My Cattle Dog Is A Criminal

Highjacked Bouncy Ball

Last week I was taking the trash out and Mae, our 5 year old Red Heeler, brought me this ball to play fetch. She is a fetching machine, seriously – as long as you throw the ball (or frisbee, she is actually partial to frisbees) she will bring it back to you. Anyway, so what’s the big deal? Well, that ball is not ours. No, that ball belongs to Callie & Brunson, the neighbor’s dogs.

Allow me to explain…

I remember the day we figured out what was happening…the handsome guy that I eventually conned into sharing my med school debt marrying me and I had been sitting on the (disgusting blue, dirty, bachelor pad-esque excuse for a) couch, most likely procrastinating some type of school work, when a trio of knocks
resonated through the room. 

We answered the door to find Redneck Neighbor:
“Yir red dawg out dur is jumpin’ my fence and eatin’ my pup’s food.”

What’d that crazy cowboy say ’bout me?
He’s lying.

I think at the time we both thought he was crazy, little did we know this would become a defining moment in our animal-parenting lives. We chose to do nothing and we ended up raising a hardcore canine criminal.

It wasn’t until about almost two years later that I thought about this again. I pulled up to Donnie’s house and
 who do you think I saw basking in the sun with her ears pointed straight to the sky? (no…not her…she uses an all natural, citrus fruit-based spray to get that sun-baked look) Yup, I saw Mae the red dog in all her fence-jumping glory. And, when she spotted me, she fled – directly over a 6 feet wooden picket fence. It was more like a leap-anchor-catapult move, but she made it over nonetheless and I saw it with my own two eyes.

Obstacle in the way of frisbee? No problem.

Other than the fact that her jumping has made for some seriously stressful missing-dog events….and oh man has it made for some seriously stressful missing-dog events (3 days missing in the woods after fleeing from a boarding facility…oh purina…I’m nauseous thinking about it…) it really hasn’t been too big of a hassle. In fact it’s been a source of occasional amusement – she’s great fun to watch catching frisbees, backflipping if you toss a tennis ball just right and climbing trees.

Anyway, here in West Texas we have some really awesome neighbors. The Hearn’s are a couple who love their four-legged children as much as we love ours and they are really, freakin’ awesome people on top of that. Naturally, since they like their dogs so much, they keep a plethora of squeaky, colorful, plastic things stockpiled in their back yard. 

**Let it be known, before I continue this story, that our dogs have toys, as well. Lots of them. More than any three dogs should ever have. In fact there is currently enough stuffing in my hallway to stock a Build-A-Bear shop for 6 years.**

When I started walking outside last year and finding toys I didn’t recognize, it didn’t take me too long to figure out what was going on. There were really only two explanations…

  1. The neighbors bought their dogs really flippin’ sweet toys that could, as my grandmother would say, grow legs and walk to our yard or…
  2. My fur-child was an all out thief of all things round & squeaky.

Luckily, as I mentioned before, these neighbors are really great and they find it pretty hilarious that Mae likes to mosey on over and snatch things from their yard. They offered to cut a hole in the fence so it wouldn’t be so much trouble for her, but I’m pretty sure she’d just start heading for the other neighbor’s yard if we did that (and they have a very small chihuahua that I’m almost certain could be mistaken for a squeaky toy). 

Yes, people, my dog is a thief. She is an unabashed, Kong-stealing, criminal. I’m just waiting for the fateful day when the feds to show up to inform me that they matched her paw print to the scene of a massive Petsmart heist.

Now, excuse me while I walk my delinquent dog to the
neighbor’s and make her apologize for what she’s done.

Until that day I’ll just keep tossing abducted tennis balls back over the fence while I lecture Mae on how her toys really are just as cool as theirs (unless I’m wrong & those toys do pull a Toy Story worthy stunt to get to our house….in that case, the neighbor dog’s toys are, in fact, far cooler than any tennis ball I’ve ever paid for). 

Did you ever steal something as a child? Or maybe your child highjacked a candy bar from the grocery store (I swear I have no personal experience with that…don’t ask my mother, though)? I would ask for stories of thieving pets, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one raising a criminal Cattle Dog. Tell me your stories!