65: Miss Daisy and Her Pawns

65: Miss Daisy and Her Pawns

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Miss Daisy and Her Pawns

In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.

~Isaac Asimov

Miss Daisy is my dog. A female Boxer. If you know anything about dog breeds, you know I am the owner of a neurotic, alpha female, gassy, I-can-jump-higher-than-your-best-Frisbee, drooling dirt dog.

And they resent, with every frantic bone in their body, when you leave them.

Like her Boxer brethren, she only likes other Boxers and thinks she’s a person.

Last time she was in a kennel in Nashville she growled at everybody, and if she had been blessed with opposable thumbs, would have flung poop at them also. This place was like the Dog Ritz Carlton, with TVs and cushy beds and chairs, and she still wasn’t happy.

We were planning another trip and I thought it best to try the new kennel right down the road. So a week before departure, we landed at Camp Arf Arf (the names have been changed to protect the bank account) and Miss Daisy was about to have her required pre-board exam, which they insisted on before they would “accept her.”

Accept her? Geez, what sorority would she have to pledge?

I wasn’t even a mile down the road after dropping her off before I got the call.

“Is this Ms. Espy, Daisy’s owner?”


“You need to come get her right away. She has failed our pre-board exam.”

“Failed? What did she do?”

“She growled and lunged at one of our attendants, and that’s just unacceptable.”

By the way, the attendant at Camp Arf Arf was a teenager who wouldn’t stop eating her Wendy’s Double Stack long enough to wait on me. She shook my hand with an unimaginable amount of grease still lingering on her palm, which was then transferred to the computer while loading my name into the database, completely misspelled.

“I’ll be right back. So sorry about this,” I said like a woman too familiar with kennel ejection tactics. I turned the car around and headed in the direction of defeat.

Back at the counter, I swear Daisy was smiling at me, triumphant in her bad-doggyness. As we walked passed the attendant she reportedly lunged at, Daisy jumped up and licked her face as if to say, “Sorry honey, but I had to get sprung from this joint. It was nothing personal. You’re just a pawn on the chessboard of my master manipulation game. By the way, you smell like a Wendy’s Stack Attack. Way to go.”

The drive home was silent but deadly, if you know about Boxer gas.

I spent the next few days researching kennels that deal with female aggressors (yep, I found the name to tag onto this dog). And there it was, the Valhalla of weary dominated dog owners, the Utopia of out-of-control dog lovers . . . Misty Pines Dog Park.

I kid you not—Misty Pines is the real name.

They train service and hunting dogs; they have a dog park, dog pond, nature trails, kennels, doggy day care, and most of all, dog trainers on staff who know how to handle alpha-you’re-not-the-boss-of-me-female dogs.

They are so good with aggressors that the local no-kill shelter sends their Pit Bulls there for rehab.

Daisy had met her match.

I took her to Misty Pines four times to acclimate her. We walked the trails. She did doggy day care . . . where she stood at the dog pen gate for two hours, waiting for me to come back and refusing to mingle with the other dogs. Although I think she did have a short conversation with a couple of Pugs about their shared breathing problems.

She seemed to be okay, so I officially boarded her for a week so that we could go away on that much-needed vacation.

By day three, just when I was starting to actually relax, toes in the sand, book in my hand, I got the call; Daisy was on a hunger strike.

By day four, they were feeding her canned dog food and rice cakes . . . her plan was working. As you can guess, we left our vacation two days early to retrieve her.

We packed up, counted the lost money on the remaining rental days, and drove back. It was a long quiet drive, the air filled with promises of “never again” and “no more dogs.”

We picked her up and got the progress report: “Daisy now has diarrhea from the canned food—better not leave her alone much for the next couple of days.”

So now we had to stay by her side or deal with cleaning up liquid waste on the new rugs. We (as in me) needed to feed her rice and burgers . . . ever so gently.

She jumped into the car victoriously wagging her entire body and put on the most sincere Boxer cute face of all—the one that says, “You can’t stay mad, I am just that precious.”

My husband, melted by the Boxer display of I-can’t-live-without-you, patted her. The Queen had captured her King.

Later that afternoon, I prepared the special meals of rice and burger for Miss Daisy. I told her to sit and stay in the kitchen while the food cooled. She did so ever demurely, and as I walked past her to scoop the food in her dish, I could swear I heard her whisper “Checkmate.”

~Carol Lee Espy

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