rampage: v. to rush about in an angry, violent, or agitated fashion
n. angry or destructive behavior
We left together, a man and a yellow dog. Her mood improved greatly as the shelter doors closed behind us and like a prisoner on work release, she seemed to be happy just to be outside, away from her confines. On this short walk, she looked like a normal, well-adjusted dog. That's more like it girl. It was hard to believe that only moments before she practically turned herself inside-out performing her patented "please don't beat me" maneuver.
I discovered that she possessed remarkable strength for a one year old, 40 lb dog. As she darted about taking in the smells, I attempted a "heel" command - but I may as well have said "Dirka-Dirka". She had only the most rudimentary of training, and I would have to remedy that.
Getting her into the truck was easy. Before the passenger door even stressed the hinges, she was in her seat following an effortless leap. Wow, she can jump. I closed the door behind her, and she quickly decided to cross over and take my seat. How cute, she thinks she is going to drive.
|Idiot Dog in "play mode". Looks normal, eh?|
I would have to crack this nut a different way, so I took her leash and with a quick "lets go", she happily dismounted the drivers seat and followed me around the truck, back to the passenger side. Once again she bounded into her seat, but this time I secured the leash to the side-view mirror. It worked, but when I got back around to my seat I discovered that she had the last laugh. She had taken a leak, leaving me a nice warm, wet seat. Nice work girl, you got me.
After an uneventful ride home, sitting on a towel, the family was waiting outside to meet our new addition. She bounded out of the truck and headed straight for them. When she got close, she lowered her body and belly crawled the final few yards. She writhed around them slavishly, but in her over excited state, she did it very quickly. The result was a hot mess of excitement, grovelling and urination. Pathetic, was the only thought which came to mind. I could tell that my wife and my other dog were thinking the same thing because they both looked up at me disappointingly and their expressions' said it all, of all the dogs you had to choose from... On the bright side, a potential name popped into my head, we can call her Smeagol! The resemblance in mannerisms was uncanny. We will call her that for now, because truth be told, she is no idiot - she just behaves like one half the time.
|Idiot Dog's bloodline.|
With each escape came speculation as to how she did it, and we thought we had figured out each time. As it turns out, I was correct about her jumping ability and at the current specs, there was no government back yard that could hold her. She took every opportunity possible to explore the neighborhood. We even tied her up, but she made quick work of the rope before clearing the fence and going about her business. To make matters even more embarrassing, my own security force brought her back to me twice and I had to put myself on report!
Her ability to escape posed a problem the first time the entire family had to leave the house. We couldn't leave her outside and we didn't know how she would react if we left her alone. Bogey wanted nothing to do with her, because as far as he was concerned - she was a bad apple. On the other hand, we would only be gone for an hour, so we thought she would be fine. Not so much.
When we returned we were greeted by our two dogs. As usual, Bogey greeted us with enthusiastic restraint, demonstrating his poise and well mannered temperament. Smeagol on the other hand, cowered on the foyer tucking one of her front legs under her body while shaking uncontrollably.
|Bogey, world's best dog and Idiot Dog's nemesis|
Guilty! was all I could think. I gave the order, "Quick, check the rooms!" We inspected them one by one: Living room, no damage. Dining room, good. Kitchen, fine. Jackson's room, messy, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then I heard it. "She killed my dolls!" It was Katie, one of my twin 10 year old daughters and she was absolutely distraught. "... and I don't think the American Girl Hospital will be able to fix them". Then came the waterworks.
I inspected the room. Oh the humanity. The carnage would have impressed Hannibal Lecter. Smeagol had chewed through three $100 American Girl dolls, but she didn't just rip them up because the small pieces on the floor did not equal what was missing. She actually minced and devoured the heads, limbs, clothes and accessories on each doll. And by devoured, I mean that I would soon find the missing pieces in the back yard... once she finished digesting them. My free $200 dog had increased her net worth by $300+ in one hour.
|They made the ultimate sacrifice.|
The vote was 4 to 1 that she return to whence she came. I however, suspended that sentence and decided to give her one more chance. I always stick up for the underdog, and she was quite literally, THE underdog. She wasn't going back to prison yet, but she was going into solitary confinement whenever we left the house. I was off to Petsmart to buy a kennel. Tack another $75 onto my free $500 dog.
To be continued...
Next chapter: Idiot Dog Gets a Name (and meets the neighbors.)
No dog is ever free. Even if you get a dog for nothing, they require regular and unscheduled visits to the vet, which cost a bundle, and the food to feed them is always on the shopping list. I go the extra mile though, and tack on the damage they do because I like to get the real cost of ownership. However, chewed up toys and furniture are part of the whole "doggie ownership package". Even well trained dogs cause damage, especially when they are young - but as long as you don't begrudge them this behavior, and take steps to correct it - they are worth every penny. Heck, my $800 yellow lab, Liberty, chewed up a $1200 Persian rug making her my most expensive pet to date, but I'd give anything in the world to have her back. (Another escape artist, she was hit and killed by a car during one of her outings. Bogey is her half-brother.)
I believe that our new dog had separation anxiety when we left the house. That was when she would perform her daring escapes and do the most damage. Perhaps she was uncertain if we would return and this put her on edge. Additionally, our family and our home were all new and very different than what she was used to - and she does not do well with unfamiliar change.
The dog kennel worked wonders, for her and for our own piece of mind, but we only needed it for a couple of months. She finally got the idea, "they always come home and if I am good, I can roam around inside... and torment Bogey."
Thank you very much for reading, I would appreciate any constructive feedback or stories about your Idiot Dog.
Please feel free to share if you like the story thus far. I hope to someday take Dave Barry's old job!
Robert "Mighty" Quinn