I have 3 dogs. And just like people, all three are completely different. Rocky is the oldest. He’s a Germand Shephard/wolf mix, black and tan, about 80 pounds, and a wonderful dog. Max is the middle mutt, a shar-pei/chow mix, all brown, about 40 pounds, and dumber than Pauly Shore asking Anna Nicole Smith directions to Harvard. And then there’s Nicky. Nicky is the youngest. She’s a mutt of unknown breed or lineage, though we suspect she’s got some pit bull in her somewhere. She’s about 25 pounds of short white fur, and by far, she’s the most ill-mannered, undisciplined, Houdini escape artist dog we have. She was acquired by DWW back in 2004 after she wandered into our yard, dirty and stinking, and basically made herself at home. At the time we already had 3 dogs, and I really wasn’t wanting to add to the brood, but DWW (bless her heart) is an animal person, through and through. At one time, we had 9 cats and 4 dogs, in addition to several beta fish. Granted, the cats were indoor/outdoor, but still. The house was like a scene from “Dr. Dolittle”, with all the animal traffic. Now, I’m not a cat person at all, but I tolerated them all. One by one, they all passed away (and no, I had nothing to do with it, ’cause even though I’m not keen on them, I wouldn’t hurt them either), including one of the dogs, leaving us with our current kennel count. I was overruled on my opinion of the dog, and she came to join our family. And the trouble with her started immediately.

Apparently she had been abused earlier in her life, because whenever I would try to pet her or touch her to attach a leash, she’d either run, crouch in fear and whimper, or try to bite me. But only ME, leading me to believe that her abuser was a man, or that the little white bitch was racist. She even managed to bite me a couple of times, and it’s a testament to my self-control that she’s still alive today after that. She immediately began a struggle for domination with the other female dog we had, causing us to keep them separate at all times. At night she would jump over the barricade we used to keep the dogs in the kitchen (at that house, we had a 4 foot fence that enclosed about a 1/2 acre, giving the dogs plenty of room to run around and exercise. Apparently that wasn’t quite enough room for Nicky. Soon after letting her out into the great expanse of the backyard, the dog showed one of her most endearing traits: the ability to leap over fences like a gazelle. For a while we couldn’t figure out how she was escaping…we never saw her do it, and there were no holes dug under the chain link fence. We’d put her out, and 4 minutes later we’d see her running across the front yard like there was a steak on a string dangling in front of her. To me, this was bliss. Maybe she’d just keep on running one day, I hoped. Alas, she always found her way home. I tried trying her up to a chain, something I hated, but she actually chewed THROUGH a coated wire chain, and when I moved to a link chain, she figured out how to get out of her collar. We bought a kennel for her to sleep in at night (which she learned to escape from), so we resorted to using it during the day when we went to work. More than once we came home to find the trash completely scattered througout the house, and the litterbox strangely devoid of catshit. This dog was not allowed to lick us in the face.

When we moved, the dog moved with us (despite my suggestion to just drive halfway to the new place, let the dog out to “pee”, then drive the fuck off). But I was ready for her. The new (old) house has a 6 foot privacy fence. No way will Nickademous jump THAT bad boy. When I threw her into the back yard for the first time, I waited by the sliding glass door, crouched over like a 3rd base coach, giggling to myself. I wanted to see her hit that fence broadside, land on her back, look at it like it betrayed her, and then go lay down in the grass with the other two dogs. I waited for this moment like a kid waits for Christmas.

That moment never came.

She didn’t even go NEAR the fence at first. I was silently urging her to just SNIFF it, but nope. She was happy. After a while, I gave up. I mean, I had WON, sure, but she denied me that sweetest part of victory – the humiliation of the defeated. I left her there, and went about my business. When I checked on her a little while later…she was gone.

GONE.

I ran into the back yard, expecting to find her hiding behind the riding lawn mower (not working) or just being out of my range of vision. No, this bitch was simply not there. It was as though she threw down some ninja smoke and vanished into thin air. I went outside the fence to look for her, and before long she came back. I checked the fence for any gaps or holes, and finding none, I let her back into the backyard. Maybe I had left the gate open, I thought. No way she jumped. That’s a 6 foot fence. This scene repeated itself over and over for the next couple of weeks, until one day, I decided to just sit and watch her. Eventually, when she thought no one was looking (I’m serious. She was all looking over her shoulder like a drug dealer near a police station), she took a running start toward the fence, hunched down, and launched herself toward the top of the fence. “No way she clears that,” I said. And I was right. She didn’t clear it. But she did land right on the tip-top of it, and perched there for a few seconds like some big-ass canary with fur, then gracefully jumped 6 feet down to the ground. I was flabbergasted. Never in my life had I seen a dog be able to do anything like that. Here’s a graphical representation of what I saw. And pay special attention to the beautiful imagery, the clean lines, and the overall craftsmanship and artistry of this representation.

I know, I know. Try not to gush over my Piccaso-like drawing ability. Or is it more like Monet? No matter. And I know the dog looks like an aardvark. Shut up; it’s called ‘artistic license’.

One day, while she was in her pre-jump wind-up, I sprinted outside to catch her. She got to the top of the fence, then looked back at me as if to say “I”m going to lunch now. Please leave your name with my secretary, Max. Goodbye for now.” And she was gone. Once I actually managed to catch her before she could jump to the other side. I grabbed her off the top of the fence, and tossed her to the ground. Oh, quit worrying. She landed on her feet. She feared me, since I was obviously the master of gravity, and for a while she didn’t jump. But like that contented feeling you get after eating a warm chocolate chip cookie, it wore off.

This dog has continued to defy every attempt to contain her. And where does she go once she’s jumped the fence? She goes across the street to the apartment complex, and climbs into the dumpster looking for treats. Whenever she escapes, she comes home dragging a trash bag full of God-knows-what, and tears it all to be damned across the yard. “So why don’t you just leave her in the house, Damian?” I hear you asking this. When we leave her in the house, she jumps on the counter and eats any stray dishes or silverware or tupperware or ANYTHING available to her. She also destroys the trash, and takes shits the size of a Chevy Equinox in the living room. We put a gate up in the hallway, but she just jumps it. If we lock her in the garage, she destroys the boxes in there. When we put her in the kennel, she CHEWED her way out. The kennel is made of steel, people, and she chewed hard enough to bend the bars. If we lock her in another room, she claws the door and eats whatever’s available to her, up to and including clothing, bedding, trash, toys, electronics, or anything else. Tying her on a chain only caused her to choke herself near death to get out of the collar. And in addition to jumping, she’s also helped to chew holes in the wooden fence, with dumb-ass Max as her lackey. The only thing that works is putting her in the kennel, but outside with the other dogs. And only if the door of the kennel is pressed tight up against a wall. We have to walk her on a leash to make her go to the bathroom now, but the damn dog is so dainty that she doesn’t like to touch the grass with her feet, so she stays on the sidewalk almost the entire time. This morning, I walked her in the 30 degree weather clear around the block, only to have her pee just one time – right before we got back to the house. This dog is the devil. But the kids love her, so she stays.

She better hope she never pisses them off, though. She’ll be gone like “Nash Bridges”.

Peace.

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