Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Bad Dog*

I feel like I need to start this post by saying that I love my dog, Cassidy, because she is sweet and beautiful and loyal. I feel like I need to say that first, because I am about to bitch and bitch and bitch about her.

First, there is the barking. She has turned into this animal who barks the second she enters our backyard. She used to just sit out there and look around, but now she stands in the exact center of our yard and barks. She barks at feral cats, she barks at people on the street, she barks at people going about their business inside their nearby houses, and frankly, I think she just barks to remind herself that she's alive, dammit! She's alive!

Every time I let her outside, I end up wanting to kill her.* We're almost at the point where we're going to have to muzzle her before we let her outside to go to the bathroom. I can only imagine the psychological trauma that will cause, but it's either that or rip out her vocal cords in a fit of rage, and I think that the humane society would have some words for me if I did that.

Second, there is the escaping. We had to build a long, tall, multi-thousand dollar fence in order to keep her in our yard. Cassidy is a jumper (although, thank God, not a digger—knock on wood), and instead of funneling all of her jumping energy into earning her people fame and fortune on the dog agility circuit, she's focused on using her mad jumping skillz to remove herself from any yard with a fence that is shorter than six feet tall.

We used to have her tethered to a zip line, which resulted in more than one time when she jumped the fence into another yard, but was still tethered to the line in our yard, creating a situation where Alex or I would have to climb the fence into the other yard and heave her back over.

Now that she has the fence, she only escapes when we are dumb enough to leave a gate open, but when she does, she takes full advantage. She will run full speed up to the park just down the street from our house, which is good because it keeps her off the roads, but is bad, because it gives her lots of space to run around in. We usually only catch her when she stops to harass another dog. A dog escape is always a very stressful thing for us.

Cassidy is a very bad dog.*

We've gotten pretty good about keeping her in the yard though, so I was pretty surprised when I was looking out the kitchen window this morning as I made Sam and Jack's lunches and saw Cassidy trotting down our driveway.

I said some bad words, grabbed my coat, and ran out the door. She saw me coming and took off running down our street, which is plowed all the way down to the pavement. But when she got to the path that leads to the park, she stopped completely short, because that path is just about the opposite of plowed, if there is such a thing. If I may anthropomorphize her for a moment, here is what she was thinking: "WHA—? This white shit is over here too? What the hell?"

And then I grabbed her and marched her home.

But how did she get out? Here's how: Alex shoveled all the snow off our side porch and path to the driveway, which was awesome of him and much appreciated, but he threw it all into a big pile on both sides of the gate leading into the back yard.

I have no idea what that horrible stain is.

Basically, that dumb dog* just had to step over the gate and run off.

Of course, as soon as I got her back to the house, I had to tweet about the incident. 'Cause that's what I do.

And then I Facebooked it, because some outrages
have to be shared with friends from kindergarten too.

After I did that, I took steps to make sure that she wouldn't escape again. This took the form of a post-it note stuck to the back door. Because I would have been way pissed at myself had I come home from dropping my kids off and mindlessly opened the back door only to have to chase her down the street again.

Yeah, I'm aware the dog is out there. I took this photo much later in the day.

Sam astutely noticed that there were no doggy footprints leading to the gate, but after casing the yard, I had to assume that was her point of egress because I couldn't see any other logical place. So once I had dropped everyone off at school, I headed outside with my shovel.

Incidentally, just because a dog can walk on snow without leaving footprints doesn't mean that a grown woman won't repeatedly sink into the snow up to her thighs. Which, in case you're wondering, makes it very difficult to shovel. Thankfully, I only had to shovel that one area, and did not have to dig a trench around the perimeter of my fence.

Being a super detective, I determined that the snow bridge was indeed her point of exit based on the Cassidy-fur stuck on the fence. (Plus, later in the day, the neighbor told me that she'd watched the whole thing from inside her house.)

Try to jump THAT, Cassidy.

I feel a lot of glee when I look at this last photo. Good luck getting out of your prison, you bitch.*

* But I love her.


  1. I really think you need two more dogs... I will send mine right over.

  2. Drats! Foiled again!

  3. Did I mention I have an aversion to dogs? Hence, I have cats. And they don't go outside. Cats are smart like that.

  4. And the thing is? When they do escape? What's the master plan? Where else will they EVER have it as good as they do living in a house, sleeping on our couches, being handed food, water, toys, and a cat to harass? Stupid dogs.*

    *But I love her

  5. Dogs. More trouble than kids.

  6. Awwww, that poor sweet little face behind the doggy-jail bars! (Kinda reminds me of my triple-height gate on Nik's playroom.) Maybe she's got a boyfriend somewhere?

    We had to give away our sweet black lab when I was a kid; she kept getting out and going to the local lake. She ended up living out on a farm and being very happy. I still miss her. (Yes, I'm well aware she is long dead by now.)

  7. We just had to start making the little dog wear a bark collar ALL THE TIME because he was getting so barky. But it worked, he doesn't bark much anymore. (Also, he learned exactly how quietly you have to bark to avoid tripping the shock.)

  8. I agree with Manic Mommy...where can they go that's better than the home we give them?

    My dog can't just be let out - I have to take him on a walk, and he has to be on a leash with a prong collar (without it, he takes me for a drag instead). And, he's recently become an INDOOR barker, which drives me BATTY.

    But I agree with you, too - I love him!

  9. You know how people always write LOL when you absolutely KNOW FOR SURE they were not laughing audibly? Yeah. I actually literally laughed out loud. Quietly. But audibly.

  10. Can I tell you how glad I am that my dogs are not escapers? Even Valentine who can jump over the fence if she wants to stays put. But, she is a good dog.

    Nebo is our asshole. He, like Cassidy, barks at EVERYTHING (also with the biting of meter readers, though.) If a person even thinks about maybe drive down our street past our home? He barks. And, he loves to retreat up the stairs and stand outside of my kids' rooms while he barks.

    You know, I hadn't though of the ripping vocal chords out option, but that gives me something to ponder. And also the muzzle.

  11. My recently-deceased dog Gypsy was an escape artist herself in her younger days. She would run around the backyard building momentum, launch herself onto the 6-foot wooden fence, and pull herself over it. It was actually pretty impressive. It was also exasperating. But I loved her anyway (and I miss her a lot).

  12. We have also been victims of the unintended dog bridge. I also have barkers and when they bark during naptime I feel such rage. But of course I love them too.

  13. I feel the same way about our beagle! Damn escape artist! He's older now though... I don't think he has the heart to even try anymore! Glad you got her back!

  14. Yeah, another dog! Then they will just chase each other around the yard and not even think of trying to escape. On the other hand, you might open the gate for 2 of them.

  15. We very nearly had this same problem!!! I looked outside after the first storm to see Baci head and shoulders above the fence in the backyard, and had to shovel, in addition to the driveway, front and back walks, and the sidewalk, a long path alongside the fence so it would be low enough that he couldn't get out. Twice. Freakin' snow!

    Also, he barks a lot, too. And when he's not barking, he's crying and barking at the door to come inside. Piss me off!!!!! We always have *one* dog that does this! The second dog never does. WHY can't I have two dogs who are happy and quiet in the yard?!

  16. Hi,
    I'm glad that 'bitch', in your context, isn't a curse word... it actually does mean a female dog. I'm just saying.
    Also - on Saturday mornings at 7AM EST, WAMU 88.5 has a pet show; I think that anyone can call in with pet challenges. It used to be called 'Calling all pets', and now it's called something else. You might call in and give them a challenge!
    Best wishes!

  17. I have two Shibas, who are notorious for bolting. One got out one morning and was trotting down the middle of a major street during rush hour traffic. The other one got out one night when one of the stupid teenagers left the front door open! She was out in the 10 degree weather for about 90 minutes until we found her. And I love it when they just look back at you and say, "Yeah, try to catch me bitch. And then they laugh and run faster."

    We have a brand new fence, and I'm hoping for the best.


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