Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Bane of my Existence

I was lying in bed last night thinking how much my life has changed in one year. Last year at this time, I couldn't run one mile without walking. Last year at this time, I had an Australian Cattle Dog named Lexi. Lexi was the bane of my existence and almost drove me to the nut house.

Lexi came into my life because I wanted a herding dog that would help me with the goats. I sometimes need help to worm them or move them to a new pasture. I had heard cattle dogs were tough and that they were excellent herders. I needed a tougher dog because the goats are smart and know when dogs are push-overs. The goats will sometimes chase and head butt my Dobermans. Cattle Dogs can take kicks from a thousand pound cattle and keep working.

I found a breeder of ACD's in North Carolina and waited for Lexi for months. She was going to be my belated Birthday present. I went to the breeders home and visited Lexi's parents. There were some clues that should have warned me about this breed. First, all the dogs were in kennel runs. This can be normal if you have a lot of dogs, intact males and bitches in heat. Which the breeder did. Their water dishes were made of cement blocks. I asked about this and the breeder just told me it was so they didn't spill their water.

Lexi was finally born and the breeder sent me this picture of her. Who could resist this adorable face? She looked like a baby bear. I was so excited to bring her home. I got out the puppy crate, bought her new toys, made her home made dog food. I couldn't wait to train my new helper.

Things went pretty well the first week that Lexi came home. She did good with crate and potty training. She ate well and was very healthy. My Dobermans were really bent out of shape about this new puppy. Lexi would try to play with them and they wanted no part of her games. I think they were trying to warn me because they never would accept her the entire time she lived on the farm.

By week three, Lexi became more comfortable with her surroundings. She started eating chicken shit. Around the farm there is a lot of bird shit. There was no stopping her poop fetish and I didn't want anymore puppy kisses. The Dobermans acted like she was the most disgusting creature on the planet. She became more persistent with trying to play with the Dobermans, jumping up on them and biting their lips. They were patient and didn't bite her head off. After all, she was just a puppy and we thought it was just a stage.

When Lexi was 12 weeks old, she started her metamorphosis of becoming the devil. She didn't listen and when she was corrected she would try to bite your arm off. She was never still, you couldn't hold and pet her fur. She had two gears- crazed, rabid dog or sleeping at night. I would try to find outlets for this energy because when I trained the Dobes, I knew a tired puppy was a good puppy. I would play ball with her but then she'd get bored and want to chase chickens. Then, she would get corrected and she'd lash out. After trying to bite by arms off, I'd have to get away from her to cool off. She would know I was mad when I'd lock her on the porch and go inside. She'd look at me through the window and tear the screen off.

At 20 weeks old, my life was hell. The Dobermans wouldn't let Lexi even touch them anymore. They were so upset by Lexi, they started withholding their love from me. Lexi was literally bouncing off the walls when I let her inside. I have a hole in the wall to prove it! She'd run circles around the living room on the furniture, knocking the recliner into the wall. Remember the cement water bowls in the breeders' kennels? Well, Lexi wouldn't just drink out of the water bowl. She would swim in it and splash every bit of water out. I was constantly mopping up the floor and refilling bowls. Finally, she could only have water outside.

I started calling her "Experiment 666" and saying she'd never die. I'd take her down to the pond every evening to swim because this was the only thing she could do without harming something or someone. She loved to swim but she did this violently too. She liked to attack the splashes she made. She'd bite the splashes and consume so much water, she'd pee gallons of clear fluid after her hourly swim. One evening, I asked my stepson to take Lexi to the pond for a swim. When he brought her back, he was concerned. He said when he was driving her down to the pond in the golf cart, she jumped out. He thought he killed her because she landed on her head but she got up and started biting the tires. I told Nick not to worry because she'd NEVER DIE!

She started attacking the animals. I caught her trying to catch chickens and would correct her. We knew Lexi could never be trusted alone with the livestock. One evening, I took a bath and asked my husband to keep an eye on Lexi because I let her inside. When I finished my bath, the house was quiet so I knew something was wrong. Lexi never was quiet. I asked my husband "Where is Lexi?" He said she was right there a little while ago, maybe she went out the dog door to potty. At that moment, Lexi comes flying through the dog door with a chicken in her mouth. I start screaming at her and she drops the chicken. Remarkably, the bird is still alive and runs around house trying to find safety. I put Lexi in her crate and get the chicken out from under my bed. When I take the chicken back outside, I find the massacre. She killed seven birds and threw them into the ornamental pond in our backyard.

I don't need PETA people on my ass about this but I lost it and tried to kill Lexi twice. The first time was when she was in her pen, dug out and caught my favorite Exchequer Leghorn hen. I caught her in the act and tried to strangle her to death. I don't beat animals but in that moment I thought strangling was okay. Snaggle, my stepdaughter was outside and stopped me. I was crying and screaming, "Why are you so bad? I'm gonna kill you! You are Satan!" Snaggle took Lexi out of my grasp because she said I'd regret it. She didn't think that for long because then Lexi bit Snaggle. Lexi never would die, I tell you! The other time was when she bit a baby goats' tail off through the fence. She had a leash and collar on so I just strangled her by hanging her in the air. My husband stopped me that time. He told me that I was starting to scare him. He'd never seen me act so angry and violent. He was probably thinking he was going to have to take me to a nut house if Lexi stayed in our lives. He probably was right, I was starting to crack.

We placed Lexi on a farm with only horses. She started attacking the horses too. The new owners have to have a shock collar on her at all times. This was the last picture I took of Lexi, I did manage to teach her to sit. I feel bad sometimes when I think of her, she was the only thing I have ever quit. She was too much for me. This may be one of the reasons I'm scared to have children. I would probably give birth to a human Lexi and go to jail for child abuse.


At 12:06 PM, Blogger nancytoby said...

You had me at the "eating chicken shit". When you got to the "killing 7 birds" part I was ready to murderize her too!!

You did right by her. :-)

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Cagey said...

No dog could be that bad. Are you sure that the goats and the dobermans didn't get together and devise a sophisticated plot to get rid of Lexi?

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Jessica A. Freas "Freeze" said...

Oh my! I don't what to say accept that you should have named her Kujo! You need to see that movie. You would love it! Joke! For this story alone, that is why I have a cat... and that is it.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Jill said...

That is too bad! Makes you wonder about the people breeding the dogs.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Miss Jenny said...

You make me feel so much better about my own murderous feelings toward the canine breed. I have a German Shepherd, Cooper, who is the sweetest dog you'll ever meet. Unless, of course, you happen to be another dog. Then he goes into a murderous rage and will try to eat your face off.

About 6:30 every morning, the neighbors take their dog for a walk. And every morning, Coop starts furiously barking and jumping on the glass door. His bark is so loud and it echoes off the walls and the floors and he's completely unresponsive when I try to get him to stop. Most of the time, I try to handle it in the proper way the doggie psychologist has prescribed. But sometimes I completely lose it and grab him by the scruff and scream at him to shut the F up!!!!!

I can't imagine how I would have handled Lexi. We've thought about giving up Cooper because of his aggression, so I give you HUGE props for trying to help Lexi as long as you did. I would have already been a canine murderess long ago!

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Wylee said...

You gave it your best and nobody can fault you for that. Just remember that the best lessons in life come from failing. It's how you pick yourself up and go on that matters.

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