Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Shades of Mr. Popper's Penguins, meet Lala

Just for fun!, Family, Movies & Books, Pets, Weather

On a snowy day like today, wouldn't it be nice to have someone go to the store for you? Check this out.

As a child, I enjoyed reading Mr. Popper's Penguins. As a mother, I enjoyed reading it again to my son. The story held up well over the years; he thought it was a real hit too. (It is available at the Brookfield Library.) But never in my wildest dreams did I think anyone would ever have a penguin for a house pet! Yet there he is on YouTube.

Unlike Mr. Popper, who kept Captain Cook (his pet penguin) in a freezer, the Japanese family seems to have an air conditioned porch for their pet. I hope you caught that the family gave Lala his freedom after they rescued him and nursed him back to health, but he chose to stay with them. Don't you love his backpack?

By the way, the story of Mr. Popper's Penguins makes it to the big screen this summer, starring Jim Carrey. (Though I am not a Jim Carrey fan, I do like penguins.) The story has been changed some in that this Mr. Popper is a single businessman who inherits several penguins. Hope the movie version maintains the charm of the book. The preview pictures look cute.

In the meantime, stay warm.

Mr. Popper's Penguins book review

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Learning to live without "man's best friend"

Family, Pets

Ten years ago, just before the 2000 election, we did something I never thought we would ever do...we became dog owners. My husband had dogs as a child and a cat when we were first married but never wanted to have a pet again--he didn't want to go through the heartbreak at the end of their short lives. I was not a dog person and had become allergic to cats, so pets were not on my bucket list either.

Our resolve quickly weakened, however, when our son started hinting he wanted a pet. (The popular TV show Wishbone and movie My Dog Skip, along with a field trip to the Wisconsin Humane Society added fuel to his pet passion fire.)

Maybe a dog would be a good companion for him, since he was an only child. We set aside all of our reasons for not wanting to own a dog, the nuisance, the expense, the work, and the heartbreak at the end, to give our child something he wanted so badly. We reluctantly agreed. And yes, we did get the usual promises that he would walk, feed, let the dog out, and clean up the yard, knowing full well they were just promises. (Just ask any mom who usually ends up doing all those tasks.)

The search was on.

Our son immediately started scouring the Internet for adoptable dogs. The price-tag for a purebred was out of the question; this dog would come from the humane society. Soon we were bombarded with an assortment of pooch profiles.

The first dog came from the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha. He was a 7 year old Silky/Yorkie mix charmer named Willie. We all fell in love immediately. Willie came home with us and seemed to fit right in. As time went on, however, our charming Dr. Jekyll turned into an evil, growling Mr. Hyde. We got pet counseling but it was too little too late; he bit my husband and drew blood. Hardly the pet you want for a young boy, and we knew we couldn't trust the dog again. Willie had to be returned and by law was destroyed. We were devastated. (We later found out H.A.W.S. didn't tell us of the problems at his former home that led to his surrender in the first place.)

Now we were approaching Christmas--not exactly the time to be getting a new dog. I kept assuring my son that God willing, we would find the right dog. Just pray and be patient.

Four days after Christmas, our son showed us a new dog profile. This one was at a rescue house in Aurora, Illinois. She was a 2 year old Westie we named Zoe, who also turned out to be a disaster. We soon found out she hated men. She hated boys. She only loved me! Hardly the right dog for our son. Two weeks later she went back to Aurora.

I still believed and assured my son that the right dog was out there, if we were patient. My son really didn't buy that but shortly after Zoe, the call came from the Wisconsin Humane Society. We have a Maltese mix young male dog here that meets your pet profile preferences. Since you are first on our list, when can you come in?

We had filled out a preference card with them back in November. Now they were calling because they had a dog who met our requirements: small and hypo-allergenic.

Come in? My son and I can be there now!

I still remember seeing "Walter" for the first time. (Walter was the name they assigned to him. We later found out he was a stray, so his real name was unknown.) He was in a small glass fronted room and ran up to the window to greet us. We could see he liked to play with stuffed animals. They let my son and I into the room and he promptly jumped up on us and wanted to play. He seemed very friendly. This one might be the one.

Unlike H.A.W.S., where you had to wait a day or two for adoption, the W.H.S. wanted you to make the adoption decision on the spot. We called up Dad and he came to meet Walter too. This one seemed right. Third time is a charm? And that is how we got Walter. Also unlike the other 2 adoption agencies, W.H.S. does extensive personality testing*. They don't adopt out problem dogs.

We brought him home trying to think of a better name for our new scruffy, white, dust mop of a dog than Walter! The first thing he did when he came in our home was mark the refrigerator 2 times. (We were told to expect that since he was 1 or 2 years old and was just neutered.) The next thing he did was run around the living room; he zipped around like he was running in the Kentucky Derby. So in a way, our dog named himself, with a little help from Dad, who suggested we call him Zipper because of it.  His zippin' became his trademark.

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The Common Council's "Dog Days of Summer" - Correction

City of Brookfield, Common sense, Legislation, Pets

Traditionally, the days between July and September are called the Dog Days of Summer, not because of the heat and humidity causing you to pant like a dog, but because of the appearance of Sirius, the bright star in the constellation Canis Major.

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Animal Emergency Center: Open 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week

Health care, Pets

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