Happy Birthday, Mekko! 4!


My family always had a lot of pets. Not, like, a creepy amount of pets, but enough pets. There was one dog, and then there were two, and shortly thereafter my siblings and I were each allowed our own private living animal to teach us about responsibility. I got a hamster. My sister had a guinea pig. My brother had a small exotic tree frog indigenous to the South American rainforest, whose talents included changing sexes at will, devouring live crickets, and making loud chirping sounds in the middle of the night. The idea was that we’d each care for our own creature independently, and I suppose we did, insofar as children really can do anything independently. The duty still fell to my mother to take us to the pet store for fresh bedding and hay, or to point out when our rooms were developing that pungent odor that meant it was time to give their various enclosures a good scrub-down. Somehow—at what seems now like the very birth of the Internet—my mother found a place online that allowed her to have a cylindrical container of live crickets for the frog sent through the postal service and delivered straight to our mailbox. The pet store was only a 15 minute drive away and they always had loads of crickets, and at the time I remember feeling like the whole charade was sort of silly—a solution to a problem that didn’t exist in the first place. Where did these crickets even come from? How many people had to be involved with the packaging, handling, and delivery of these crickets? Is this really what Scott, our mailman, signed up for when he took on our route?

What I’ve realized in adulthood that I didn’t adequately understand as a child is that having crickets delivered through the mail cut out one small thing for my mother to worry about. That’s a big deal when you spend so much time dealing with the constant issues and minute problems of three small children and five pets. The key to keeping up was efficiency and practicality. I’m aware now that parents these days will often book a doctor’s appointment for their children at the slightest sign of a sniffle, but my mom’s strategy was typically to let time and over-the-counter medications take care of things, unless they began to look somewhat serious. The same was true for the pets. I have a feeling my mom will resent this characterization, so I’d like to point out that we were well cared for and, where pets were concerned, highly indulged. My hamster was, after all, treated to multiple rounds of life-saving antibiotic regimens and her life ultimately ended after several days of overnight care at the vet’s office. But the general philosophy was that serious reactions were reserved for times when chances of extreme misery or death seemed high. Otherwise, a little Tylenol and daytime TV could probably fix it.

It’s a logic that still makes sense to me. If Max had it his way, we’d be at the vet’s office at least a couple times a week, the dogs getting poked and prodded and tested for exotic medical conditions he read about online. He worries constantly and endlessly that they might drop dead at any moment. I think I’m a pretty reasonable, responsible pet owner, but next to him I’m basically a scene from Old Yeller. 

That’s how it was a few weeks ago, when Mekko threw up as Max was getting ready for work. It wasn’t a lot of vomit. Max insisted that I take her directly to the vet, and I told him that she was probably fine (Pit Bulls have notoriously finicky stomachs) but that I’d keep an eye on things, and he told me that if she died it would be all my fault. Noted. Good chat.

As soon as he walked out the door, though, I heard it. That gurgling, weird sound that dogs only make when they’re puking.

The expression on a dog’s face after it’s vomited is the saddest thing in the world. Not only do they feel sick, but they feel really guilty about being sick, and they want nothing more than for you to know how guilty they feel.

We walked a few steps down the hallway back toward the kitchen so I could grab the paper towels and a slice of bread to help settle her stomach a little. Then it happened. She just…stopped. Then she kind of crouched. Our eyes were locked, and hers grew three times in size. She looked like she was about to sit down, but then she stopped halfway. This is the conversation we had, telepathically:

“Come to the kitchen, baby! You’re OK.”
“I can’t. I can’t move from this spot.”
“Mekko, why aren’t you moving?”
“I can’t.”
“Mekko, are you…shitting??”
“I think so. I think I am shitting.”
“Oh my god. Oh my god. Um. I officially don’t know what to do.”
“I don’t either. This is all happening so fast.”
“Oh dear lord, that is just disgusting. Oh Mekko. Oh Honey.”
“Holy fuck, this is foul.”
“I’ve never seen this before. I never want to see this again. I literally don’t even know how to clean this up.”

And then it was over. We just stood there, staring at each other, both of us sort of frozen in shock and inaction. Saddest Thing in the World II: perfectly healthy, relatively normal dog momentarily looses complete control of bowels. Then she ran to the couch and hid in shame.

I decided to stay home and monitor her for a few hours, and that was the end of it. Whatever it was had evacuated itself from her system, and by noon she was acting completely normal, if still a bit humble and apologetic.

The severity of the foulness of that day continues to haunt me weeks later, but in a way, I think it brought Mekko and I closer together. That’s kind of how it is when you have a dog. They can take a massive, explosive crap on your floor while staring you directly in the eye, and you’ll still think they’re the most special, endearing thing on the planet.

We’ve had Mekko for 2 years today, which is crazy both because it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye and because it’s so hard to remember what it was like without her. I realized last night that if I knew me two years ago—less than a year after meeting Max, still a student, and very unsure about so many things—I would have told me that I was crazy to adopt a super energetic 2 year old Pit Bull with a mysterious past from a shelter I knew nothing about after walking her around a city block for five minutes. I would have told me to get a grip, and that when the time was right, I’d find the right dog. Someday, but not today.

But that’s the thing…maybe there are better and worse times to adopt a dog (or do all sorts of things, really), but there’s never really a right time. There’s never really a time that’s just GREAT for the potty training and the added expenses and the unexpected vet visits and the bad behavior and the enormous puddles of shit on your floor first thing in the morning, and all of the many things that come along with being a pet owner. But you make it work.

Mekko is a great dog. I’m so glad we met her, and I’m so glad we brought her home. I can’t imagine my life without her, and I can’t believe she’s already FOUR! Happy birthday, Mekko! Here are some snapshots of the birthday girl from the past year:


Mekko is a Pit Bull Terrier, one of the world’s most misunderstood and unfairly stigmatized dog breeds. Pit Bulls are incredibly kind, patient, loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and resilient, and I’m so glad that we adopted one. It’s estimated that around 90% of Pit Bulls brought to shelters in the United States are euthanized, and that only 1 in 600 will ever find a forever home—so please, if you are considering getting a dog, please think seriously about adopting a Pit. Further, if you have a dog, please spay/neuter and encourage others to do the same. 

We adopted Mekko from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, an organization that works tirelessly to rescue animals in need, with a particular focus (though not exclusive) on Pit Bulls. Every year, I make a donation to help them continue the work that saved our dog. If you’d like to donate too, you can do so here. Every little bit helps!

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

Follow me everywhere

Archives: 2010-2022

Popular Categories

This blog uses affiliate links. Sponsored posts are always identified clearly in the body of the post text and by using the “sponsored post” tag.

Leave a Comment


  1. 1.28.14
    Anna said:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEKKO!!! You’re a big lug of a lady, and I love you. xoxox

  2. 1.28.14
    Liz L. said:

    Love pit bulls and the wonderful people who rescue them.

  3. 1.28.14

    Happy birthday, Mekko!

  4. 1.28.14
    Jen said:

    You are such a parent- you just related Meko’s more embarrassing moment *ever* to the whole world! :)

    When I was young, my parents ordered bees through the mail- you never saw a mailman sooooo relieved to deliver a package! Funny thing is, I think they ordered them from Sears!

  5. 1.28.14
    Shauna said:

    What a great post…the “conversation” you had with Mekko made me laugh out loud. You captured pet ownership wonderfully :) Happy birthday to your beautiful girl!

  6. 1.28.14
    Hanna Cage said:

    Happy birthday Mekko! SUCH a beautiful girl!

    We are trying to figure out a way to get a dog this year. We definitely want a shelter dog. Small obstacles: two small, energetic children and two cats. Big obstacle: We are gone, at work, 11 hours of the day and have no dog daycare nearby. We’ve wanted a dog for years, but it just doesn’t seem fair to the poor dog. Still, our family doesn’t feel complete without one.

    • 1.28.14
      Felicia said:

      Have you thought of fostering a dog to see how everything will work out?

  7. 1.28.14
    Gregg said:

    This story just makes me wanna get another dog, and yes I have already decided that when I do get one it will be another pit rescue. They are the best dogs ever. I really don’t know what it says that this story makes me wanna get another dog though?

  8. 1.28.14
    JJB said:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mekko, you adorable doggie, so glad you were rescued by some awesome guys!

    Daniel, I’ve been there & can relate with the sick dog, the vomit, the poop–yuck! Love the conversation with Mekko–you had me laughing out loud. My pet cockatiel was so amused!

    Always love your blog!

    Hugs to Mekko


  9. 1.28.14
    Jess said:

    Spot on with how dogs look/feel after they get sick. Our pit mix (who is the absolute sweetest pup) got sick a few months and she looked so sad, disappointed, and confused. Ugh it broke my heart (she’s fine – it was just an upset stomach from getting into the azaleas outside). We actually just tried to adopt a 2 year old pit mix over the weekend but it fell through as of yesterday. I love all dogs but I have a special place in my heart for any sort of pit/pit mix.

  10. 1.28.14
    Jack said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko! She’s so beautiful!

  11. 1.28.14

    This post is so cute. Happy Birthday Mr. Mekko!

  12. 1.28.14

    I had a shelter cat who was basically always sick with something weird (the vet once gave my dad a list of the things she DIDNT have, since it was shorter). In the last few months of her life she lost all bladder/bowel control. The poor little thing was SO embarrassed every time it happened, but we tried so hard to let her know we knew it wasnt her fault!! We also never regretted adopting her for a minute!! She was the sweetest, most affectionate little kitty, who was full of spunk and personality. Plus she was a black cat and black cats and dogs rarely get adopted. Little Jazz would have never gotten all the medical attention she needed in her short life if she hadnt won us over at the shelter :)

    Poor Mekko- I am glad that she is feeling better (knowing dogs, methinks she got into something she wasnt supposed to!!)

    Happy Birthday cutie

    • 1.29.14
      Gillianne said:

      Casey, I have a soft spot for black cats and have had 3, including current Maine coon mix, the most demonstratively affectionate, dog-like furball we’ve ever known. When I visit shelters, I’m always drawn first to the black cats, probably because my first one was a queenly part-Siamese black feline.

    • 1.30.14
      Par said:

      It’s Mekko’s birthday and she’s giving us the gift of laughter (through daddy of course).

      Our street is full of black cats! Our cat Spooky (who does not go outside), Spooky II who lives next door (but is skittish and won’t let us near her), Loki who lives 6 houses away (but visits us regularly looking head skritching, hugs and the occasional treat) and then there’s another black beauty who lives down and around the corner. If you’re superstitious, you wont feel comfortable in my neighbourhood!

  13. 1.28.14
    Ileana said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko. Good story. I REALLY LOVE the first photo in B&W. Next time there is a stomach upset, a good thing is to give a couple of tablespoons of the liquid acidophilus that you find in the fridge at the health food store. I give this to my dogs and fast them for a day and it does the trick (I’m like your mom in that way).

  14. 1.28.14
    Anna said:

    Happy birthday Mekko! She’s such a beauty! I have two dachshunds (and totally understand your comment about finicky stomachs).

    I’m sure you know about this website but if you don’t: wag.com delivers pet supplies and has a really great selection. We get our dry food from them and it’s incredibly timely and shipping is either free or super cheap.

  15. 1.28.14
    Gillianne said:

    Happy birthday, beautiful girl. There are special blessings reserved for people who are kind to animals and for those who open their hearts and homes to rescue pets. Double-boom to you and Max with Mekko and Linus. (ours is of the furball-emitting variety. love responds with a sigh, paper towels, and recognition that living things are often messy and, as the Brits say, “whiffy”)

  16. 1.28.14
    Amanda said:

    Happy birthday to Mekko and happy puppiversary to you all!

  17. 1.28.14
    Ginger-Schminger said:

    Damnit…you’re not allowed to post something that hilarious while I’m at work! I was doing that weird silent laugh with my hands clapped over my mouth and tears coming out of my eyes.

    Happy Birthday, Mekko! I firmly believe that rescue animals know that they’ve been rescued and are more affectionate because of it.

  18. 1.28.14
    LD said:

    I love everything about this. So spot on. Funnily enough, we brought our dog home exactly two years ago today, too. Happy birthday, Mekko!

    PS–pumpkin always seems to help our girl when she has an upset tummy.

  19. 1.28.14
    Samantha said:

    I adore you for adopting a Pit. Happy Birthday to Mekko!

  20. 1.28.14
    Susan said:

    Sean’s my friend! He does such great work. Thank you so much for mentioning his business and adopting your dog from Sean Casey Animal Rescue! I’m glad it was so successful.

  21. 1.28.14
    Kiira said:

    This post is too sweet. I don’t know Mekko, but I love her and feel some weird connection to her (my grandmother started Marimekko in Finland many years ago). I have an adopted pit bull at home, and the white side of his face is pure Mekko. xoxo

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      Wait, is your grandmother Armi Ratia?!?! Amazing!! (Marimekko is the reason she is named Mekko!)

    • 1.28.14
      Kiira said:

      Yes, I am a Ratia. I was born in Finland but essentially grew up in the states. I remember reading that you had named Mekko after the company, and it made me smile at the time. I’m not one to comment much (a true Finn!) but I did want you to know that I think you are amazingly talented–in the design AND writing departments.

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      Well gosh, thank you, Kiira! I’m sure you don’t need to hear it from me, but your grandmother was incredible and continues to be such an inspiring person! Thank you for commenting. :)

  22. 1.28.14
    Rebecca said:

    Happy birthday, Mekko! (And hey, Linus!)

  23. 1.28.14
    Ceci Bean said:

    Mekko looks like a sweetheart. And I appreciate your note at the bottom. Just before Christmas, I found a pit puppy walking down my street alone and brought it into my home. I fell in LOVE, but a day and half later I found the owner and gave the little guy back. My friends and family all seemed relieved that we didn’t keep the big scary pit. They were so wrong though. I would have kept him in a second.

  24. 1.28.14
    Niina said:

    I laughed so hard reading this. :”D Happy birthday to Mekko, she’s adorable. <3

  25. 1.28.14
    Ann said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko!
    I’m not sure if I ever commented about how your writing about adopting Mekko affected our family. Not long after you wrote about her my then 5 yr old son started asking for a dog.
    We went to the shelters in Manhattan but the dogs there were too big for our guy. One was so happy to see him she pinned him against the wall w/her front paws and started licking his face like crazy-it was cute for us but terrifying for him. We ended up adopting a rescue from the south from a shelter in Ozone Park (we have no idea what breed-we’ve been told everything from small boxer/pit/whippet to hound/terrier,possibly Tennessee Brindled Treeing dog (huh?).
    We LOVE our dog!! The day we got him my son and I had to go to the ATM to get cash and as we crossed the street I looked at my son and tears were streaming down his face, he said he was so happy he thought he was going to burst and he kept asking if it was a dream. Those 2 guys are the best pals.
    Our guy has brought SO much love and craziness into our lives.
    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh, Ann, that’s so wonderful!! And if I had even a tiny bit to do with it, that makes me even happier. Thank you so much for being open to the possibility of adopting and taking a dog in need out of a shelter, and setting such a great example for your son from such a young age. So happy for you all! xoxo

    • 1.28.14
      amey judd said:


    • 1.28.14
      Kate said:

      Ah, Ann, this comment had tears leaking out of my eyes! What a heart-warming tale about your son and his new best friend. Lovely!

  26. 1.28.14
    Minnie said:

    I’m glad Mekko was ok! I’m also glad that I have a cat who was able to use her letterbox when she had diarrhea.

  27. 1.28.14
    Kea said:

    You and Mekko have another fan in the land of Marimekko as well! I adopted my pittie Java Bean at a rescue in Phoenix, AZ five years ago and she is truly the love of my life. Since then she’s moved back to Finland with me, where she loves to swim in lakes and run in the forests. Happy Birthday to Mekko from the both of us!

  28. 1.28.14
    RTBoyce said:

    Hi Max, Daniel may think that you can just *decide* whether or not to worry excessively about your dog’s health but that’s not a choice for everyone – at least not for me, with a family liable to anxiety disorders – so this book is quite helpful: Hound Health by Betsy Brevitz DVM. The internet always convinces me my dog is in terrible danger (and the gruesome photos! can’t. look. away…) so it’s very calming to use this book instead. It’s simply written but contains all the essential info for deciding to go to the vet or not, or to go to the emergency vet ASAP. True confession: it is located within arm’s reach of my dining table for ease/frequency of use.

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      I don’t think that, actually! I hope Max would agree that I’m pretty understanding of and sensitive to his tendency toward obsessive thinking, both as someone who has struggled for the majority of my life with anxiety disorders and as somebody who has chosen to spend the last three years (and the rest of my life) with somebody who has OCD. Max has been pretty open about his history with OCD, and we’re both very aware of how it continues to affect him today. I apologize if my characterization of his excessive worry came off as flippant, but that really wasn’t the intent”¦one of the ways that we both often manage our *mental quirks* is by laughing about them and writing about them in a deprecating way, both on the blog and elsewhere.

      I’m sorry if I’m being overly defensive, here. I do appreciate the book recommendation, and I’ll pass it along to Max. :)

    • 1.28.14
      Felicia said:

      My Mum has OCD and we call it CDO – because all the letters are in alphabetical order as they should be :).
      Hope I haven’t offended
      Lots of love

    • 1.29.14
      RTBoyce said:

      Aargh. See, this is why you have a hilarious, enjoyable blog and I do not – I was teasing you a bit and apparently completely failed to strike the right tone. The thing about excessive worry for me is to acknowledge it and find ways to sensibly work with it, hence the book recommendation for Max, as it has helped me enormously.
      Meanwhile, please do go on being flippant and wonderful!

  29. 1.28.14
    michelle said:

    pits are great dogs! 90% of the dogs in the shelters here in fort worth, texas are pits – it’s heart breaking to walk through and not take all of them home. i am currently dogless after 25 years and waiting for retirement to get another one – but you know how that goes…i was down to one old cat who prefers to be an only child and i had promised him that he could be my one and only for the rest of his life until my son informed me that a feral cat had given birth to kittens underneath my cottage last summer.

    mama kitty is long gone but her 2 boys remain and even though they started life outside and i was content for them to remain there – they were way smarter than that and watched arlo come and go through the doggie door. one night i came home from work and they had moved into the house where the premium organic food was served. and they totally ignored me and set about charming arlo. which they did much against his will.

    so, much against my will i have become a cat lady!!!

    • 1.28.14
      Kate said:

      Such a cute story. Daniel, I think you have the best commenters on the internet!

  30. 1.28.14
    Jenn said:

    Just wanted to comment on your adorable Mekko and great story. I too am the proud parent of pits. I currently have two. Ira is soon to be 3 and Obi recently turned 1. Oh, how many times I have seen that poor face of “I’m so sorry”. I feel blessed to be rescued by my loving cuddle bugs. I am definitely looking forward to the 4+ age range! Happy Birthday to Mekko and many more to come. Best of luck to your family!

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      NOTHING CHANGES! Mekko is still a total, inexhaustible wild woman. I have such a hard time believing she’ll ever calm down! She does catch on to training pretty quickly, though, so at least she now knows when it’s appropriate to act totally insane!

  31. 1.28.14
    Sarah said:

    Ah! I love that you guys are raising awareness for pit bulls, adopting rather than buying from a breeder, and spay/neuter. You’re the bomb. 8}

    People get tired of people like me filling up their Facebook feed with “spay/neuter/adopt!” so when it comes from someone who usually discusses something else…I think it really helps a lot. So thank you.

  32. 1.28.14

    Happy Birthday to all of you! I love your family and I love the way you write and I especially love this post!

  33. 1.28.14
    n said:

    Happy Birthday to Mekko!

    If you write a book, I will buy it! (Just please don’t try to do it too differently from the blog.)

  34. 1.28.14
    Erica W. said:

    Oh poor little Mekko! Happy Birthday to her. My dog family was also impacted by your blog — you inspired me to take in a second and senior dog after you adopted Linus. That dog (Taggy) recently had a similar incident — he threw up, stood still, and fainted dead away — legs up in the air. It was sooo scary. I rushed him to the vet ER (b/c of course this happened at 8:00 AM on a Sunday). It turned out he had coccidiosis — symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. In small dogs, the force of the vomiting can make them lose blood flow to the brain and they temporarily pass out. In larger dogs, they poop/barf it out. BUT it is transmittable by butt to mouth. So probably both our dogs stepped in infected poop that someone left on the sidewalk, the dogs later licked their paws and got infected. So FYI, keep an eye on Linus. Taggy was quite out of it for several days (takes more of a toll on the little ones) and needed subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics, PLUS a special diet of chicken and rice (which he loved and wishes he had every day). The vet said coccidiosis is widespread and on the rise right now. Anyway, what a relief and joy it is when the dogs are happy and healthy and keeping us company! Hooray for rescue dogs :)

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      Thank you for letting me know about that! How scary!! This was several weeks ago so I think the risk of Linus getting it has passed (he didn’t have any problems, but he’s tough”¦the things that guy has probably eaten over the years”¦yikes), but that’s good to know about for the future.

      That warms my heart about Taggy! What a cute name! Senior dogs are so great. If one hadn’t fallen into my lap I’m sure I never would have willingly made the decision to adopt one, so I’m super impressed by people who do. Amazing. Thank you!! Give Taggy a kiss on the snout for me!

    • 1.28.14
      Mom said:

      Thanks for the note about little dogs and their response to vomiting. My little rescue vomited for the first time today and then almost had this weird spasm that made me think she was going to have a seizure and then she was fine. Scared me to death. Happily, no other symptoms the rest of the day.

  35. 1.28.14

    I am so glad to hear that Mekko is alright. I was reading with a knot in my throat because I was afraid to hear bad news. My mother was similar to yours in that we never, EVER went to the doctor unless we were on the verge of death. That being said, she was the one that insisted that my sister get tested when she didn’t seem very sick and the doctor thought she had the flu. It turns out that she had spinal meningitis. She turned out fine, but only because my mother reacted so fast. The point of this story is that sometimes you just KNOW when something is really wrong. You can’t worry about every little pile of vomit or vileness. ;)

  36. 1.28.14
    amey judd said:

    Bless your heart, thank you for the public service message about the vicious pibbles. Mekko is the fairest of them all.
    Have you been reading about Callie and her pups, the Doyle family? It’s all on Facebook. Callie is a feral mama rescued from under a house in South Central with all puppies. It took them 12 hours to get them all out.
    They’ve been airlifted to Oregon — nobody in LA could take on feral nursing mama and the socialized, adorable, fat little dogeens. So Sevadog (that their FB name) in Ore. did and is reporting on mama’s socialization as well as the Doyle family’s overwhelming vicious pibble cuteness.
    Check them out, and give your darling Mekko a hug from all her dog people friends out here.

    • 1.28.14
      Daniel said:

      I will! I love following that kind of stuff. I’m totally going to want to adopt all the puppies, though. PUPPIES

    • 1.29.14
      amey judd said:

      these ones are pretty heavenly. mama callie was so scared and such a vigilant mama the first night they got her in LA she stood up all night and the babies nursed that way. finally after 24 hours, callie lay down and closed her eyes.

  37. 1.28.14
    Melissa said:

    I never comment but since I’ve got plenty of stories like this… why not! My dog is allergic to bees and when she gets stung she barfs, then poops, then gets woozy. It’s happened three times (!!!) and every time we have to take her to the vet and they just give her a shot to make sure her reaction doesn’t get worse. The last time it happened, I could tell she wasn’t feeling well so I went to pick her up off our bed and there was a little log of poop under her! So happy birthday, Meeko! And, it happens to every pup every once in a while!

  38. 1.28.14
    Courtney said:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love your blog for the renovation tales & design tips. But I love love love your blog for your animals & the beautiful words you have to share about them. There’s nothing like another little heartbeat to care for that truly makes you feel the depth of emotions that humans are capable of. Happy birthday Mekko! x

  39. 1.28.14
    Alex said:

    about a year ago my beautiful German Shepherd X rescue dog managed to do no less than ten piles of sloppy shit throughout the house in the middle of the night, without trying to wake me. Needless to say it was straight to the vets the next morning, mainly due to the sheer volume that had come out of him. Of course there was nothing wrong with him by the time we got there, the vet didn’t even seem to think he was dehydrated. I tend to be a bit more like Max, but getting better the older my dogs get.
    Happy Birthday Mekko!!

  40. 1.28.14
    Jo said:

    Many snuggles to Mekko. My late, beloved nephew Bones was a pit mix. He was quite possibly the best dog ever, which had nothing to do with the first time we met: he looked at me, laid his head in my lap, and said, “Nobody understands me like *you* do.”

    Mongo, the world’s looniest Golden (also a rescue!), sends his regards to the very pretty lady in the pictures.

  41. 1.28.14
    oh Holland said:

    Oh sweet, sensitive Mekko, how I love thee … And the four rescues who share this home with me, including a little tank of a kissbull who goes by “Iris.”

    But Daniel, to be safe, please check about your place for anything toxic which Mekko might have ingested, and caused her this sudden gastric distress. Is there a chemical your city puts out to melt snow? Something amid the materials being disgorged from the house as demo goes on? I’m just grasping at possibilities; if you and Max focus on it, I know you’ll discover any dangers that could be around.

  42. 1.28.14

    Happy birthday to Mekko, and congrats to you on being a great parent. Adopting our Lulu, just after we lost our first dog, Ollie, was the best decision we’ve ever made. We’ve had those same eye to eye conversations with her and know them well. It is truly amazing to watch them transform and establish their comfort and proper place in our lives.

  43. 1.28.14
    Mom said:

    One footnote to the story of crazy mom with 3 kids, 5 pets, traveling husband, etc. I always tried to buy crickets from our local little pet store. Once in awhile they’d be out of stock and I’d venture to a second stop at a second pet store that was one of the big chains and they’d have them. Then, the crisis of some sort of cricket shortage hit (God only knows what the cause of this sort of shortage could be) and I needed to visit like 3 or 4 pet stores. After wasting that much time and gas, while my children were happily learning whatever their school was teaching that day, I’d had it and tried to find them online. To my surprise you could get live crickets through the mail. BRILLIANT! BTW, when you buy crickets at any pet store they give them to you in a knotted plastic bag. That means you have about an hour to get them home and out of the bag before they start dying. The details that my children forget.

    • 1.29.14
      kelly w said:

      A BAG OF LIVE CRICKETS. I would pass out from fear.

  44. 1.28.14
    Carla said:

    Great post! They really get in our lives in a very special way. I am sure it is because of all these little special moments… We also adopted a “super energetic 1 year old Pit Bull with a mysterious past” two years ago. It was the worse time possible (we had moved 6 months before to an old old house, we were doing a lot of renovation around to be able to receive my family for Christmas, winter was coming) and, because life happens the way it happens, we got a boxer puppy at the same time. It was one of our craziest decisions and also one of the best decisions we made together. Not just this 2 crazy ladies are very important part of this huge family (4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 1 snake) but managing all the craziness of that initial months also made us more family. All the 10 of us ;)

  45. 1.28.14
    Lily said:

    Daniel, I love reading your posts. I pour over every word and photo and I get giddy when I see that you’ve posted something new. But I LOVE reading your posts about your dogs. Ok, so they make me cry most (all) of the time, which freaks my own dogs out, but it’s totally worth it. Thanks so much.

  46. 1.28.14
    Lily said:

    Oh! And happy birthday, Mekko!!!

  47. 1.29.14
    Nancy said:

    Oh yes, I’ve had those moments with my furbabies. :)

    Happy Birthday Mekko.

  48. 1.29.14
    Janina said:

    Happy birthday Mekko, or should I say hyvää syntymäpäivää since she does have a Finnish name (which is great BTW) :)

    I so had to nod (and smile) when I read your post, our dog is just the same when he is sick and has to puke or something. He looks SO guilty and we try to tell him that it’s okay and we just want him to get better.

    The birthday girl’s pictures are great, especially the first one, that’s what happiness looks like :)

  49. 1.29.14
    Ariane said:

    Happy b. Mekko ! So beautifully written, as usual … Maybe you should keep a bag of cat litter somewhere and pour it over vomit/liquid poop when needed. It absorbs the fluids and then you just sweep the whole thing. Plus, it absorbs odors too.
    I adopted a 2 yo female French Bulldog last october (she was in a breed and couldn’t have babies so they gave her away). She gets along so well with our almost 15 yo cat and she’s just a darling ! I’ve always had cats and she’s my first dog. Her name is Guérande, which is a city in France known for its salt (“Sel de Guérande”). We didn’t name her but thought her name was cute so we kept it (besides, she answers it so we thought it was kind of silly to change it …)
    Love to all the furbabies around ! Take care.

  50. 1.29.14
    Kristy said:

    I have a very special place in my heart for Pit Bulls. I never met one I didn’t love. Happy Birthday Mekko!

  51. 1.29.14
    Simone said:

    Oh Daniel, our dog had a sort of fit, started throwing up and then running around without stopping (this is about 18 months ago). At the vets office it turned out to be a form of epilepsia usually brought on (in older dogs) by a brain tumor. She passed away the next day. Scary stuff. But Mekko probably ate something that was bad for him. Good luck with it and congratulations.

  52. 1.29.14
    JC said:

    Maybe it’s just because my pup had his first birthday last week, but this had me both teary eyes and in stitches. Your “father-dog” conversation had me laughing so inapproptiately for work hard that I had to run to the bathroom to calm down. Then the minute I get back to my desk it started again. I’m sure my coworkers think I’m crazy now. In short, great post!

  53. 1.29.14
    Jo Longobardo said:

    Sean Casey is a fantastic shelter! I found my pup on petfinder and drove 3 hours to the middle of nowhere to get him. The shelter thought we were nuts – but I must say it was the best spontaneous decision ever. Even when he ate a mouthful of tar off the roof and we had to rush to the emergency vet in a panic – at midnight on a Tuesday.

    P.S. I have an amazing vet in Brooklyn in case anyone is looking: Dr. Perry at Pawsitive Veterinary. She is wonderful and freakishly affordable.

  54. 1.29.14
    heather said:

    Happy Birthday, you gorgeous girl!

    Daniel- you had me ugly cry/laughing here in my busy office. We’ve all been there, as much as I would like to forget.

  55. 1.29.14
    Laura C said:

    She really is the cutest!

    When I was in high school our family hosted an exchange student from Colombia. About three weeks after she arrived, we decided to do a road trip from DC to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I sat on one side of the backseat, our exchange student was on the other side, and our big, sweet, loving, doberman, Sasha, was in the middle. About halfway through the very long trip, motion sickness suddenly overcame Sasha…in the form of explosive diarrhea. Our poor exchange student was on the losing end of that episode and had doggie diarrhea running down her legs and into her shoes. We stopped on the side of the road, cleaned up as best we could, and abandoned those shoes right there. Sasha was so ashamed. She worked hard to make up for it, turning all her slobbery charms towards the exchange student, who was very won over by the end of her stay.

  56. 1.29.14
    Michelle said:

    Best conversation with a dog ever. :) Happy Birthday Mekko!

  57. 1.29.14
    threadbndr said:

    Happy Birthday, Mekko! MissMollydog says “Hi”.

    Oh yeah, all pet owners have had those ‘conversations’ with their furry babies. Molly has the world’s most expressive ears, and they just DROOP when she isn’t feeling well.

  58. 1.29.14
    Gaby said:

    Happy Birthday, Mekko!
    (Hey, Daniel: are you writing a book? A short story, an essay, a novel maybe? Please, do write. I can´t tell you how much I enjoy your posts).

  59. 1.29.14
    Ashley P. said:

    I exploded into a fit of happy tears while reading this because you’ve captured the love you feel for a dog (or any furry family member) so well. I, too, have a pitbull terrier and she turns 7 this year. My wife and I adopted her 3 years ago and we cannot imagine our lives without her anymore. She brings us so much joy – we’d literally do anything for her. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer and needed very, very expensive treatments, but we did it because the thought of losing her was too much to even give more than a moment to. Thankfully the treatments worked and while she’s not cancer-free, she’s a wonderful, happy girl. She’s also getting to help other dogs because her biopsies are being used at the University of Florida (where she’s a patient) to teach future vets and help cancer research. I’d like to think she’d be pretty happy about that if she knew what was going on. :)

    TL;DR: Pitbulls are amazing! I have one, too! Haha. Happy birthday to Mekko!

  60. 1.29.14
    Meite said:

    Happy birthday Mekko! I grew up with Pit Bulls, best dogs ever! When our Casey got to be an old, old, doggy lady and went to doggy heaven I have vivid memories of my sister and I perched on our Dad’s knee and the three of us collectively sobbing our little eyeballs out. Pit’s are some of the most loyal, loving dog’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. We’ve always had a pit in the house, our family just doesn’t feel right without one!

    That said, do you have a break stick in the house? It’s a myth that pit’s have locking jaws but they are mighty powerful. Any dog can have a slip if they feel threatened, scared, or are defending their pack. We always had one in the house, we never had to use it but it’s a good thing to have around. I have two sisters and all three of use were taught to use it as part of being responsible pit owners. http://www.pbrc.net/shop/bsticks.html

  61. 1.29.14
    jbhat said:

    Happy birthday to Mekko and to you and to Max, her parents. I’m so glad she’s feeling better–throwing up AND pooping is the worst, and you really did capture the spirit of the “conversation” about it perfectly.

    I have never considered becoming a dog owner, but if I ever do, I will definitely remember your thoughts about rescuing a pit. In the meantime, I’m so glad that all of you found each other.


  62. 1.29.14
    becky said:


  63. 1.29.14
    Magpie said:

    Happy birthday to Mekko! And I love how you write about your dogs, makes me teary eyed and smiling ear to ear every time. This time you had me worried there for a while, I can’t even count all the times I’ve been to the vet with one of my beloved cats, but all ended well, phew! Give Mekko a hug from Norway!

  64. 1.30.14
    Christa said:

    HBD Mekko! I love all your posts always, from devine decor DIY to home repair despair, but most especially the ones featuring Mekko and Linus.

  65. 1.30.14
    Thel said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko! I love that first picture – she looks so happy!

  66. 1.30.14
    kerry said:

    There is a book called “the dog owner’s home veterinary handbook” that I cannot recommend highly enough. Has saved me millions I’m sure in vet bills by calming me down and instructing what OTC people meds you can give to dogs GI distress and other “not vet worthy but I can offer you some relief” type stuff. Also tells you when to go to the vet. It’s like WebMD for dogs but they don’t always have cancer. Highly recommend, and I’m a complete maniac with a medical text in my hands. This book calms me more often than panics me, which is huge. I got my first “dog that only I was responsibly for keeping alive” at 21, I was walking by the animal shelter with friends and we went in to play with some kittens. 50 bucks and 50 lbs of pitty smile later we were home. Sometimes love just finds you.

    HB Mekko!

  67. 1.30.14
    Dusa said:

    2nd row, last pic…so f****n cute, I could die.
    Happy birthday Mekko!
    (and for the record, when cats experience the same horrific incident you did with Mekko they just look at you, then stalk away denying the whole episode even happened.)

  68. 1.30.14
    Nona said:

    Happy birthday, Mekko!!

  69. 1.30.14
    Jennie said:

    Happy Birthday sweet Mekko! I love seeing her in your instagram and blog, and absolutely love her adoption story. :-) My husband and I have a pit bull and a boxer. I’ll never forget the fateful span of two weeks when our boxer contracted a stomach bug and then passed it on to our pittie. So many horrifying messes…so much shame. Sick doggies are the saddest!

  70. 1.30.14
    Andrea said:

    Aaw! Happy 4th birthday, Mekko :)

    Daniel – I absolutely agree with you, such events bring yourself and your dog closer together. Our pup, Hamlet, has a really long and silky coat which we need to trim around his hind-quarters so that he doesn’t shit himself haha. It’s disgusting when it happens but to me it feels more like cleaning up a child than anything else. And yes, you are right: There are better and worse times to become a dog owner. When we got Hamlet, my boyfriend was three days away from an 8-week business trip to Nigeria. Great timing, but I just couldn’t send that little pup back to Romania.
    I would love a pit bull, such sweet, loveable things. But you’re not allowed to keep them as pets where I live. So fucking stupid -.-‘

  71. 1.30.14
    Patt said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko! Daniel, thank you for sharing your beautiful dogs with us! I miss my pit so very much (she would have been four this month also) but can’t have a dog right now.

  72. 1.30.14
    Mona said:

    Happy 4th Birthday indeed! I laughed so hard at your telepathic conversation with Mekko, seriously! I volunteered at the Toronto Humane Society for years as a dog walker and I walked many Pitbulls during the tragic Pitbull ban in Ontario, when poeple just gave them up to the shelter. They are misunderstood. NOT ONE of the pitbulls there EVER showed aggression toward me. I found them to be very a very intuitive and sensitive breed and yes, super intelligent! I really hope that if just one person out there is thinking of adopting a pitbull or a shelter dog, DO IT!

  73. 1.30.14
    CindyE said:

    I’m always so happy to see people really love their pets. Mekko looks so sweet.

  74. 1.31.14
    Marie said:

    Oh how I feel for Max. The first six months I owned my dog (a very high energy breed that made people who’d already met us cross the street when they saw us coming. Back then, that is. Now that she’s had two and a half years of training and maturity people are much more prone to not flee when they see us) I went to the vet on average at least once per month.

    Eventually I realized that my wallet couldn’t handle going to the vet every time seemed to have less hair on her nose, runny eyes, had some diarrhea, walked a little bit funny or wheezed a couple of times. But I’m still always terrified that she’ll die on me, and I’ve been known to hold up a mirror in front of her nose to check her breathing if she’s sleeping a bit too soundly. Luckily my vet is amazing and will tell me when I call if I actually need to come in, or if it’s the equivalent of a child scraping their knee.

    I’ve loved reading about Mekko for these past two years. So happy that things are going well for you guys :)

  75. 2.5.14
    jENNIFER said:

    God has it already been two years?! I remember the whole story of how you fell for her instead of that other dog like it was last week. I think that’s when I decided I really liked you. After you fell for her and gave her such a wonderful home. You were “ok’ before that ;) But really awesome with her. :)

  76. 2.16.14
    AC said:

    She’s so nice.