Well, we finally decided it’s time. We’ve had it with our dog, Chew. We planted a garden three times this past week – put a two foot fence around it from the very beginning – and she got in and dug it up every time to a cost of $60 (plus time and work lost). That makes almost four thousand dollars in damages that these dogs (2 mine, 1 a left-over from my daughter) have done in a little over three years time, not counting the medical expenses, lost time (my own) fixing everything, and patching those holes.
Last week they took down a retaining wall and blocked the ramp to my barn. This week? Three days lost plus the money plus my back still aches from working on the thing. So I’m going to get rid of one dog. (Maybe the others will see it and have a clue. Or not.)
I hate getting rid of Chew – she’s a very smart, intelligent dog (but can’t figure out why I got mad); and very extremely loving . . . and a very stinky dog. I don’t know why, but she is. She just happens to be one of ‘them dogs’ that have a funk to them. I can wash her, but it’s only gone for a few days – and washing a dog too much can be bad for their skin.
But she’s the one who has gotten the habits from “Dig”, her best friend (and sister). Dig has something wrong with her; she’s an old dog before her time. She’s slow but happy and likes being fed, but just doesn’t jump and run like her sister.
National Geographic had an article on dog’s DNA just a few months ago – very interesting! And these two are a good example of how it works: this limited thing, just a few strings, combine to infinite forms.
And so one dog does not look even a bit like another, even though they were both born from the same womb at the same time. Dig is brown and black – long haired coat (like I like them) – looking more like a sway backed wide hipped German Shepard than the breeds she was advertised as being mixed (German Shepard + Chow-Chow + a bit of some other ‘mixes’).
Chew, on the other hand, has a long thick coat that would make even a mink proud – so thick and shiny – and blacker than midnight – she looks like a Labrador, and acts like one, too (except she is into hating water). It’s like she got the mix of all these dogs, and only the best traits got left out – things like ‘come’ and ‘fetch’, or obedience to command. I refuse to beat them (which some folks say I should do) – but on the other hand . . . (sad sigh, shake of the head).
She barks at everything – except when someone drives in. Then she is quiet. If she knows you, she barks real loud. If she doesn’t – she lets you walk right up to the fence. She runs around animals and barks at them whereas Chew will go right in and capture or kill the thing. She is so smart she engages in what I call “willful disobedience” – looking at you and not coming when called. (I swear, she lowers her head and shakes it ‘no’.)
But now she’s chained in the front yard. Near the fence with a sign that says “Free Dog”. Of course she has some food and water – I love this dog. And I’ve never met a dog more faithful when it comes to loving and affection. She’ll lay her head right down in your lap; cosy up with you – she ‘sits with me’ on the stairs in the back yard (the other dog gets bored). She’s not a ‘food’ dog; she’s a person dog, meaning she won’t eat while you are there – she wants affection instead.
However, the fact is there hasn’t been a morning – or a night – when she hasn’t pissed me off. Almost every morning I go out I find some damage or something. It might just be a hole in the yard – an ankle turner dug in the weeds where you can’t see them – or god forbid you are walking around at night. Then there’s the chewing – she’s chewed lattice, light bulbs, beer cans, balls. I’ve gotten her those huge leather bones – ten dollar a pop – and she’ll make that thing gone in less than thirty-two hours. I’ve tried real bones; those big calf ones – and while she’ll wear them out she gets bored with that thing and will move on to something else.
And it doesn’t matter what you do – she’s gonna ruin the back yard (and I’ve got a lot of it – almost two-thirds of an acre). Plant a garden and she pops it up. Put a fence around it – she either climbs over, digs under, or runs through. Leave something – anything! – out in the yard and she’s gonna get hold of it and chew that thing up. She pulled the decorative floats out of our ponds and chewed them up, too. If hands have touched it, she’s gotta have that thing. She managed to rear up and snatch the BBQ grill’s cover off the deck (and it’s four foot off the ground, with a lattice handrail) – and chewed it up to the tune of seventy dollars or so.
And bark all night . . . sleep all day – so she can do it again.
That dog’s gotta go.
Gotta get rid of my friend.
We couldn’t have done it if the majority (a slim ‘one’, by ‘one’ I am supposing) – but . . .
Three years of having my patience tested is long enough, I suppose. It’s a grim thing, but . . . my wife says I deserve some peace; that she can’t see the sense in me keeping something that makes me angry every day (or night) and keeps HER awake some of the time . . .
I hate losing things I love. Over and over again.