A year ago yesterday…

We drove out to a farm to pick out our new family puppy.

We selected the breeder specifically because they only have one litter a year which made us feel slightly better for abandoning the SPCA, which is where we found our last (AWESOME AND SORELY MISSED) dog, and what I still feel guilty about not repeating. We’ll be back for our next dog, SPCA!! Or Humane Society!! But my daughter was equal parts desperate for a dog + terrified of certain personality quirks, so we picked our breed carefully. And that brought us to that day a year ago.

We picked carefully through a squirming bunch of black female labs. (And I can hear you now. You chose your breed carefully. Because your daughter was terrified of certain personality quirks. And you chose the high energy lab puppy to bring home. Good one, Stephanie. But she is a sweetheart despite her earnest belief that she should always be able to jump up to execute an energetic bear hug or to lick any exposed piece of skin until it’s thoroughly pruney, or to act like a maniac whenever the mood strikes.) But I digress. As I was saying, we were there in the middle of a group of little, black females. Each one cuter than the next. Female, because they are supposed to be smaller. And she is a small lab, 14 months later. Black, because our last dog was a black lab mix. A very interesting mix. But there was definitely black lab in there. She was the sweetest dog, and I grieved for over a year when she died. It took me 5 years to be able to talk about her without tearing up. I don’t love my pets, I LOVE MY PETS. You can judge. I’ll give you a few moments.

So, we brought ribbons to tie around the necks of the pups so we could differentiate and make our decision easier. I can hear you snorting with laughter now. I’m snorting as well. But at the time, I thought it ingenious. And, of course, I did. It was my idea. So, we tied a green ribbon around one of the bigger girls who was a little charmer. She stole our heart and grabbed an early lead on the others. But that was before Curly set her sights on us. Curly received a ribbon early. I believe it was blue. She dispensed with it so quickly, I really can’t be sure. She was a little ball of energy and adorable mischief that you really couldn’t take your eyes off of, and she took over the top slot from Greenie. We decided to ignore the fact that she had removed the ribbon while looking at us disdainfully and gave her our hearts. We nicknamed her Curly since she was the only one with a curly tail. This helped differentiate her. But it became impossible to misidentify her as the afternoon progressed.

Since Curly was our pick, we settled in for a bit to watch her interact with her sisters. We just wanted to get some insight into her behavior, and we wanted to see when she would finally nap. HA! Curly decided that she needed to make sure this wasn’t a passive process from her side of things and began to test us. First, she made sure that she would be able to treat any other animals in the house as she pleased. Since she didn’t know if we had other pets, she just needed to see if we would stop her if she treated any of her sisters poorly. So, she began to assault them. Poor Greenie received some mistreatment and began to whine. Unfairly or not, we decided that Greenie wasn’t the pup for us should our love affair with Curly end due to the fact that her whining never really stopped from that point on. Curly pranced around the rest of her sisters and administered swats and kicks, charley horses and noogies, she stuck her tongue out, and body slammed most of them at least twice. She was pretty bloodthirsty. But we called her spirited in order to maintain our love for her.  So, she decided to administer another test. She began to eye my son, JT. And she eyed a big stack of newspapers placed behind him. She eyed him. She eyed the newspapers. Eyed him. The newspapers. Him. Newspapers. JT began to twitch slightly but held his ground because: puppy. What’s a little puppy going to do? And she launched herself. And hit him in the chest when she landed. A bit too low. She returned to her spot and eyed JT again. JT laughed. She eyed the newspapers. JT. Newspapers. JUMP. She landed on JT’s chest again. JT laughed, but this time there was less humor and a little bit of internal thought that we could all hear, “WTH is going on with this puppy? Is she possessed? I’m a little scared of her now. I don’t want to admit that though because she’s tiny. She can’t hurt me at all. BUT SHE’S CLEARLY NOT SANE!” Curly returned to her spot. JT. Newspapers. JT. Newspapers. JT began to twitch. Curly jumped OVER JT and landed on the newspapers. We all looked at each other and IMMEDIATELY back at Curly because who knew what she would do next but surely it would include garroting one of us with some twine she had found binding the newspapers. Opposable thumbs be damned.

We all silently agreed to fall out of love with Curly and to select from the small bundle of puppies slumbering peacefully beside us. We pointed at one of the three that looked small and heartbreakingly adorable. Matthew picked her up and she continued to sleep peacefully. The decision was made. And Lexi joined our family.

Pictures!!

The pup pile with Lexi in the green collar
The pup pile with Lexi in the green collar
Can you almost see that pup belly?
Can you almost see that pup belly?
Lexi's Mum
Lexi’s Mum
Lexi's GrandMum
Lexi’s GrandMum
Lexi's first car ride to her new home
Lexi’s first car ride to her new home

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Lexi's a big girl now.
Lexi’s a big girl now.

Lexi, don’t eat that! Or that!

Why not?

I guess it’s a good thing dogs are domesticated, as their self-preservation sense isn’t as well-developed as one would hope. For example, I opened a jar of this most incredibly tasty chocolate sauce that I sincerely believe was made by the delicate, loving hands of an as-yet-unspoiled human race with only love in their hearts. Because how else can one explain the heavenly taste of this glorious creation? You cannot produce something so pleasing to the palate if you have hate in your heart. But I digress. My dog began sniffing and sniffing and sniffing. She ran about the room as if in a trance trying to locate the source of the scent tickling her olfactory organ, and when she tracked its location, she stared up at the counter with an obvious stream of plans to retrieve the source of that smell being considered and discarded, considered and discarded. And I find this to be so very disturbing. Chocolate is no friend to her system, and as she is a lab, she would eat that entire jar and certainly perish. So, in fact, chocolate is her nemesis.

It’s not the first time I’ve watched her consume things that she shouldn’t. She stared directly and defiantly into my eyes as she chewed an entire bloom from our gardenia. So, I stared directly and dolefully into her eyes as I dialed the doggie poison control. When they assured me that, though gardenias should never be on the menu because they are slightly toxic (What in the world does slightly toxic mean?) to dogs, Lexi would most likely be fine after some body-cleansing rounds of diarrhea and vomiting. I hung up the phone and glared at her. And then, I gave her a ton of love because I’m a total sucker.

She has eaten a large amount of stuffing from dog toys and dog beds. I have yet to understand this unbelievable idiocy on her part. First, where is the flavor? What can be the possible payoff in that binge session? She invariably yacks the contents up into this giant wad of  inside-out stuffed animal sausage pretty soon after consumption. Often a mere 10-15 minutes later. Can the cause and effect equation really be that difficult to discern?

The really scary time she consumed non-doggie food fare was the time she ended up in the pet hospital. We’re not really certain what she ate, but the vet believes she went shrooming. And I think she might be the source behind all those crazy penis-shaped shrooms we found growing in the backyard this year. Maybe she was cultivating some new species to experiment with extra special trippy times. I don’t know. It’s so hard to talk to her sometimes. When she’s in a mood, there’s just no communicating with her.

But to get back to the whole chocolate obsession, I was pretty concerned and sat her down to have a very serious talk about how she can’t eat people food because a lot of it is very bad for her and can even KILL HER. I made sure to put on my most serious face during this, especially during the utterance “KILL YOU!” though she seemed to be drifting by that point. She’s pretty easily distracted, so while she attended the talk, I’m not really sure how much she took in. I guess it will be a series of talks. I’ll admit that I understand the sweet siren call of this stuff. It’s impossible for me to ignore, too. I’ve almost eaten it by itself. Almost.

I think I just need to look at Lexi’s activities in a more positive light. So far, I’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful.

She may be interested in renovating. It might be that she has a calling and is just trying to pursue her dream. I definitely think her second calling is to pursue a career in gardening, but that is a story for a different time.

But the renovating or the desire to change her environment to meet her needs seems to be a drive of Lexi’s. She’s done this on many a tail-tucking excursion in the house. She rearranges furniture and carpets. It may be a feng shui situation, or it may be that she feels that she’s correcting some problems with flow throughout the house. I’m not sure. I go behind her and correct her corrections. This seems to anger her, so she clearly feels strongly about her aesthetic. But her latest change to the rope swing outside, the kids and I feel, is going a bit too far. For one, I don’t think we can call it a rope swing any longer.
Witness:

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I think you can see that nice little red seat in this picture here. It makes for a comfy little ride.

 

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Do you see something missing in this picture to the left? I believe you’ll notice that the cozy seat has been removed. This is a feature and not a bug. I know because I quizzed Lexi at length. She stands by her work. The kids and I feel that the seat was a necessary addition to the rope swing as we are not jungle denizens. We are currently freezing her out because she didn’t even consult us before removing the seat.

Lexi is still adorable and still a pain in my ass.

I’m a bit of a chicken-baby. I’ll explain the term “chicken-baby” for those who are new. A chicken is scared, right? Well, a chicken-baby is super scared. That’s where I come in. Oh crap. My brain just supplied an alternate view. Maybe a chicken-baby hasn’t grown into its fear yet, and the chicken is more afraid than the chicken-baby!!! Well, SHUT UP, BRAIN!! I refuse to change my naming convention. I’ve been using the term chicken-baby for two freaking decades and not ONCE have you ever raised a complaint. So, you know what? SHUT IT! We are sticking with chicken-baby. (NOTE: UD is a great resource. I’m not trying to hate on it, but it has chicken-baby all messed up. They are wrong. Do not use the UD definition for chicken-baby. And also, I do not eat KFC chicken.) Anyway, Matthew takes advantage of this fact and likes to wait until it’s dark in an unfamiliar location and look off into the distance behind me as if he sees something that might be alarming. Then, he’ll look back at me and continue with our conversation or whatever and I’ll be left going, “WHAT? Is there someone back there? Something? Should we be running? Should we be preparing for some sort of attack? I’ll unconsciously begin flexing my legs to prepare for flight. It’s my go to reaction. Fight is for Bad Asses. Flight is for Chicken-Babies. The next morning, depending on how long Matthew played his little joke on me, I’ll often have some tightness in my “RUN AWAY” muscles. He has also apparently taught this little fun activity to Lexi so that she could do this to me while he was out of town. Guess when a chicken-baby is more scared? When the chicken-baby is down a family member. Lexi and I were downstairs in the dark house. It was very late, and the kids were asleep. Lexi decided it was game time. She began flicking glances to the dark staircase. Then she would flick a glance to the dark screen porch over my other shoulder. By the time she was done with me, I was a complete wreck. So, well-played, Matthew. Also, well-played, Lexi.

This, people. This is why I’m certain she is the spawn of Satan’s devil dog.

Yesterday, Lexi peed on her Flying Squirrel dog toy. Again. Yes, it’s happened before. Maybe she’s not so good with the aim. I mean, I’m reaching on that, but maybe? She’s peed on it before during one of her tail tucking sessions when she loses touch with reality. But this pee insult was delivered with her faculties intact. So, I tried to attribute it to bad aim because that rested easier in my headspace. And then, she did this!!!

Flying Squirrel Containing Poo

Yep, it’s poo. On the flying squirrel. Poo around the flying squirrel to show that she can hit the area AROUND the flying squirrel. And poo INSIDE the flying squirrel. Because that’s how she rolls. It’s insulting is what is. Insulting to the flying squirrel, and insulting to those of us whom she expects to throw the flying squirrel. And this didn’t happen while she was in the midst of a tail tucking session either. Which makes it purposeful. I feel that after this egregious behavior, I’m going to have to air some of my grievances with this dog of mine. So, my issues are as follows:

  • Her breath stinks.
  • She emits foul odors from her hindquarters. All stealth-like. She’ll pass by you and give you the cute face. You’ll pat her and give her a smooch. Next thing you know? You’re sucking down a lungful of foul air.
  • She jumps on me from behind in conga line fashion and forces me to conga when I’m in no mood to conga. In fact, I’m never in the mood to conga. So, what’s next? The chicken dance? On second thought, if she initiates the chicken dance, I will totally participate if only to see her doing the chicken dance.
  • Anyway. As I was saying. She performs a daily tail tucking session INSIDE the house despite numerous opportunities and admonishments to take that shit outside. And now? Our floors are all scratched. Yes, we do cut her nails. But it doesn’t seem to help.
  • She is constantly under my feet when I’m trying to do things, and I don’t want to have to look down all the time. Hello, neck trouble! And, also, it’s pretty hard to get almost anything done when you’re constantly staring at the floor looking for your constant tripping hazard. Hmmmm…. Maybe this is purposeful on her part? She’s trying to kill me, isn’t she? Oh crap! She really is the spawn of Satan’s devil dog. I hope she can’t read my blog. She’ll figure out I’m on to her.