Psycho Paws turns 6 |

Psycho Paws turns 6

Alison Berkley

Guess what? It’s Psycho Paws’ sixth birthday today! People are always asking me, “What were you thinking when you adopted that dog?” And I always tell them, “I didn’t pick him, he picked me.” Their second question is usually, “Have you had him since he was a puppy?” What they really want to say is, “Please tell me it’s not your fault that your dog is this screwed up.”For those of you who don’t already know the story, Psycho came from two dogs I lived with in Cardiff, Calif. His dad, Rusty, was a horny old yellow Lab who farted all day long and had skin tags and infections in his ears. He was 14 years old when he sired the litter and promptly dropped dead as soon as the puppies were born. His mom was a mean chow chow named Suki, who looked more lion than dog and was a true bitch in every sense of the word. When she growled, the whole house shook. I was terrified of her and hid in my room whenever I was left alone with her in the house.I first noticed Psycho because he was always lying in the middle of the floor while all the other puppies were jumping around and carrying on. He was lazy – a quality I can really respect and appreciate. He’d sit at my feet stare up at me with those beady little eyes until I finally gave in.”That dog is totally in love with you,” my roommate Anna said. “I think maybe he picked you.”So that’s how we met. Little did I know my cute little puppy would turn into a 90-pound beast with more issues than most people would be willing to deal with. A local specialist who is like “Mr. Save the Animals” once told me, “If he wasn’t your whole life, I would tell you to euthanize him.” My brother is also always coming up with various ways to kill him. It occurred to me when he offered to shoot him in the backyard with his Glock last summer that he wasn’t kidding.It’s just that I have this little unconditional love problem: It’s almost like the more screwed up someone is, the more I like them. I find great comfort in always surrounding myself with people who are more messed up than I am. That way, I don’t have to feel so bad about myself. That little habit hasn’t worked out so well with people, but me and Psycho Paws are in it together for the long haul.I’m just proud he made it this far, considering:1) Whenever I leave him alone, he takes it out on whatever is standing between me and him, which is usually some sort of door or another. I can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about doors: How much each little piece costs; how they are put together; when they’re salvageable; and when they’re kindling for that bonfire you were talking about having. Since puppyhood, he has destroyed more than two dozen doors in two states, including the Aspen Animal Shelter (both new and old if you count the broken window), my old ’88 Jeep Cherokee (doors and windows) and my parents’ screen doors (all of them … twice) in Steamboat Springs. And that’s not counting blinds, screens and molding.2) He beat up a dog in my neighborhood ($400 and several stitches later) and has tried (without success) to beat up a few porcupines (by that I mean three).3) He has “nipped” a few butts (for some reason, he likes ass) including that of my former co-worker and a neighborhood kid whose dad is a rugby star from New Zealand. “No worries,” the dad said when I handed him yet another blank check for damages. “Eee’s a dog.” Gotta love those laid back Kiwis he actually thought the dog taught his kid an important lesson.4) Over the course of the summer, he brought home a dead cat and a fox, as well as an enormous knee bone with the shin still attached. (I showed it to my next-door neighbor who is a hunter and he reassured me that the animal had been dead a long time already. I’m just hoping the other animals were, too.) We’re just wondering what’s next, a bear, an elk or a moose?5) He’s been on more drugs than Hunter S. (including Clomicalm, Xanax and Lexapro) and is probably the only chow/Lab mix in the state of Colorado (or the world for that matter) who will live the rest of his days on antidepressants. Thank god my dad is a shrink and is able to get us the good stuff for free. Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I have sampled everything just to make sure it is safe. 6) He pulls so hard on the leash that he can even take Tim for a walk (Tim weighs 200 pounds) and requires an arsenal of prong collars and choke chains and extra-durable leashes that make him look like some kind of demented convict. The only thing that’s missing is the striped suit.7) He has a criminal record (in Aspen and Steamboat).8) He is widely misunderstood but deeply loved by the select few people who know him well (I can count those people on one hand).9) He is, according to the vet in Steamboat, the most willful dog she has ever witnessed after watching him try to kill a cat after he’d had not one, but two injections of sedatives.10) He will destroy anything that comes between him and me to escape my condo only to sit in my parking lot and wait for me to come home.Happy birthday, Psycho Paws! Thanks for all the good column fodder. Here’s to making it to 7.The Princess has decided her next dog is going to be e a pug. E-mail your birthday wishes to Psycho Paws at

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