Have a Marlis Day!

Archive for October 2013

ImageThis is undoubtedly the stupidest dog I’ve ever met. Ace was dropped off at the end of our lane when he was about 8-10 months old, obviously by someone who recognized his lack of potential. Our neighboring daughter & family adopted him, thinking he, probably half border collie and half black lab, would be a perfect outside watchdog for their country home. Ace romped about, chasing squirrels, killing cats and all the rosebushes at both our homes. We tried to teach him simple obedience but failed. I was certain I could teach him to “sit” on command, as I had many dogs through the years. When I did the usual gestures, pressing down on his hips and pulling up on his collar, while giving the command, Ace rolled onto his back, drooled, and kicked all four feet into the air wildly. Every attempt had the same sorry result. However, through the years, his worse behavior has been during storms or fireworks, even far distant shots by hunters. Each event sends Ace into such panic that he tears up doors trying to get into the house. (And no one wants this big, dirty, hairy, smelly dog in the house.) He quickly learned to turn the lever-door handles and let himself inside, (I know, a spark of burglar intelligence buried deep inside his gray matter.) Levers were all changed to knobs, which he soon chewed into masses of twisted metal. Once, we locked him in the garage when a storm approached and he slithered up the wall and escaped through a small window, like magic. Twice Ace chewed the rubber stripping off the bottom of our garage door. I have forbidden him stepping foot on my property, by actually firing a pistol into the air and shouting, “GO HOME!” He goes, even when I now just make the shape of a pistol with my hand and pretend to fire into the air. I know it sounds cruel, but I have no choice. He swims in the lake, then comes to my dining room bay window and shakes his coat dry, chases my cat to the roof, and attempts to destroy my flower gardens. He has ruined my daughter’s beautiful front door with glass panels beside and above. His plan is to chew an Ace-sized hole in the door in case of storms. We can’t watch him all the time, so he does his dirty work when no one is home. One day a sudden storm moved in catching him on the road near our homes. He charged to the front door of our neighbor’s house and beat on the door with his front paws. When the kind woman opened the door, Ace bolted past her, ran through the house to the back bathroom and hid behind the shower curtain. She called. “You won’t believe what your dog just did!” We believed. Terrified of crowds, Ace slips in with guests when there’s a party, then finds a corner and hides his head – like an ostrich. Unless we are very careful, he will jump into the car with anyone leaving, mud and all. Sometimes he gets into the back of our son-in-law’s truck, then climbs onto the top of the cab, where he likes to ride, standing up like a hood ornament. Once, the granddaughters took him to a local pet show. Afraid of the slick gymnasium floor, Ace refused to walk, dropped to his belly, and slithered past the judges. The girls were totally humiliated. I’ve suggested taking him to the shelter, but the family says no one would adopt him, and if they did they’d bring him back and it would be the gas chamber or small pen for the rest of his life. The only good thing he’s ever done was to let our granddaughter dress him up and photograph him for her 4-H project. She did win the champion ribbon at the fair. For some reason, the big dumb mutt is still a little bit lovable.

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