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The Neurotic Dog

My security system, my furry friend, the one who greets me at the door…
meet Liberty a.k.a. the Neurotic Dog.

Liberty, the neurotic dog

Liberty joined our family at 7 lbs 12 ounces in early February, 2002. Two days later, we had the most incredible ice storm that shut down the city for days. Every couple hours during that ice storm, I trotted out the back door, carefully navigated the icy steps from the deck to the grass, and held an umbrella over puppy-sized Liberty as he took care of business. No one knows for sure, but there are theories that his neurosis began there.

Months later, even though he’d been kenneled every day of his life, after we returned from an out of town trip during which he was boarded at a very reliable local pet facility, he’d developed claustrophobia/separation anxiety/flat-out-craziness. We came home after work on the Monday after our out of town trip to discover that he’d shredded the hard plastic pan from the bottom of his wire kennel. Shredded. Like to bits.

We tried to replace the plastic pan with a manufactured steel pan. Whenever he was kenneled, he’d throw himself at the door over and over again with a terror in his eyes like I’ve never seen before. After that, he refused to be kenneled ever again. Since he didn’t chew things or have accidents in the house, we finally elected to just be done with the kennel.

Which was fine…until….

Three years later, I had new carpet installed in my house. “Vinnie” the carpet guy informed me that my sweet Liberty had been having accidents in my house. What???? Ok, I know I’m not exactly a pristine housekeeper, but wouldn’t I have noticed doggie accidents every weekday for three years? And if I hadn’t noticed, wouldn’t my mother or my father or at least my best friend have pulled me aside and fervently whispered, “Girl, your house has an ODOR problem”?????

In tears, I headed to get my neurotic beast from doggie daycare where he’d been sent to get through the carpet install. I had just spent thousands on new carpet. I couldn’t afford to have him destroy it. I called my bestie and said, “What do I do????” Her advice? Put him in the basement while I go to work. Try that for a couple of days and check the basement carpet when I get home. With no pad, an accident would be much easier to spot.

Sounded like a great plan, until I came home to this:

Yes, Rubber Chicken Fans…that’s a hole in my basement door, courtesy of Liberty the Wonder Dog. And he was sitting on the landing midway up the stairs. Wagging. His. Tail.

And a day or so later, I remembered…Thing Two had the stomach flu the weekend before the carpet installation. We’d used our ancient carpet cleaner to clean the spots from that adventure…and my bet is, what Vinnie thought was Liberty pee was actually residual Thing Two puke + cleaning solution!

Liberty has survived to spend many more years with us. He’s nine years old now and still acts like a puppy sometimes. He has an affinity for all things carbohydrate, so we must keep the pantry closed at all times, and although chocolate is toxic for most beasts of the canine variety, Liberty has been known to eat an entire bag of Snickers (wrappers and all) and just be a wee bit extra gassy for his trouble. [Although the year he ate the basket of Easter candy AND hard-boiled eggs, he was almost relegated to the garage for the duration of his digestive cycle.]

Oh, yeah…and the doggie daycare thing? (eye roll) Liberty’s not really welcome there anymore. The last time he was there, my dad had to be called in as an emergency contact to remove Liberty from the premises because he wouldn’t allow himself to be kenneled during “nap time.”

NAP TIME??? At doggie daycare???? Are you kidding me?????

But he’s the best damn watchdog. And he has the softest ears of any creature on this planet. I sleep better because he’s here and, although this theory has never been tested, I believe he’d fight to the death to keep me and my kids safe.

What’s a door, bag of Snickers and an occasional stinky dog fart in the grand scheme of things?

Liberty takes over the couch on his 9th birthday. Hope I'll be that flexible at 63 in people years!