Monday, September 30, 2002


That Dog Won't Hunt

My youngest sister, Abigail, came into possession of a small dog recently. She got the pet from a local no-kill shelter, and regards this dog not only as her baby, but her most treasured fashion accessory. The dog immediately acquired a purple collar with rhinestones, which Abby attached to a purple leash that matched her outfit for the day. The family christened the dog Juanita Holmes, in honor of her formerly homeless status.

Juanita is a Fiest. That's a small squirrel hunting dog; she was dropped at the shelter because she wouldn't hunt. My other sister, Sara, and I are also convinced that Juanita is the most mentally handicapped dog we've ever met.

I should state here that I've never been a big fan of small dogs. I like dogs; I've had several rather awesome dogs in my past, including an Australian Shepard named Belle who lived for over twelve years and was one of the neighborhood's most beloved pets. Belle was so smart that she actually taught herself how to open doorknobs, by leaning her weight on them and rubbing her head against the knob until it turned. Of course, if the door opened inward, she couldn't make it happen, but it was still a pretty big accomplishment for a dog.

Juanita though, is a whole different type of dog. She's an indoor lap thing of very little brain. Because she tried to eat the toilet paper in the bathroom when we weren't home, Dad and I built her a dog run in the back yard. It's the best dog run possible, with a lead that puts her all over the back yard, is inside a fence that protects her from bigger animals, and has a spacious doghouse at one end filled with toys and blankets. But despite being outside in the doggie lap of luxury, if Juanita isn't inside the house, right up under you, she cries. Her crying is a high pitched whine that can be heard for blocks.

Juanita has also failed to grasp simple rules of physics; despite being 6 months old, she still runs and slides out of control on the wood floor inside the house, causing her to smack into walls and doors with some force - three weeks after being with us. She chews on everything, and has put a hole in the couch, destroyed a plastic lawn chair, and will chew on your hands while you pet her. She will strain the limits of her leash so violently that she'll walk on her hind legs to get to something, making horrible choking noises (and no, we don't use a choke chain on her). But the worst thing is that she pees in the house without remorse.

We've a bell on the inside side door of the house that the cat uses to signal us that it wants outside. The cat hits the bell, and someone opens the door for her. The dog learned about the bell after a couple of weeks, but only rings it when she wants to chase squirrels or small children. Often, after being outside on a leash or the dog run for over an hour, she'll pee in the hallway minutes after entering the house.

I don't call her Juanita. I call her "little Miss Pees in the Hall". Sometimes I think the dog is mocking me while I clean up after it. She peed again in the dining room just two hours after I mopped it with disinfectant.

Sunday, after some particularly bad behavior, Sara and I went to put her on the dog run, and while doing so attempted to lay hands on the dog and faith heal it.

"Lord", we both intoned "Drive the deamons out of this dog! Be Gone, Legion!"

Juanita just drooled and chewed on Sara's hands. Despite being an atheist, I am convinced this dog is Of The Devil. So far it's managed to pee on every bed except the top bunk bed. And what really makes me sad is that every time I visit Nashville, I'll have to put up with this dog for the next fifteen years.

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