Note: This is supposed to be FUNNY! No death threats please! Unless, of course, they too, are funny ^.^

We all love our dogs – for the most part. They are cute, loyal, endlessly entertaining and they always need us. 98% of the time when we are holding a treat they will sit pretty and stare up at us with pleading, puppy eyes.

But what about the 2% of the time when they don’t sit? Well, cute runs out real quick.

If you’re going to judge me, turn back now. If you want to hear the truth behind everyone’s “little angel”, keep reading. I’m about to tell you the story of how my dog became the devil overnight.

It was quick as a flash. One moment, we were listening to our trainer tell us how brilliant and well-behaved Shelby was, and the next, she was quickening Joe’s hair loss (no one tell him I made that joke).

I remember it like it was just the other day, mainly because it was. We were standing with our trainer after class. Shelby was laying down, licking the hands of one of the trainers in training. Our trainer was telling us that he couldn’t use Shelby as an example anymore, because she made it seem too easy, and it was discouraging some of the other dogs and owners. I smiled and nodded as he talked about the superiority of the German shepherd and how easy they were to train, “Look at her, she already sits and lays calmly for people to pet her. I mean, she doesn’t even need to show up next class!”

We went outside, she did her business, we got into the car, she slept. Life was perfect.

She came home, she had second dinner, she played with Smokey, we went to bed.

In less than a minute, she was dreaming, and I cuddled up to Joe, smiled, and thought, “I have the best dogs ever.” Smokey sighed on my feet, agreeing.

I was dreaming about springtime at Chapel Hill, basking in the sunlight in the quad with a good book, when a shrieking interrupted my fantasy. I heard someone screaming. I leapt up and ran toward whoever it was, dream fading to nightmare. As I woke, the scream got shorter, higher pitched, mixed with small…barks?

I rubbed my eyes and stretched, recognizing the sound as belonging to Shelby. 6:30 already? Man, I feel like I haven’t slept at all.

I put two feet on the ground and rolled my torso over. I blinked, then blinked again. 2:05? No. The yelping escalated.

All right, all right. You’ve really got to go. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it just can’t wait.

I got up, went to her crate, called a “watch”, waited for her to sit and calm and then let her out. Outside, she peed and pooped quickly. I smiled and threw her a mini party (trying to be excited yet mindful of the neighbors). What a good puppy. We went back inside, and she settled in her crate and fell asleep. I cuddled into my pillow and sighed.

There was no dream to interrupt at 3 a.m. I laid in bed and listened to her scream. Joe was awake, I could feel him tossing his feet beneath the covers.

The hours ticked by. 4 a.m. Joe said, “Seriously?” At 5 a.m. she was panting between screams. “Maybe I should get her,” I whispered.

“Don’t you dare.”

At 5:30 a.m., Joe was mumbling incoherent death threats. At 6, he was saying over and over, “Shut up, shut up, ten minutes, I’ll kill you,” but he was so groggy the words barely made it past the sheets.

At 6:30, I decided to get up and take Shelby out of the picture, so Joe could get some shut-eye. I said to myself that listening to him threaten her wasn’t letting me sleep anymore than listening to her cry.

After her scrambling to eat Smokey’s breakfast, not listening to me (or my treats) to follow me outside, then taking her time in the twenty degree weather, I was the one doing the threatening.

Now, in our house, we have an interesting way of threatening our dogs. We don’t want them to know we are putting a price on their heads, and we have an advantage, because they don’t speak English. So, we take whatever we are feeling, and we turn it into a song. My song, at 6:45 a.m. went something like this, “Shelby I aaaam goooinnng to kiiiillll you. Oh yes, my baby, you are goooiiinnng to diiiiieeee. I can’t staaand how you keeep me awaaaake all niiiight. Do you hear meeee? If you don’t stoooop I willll stranggggle you to deaaaaath.”

Shelby looked up at me, thumped her tail a couple of times, smiling her puppy smile, then bit my ankle so hard I bled. She then proceeded to chase Smokey around two laps of the house, flop down and go to sleep. I looked at Smokey, who I swear shrugged at me, and then I said, in my sweetest sing-song voice, with my teeth clenched so tight I thought I was going to shatter every tooth in my mouth, “Shelby, when you wake up, I am going to kick you in your head.”

7 a.m. As she curled into a sweet little ball beneath the Christmas tree for a much-needed nap, my alarm went off. Oh God, how I hated her.

All day, my eyes burned. The pain pulled back into my brain. Everything I read I had to read three times. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Then I came home. Before I even put my purse down, Joe said, “She’s been awful.”


“Shelby. She’s been an absolute bitch since I got home. Chewing, whining, chewing, barking, not listening, just a terror.”

The coat was halfway off when Shelby started to walk up the steps. Back on. I forgot to mention! She learned this neat new trick! When she has to go out, she starts to walk up the steps. Her crate is in the bedroom upstairs, the situs of most of her accidents (like I said, don’t judge us, we are working parents). Anyway, three steps means she has to go out. So, I took her out. She sniffed. Good sign. Then – hey, a stick! Oh look, a rock! Is that a truck coming down the street? Oh, this grass wasn’t here yesterday! Woohoo! Play time!

It’s 29 degrees here, by the way.

Fifteen minutes later, nothing. The only thing we accomplished is numbness in all my appendages. In we go.

Before my coat was off, up the steps she went. Okay, she’s a puppy, she got distracted and forgot.

Except she didn’t. She was lying. She’s learned another neat new trick! It’s called, “When I go up the steps, these idiots take me outside to play.”

Well, we got wise. But she got wiser. When we didn’t take her out, she started to chew on the trim on the steps in between angry barks. In and out we went, in and out.

Of course, on top of everything else, my $600 Italian leather tall boots are a chew toy, and why would she drink the ice water in her bowl when she could drink the Christmas tree water? Naturally, she has to get her nose in the paint for Joe’s model while he is painting and try to pull the paper out from underneath the model miraculously all at the same time. She is very multi-talented. And what fun would the night be if she didn’t use those puppy teeth to rip Smokey’s nose open, causing mommy to have to pull the first aid kit out and bandage his poor schnoz?

So there we were, 28 hours since my puppy was perfect, running on 3 hours of sleep, watching Shelby and Smokey run around (and into things), arguing about who gets Smokey if we split and who gets stuck with Beelzebub, I mean Shelby. I smile to myself, pet her head affectionately and imagine strangling her.

None of us are perfect, but damn, I wish Shelby would go back to being cute.