Friday, November 9, 2012



“It’s not murder, but it is neglect. People have told me their stories. Like, ‘I kept taking my dog on a walk without a leash, and this car hit him. I got another puppy, and I didn’t want to put him on a leash, and he got hit by another car. Anyways, I’m on my fifth dog, and I just don’t want to put him on a leash.’ And that has made me feel a whole lot better. If you Google, ‘I killed my loved one by accident,’ you will find many stories of people who have left their babies in hot cars. I mean, everyone’s doing the best they can, but sometimes that’s not very good. I hope I’ve changed, but I don’t know if I have. One would hope that after I neglected my dog I would have stopped drinking so much coffee and started a 45-minute meditation/mindfulness practice every morning.”
—Comedian Maria Bamford talked to Dogster today about her pup Blossom's accidental death. She blames herself, but you won't. Get to love her more here or go see her live in Burbank, CA this weekend. You really should.

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Her guilt is heartbreaking. I want to go home immediately and hug my dog because I can't hug Maria...


Hope for the best, plan for the worst.@a

Hiroine Protagonist

I love Maria Bamford so effing much and I wish she was a happier person but at least her horrifying brain makes my horrifying brain feel better. I'll leave the leash war to the rest of youse.


@Hiroine Protagonist I know, she's so wonderful! I heard this story a little while ago and it's so, so sad.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Hiroine Protagonist This is pretty much my exact reaction.


Aww that's not the same as not leashing your dog when it's not leash trained and it getting hit by a car at all! (And then keep doing it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?)
Also accidentally killing Darwin is one of my worst fears. Also that when I leave him with someone like he runs away and gets hit by a car.


@Megano! Oh god, the leash thing. There's a flat, grassy area between some nearby condos that's been sort of unofficially designated as a local dog park (despite the large "no dogs on grass" sign put up by the parks dept...) People take their dogs there and unleash them to play, despite there being a LARGE BUSY ROAD literally just several feet away. At first, I walked past and thought "wow, my dog isn't nearly well-trained to go off-leash, how impressive!". Then, after further watching, I realized these dogs didn't have any training - their owners just for some reason seemed to assume their dog wouldn't run off...even though one does almost every day. It's MADDENING. How can they not see that they're placing their dogs in danger? I love my dog, and I basically never let him off-leash outside of an enclosed area...because he's a dog, and therefore prone to doing strange, potentially-dangerous things when he sees a squirrel, a child, or anything that might be a piece of food.


@jule_b_sorry Wait, but do most of the dogs run off, or just the one not well-trained one? My (late) dog was really, really well trained and really didn't ever have to be on a leash, although we would walk him on the leash at certain points. On the extremely rare occasions when he'd get really captivated by something and lose track of us, he would come home of his own accord, safely crossing the street (he crossed streets to come home probably at least 50 times in his life). I don't know, dogs are smart sometimes?


@Megano! Is your dog named Darwin? That's my best friend's dog's name! She's a natural science grad student haha


@cosmia It is! I am not a natural science student of any kind, just a fan of natural selection, I guess. Also it's kind of ironic because he is a corgi, which is the only breed of dog to actually have dwarfism, so technically w/o human intervention he'd wouldn't exist.


@Megano! uhh not to be a complete Debbie Downer, but my dog did exactly what you are talking about (he was staying with a friend and ran away while on a walk and got hit by a car). And I still feel guilty about it, even though logically I know this cannot be my fault. But dogs! They are just so trusting/dumb/loveable/etc. you feel completely responsible for their life. I was really nervous when I was trying to adopt a new one that they would be like "oh you killed one? No thanks!" but thankfully that didn't happen.


Ah, poor Blossom, and poor Maria. Though I will say I think she's far less neglectful than 5-dogs-no-leash person.


@Ophelia Right? Does that person see no cause and effect going on in that situation? What kind of idiot thinks, "it must have been a fluke that my first 4 dogs died from getting hit by cars, so I'm going to get a fifth and not put it on a leash either!"

Hiroine Protagonist

@olivebee I think that might have been one of her patented deadpan hyperbolic statements. No one would actually do that. Would they? No. Maybe? Naw.


@Hiroine Protagonist Ugh, I really hope so. Or not. Whatever, you know what I mean. Blergh. People.


@Hiroine Protagonist Yeah, I kind of thought so, too, but if that person is real...good lord.


@olivebee Oh, they're real. And they're NOT spectacular, unfortunately.

Hiroine Protagonist

@jule_b_sorry Seriously, people like that are pathological and should be banned from being pet owners. That's cruel and disgusting and heartless and what the fuck is wrong with the world spiral into depression.


@Hiroine Protagonist there are people who don't get their kids basic vaccinations so yeah, people can really be that destructively pigheaded, that person is almost definitely real and is almost definitely more common than we'd like to think

Hiroine Protagonist

@Danzig! Kids are kids and people are brainwashed into thinking Jenny mcCarthy is a scientist. These are dogs! Presumably smashed to death by a car in front of them. Ugh. Blergh. Double blergh.



Totally agree with you. Moving a ramp and forgetting to move it back vs. basically letting a dog play in traffic, unleashed? No comparison. I loathe people who let dogs run around off-leash in urban environments -- Manhattan is not an open field in the country, as many people have noticed.
I love Maria Bamford, and I'm sorry she's blaming herself so hard for a mistake.


I love Maria Bamford, and I can only imagine the pain that she was/is going through because of that situation. Losing a pet is a nightmare. I also want to smack the person in the comments on that article who said "she is using this free publicity to capitalize on this horrible event. She has already thrown her pugs into the spotlight...by putting them onto the cover of her CD."

That commenter went from pet-lover to crazy-pet-lady/man very quickly. So the fuck what if she wanted to use her beloved pets on the cover of her album? It's not much different than people instagramming their pets and posting them to facebook.


@olivebee Or making them into your avatar!

Annie Walsh@twitter

I leave my cat alone when I go on weekend trips, because cats are self sufficient like that. But when I'm almost home and walking up to my apartment, I'm always terrified that something will have happened to him and it will be all my fault for leaving him alone.

The only thing that happens is that he takes out his abandonment on unsuspecting loaves of bread.

Valley Girl

Lord knows I know from the guilt of feeling responsible for the death of a pet, but damn, Maria, I don't think that was even neglect. It's just an unfortunate accident. It doesn't make you "failed as a human", just fallible like one. I hope she finds more peace with that situation.


My heart would shatter into a million pieces if I felt that I was responsible for my dog's death. Like if she ran away! My old dog used to be an insane escape artist, and she was fast! One sliver of open door and she was bounding into the great unknown with joy in her heart and total ignorance to danger in her brain.

My new dog is a bit better ... not nearly as likely to escape, and more attached to her people. For example last weekend I was raking leaves up north and she wandered over our boundary (she does wear a leash so she's easier to catch) to the neighbour's yard. Two times I chased her down (which she loves obviously) and the third time, no luck. She's on her own. And then this big dog started barking from a ways away. She looks back at me like ... hey. hey buddy. aren't you coming with me? it's more fun when you come with me. and i'm scared of that big dog but i still want to find out what his butt smells like.


@redheaded&crazie haha, my dog is such a weenie if you drop his leash by accident? On the leash, he's like, prancing around, being kind of an asshole, but if you drop it, he stops and looks at you like, "um, hey lady? where are we going now?"


@Ophelia mine too!

things that have caused her to stop in her tracks and refuse to go further:
-motorcycle parked on the sidewalk (reasonable)
-big orange/black pylon on the sidewalk (somewhat reasonable)
-fertilizer sign blowing in the wind on my lawn (laughable)
-nothing that i can see or hear (kind of eerie)


@redheaded&crazie Hahahaha. Mine's include:
- Pieces of sidewalk that are sticking up
- balloons
- a stroller with a rain cover over it (he got over that one once he realized that there might be a kid with snacks inside)
- those metal doors that open into the basements of shops


@redheaded&crazie mine, too! Especially when he's staying with my parents, he'll sit down and refuse to budge. Do you & Ophelia have small dogs? Mine is a Chihuahua/Schipperke mix, about 15 pounds (chubby, entirely my fault because I spoil him with treats) and extremely temperamental.
Also, I can let him off-leash as long as there aren't too many people/dogs around, he's such a scaredy dog that he won't stray very far from me.


@themegnapkin Mine is medium-sized (we think he's lab/border collie? someone here once called him a "collie surprise!" which is what I stick with now), but I don't think he's figured out yet that he's not the size he was when he was a puppy?

I unfortunately can't let my guy off leash because we're in the city, but he'll happily tear around the dog park like a maniac.

Valley Girl

@redheaded&crazie My late dog was an escape artist too (and that's how he died, by getting out onto the busy road). "Bounding into the great unknown with joy in her heart and total ignorance to danger in her brain" is a wonderful way to describe it. And a good reminder, because as a pet owner sometimes you can do everything right and train them up as best as you can, but ultimately they are still a dopey animal and sometimes their instincts lead them to do themselves harm. And it doesn't mean you were a bad or neglectful owner. MARIA ;)


@Ophelia THIS IS MY DOG. When I drop the leash, she gets this look on her face like "NO! HORRIBLE HORRIBLE FREEDOM! TAKE IT BACK!" and just freezes into this weird hunched over posture of terror. It's incredible.


@Ialdagorth "HORRIBLE HORRIBLE FREEDOM" reminded me of the time that my parents' cat got out the back door. They ran around trying to catch her for a while, while of course she just kept evading them and laughing, and then my dad had the idea to go back inside and shut the door and the cat TELEPORTED to the door all "WAIT, WAIT, I DIDN'T MEAN IT THOUGH IT'S SCARY OUT HERE."


@PatatasBravas I have seen and enjoyed but am doing so alllll over again.

Dog Ballou

Oh gosh. I am leaving my dog with someone for two weeks over Thanksgiving this year. He is leash trained but MUST be kept on a leash! I am terrified that something will happen to him.

Now I know how parents must feel, except probably even more so because it's a human. But I mean.. maybe not? Because I am a wreck.


@Dog Ballou I feel that way about my CATS. The best part of the day is going home to see their squeaky, happy faces. I hate leaving them for trips!


Uhnnnnn, speaking of heartbreaking pet news, I had to euthanize my beloved oldladydog Wednesday night. There's something especially terrible about a pet's death, since they rely on us for everything.

I'm feeling you, Maria. I'm a mess.


@laurel Oh, I'm so sorry, lady. My heart goes out to you and your oldladydog--I'm sure it was the right thing to do.


@laurel Hey, really sorry for your loss.


@laurel Ohh, honey. Big internet hugs. It's totally OK to be a mess.


@laurel I'm so sorry for your loss! Hugs for you!

Valley Girl

@laurel So sorry that you and the oldladydog had to go through that. I'm sure she's at peace now, and I hope you had lots of good time with her while you had her. *Hugs*


@laurel Aww, I'm sorry :( At least your oldladydog has a long and fulfilling life with an owner who loved her <3


@laurel ((((internet hugs)))))


@all Thank you. It helps that y'all understand.


@laurel I'm sending you hugs through the internet because I completely understand the feeling. Be a mess. I took the next two days off from work and then went off the grid to the wilds of BC for a few days. It's hard, but it gets better. Best of luck.


@laurel ugh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure you were an amazing owner and gave her a great life.


When my dad was a young man he was riding his motorcycle and accidentally hit and killed a bulldog that ran into the street off-leash from a nearby park, and my dad was almost killed himself--after he recovered, the owners tried to sue him for the death of their dog. I just cannot understand the dangerous, lazy selfishness of some people.


@frigwiggin UGH that is so terrible. Your poor dad! I do not understand people who insist that their dog not wear a leash on walks. Is it because they're too lazy to hold a thing in their hand? Because they want to show off how well trained they think their dog is?

I have to pull over my car like twice a week because I see some pup with a collar wandering about my neighborhood. If I'm able to catch the dog and bring it home the owners usually give some version of "Oh, haha, that rascal, he always finds his way home." These people apparently just let their dogs wander away on off-leash walks and then head home. People who own actual escape artist dogs are usually much more grateful.


@frigwiggin That is horrible, I'm so sorry.

@unfortumissy what the fuck is wrong with people? Do they not think cars exist? Do they think their dog is so clever that he will just remain on the sidewalk?

Baby Fish Mouth

@unfortumissy I am terrified of unleashed dogs now. My dog has some aggression issues towards male dogs because he was a stray for who knows how long and was not neutered until we got him at 3 years old. At 5 now he's mostly over the male aggression but you just never know. Which is why I leash my dog! I've had two separate instances where I'm out walking him and someone else does not have their dog leashed then the dog comes up to my dog, my dog gets territorial and now they're fighting and the other owner is helplessly trying to get their unleashed dog off of mine. I have a heart attack every damn time I see an unleashed dog.


Here I go again with the "I saved an animal" story, but this is true, so:

I saved a dog from getting run over once. I was walking to class and someone's dog was just romping around on campus, a cute German Shepard. Suddenly a campus truck came by and slowed down to let the dog cross in front, but the dog didn't. She/he started jogging in front of the truck instead. The truck driver started to speed up as he thought the dog was gone, and I started yelling in louder and louder volumes "Stop! Stop!!! STOP!!!" The last "stop" made him stop suddenly and he looked at me like I was nuts. The dog's owner, some DUDE, came skipping over with a dumbass smile on his face and said, "Thanks for stopping that..." And I threw my pointy finger in his face and yelled out "KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH!!!"
Yeah, that pissed me off. Don't start smiling at me when you nearly let your dog die in front of everyone.


I was gonna save that story for a book, so FYI everybody.


That poor lady. Even if my dog died of old age, I would feel somehow responsible because I'm built with this amazing guilt center. So I can't imagine how I'd feel if I did something that in some way contributed to her death/injury (even though I totally do not think she should feel guilty as what she did was not neglectful).



@Ialdagorth "Do we have a problem with radon in the basement? maybe we should check the radon levels. Does that cause cancer?" -me whenever a pet dies of old age/cancer related illness :( I always feel like it was something preventable (I don't know why I'm stuck on the radon thing though)


@fabel My parents' last dog died of a particularly unusual, horrifying type of cancer, and my mother definitely blames herself for putting the dog on that medication where you give them a pill once a month and they don't get fleas. She's convinced it caused the cancer.

Reginal T. Squirge

I think Splitsider ran a story yesterday about how she's going to release a new comedy special soon that she performed only for her parents. She's the best.


After I put my Riva down in August, I had(have) a lot of guilt about it.

I came home and she was essentially catatonic. When I got the the emergency vet, they put her on fluids and perked her up a bit but the vet couldn't tell what was wrong with her. They wanted to keep her overnight to run tests and I was looking at a $1500 bill just to start finding out what was wrong.

I had to make a terrible choice and weigh "putting her through an awful time and still having to say goodbye with a massive pile of debt I couldn't afford" against "say goodbye without her having to suffer and have a managable pile of debt".

So yeah, I get the guilt.


@antipretty I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to Riva, that must have been so hard. :(


Wait, isn't holding therapy REALLY REALLY dubious? (This is a really sad story, and I feel awful for Bamford - we all make mistakes, and she shouldn't blame herself - but argh, holding therapy.)

glow bug

@Verity Sounded like a joke to me


@glow bug I wondered that, but wasn't sure.

glow bug

@Verity Me neither


Man, I love Maria Bamford. BTW, everyone should listen to the JV Club podcast episode with her. It's amazing.


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Vera Knoop

I nearly melt down every time I accidentally trip over the cat. There's no way I can handle reading this.


To have a dog is to know that one day you will cry.


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