiving to all the pets and the people who love them!

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