Wild Animal (The Simple Dog Goes for a Joy Ride)

My simple-minded dog recently went on an unplanned adventure. Because the simple dog is so very simple, her adventure was alarming and horrible for everyone involved.  

Even in her normal, familiar environment, the simple dog exists in a state of almost constant confusion. 


She also appears to have very little control over what she is doing or why she is doing it.  For example, the other day, she was standing in the middle of the room just staring vacantly. Then she started turning in circles like she was preparing to lie down.   


But instead of completing a few rotations and then lying down like a normal dog, she got stuck in the repetitive motion and couldn't stop turning slowly in place. 


She is definitely not the type of animal that would thrive in the wild.

Unfortunately, she managed to escape one day while we were out walking, and she very nearly became a wild animal.  

In the park where we were walking, there is a large horse statue.  We had passed the statue many times without incident, but for some reason, on that day, the simple dog became highly alarmed by it.  


No one expects their dog to instantaneously develop an extremely specific fear of horse statues, and I was unprepared for her reaction, which was to sprint powerfully in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, what the simple dog lacks in cognitive capacity, she makes up in ground speed, and her sudden fleeing yanked the leash from my hand.  

I chased her all the way across the park and into an adjacent neighborhood. She ran into a partially fenced yard and, when her forward trajectory was interrupted by the fence, she began to gallop in giant, crazy circles just out of my reach.   

I'm fairly certain she had already forgotten what she was running from and had no idea what was going on, but there she was - propelling herself in endless loops around someone else's yard.  


After several minutes of tearing around in circles, she felt compelled to take off running in a straight line.   She didn't know where she was going, but she was going to go there really fast.  

I have spent a truly impressive amount of time teaching the simple dog how to respond to her name. I distinctly remember the self-congratulatory feelings I had when I thought I'd succeeded. I've done it, I thought.  I've overcome all of the obstacles and taught this animal her name, and now she will return to me like a falcon whenever I beckon her.  

But as I watched my dog disappear into the distance, I realized just how futile my efforts had been.  

I spent the rest of the day frantically trying to find her.  I drove around calling for her on the off-chance that she would actually respond.  I stopped random people on the street to ask them if they'd seen her.  It started to get dark and I imagined my poor dog, lost and scared - completely unable to make sense of what was happening to her.   


Finally, I got a call from a woman who had managed to catch the simple dog.  The woman said that she found the simple dog standing in the middle of the road, wagging her tail and barking at cars. She gave me her address and I drove over to collect my wayward animal.    

When I got there, the simple dog was curled up in a little ball on a towel on the woman's floor. I walked over to her and she looked confused.  


She had forgotten who I was.  She thought she lived on the towel.  


She was wet and dirty and she stunk like she had rolled on a dead animal.  There were burrs in her tail. She had puked up a pile of half-digested grass onto the woman's nice wood floor and was attempting to re-ingest it.   

Based on the evidence, her adventure went something like this: 


I helped the woman clean up the mess that my disgraceful animal had created in her home, then I thanked her and called my dog to go.  


The simple dog did not respond, so I picked her up and carried her out. 

 

I was glad to have her back, even though she didn't know who I was.  I couldn't blame her for forgetting.  A dog who becomes terrified by the mere existence of a stone rendering of a horse is not a dog who is well-prepared to absorb hundreds of unfamiliar sights and sounds, and I reasoned that she was most likely still in shock. I can only imagine how overwhelming the whole ordeal must have been from her perspective:


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the simple dog had trouble readjusting to being at home in the aftermath of her big adventure.  


Because of her cognitive handicap, the simple dog is at a unique disadvantage when it comes to coping with minor obstacles that most dogs would take in stride. For most dogs, getting a taste of freedom wouldn't be something that would cause a major shift in their perception of reality. But it absolutely ruined the simple dog. 

She had only been outside by herself for a few hours, but the staggering amount of new experiences had crowded out all her memories from before the adventure. 


As far as the simple dog was concerned, she had been snatched away from her life as a wild, towel-dwelling animal and transplanted to a strange wonderland filled with terrifyingly unfamiliar sensory bombardments.  


We have experienced these episodes a few times before.  From what I understand, they are a pretty normal consequence of disabled-dog-husbandry, and are usually pretty fleeting. But this one was different.  This time, the precipitating incident had been so extremely, entirely mind-bending that the simple dog had actually forgotten how to be a domesticated animal.

We had to teach her how to use the stairs all over again. 


Despite having been potty-trained for the overwhelming majority of her life, she started blatantly soiling the carpet right in front of us, as if she had no idea she was doing anything wrong.


She violently destroyed every toy she had - even her inexplicably-patriotic-themed squeaky owl toy, which is her favorite.  


And after she destroyed her owl, she grieved.  And we had to sew it up for her to avoid pushing her any further into psychosis.  


She forgot her name and how to sit and all of the various other things we'd spent so many hours carefully guiding her to understand.  


We did eventually manage to re-domesticate the simple dog. She re-learned stairs and how to not pee in the house and how to respond properly when her name is called.  She may not remember exactly who we are, but she seems to accept that she lives with us now.  She even plays nicely with her toys.  

But every now and then, she will stare wistfully out the window.        


And through the window, she will see the outdoors. 


And sometimes, when the shapes of the trees and grass and birds hit her brain in just the right way, she will feel the call of the wild deep within her soul. 

And it will trigger a relapse.  

1,260 comments:

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Nadia Jean said...

Tree+B=Mailbox

Liz said...

Oh wow, I remember losing my dog and being completely heartbroken. That sounds like a completely crazy day. Kudos to that woman who called you.

beerab said...

You sure your dog doesn't have some sort of mental disorder? The spinning reminds me of the mice at my old job that had equilibrium problems and can't stop spinning in circles. Poor thing lol.

Jessica said...

I got my wisdom teeth out recently, and i'm laughing so hard from reading all your blogs, and i secretly want to punch you because you are basically causing me so much pain that i popped another Vicodin (i'll probably fall over asleep in a minute)

but its ok, because i will love you forever. FOREVER.

Katie said...

These are so great. I am now a devout reader and tell all my friends about your blog. I showed your "God of Cake" to a friend tonight, and she suggested that you edit your most family-friendly stories and make a children's book out of it. I think someone would publish it, and it would be really funny!

blacklisted said...

Has your dog been by the horse statue again since this incident?

jess said...

beautiful

Rag said...

You're actually amazing.

Plus I love dogs, so this was excellent.

~Kyra said...

Having a somewhat simple minded dog(he did not pass any of the tests either)myself...I get the jonesing for the wild thing. Mine does it too...and his favorite activity is to disembowel his toys.

Anonymous said...

The night after reading this I had a dream that I was you and Boyfriend and I were chasing simple dog all around my neighbourhood. That is how totally awesome you are - you even penetrate my subconscious. XP
Great job as always.

Lita said...

The ending was magnificent! :'D
Seriously, it had me cracking up.

delphipsmith said...

This is hilarious but also really, really sweet. We all know that deep inside every dog lives...THE WOLF! Your dog just has a hair trigger for calling it forth ;)

Miss Teeheehee said...

It's good to see you writing again! I thought the Alot had eaten you and that's why you'd been away for so long.

I think your dog resembles my dog, as the only time he'll act remotely smart is if there's a treat involved. Then again, when I tried those tests you listed in one of your other posts, he didn't do too well even WITH a treat. *Sigh* We'll just have to learn to suffer with our dogs incapable of comprehending the world.

Mia&Syb said...

I love the simple dog! I wouldn't want her, but your posts of her are the best. There should be a simple dog cartoon!

Anonymous said...

I. LOVE. SIMPLE. DOG. AND YOU.

Anonymous said...

I. LOVE. SIMPLE. DOG. AND YOU.

Lori said...

oh god, I just about peed my pants! that's awesome

Anonymous said...

Just read this one again, and it made me laugh all over again. Thank you Ali!!!!!

Val said...

Your cartoons completely crack me up and I love them. I've got a blog award for you here, should you fancy it:

http://absurdoldbird.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/versatile-blogger/

whatwouldnemido said...

I love the way you write - and draw (but I can't draw, so anyone's drawing would impress me.)
You're most brilliant work are the ones with the dogs in it. (I love dogs. And I had the best dog ever! Clever though, not like your poor simpleminded, little friend... She died the age of 12.)
This one, "Dog", "Dogs don't understand basic concepts like moving"... I laughed my brains out :-)
It's got something to do with how you manage to pick the right situations, the right stories, the right point of view... How you describe their reactions and thinking. Their body language and facial expressions in the drawings are bloody amazing! Damn, you're good! :-D
More about dogs, please!?
Katherine, Oslo
whatwouldnemido.blogg.no

Bat Cave Twidget said...

Ah, Compulsive Disorder. Fun times. My dog also has compulsive disorder. We went through 5 weeks of major behavior modification after she snapped and tried to eat me and her siblings, then months of reintegrating her into the pack and now... as long as her environment doesn't change we're cool. On a daily basis she will suddenly notice a picture on the wall or the fireplace, shit a brick and freak the hell out. I love her.

Chloe said...

Bohemian Rhapsody!!! I love that song, I really do.
And your dog? Favorite :) I wish I had a dog. Then when my neighbors pet sit for me, it wouldn't drop dead, like two of my three fish did over break. Now...I'm almost fishless. This is sad.
But your dog is awesome! Loved it!

Janet said...

I think I love you.

Kirby B. said...

Hey I don't want to freak you out or anything, but from what you describe, it sounds more like your dog had a minor stroke. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Amazing I less than three you keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

SOO GOOD!

Michael Rhinehart said...

This is why I stick with cats. They may be evil but all you have to do is pull out a dustbuster and they freak out and hide. Great story today.

OscarBlogger said...

I just discovered your blog, and I don't think I've ever been so entertained by a single blog post. Your dog sounds like a riot, and the pictures are brilliant! Hilarious. I'm going to go through your entire blog! I'm so glad I found it!

Anonymous said...

we had a dog in a similar situation...would run away after being completely freaked out by a ball of lint, the spinning in circles and confusion...turned out to be a brain tumor with a not so happy ending. I'd get her checked out if I were you. Other than that its a funny story.

Kazuko said...

you made my day! :)

LuckyLuigi said...

The call...of the wild

As an insane dog owner I feel your pain :)

Thanks for giving my monday a great start !

C. Noah Pelletier said...

My mom has to sedate her dog when there's a thunderstorm. She doesn't run off; The wildness just makes her vomit.

Anonymous said...

I had a step-up-from-simple dog once. He provided hours of entertainment for his incredibly clever companion (and mama) dog. We also spent a good deal of time mopping tears of laughter at his inexplicable shenannigans.

Love your stuff, Allie, just wish you'd be more prolific!

JoeyL05 said...

i have read this an obscene number of times. I have found that as I scroll through it I find myself thinking "Oh my GOD! I LOVE YOU!"

not sure what this means.

oh, and simple dog was my FB picture for a while (duly credited to YOU the AWESOMEST!)

JoeyL05 said...

@ C. Noah... my dog and I spent last summer (and will be this upcoming summer) not quite in the wild (but outside w/out electricity/running water/doors).

last summer carbon discovered she had a phobia of gun shots / thunder ... i returned to find out she had crawled under the bed. she got at least half of herself in there. her butt stuck out but apparently that's not a protection priority.

Anonymous said...

while I applaud your efforts and compassion, this dog just doesn't seem to have a good quality of life. always feeling terror or confusion is no way to live.

Anonymous said...

the wolf pic is stunning. thank you.

Leanne said...

ah-mazing

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love it. I don't understand how you manage to make everything hilarious, but I appreciate it.

Rachel Kadel-Garcia said...

My daughter got me to read this out loud to her; it took me about five tries to say the phrase "wild towel-dwelling animal" because I kept cracking up

Karine said...

what is simple dog's real name?

AmyE said...

Now I am peeing on the carpet ....! Another thoroughly entertaining adventure! Thanks Amy

submarine-bells said...

Is Simple Dog by any chance a whippet? I have a whippet (Juno) who could be Simple Dog's long-lost twin. :-)

Anonymous said...

I feel like I shouldn't be laughing hysterically at these but the tears of joy on my face feel otherwise. You're hilarious!

CoffeeCup said...

... I actually had a similar experience with my simple minded cat.

{Crafty Girls} said...

Ok, unlikely, but just a theory.

Perhaps Simple Dog was kicked, and injured badly by a horse - which cause said brain damage.

Simple dog then managed to suppress this horrific memory, until one day... it all came flooding back!?

(Love your blog!)

Duke said...

Funny story but fits in very well for your poor dog. We miss her.

Rustle is doing fine by the way. There are so many dogs to play with and so many creeks to run through, not to mention the lake here in Zurich, that he barely misses Montana at all.

Natascha Geyser said...

Your patience is admirable, your portrayal enticing! Thanks for another good read! Missed ya :)

Yana said...

Seriously. I do really love your Job. It is awesome great anime, the dogs and the cats and the colors are really suitable. and I found many happiness on your pictures. you have a great tallent anyway.

Best regards
Yana

GoLightly said...

Hilarious, thanks for that!

Calsidyrose said...

Thanks for sharing Simple Dog's story. We have a foster Poopy (er, Puppy) who has two items on her To Do List every day:

1. Leave poops in different corners.
2. Chew something. Chew lots of somethings.

Sharon Creech said...

BRILLIANT!

Naieva Bookist said...

Pure genius!

Little redhead said...

YAY a new post, totally hilarious, what a unique dog you have :D

Jess said...

hahaha, your stories always amaze me.

Bex said...

You *literally* just made my day with this. I laughed so hard I cried at my desk and people keep wandering by my office wondering why I am in here laughing to myself and crying at the same time. This is a bad thing as I am a mental health professional. I cannot wait to read more of your stuff, as this was my introduction to your blog. Thank you!

Caitlin said...

My dog has officially outsmarted me. He feels the need to flip things over my head. If I bend over, even for a second, to look at something on the ground, he picks up a stick he's been hiding somewhere and purposely flips it over my head.

Todd said...

A long wait for a mediocre (at best) offering. But don't let all the gratuitous praise slow you down. Heaven forbid one person doesn't love it just the bestest.

Well, more than one now...

Let's see less pics and more funny. I know you have it in you.

SuperDaisy said...

I want to give simple dog a hug! Since i'm 3000 miles away, will you give her one for me? I love the way you depict her thought processes. That's probably pretty much what's going on inside that furry cranium...

Elijah said...

Allie, you're fucking amazing. My older sister-in-law and I read your blog on a regular basis and laugh our asses off every time. <3

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