Lions and Aussies and Neurosis, Oh My

I have either inherited–or somehow created–a wild herd of dogs with special needs. Let me rephrase: I have a herd of dogs, and each one has its own set of special needs. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong, although I can speculate that it has something to do with our total lack of discipline. That, or it’s the stifling cloud of anxiety that hovers over me like a dark fog. Either way, it totally sucks.

Our house is like a fucking zoo, but one where all the lions, tigers, and polar bears have escaped from their cages and no kid in his right mind would ever actually want to visit. Our counter is filled with a myriad of Deramaxx, doggy-Valium, Tramadol, Prednisone, anti-biotic eye cream, and flea and tick medicine. That’s because our dogs are either mentally unstable, 900 years old, or totally out of control.

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My dogs take more medicine than all of my neighbors combined

Our dog Khalessi (the mother of dragons, a.k.a. Lee-C) is a two-year-old Australian Shepherd with a mommy complex and severe ADHD.  She’s brilliant and obviously bred to do what Aussies do best…herd. She’s also cute as fuck and so so bad. I mean, she is like born from Satan bad. She chews up money that she has stolen from my bag, herds the other dogs…and the vacuüm, the lawn mower, the broom, and pretty much anything else that moves. In fact, the other day she chased our sweet, elderly neighbor down the road…nipping her ass the whole way home. I’m sure we looked crazy, all three of us running down the street, me with a leash and the neighbor waving her hands in utter terror. She didn’t break the skin, but when I finally caught her I felt so bad that I had to yell “Lee-C stop herding the neighbor…she’s not a fucking cow!” She is, however, a fundamentalist Christian. So, she was more mad at me for saying the f-word and also probably for being born. Lindsey bought this dog for my 31st birthday present, because either she thought three special needs dogs wasn’t enough to keep me fully occupied, or she secretly hates me. It’s OK though, look at those eyes:)

Lee-C eating my money

So, then we have a 35-year-old (the vet says he’s between 15-100… It’s hard to tell) agoraphobic chihuahua-rat terrier. He literally looks like Splinter from the ninja turtles, half of his teeth are gone, and he randomly screams like a seal several times a day…for absolutely no reason. Otherwise, he is in impeccable health, other than his osteoarthritis, and he hibernates all winter in the doggy-hotel I made for him in a closet that we cover with a curtain. Jack likes his privacy.

Jack in bed with a cup of water from Starbucks

And, then there’s our min-pin, Riley-Pig. She’s ten-years-old, a Leo, and she enjoys long walks around the neighbor hood where she can pee on every mail box she passes by. This dog is not only suffering from a nervous disorder, hence the doggy-Valium, but she also loves to antagonize the other dogs in our house. So much so, that she is constantly getting poked in the eye and scratched on the head out of retaliation. Not my retaliation…Lee-C’s. She has one bad eye now, and from a distance she kind of looks possessed. She’s also 15 pounds over weight from her Prednisone, and all the time she spends watching the Oprah Winfrey Network and eating bon bons while we’re at work. Her neurological disorder–not to be confused with her nervous disorder–causes her to forget that her front right leg still exists–hence the Prednisone. She literally lives to eat and barks incessantly when food is present within a ten-mile radius. One time, the neighbors had to take their BBQ inside, because Riley spent two hours barking from the back window at the smell of hamburgers and potato salad. We have to roll her medicine up in a fistful of pepperoni just to get her to swallow it, and even then, she usually manages to eat all the pepperoni and then spit out the pill like a toddler with a mouth full of macaroni and a single pea.

Riley watching animal planet

Riley updating her twitter feed

And, lastly, there’s our four-year-old border collie, Eddie. He’s a genius, as all BC’s are, and he can do things like close and open doors, turn off lights, open the fridge, let the other dogs out of their crates, pick locks, change the channel on the TV, bring me my shoes, and currently, he’s learning to drive a stick shift on the back roads. He is cute, and sweet, and brilliant. But, he is also extremely neurotic and has developed a phobia of small children. He loves every grown up and large child that he meets but toddlers freak him out. He can bring me my shoes, and he carries around our neighbor’s newspaper every time we go for a walk. 

Eddie behaving like a gentleman

…And galloping through the creek

Lindsey and I deal with these issues very differently. It’s good because it keeps us balanced. While I have a full-out panic attack, Lindsey smiles sweetly, and reminds me that everything is going to be OK. In fact, when Eddie bit a kid, I called Lindsey at work freaking out. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Lindsey holy shit Eddie bit a kid
Lindsey: OK. Calm down and tell me what happened.
Me: Babe, the kid was in our yard and she ran over to him and he turned around and bit her!
Lindsey: So she was in our yard?
Me: Yes, babe
Lindsey: Poor Eddie, is he ok?
Me: What? Are you serious?
Lindsey: Babe, we’ll send flowers. They’re good people. It’s fine.

Here’s the thing…the dog should not be biting children. But, he doesn’t chase them down and viciously attack. He his scared to death of small kids, and when they come into contact with him he cowers and slinks away. But, when the kid directly approaches him, I guess he feels the need to defend himself. We have a specialist coming to work with him. I don’t want to see anyone’s kid get hurt because of my dog, and I don’t want my dog to get put down. I also don’t want to get sued. Luckily, we have great neighbors.

Eddie & Lee-C playing tug-of-war with a tree branch

In fact, I’m scared to death of getting sued. That’s because one of my family members recently sued my parents. Crazy, right? So, it’s always in the back of my mind. We’re even considering actually attaching a waiver to each one of our wedding invitations so that we don’t have to assume liability if someone falls down or drinks too many flowery cocktails. And, I don’t know how I went from writing about my crazy dog family to talking about potentially including waiver-inserts with my wedding invitations. But, to be fair, it can’t be that hard to follow a chain of events that starts with a herd of dogs and ends with a law suit at my wedding. Plus, that’s just how my mind works.

10 thoughts on “Lions and Aussies and Neurosis, Oh My

    • I’m crazy, right? Lol. It’s like a mad house. But, you know, nothing has ever been more gratifying! And, bless your heart…for being so kind and for having had a border collie! That breed will always be number one in my heart. But, don’t tell the aussies or the min pins or the chihuahuas!

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      • You probably know that Border Collies are the smartest breed, right? I can tell you how their IQ is tested if you want. I have a friend who had a male Border Collie who would throw himself out of the second floor window when someone drove up to the house. Lucy was our BC. What’s yours name?

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      • Lol, I have definitely taken advantage of those bragging rights…I am not proud to say that I’ve actually defensively googled “smartest dog in the world” in the middle of a “my dog is smarter than yours” argument. Haha. But, I would love to know how they are technically tested. I thought it had something to do with their response to commands, the amount of time it takes them to learn, and even their ability to make inferences, which by the way, I used to teach my high school students how to do! Am I way off? Lucy is such a cute bc name… Do you have A picture of her that you can share? My bc is named Eddie and I swear he is just like your friend’s dog with the car thing. He literally LIVES to take car rides. We started spelling out the words car and ride because when we said them he would go ballistic with excitement. But it only took a few times before he learned the spelling. He seriously amazes me. He was our first rescue, but I got him as a puppy… And I tried so hard to focus his energy and intelligence on constructive, fun, and unique activities, but I can’t find anywhere for him to herd sheep. I would love to find a place where people can bring their herding dogs to learn to herd… Do you know of such a place? I know you travel a lot, but do you have any dogs now? If not, you are always welcome to borrow one or two of mine! Haha.

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      • I wish I could meet this trainer/owner because I know Eddie could do a lot of these tricks! He does know how to open doors and bring my shoes and herd the other dogs, etc. but I can’t seem to teach him obstacle oriented tricks or tricks that involve weaving or balancing… Like Nana. He is easily frightened… I really think my anxiety impacts his own nervous energy. Thank you for sharing this link! Maybe I can do a little more research and learn how to teach him some of these things.

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      • First IQ test. Someone puts a blanket or sheet over the dog and then counts to see how many seconds it takes. Border collies are the quickest, then German Shepherds and then Standard Poodles….(Yuck, I don’t like them , but love the German Shepherds.

        We visited a sheep farm in Scotland and saw BC get trained. They start the pups herding ducks and geese. They teach them to obey clickers and each dog has their own click sound. Lucy came from a farm here in UpState NY where her mom and day worked for the farmer. We took her to an obstical course
        a few times but husband didn’t enjoy it and he said she didn’t either. Lucy looked a lot like Nana with even the same markings. I don’t have a picture of her. SHe was really husband’s dog. He threw the ball to her for hours and shoveled snow which she loved. She was skittish too, I think they are pretty sensitive dogs. Good luck with Eddie !

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      • Wow that’s really interesting. I never knew that. I will have to see how long it takes for Eddie:) if Lucy looked like Nana then she was a beautiful girl. And, you are right, they are so sensitive. Thank you for all of your comments and feedback. You are a lovely lady.

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