Monday, March 17, 2008

Life with Carly Sparkles

Don't let this photo of a sweetly sleeping dog fool you. She is NOT that way often.

Carly Sparkles's schizophrenia has added to the mayhem that is the Thies household. Here are just a few of the personalities that she has displayed thus far...

Carly the Wanderer. Yes, the pup has total wanderlust. Her yearnings to travel has taken her to every neighbor in our vicinity, despite fences up to six feet high. She digs, climbs and squirms her way into other yards to socialize. She's a conscious traveler, though, and often brings us unique gifts from her explorations, including clothing items, trash, other dogs' toys, and a series of antlers that are currently strewn about our yard (last count, 7 pair). The other day a neighbor from behind our house dropped by to see if we had any of his children's shoes. Alas, we did. Two, actually, one for each of his children. When I mentioned antlers, he admitted that these, too, had come from his yard. Surprisingly, he did not want these trophies back.

Carly the Destroyer. Given the mix of breed, I'm surprised, honestly, that there hasn't been more damage. Mostly, she prefers to chew shoes, diapers (when she can find them) and underwear. However, we've caught her with glass, aluminum siding and, once, chewing on a wrought iron chair.

The real destruction comes from her digging. Through teamwork she's created a six-foot wide hole to gain access under our neighbor's privacy fence to visit his very lonely and neglected black lab mix. Really, in her digging, she's trying to do a good deed, I am convinced. The neighbor is not so appreciative, and on his side has laid down bricks, 2 x 4s and other items to prohibit her entry, and his dog's escape. Carly responds by simply digging deeper or moving down a few inches and starting again. The neighbor will soon run out of bricks.

Carly the Killer. She has a taste for rodents, with a particular palate for squirrels. Once she acquires one, she uses it first as a squeak toy, gently squeezing it in her jaws to get the squeaks she so loves to hear until all the air is out. Then she moves to the tail and uses it to toss her new "toy" in to the air. I have tried to save a few, but often find them in a pretty sad state once wrangled from her, so return them to her so she finishes them off quickly. Her hobby has forced us to create a squirrel cemetery in the bamboo patch behind our home. The first few got crosses on their graves, but Katie quickly grew tired of naming them and making gravestones, so now it's unmarked.

She also goes after moles by "flushing" them out of their holes. She'll hear one in the ground, gauge where it's exit is, then start on the opposite side by digging a hole. She digs until the blind little creature is forced out of its hole, at which she grabs it and begins the squeak toy game. Jason is dismayed by the giant holes pocking our yard, but I'm secretly happy. I hate those critters, and I think Carly's pretty ingenious in her tracking methods. Besides, our yard is now blissfully free of unwanted critters.

Carly the Lover. Carly is quite fond of her people and lets us know every waking moment. She has a tongue that is longer than she is, and loves to lick you when you are not aware she's within radius, eliciting "ewwwws" from the younger inhabitants of our home. She's extremely tolerant of Sadie's constant need to stick her fingers down her throat, pull her tail and give her kisses on her nose, and loves to sleep with Katie when allowed. She especially adores poor old Darla, and puts her paws over the senior dog's shoulders to hug her. Which Darla hates, and responds with by nipping at Carly. Carly is either too stupid or too loving to care, and will return the hate with more love, in the form of inner ear licks. Darla is especially fond of this, and a barking match will shortly ensue. Every once in a while, though, I find the two cuddled up side by side or playing in the yard, and I think that even Darla's come around to the newest addition to our home.

Carly the Protector. Perhaps my favorite part of our newest pet is the fear she elicits in others. Though we know her to be sweet and loving, if people catch wind she's got some pit in her, they instantly fear her. A few weeks ago a woman in PetSmart told me how proud she was to pet Carly - that she'd never been brave enough to pet a "killer" breed before. I just sighed. This being said, Carly can put up a good front when necessary. Recently, an unfriendly dog was barking menacingly and came running at us as we passed its yard on our nightly constitutional. Carly stopped dead in her tracks and began to growl in this eery, scary, deep voice I'd never heard escape her muzzle... and it made my hair stand on end and stopped the dog dead in its tracks. Another woman was walking some furry, yippy little rat on a leash (decked out in some hideous fake fur coat), heading our way at that precise moment. Hearing the growl, she turned on her heal, briskly switched to the other side of the street and high tailed it out of there.

'Atta girl, Carly. I guess you're a keeper.

1 comment:

  1. Yay Carly! Good girl, protecting your family. I wonder what she'll do the first time a boy comes by to pick Katie up for a date....