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28 June 2002, 05:24

I’ve been so spoiled up till now. I had two of the world’s greatest dogs. Kodak, the universe’s smartest mutt was always the best dog. He came with the minimal amount of hassles, and only had really bad ideas about chewing and getting into the garbage about twice a year. He took three days to potty train and potty trained Afga. I think the worst thing he’s ever done was get out of the yard, but he’d always come back and sleep on the porch until I let him back in. Oh, and there was that case of Charmin that he and Afga shredded. Looked like it snowed in the living room. He brings me my remote when I’m in bed or toilet paper when I need it and I’m pretty sure he’s not the big instigator when it comes to the hamster kills that happen occassionally at my house.
And then there is Milo. Milo has a brain the size of a miniature marshmellow. He is the canine personification of the term “DOY”. As he was chewing on the oak baseboards of the house, peeing everywhere Kodak would sit, take dirty dishes off the counter to destroy them in secret, dark places in the living room, maiming stray cats that dared to come into the yard, eating every garden hose we owned, escaping the bonds of thebackyard to run around the neighborhood scaring suburbanites I tried with every ounce of strength I could muster to reign in his terror spree and train this dog not to be stupid. He’s eaten a bottles of medication, sucked guinea pig poop out of the cage for snacks, got his head stuck in between the slats of the gate, got his foot stuck underneath a closing door, not to mention accidentally running head first into a wall. Some behavior is self correcting, like the time he tried to chew through the power cord of a plugged in iron. He seems to get the right idea when it is backed up with electroshock aversion therapy.. The worst thing is when he ate a family size box of feminine napkins and got sick. I’m figuring he’s sort of slow, because he was at least getting the idea he had to do his business outside, and the reason I knew this is when he ate a box of ding dongs, he apparently got exploding diarrhea and left a trail that started in the living room and let to the doggie door…. almost.

So potty training was no picnic. And most of the peeing and cat maiming was reduced with neutering. Never did find any medication that would make his brain grow bigger, though. The chewing was a phase. A BIG phase. His main phase.. A phase that lasted about a year. Everything that wasn’t five or more feet off the ground became a Milo toy. No more antique base boards, kiss the legs of all the wooden tables goodbye, curtains were now tug-tugs, nice tupperware was non existentant, pants were decrotched, spools of thread were digested, garbage was devoured, and the $169 dollar specialty orthopedic doggie bed I got for Kodak was toast. I did have some successes in getting him to stop chewing video tapes, only to find he had developed a taste for dirty underwear. He ate 60 pairs of my underwear, that he would later poop out in little white, cotton dooky-shaped bundles in the yard. At least it was in the yard.

What he didn’t grow out of for a long time was taking off for the hills the minute he escaped out of the yard. He would be off like a bat out of hell, running for the nearest busy street, or some nasty, stagnant sewer pipe. And he ran fast, like his butt was on fire.

I bring this up because for the past couple of years, he has been better at not being a pain in the ass. Except for killing hamsters, he has been a dog I haven’t wanted to ship to Tibet in a giant Fedex box. In fact, you could say he had been a GOOD DOG Until yesterday. Apparently the little bastard has been working overtime on chewing a hole in a seven foot wooden privacy fence. He did this undercover of darkness, behind a bush in the yard. I suspect it started out as a knothole in the boards where he would stare out at the neighbor’s house, but allowed him to stick his big, fat nose in it and just gnaw like some giant, brainless, beaver.

We came home to see Milo sniffing around the front yard. He was three feet away from the busy main street at 4:30 in the afternoon, about to be made street pizza by any number of big Ford four by fours. Panic stricken, I tried to devise a way to sneak up on him. But since he wasn’t so dumb as not to know he was in some seriously bad trouble, he was alert and skitty. He caught me as I was about a foot away, and he took off running for the intersection, with me screaming profanities in a banshee shriek that would wake the dead. Thank god random chance calls him friend, because he got to the busy stop light just as most of the cars had stopped.

I pretty much am in the same athletic shape as an overcooked yam, and I am panting and having cardiac arrest as I try to catch up with the stupid mutt. Each time, he would let me get within a foot and then take off running again. I was just getting more angry as my over exertion starved my brain of oxygen, and all I could do was think in flashing images of me beating that dog with something heavy. Luckily, my brain is just a bit bigger than a small marshmellow, so after I faked a lunge to the left, I grabbed the dog. I was fumming but on the verge of collapsing as I gasped for breath. When Milo realized that if I were to ever catch my breath, I would kill him, he immediatedly rolled over submissively in a large, dirty puddle in the street. This giant ninety pound dog was upsidedown, spread eagle and I couldn’t get him to roll back over and walk to the house. Cars were honking, people were yelling, some were laughing and the dog was yelping as I tried to drag him back to the house. At this point, I was red faced and could only spit out hairballs as I was making a choking, ACK noise. Lordy, I have never been more mad in my entire life. After 20 minutes of trying to drag his fat ass back to the house, he flew into the house. I was in a speechless rage, wanting to rip his little head off. The dirty, wet, smelly dog was about to die because I was going open up a big can of whup ass with his picture on it. And before I get letters and summonses from the ASPCA, Milo has about three braincells to his name and usually doesn’t register the pain I desperately try to inflict – either that or I suck at spanking.

Now when Milo gets in bad trouble, he usually has done something that makes him smell like feces and needs a bath. So, consequentially, he has associated being bad with having to take a bath. The bathroom has gained the nickname as the beating room. This is where he gets spankings and baths. Spankings that cause him to stare at me like I was nuts, and baths that are a kin to washing large, angry badgers in a fur bag. So that is where he went, running like the wind, he hoisted himself into the empty tub awaiting the psychotic mama dog (me, of course). This one action saved his life. I was still plenty pissed,, but since he was in the bath already, I just washed him within an inch of his life. I scrubbed him down good and hard till I felt better. A good 30 minute bath.

I have never had more relaxed shoulders in my entire life after his scrubbing, and most of Milo’s hair will grow back eventually, so it’s all good.