Pets, like kids, don’t always clean up after themselves.

The only difference is that sometimes pets are easier to train.

The kids are out of the house, so that leaves the pets, a 17-year-old cat that will outlive us all, and two basset hounds that my wife likes considerably more than me.

I know she likes them better because every couple weeks, she buys them either new toys to chew up or new bones.

I never get new toys or bones.

Whenever I get ready to mow the backyard, I spend considerable time picking up bones and fragments of toys.

Even my wife admits the yard looks like the land of misfit toys.

Once in a while, when no one is looking, I throw away a broken up bone or what’s left of a toy. Don’t tell my wife.

It’s not a whole lot better inside the house. I am regularly stubbing my toes on bones left all over the house.

The dogs have a bin for their toys, but one dog ignores it and the other just barks at it until someone spills out the bones and toys on the floor.


The cat has no use for toys, and is quite happy to be left alone. It’s a cat, after all.

For some reason, I’m her favorite person.

When she does want attention, she’ll jump up on my lap, sometimes to stay, and sometimes I’m used as a path to get to the window to lie in.

On weekends, when I try to sleep in, she’ll come to my side of the bed and meow until I wake up.

I pet her, and she bites my hand, or she gets close enough to my face to bite my forehead.

My wife says that’s a form of affection. If the cat loved me anymore I might need stitches.

The other morning, I was treated to cleaning up puke from one of my dogs.

I have a dog that stresses easily, and for some reason eating rocks soothes her.

She has had three surgeries to removes rocks she couldn’t pass, and has passed too many rocks to count.

Recently, she has taken a liking to a delicacy, road kill toads.

There are tons of them on the streets. I even have to watch for them while running in the morning on the track.

My wife walked the dogs the other day, and one of them devoured a lot of dead toads.

I knew I was in trouble when I let her outside, and she spent the morning eating grass.

A few minutes later, the grass, along with her breakfast, came back up.

What a way to start my day.

Now, all I can do is wait until either the toads come back up or she gets over her belly ache from eating them.

Either way, I’m on clean-up detail.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.