Life & times of Psycho Paws | AspenTimes.com
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Life & times of Psycho Paws

Alison Berkley

My dog has a criminal record.I don’t want to make this about color, but I’m sorry – black is always the first word people use to describe him. (OK so maybe it’s the second word; big is sometimes the first). I’ll admit I can see how he is a little bit intimidating with his huge head, stocky build, black tongue and two little beady eyes that are very close together, like a bear’s. So don’t get your panties in a bunch because this isn’t about race, it’s about breed.The thing is, I lived with both his parents in San Diego and was there the day he was born. I can’t say that he had a troubled youth because he almost drowned in New Orleans or that he was tethered to some sled full of tourists in Snowmass his whole life. His father, a yellow lab named Rusty, was the horniest dog I’d ever seen. When he sired the litter at age 14, it didn’t surprise anyone one bit. He always had a boner and would sit there with this goofy look on his face, panting and drooling and wagging his tail so hard that his entire body would sway from side to side. He had these skin tags that looked like old raisins hanging from his belly. He smelled like dirty socks no matter how much we bathed him. All he wanted was for the nearest human to scratch his butt. He’d nudge you with his head and then stick his rear end in your face. Cuddling or scratching him behind the ears was out of the question. His ears were constantly infected and we had to scrub them daily with disinfectant, or maybe it was Windex. One day we were driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in my VW convertible and we turned around and Rusty had folded his doggy blanket over and was humping it. My roommate Anna and I started screaming, “Stop it! Rusty!” at the top of our lungs and nearly drove off the road, over a cliff and into the ocean. He was a dirty old dog to say the least.Psycho Paw’s mum, Suki, was a red chow with a big mane like a lion and a deep, surly growl. It was a guttural sound, one that should not be coming out of an animal that lives in your house. One morning I woke up to find I was left alone with her. I came out of my room to get a glass of water and she just stood there in the corner snarling at me. It’s not like I was some intruder with pantyhose on my head. I’d been living there for several months and she totally knew who I was. Still, the closer I came, the louder she’d growl, those beady dark eyes fixed on me like I was a ribeye with feet. She blocked the entrance to the kitchen where my beloved coffee maker was waiting. I kept telling myself to stand my ground. But when she started to show her teeth, I ran for my room squealing like a six-year-old and escaped through the window. Starbucks would have to do. I’d figure out what to do for the rest of the day later.One day we came home and Rusty and Suki were stuck together. Suki was dragging Rusty all over the house and he had this stupid look on his face the entire time. It was all pretty disgusting. The puppies were born in the garage. Our roommate William videotaped the entire thing. They all looked like fluffy little black labs with shorter ears, wider heads and stocky little bodies. William put a different color ribbon around the neck of each puppy, and I immediately noticed “Mr. White,” because he was always sprawled out on the floor while all the others were jumping around. He was lazy and cute and he would follow me everywhere, staring up at me with those little beady eyes.”I think Mr. White has chosen you,” William said. I had never felt so wanted in my life. That was all it took. Everything was fine until we moved into this house near the beach with these two Marines, Rick Worthington and Rob Bates. They’d come home from the base in big black combat boots with laces up their shins, fatigues and those little hats. They were a little, uh, militant to say the least and hated me from the start. Rob thought I was a spoiled little lazy girl and would say things like, “Good thing there’s guys like me to protect people like you who don’t know a thing about it.” My brother called him Master Bates.They thought Psycho Paws was too much of a “mama’s boy” because he followed me around all the time (like a little puppy, perhaps?) and would sit at the gate and wait for me there whenever I left. Little did I know how prophetic the whole standing-by-the-door thing would turn out to be.So the dog has a few little issues. So he’s destroyed every door and window in my condo trying to escape. Maybe he did bite my former coworker in the ass, but she hated me and he knew it! I guess you could say he’s aggressive, but I swear to god, he usually has really good judgment.It’s not like he can lie back with his paws behind his head and explore his history with a therapist. Besides, why waste all that money on therapy when my dad can get him the drugs he needs for free? “Well, he’s on our radar, anyway,” the policeman said. “I guess you could say he has a record.”All I do know is that that my little four-legged criminal loves me. And that’s the doggone truth.The Princess is really, really bored. E-mail something exciting to: alison@berkleymedia.com


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