the five of us

the merging of two families is quite an undertaking. adjusting the habits, routines, and rules of different sets of people can prove to be quite a challenge. this gets exponentially harder when each family has dogs--particularly ones that don't get along. it takes great amounts of strategy, finesse, patience, and dog treats to get everything running semi-smoothly. even though i don't live there, i've become an expert on this.

i suppose a brief introduction would be useful. 
first there are the two mastiffs.
barkley, clocking in at just under two hundred pounds. he's got an admirable self perception; he thinks he's cat-sized and likes to crawl into the cab of jace's truck. he usually gets stuck under the steering wheel.

this picture is not an illusion. he is about as big as a civic.

barkley has a little brother named tiny. the word "little", much like the name "tiny", are used ironically here. though he's only five months old he weighs sixty pounds and is well on his way to becoming another giant beast. 

i like this picture because it's pretty indicative of his inability to control his rapidly growing body.

then there's mozzie. still fat. still stupid. still a cause of most of the problems. 

finishing out the bunch are dogzilla [the canine equivalent of a senile old man] and chiquita [a tiny, hyper little mexican woman]. they're just two peas in a pod, spending their days dreaming of adventure. they are a living version of homeward bound, minus the cat. 

chiquita's favorite place to sleep is on top of dogzilla [who goes by 'dog'. not unlike our previous friend, cat]. dog, ever the gentleman, sleeps as still as he can in an effort to not disturb his tiny friend. 

they live in the technical backyard, lounging all day and ignoring the chaos, madness, and insanity that is happening on the other side of the fence.

this is the basic layout of the house and the dogs' respective territories.

mozzie really loves to bully the big dogs. his determination frequently outweighs his intelligence, so it's not uncommon for him to end up with his head stuck under the fence, barking and whining.

bark and tiny usually just give him strange looks and go about their business. 

opening the gate is dangerous. instead we've got a little stepladder propped against the fence. we learned the hard way that you have to feed treats to the mastiffs while you're scurrying over the gate--otherwise they'll jump up on the fence and knock you to the ground. again, they think they are delicate and cat sized. 

we all tend to feel pretty bad for lonely ol' mozzie, so we periodically try to sneak him past the mastiffs for truck rides around the neighborhood. this is absolute chaos. it takes all four of us, holding dogs, opening and closing gates, yelling shouting and panicking, flinging treats in desperate attempts to distract dogs from each other, using all our physical strength to hold back the mastiffs who are big and mozzie who is strong. 

all hell breaks loose for three terrifying minutes. once mozzie is safely outside the wrought iron gate, they all instantly--almost magically--calm down and resume their lives as though nothing has happened. 

we keep mozzie occupied for as long as we can stand, and then repeat the hectic process as we put him back in his area of the yard before collapsing into an exhausted heap.

it's a good thing we love these oversized idiots so much.
"oversized idiots" being the dogs, not my sisters
[title from white houses by vanessa carlton]

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