Last Friday was like most Fridays at my house. I woke up, showered, got dressed, and went to let my 8-month old dog, Leia, outside to spend the day in the backyard while I was at work. But this Friday was different. She didn’t want to go outside. We have a big fenced-in yard where she has dozens of toys, lots of running space, and even a doggy pool. But on this Friday, she refused to go outside. She wouldn’t get close to the door. When I went to grab her and pick her up, she ran away from me.
So, naturally, I had to chase her, pick her up and take her outside against her will. When I put her outside she began to jump on the door and cry. She even tried to bum rush the wooden gate to our yard. This was not normal. Now, granted, she is a very dramatic dog and exaggerates her emotions. But her aggressiveness was a little worrisome to me. So I did what any 30 year old man does when faced with a problem. I called my wife.
“She’ll be fine,” my wife said from work. “She needs to get used to staying in the yard.”
And like normal, my wife was right. And I agreed to keep her outside instead of taking her to work with me.
When we got home from work later that day, I let Leia in the house and it was almost like the earlier drama never happened. An hour later, my wife and I left to go to the grocery store to get some burgers to grill before the Warriors/Cavs game and we decided to leave Leia inside as we normally do when we plan to only be gone for a short time.
When we got home, Leia greeted us at the door like she always does, jumping on us and begging for attention. Little did I know what I was about to find.
We put the groceries away and I turned on the TV to watch the Cubs/Braves game while preparing to grill burgers. My wife went upstairs to change.
A couple of minutes after my wife goes upstairs she calls down for me in only a way a wife can when she knows she has bad news.
“Tyler…you better come up here.”
As I walked into my man cave, office, study – whatever you want to call it – I saw it. It was like a tornado went through my otherwise neat and organized office. Papers everywhere, Shoes everywhere, soles of said shoes everywhere.
Then I saw it.
One of my most prized possessions – an autographed picture of my all-time favorite baseball player Ryne Sandberg that I had him sign personally when he visited Charleston, SC earlier this year – was destroyed. Ripped in half. Annihilated.
The picture had been laying neatly on top of a couch where several other pieces of autographed memorabilia lay as I prepared to have them framed. Apparently I waited too long to go to the frame shop.
Leia managed to destroy this picture as well as several other autographed concert posters and newspaper clippings. She chewed the side of the picture I had taken with Ryne Sandberg himself, but that’s something I can simply reprint. But she chose to viciously rip apart a picture that meant more to me than almost any other piece of memorabilia I own. And I own a lot.
On the bright side, she did spare another autographed Sandberg picture that laid beside it. Didn’t even touch it. Thank God.
Why did she do all this? Simple. And no, it’s not just because she’s a dog and I clumsily left a door open. Well, it is that. But the real reason is because my dog is a genius. And she was pissed at me for making her spend the entire day outside. So as soon as we left to go to the grocery store, she went straight upstairs, and found the thing that meant most to me and she destroyed it. She didn’t just step on it or chew on it, she ripped it into shreds. This was a premeditated act of violence on the part of a precious 8-month old rescue dog that could win global contests in the category of cutest dog ever. But not that day. She was a vengeful animal acting on a grudge.
After a few minutes of fighting between rage and devastation, I helped my wife clean up the mess, said some choice words to Leia, and went downstairs to start the grill. Leia was embarrassed. She knew what she did. She went and hid from me and kept her distance for the rest of the night. Like I said, she’s a genius.
A few minutes later, a buddy came over and we watched the rest of the Cubs game, then the Warriors game, and life went on. Leia spent the rest of the weekend sucking up to her human father. She knew EXACTLY what she did and she, in her own doggy way, apologized profusely in the days following.
Leia and I are cool now. I’m still not happy about the picture. But as my wife said, it was an object. And I’m lucky to have a great wife, a spoiled rotten dog, and the ability to accept that objects are replaceable. Family is not. And Leia, the cute, vengeful, and super-genius dog – is family.