Psycho Paws’ great adventure |

Psycho Paws’ great adventure

Alison Berkley

I lost my dog yesterday. I guess it’s true what they say: “Be careful what you wish for.” Oh, relax. Everyone in Aspen knows my dog is a total nightmare. He has been the cause of many a disturbance, and I’ve been told there is an APB out for his arrest (also known as an “All Paws Bulletin”), which is part of the reason we are currently hiding out at my parents’ place in Steamboat.He has torn every window and door in my house to shreds, including two sets of blinds. He destroyed my old Jeep, tearing up the doors and eventually shattering one of the windows. He beat up a very nice dog in my neighborhood ($360 for the other dog’s stitches) and did a number on the kennels, both new (broken window) and old (torn chain link fence) at the Aspen Animal Shelter.In fact, I just got an e-mail from my beloved neighbor Jean Robert who wrote, “We miss you, but we do not miss your dog.”The only reason the dog is alive today is because my dad is a shrink and can give him free drugs. The drugs work most of the time, but like most mysterious and beautiful things, there are always going to be a few little flaws lurking beneath the surface.So you can’t blame me for having fantasies once in awhile about what my life would be like without Psycho Paws. I dream of extended vacations in faraway places, of small apartments in big cities, of white furniture and light-colored rugs, of foreign-made sports cars with cream leather interior, and of never having to worry about getting sued.I am on a mountain bike ride with my parents when we lose both our dogs, distracted by a particularly harrowing section of downhill. I don’t worry because the one good thing about PP is that he never runs away. His whole purpose for living, it seems, is to be near me. All those torn windows and doors occurred when, God forbid, I’d gone somewhere on my own and left him behind. Post-escape, he’d usually sit in my parking spot until I got home. One time he jumped over the fence of my friend Listle’s yard in Denver even though her husband was home, and sat in front of my car for six hours until we got back from the mall. Another time I shacked up with a guy who didn’t want a black dog to dirty his precious white carpet (red flag!). He made Pyscho sleep outside (red flag!) where he dutifully sat in the gravel driveway in front of my car until morning. This is not a dog that wanders. This is a dog that protects.”I’m sure he’ll be waiting for us down to the car,” I say, totally confident. “Like I should be so lucky to get rid of him.” The dog’s undying love for me is sort of an ongoing joke in my family, especially considering my current status as a spinster.When we get back down to the car, PP is nowhere to be seen. My parents’ dog, a sweet little border collie named Sabrina, attached herself to another group of riders who showed up 10 minutes later. The sun starts to drop in the warm evening sky and still no dog. My throat gets tighter with every passing hour as I wander the streets of downtown Steamboat, searching for him and pondering his fate. This dog is indestructible, I keep telling myself. In all the chaos he’s caused, chewing through wood and glass and flesh, he’s always walked away totally unscathed. I can just picture some 8-year-old kid going, “Can we take the nice doggie home, Mom?” and then Psycho eating the poor kid for dinner. By morning, I’m hysterical. “We still haven’t found him yet and I’m really freeeaaaaaaking out,” I wail on my friend Sarah’s voicemail. “I don’t know what to dooooooooo.” Sarah is one of the few people kind/brave enough to dog-sit Pyscho, so she has always been privy to the “maybe we actually lost him for good this time” joke. We launch a full-scale search with fliers to hang around town and hike our route from the day before. It’s another cloudless, perfect day with a light breeze, and I’m walking through fields of flowers, crying like a little kid who is lost in the grocery store going, “I cannnn’t find my moommmmmmmmmee.”I walk ahead of my mom so she doesn’t know I’m crying but I can’t stop. I’ve totally become one of these lonely, pathetic crazy cat ladies, but with a dog. “He’s the only constant I have in my life,” I tell her. “The only permanent thing.” I decide there is no way in hell I am ever having children. My mom tries to reassure me with war stories about us as kids. “I’ll never forget that time we found a pickle in your diaper. It scared me half to death. You had swallowed it whole,” she began.”Mom, enough,” I say, and go back to crying again.I’m about to give up the search and head back down the mountain when I see a guy riding toward me pulling his two small daughters behind in one of those kid carriage things. “Have you seen a black lab around?” I ask.”Yeah, he’s sitting over there under a bush. He looks really tired.”I whistle, and Psycho Paws comes running around the bend, dazed but otherwise in perfect health. Oh my God, my sweet little liability, my gorgeous monster, I have never known unconditional love like I have with you.OK, I take it back! I didn’t mean it all those times I joked around about losing you. I really do hope we are together until … let’s just say I hope we never part.The Princess understands she has serious issues, but she has learned to live with them. E-mail Psycho Paws at

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