Living life like Psycho Paws |

Living life like Psycho Paws

Alison BerkleyAspen, CO Colorado

Every time I tell someone my dog is doing well, he immediately does something bad as if to prove me wrong.I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday I was bragging to my friend Diana about how great Psycho Paws is doing. Diana and Psycho are on the same anti depressant medication so they have that in common.”No, seriously! He’s doing great,” I said, actually believing my every word. “I left him home alone for like, seven hours the other day and when I came in, he didn’t even greet me at the front door. He was totally out, sleeping in my bed.”Then I caught myself. “I probably shouldn’t say anything about how great he’s doing because as soon as I do, he always goes and does something bad again.”It’s been a long time since he’s destroyed any property/bitten any small children/killed another animal. My Dad says the Lexapro probably has a cumulative effect so that over time he’s just getting mellower and mellower. Plus, he’s almost seven years old, so that’s like almost 50 in people years. As long as there’s not another dog he wants to mutilate within a 10-mile radius, he’s super chill. I always have this picture of him in my mind when I’m not home, doing bong hits with the cat from upstairs, watching surf videos on DVD.So I come home today to find Psycho Paws perched at the bottom of the stairs of my building, just waiting for me to come home. It was actually kind of cute, the way he came running up as soon as he saw my Jeep pull up in the parking lot, tail a’wagging.”Were you waiting for me?” I cooed, thinking of those studies that show how having a pet lowers your heart rate and makes you live longer or whatever.He happily pranced after me up the stairs to my apartment, where I walked in the door only to find his escape route – the blinds above my bed were torn to ribbons with little bloody teeth marks all over it. I started swearing and yelling until I realized my upstairs neighbor might be home. Then I took a quieter route, swatting him a few times in the head with a dirty tank top that was sitting in my hamper. I won’t even go into how many times I’ve replaced the blinds in my bedroom, or how much those things cost or how the prices seem to go up every six months that I just happen to need new ones.I’m guessing child rearing should be a piece of cake after this. I mean, babies are so small – they can’t possibly do this much damage.Yes, I know they say your pet is a direct reflection of its owner. You’re not the first person to bring that to my attention. All my friends think it’s hilarious that I have this neurotic destructo dog that has panic attacks when I leave him home alone because he thinks he’s going to die without me.The truth is I can relate to Psycho’s regressed behavior. Totally.After everyone yelled at me for being too self righteous on my path to becoming an enlightened yogi, I decided it was high time I reassure everyone that I am still the same confused, messed up spoiled little girl I always was and basically went back to all my old ways.Here’s the thing. It is a little discouraging because I do put so much effort into things only to have it cancel itself out when I go to the opposite extreme.I’m always making these huge decrees and setting these gigantic goals. I’ll decide I’m gonna workout twice a day, every day one week only to spend the following week lying around drinking beer and taking naps. Or I’ll go on a big juice fast and not eat anything for a week to cleanse my system and then decide that means I’m entitled to pig out as soon as it’s over. Or I’ll go to Hawaii and live like a nun for nine weeks, with no drinking, no drugs, and no sex only to come home and make up for lost time in all those categories. (No, I’m not going to get into the details. Just use your imagination).It’s funny because as soon as I got back, I promptly ran into one of the only people in this town I particularly dislike. He always acts all excited to see me, like he’s an old friend I actually care about instead of the guy I think about when I go to the Routt County Firing Range for the monthly women’s gun clinic.”So are you a yogi now?” he asked in that annoying whiney tone.”No, not really. But the course was really good for me. It was really disciplined. Taught me things I really needed to learn.””Yeah, but does that translate to your life back here?” he asked, shifting his weight from foot to foot like a boxer in a ring – or maybe a squirrel about to shuck another pinecone since he is pretty scrawny – but you get the idea.What really drives me nuts about that (no pun intended) is that he had a pretty good point.The truth is I always feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Going backwards. Climbing the mountain only to slip and fall right before the summit and tumble back to the bottom where I land in a heap, riddled with cuts and bruises.So when I come home to find my crazy dog is still crazy even if he hasn’t acted like it in a long time, it just makes it all so clear. A zebra doesn’t change his stripes. My dog will always be more Chow than Lab. And a princess with a ding in her crown probably still doesn’t have her head on straight.The Princess is happy being blonde. Send your loving e-mail to