I am Miss Hannigan



“RUN SANDY RUN”!! We’ve all seen the terrifying scene in the Broadway musical Annie where Miss Hannigan threatens to send the orphans beloved yellow mutt to the sausage factory.

As I write this, I am well aware that many who read this story will be completely horrified. Ironically, that knowledge makes me laugh even harder…

It started a few months ago when, in a moment of desperation, we invited the “Dog Whisperer” to our home to consult with us about a few minor behavioral issues. He wasn’t actually “THE” dog whisperer, rather a church member purported by some to have an unusual connection with dogs. I’d never met the man myself, but he worked with the church youth group so his alleged animal connection couldn’t be too far off, right?

From the moment he walked in the front door, the dogs sensed his authority. They obeyed, sat, stayed away from the front door when it opened, rolled over, made coffee and served it with a side of bread pudding that they whipped up in the kitchen even without the benefit of opposable thumbs. We were sold! The dog whisperer is a genius!!!

Unfortunately, the dog whisperer failed to recognize the dogs biggest problem – me and John. No consistency, no discipline, no follow through, and worst of all, we are way too soft.

It took 2 years of cleaning shredded paper and toys off the floor before I was ready to take action. Tonight, I finally had it. I marched Savannah’s mangled flip flop into the kitchen and slung it across the counter at John.

“I think it’s time to take action! I declared

His eyes widened “You don’t mean?”

“Oh YES I do!”

The dog whisperer told us if we were ever to rid the dog of his horrible chewing habit it would require drastic measures. His explanation was logical – “Have you ever eaten something that made you really sick? You lose your appetite for that taste from then on. Dog’s are the same, if you can activate their gag reflex – they lose interest and don’t want to get near that taste again.” All you do is cut a piece of the offending item that is bigger than the dogs mouth so the dog cannot swallow it, then put it in the back of his mouth and tape his mouth closed around it. Let him go around this way for a little while until he cannot stand even the site of the offending item. Like I said, very logical!

“I’ll get the painters tape.” John said.

Standing in the kitchen with a large slice of pink flip flop and painters tape, we called the girls.

“Now girls, we just want you to know that we are not going to hurt Tucker.”

Sav – “WHAT?? You are going to hurt Tucker?”

Me – “No, we are NOT going to hurt Tucker.”

Lo – “What are you doing with that tape?”

Sav – “Did you cut my flip flop?”

Lo – “Why did you cut Savannah’s flip flop?”

Me – “Girls, remember when the dog whisperer came a few months ago, well he told us that if we want Tucker to stop chewing things up, we had to do this.” We just want you to know that even if it looks bad, we are not going to hurt Tucker.”

Children’s eyes wide, we call the dog.

Tucker!! – He immediately pees on the floor. Blasted dog!

John picks him up and when he sees the blue tape on the cabinet he pees on John.

The girls are staring wide-eyed over the top of the Kitchen island.

After several minutes of wrestling our 5 pound dog who suddenly has the strength of Samson, the endurance of Lance Armstrong and the defensive moves of Jason Bourn, we have managed a pathetic tape job which he removes before we can even set him on the floor.

Back up on the cabinet he goes. Round two:

Me – “You hold the flip flop and I’ll tape this time.”

John – “Whatever, it’s not as easy as it looks.”

Me – “You just aren’t doing it right.”

Loralei – “Did you cut Savannah’s flip flop?”

John – “You taped his eye shut.”

Me – “I can see that, just give me a second.”

Savannah – “Are you sure you aren’t hurting him?

John through gritted teeth – “NO…we…aren’t…hurting…him”

Me – “Got it!!”

Down he goes again. This time he takes three steps before he pulls a Houdini and effortlessly flips it to the ground.

At this point the children are convinced we are trying to kill the dog.

Back up on the cabinet he goes for round 3.

Lo – “I don’t think this is working”

Me – “Go clean your room”

Sav – “I haven’t finished my homework”

John – “Maybe we need duct tape”

Me – “No, that will rip his fur out”

Lo – “Why did you cut Savannah’s flip flop.”

Sav and Lo “You are hurting him!!!”

John – “No, we aren’t, we are just trying to make him gag. See, he’s not crying or even whimpering.”

John – “He’ll never get out of this one.”

Back down on the floor. He stumbles forward a few steps and then begins to Jackie Chan the flip flop hanging from his mouth. The orphans – I mean children – cheer wildly!!!!

Girls – “He’s getting it off!!!

Lo – “YEA TUCKER!!!”

Sav – “He’s got no tape – NO TAPE!!!

Lo – “RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TUCKER!!! RUN RUN!!!!!

Suddenly I see very clearly. I am the evil villain in a Hallmark Christmas special that gets it at the end as the children and the dogs run free. I am Miss Hannigan.

I laugh so hard I can’t breathe. My poor children. What will they say about this when they grow up??

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