Totally changing her name

By Mir
November 3, 2009

Licorice is pretty much exactly what we imagined, when people told us about how great it would be to adopt a rescue dog. “They’re just so grateful,” people said. “They bond to you in a way other dogs don’t. They just love you SO MUCH.”

[Come to think of it, people tried to tell me that about kids before I had them. And not ONCE in any of those conversations did anyone mention a hormonal tween screaming and incoherent with rage, stomping up the stairs, all because I said “Please go change into a pair of pants that don’t look like you just pulled them out from the laundry pile under your bed.”]

But Licorice, man. Licorice is LOVE. Wherever we are, that’s where she is. She spends every evening in my lap. Her whole body wags when the kids come home. She is completely, undeniably, OURS.

“We got the best dog in the whole world,” I will often remark to my longsuffering husband, as Licorice sprawls on my lap at night. When I’m under the weather, like I’ve been the last couple of days, she leaps into bed with me and actually sighs with contentment as she arranges herself so that as much of her is touching as much of me as possible. She’s about as close to canine perfection as we could’ve hoped.

Which is why it came as a total surprise, this weekend, when she ran off.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hell, it’s probably the same thing I was thinking—can these people somehow not manage to keep a dog on their property? I mean, I’m willing to chalk the whole Super Saga up to one part our stupidity and three parts him being feral, but when it happens with a NICE dog who seems to LOVE US, then a person does indeed need to start wondering “What the hell?”

But on Sunday we were going in and out and—as usual—Licorice sat by the screen door, tail thumping, watching to see who was coming in to scratch her ears. And somehow the door went *bang* as it does, and suddenly Licorice was outside, not on a leash.

“Licorice!” I called. “Silly dog! Come here, sweetie.”

She looked at me for a second, and then she RAN.

You know that feeling, the one where your heart seems to simultaneously STOP and also beats a million beats a second? That one? That’s what happened. I took off after her, up the driveway, calling her name. She raced on, ears flying behind her, clearly enjoying her unfettered sprint. I kept calling her name and she didn’t even turn back, that rotten thing.

She hung a right at the end of the driveway and darted down the street. A neighbor couple was walking their dog in our direction and Licorice barreled towards them. I raced behind her, like a lunatic, calling her name.

Also? Now would be a good time to point out that at just twelve pounds, I declare this animal to be ridiculously fast given her size. Shouldn’t I be able to outrun a twelve pound dog??

Licorice pulled up about ten feet from the walking neighbors and stood there, tail wagging madly, barking at their dog. This allowed me to run up and grab her, and she was completely startled.

Then she licked my face and turned back to the neighbor dog, again. If I was reading her doggie body language correctly, Licorice was telling me, “Oh, fancy meeting you here! I LOVE YOU! And look what I found! Another dog! YAY!”

I apologized to the neighbors (their dog was mostly unbothered, though she did seem slightly perplexed by the entire encounter) and then walked home with my arms full of wagging, licking dog.

Since then I have been calling her Nonobaddog. I like to think she looks a little apologetic when I call her that, but it’s hard to tell because she’s usually licking my eyeballs and that makes it hard to see.

And that’s how we learned that grateful doesn’t necessarily mean “not rotten.”


  1. Chuck

    The last dog my parents had when I lived there, Bentley, also ran off periodically. Didn’t happen often but I think maybe four or five times when he lived there. And he was VERY happy with us (he also used to sigh contentedly when he would lie down next to you.) But he also liked to go to the park. Decisions, decisions…

  2. Megan

    Yes, the trouble is that dogs, like Pooh, are of very small brains and sometimes there is only room for one thing at a time – like, say, THAT SMELLS AMAZING AND I MUST CHASE IT IMMEDIATELY or OOOH! RUNNING IS GOOD! There simply isn’t a spare brain cell left to suggest that maybe, just maybe that human back there whom I love so very much might be hollering my name for a reason OTHER than a desire to join in this oh-so-very-wonderful-game. Darling, lovable, utterly marvelous though they are, yes, they are also sometimes totally rotten.

  3. el-e-e

    I am picturing the squirming armful she must have been on your walk back home, and it makes me giggle.

  4. Lylah

    When our dog — a 75-pound black lab — decides to run off and I have to chase after him, he looks at me all gleeful, like, “Oh LOOK! The food lady is PLAYING WITH ME!”

  5. Shelley

    I found a special treat my Bella likes. When I call for her and she doesn’t come I yell “chicken strip” and rattle the bag. She comes running to me!

  6. kim

    “shouldn’t I be able to outrun a 12 lb. dog?” Bwaaahaaahaaa. That dog has twice as many legs as you do, short little legs at that, and she’s much more streamlined than you, silly biped.
    If you can get her attention at all, try running the other direction, and get her to chase you.

  7. Megan

    If there’s a next time:

    One of the things our trainer taught us was that if your dog somehow gets away from you, you should not chase or run – but you should lay down. If you lay down, your dog will almost CERTAINLY come figure out what’s wrong with you.

    We’ve tried it a few times in our yard, and it works every single time.

  8. Megan

    Addendum: You Will, however, get a face full of dog tongue.

  9. MomCat

    And just cuz no one has mentioned it, the way to get your tween to change clothes is to smile and say, “Wow! Cute! I just LOVE those pants!” when she comes down.

  10. Dawn

    “… she looks a little apologetic when I call her that, but it’s hard to tell because she’s usually licking my eyeballs and that makes it hard to see.”

    I almost CHOKED laughing when I read that. That’ll teach me to read your blog while eating lunch.

    They all do that, no matter how much they love you. It’s just a dog thing, I’m afraid. They just love to run and sniff and chase and explore and their tiny Pooh-like brains cannot compute dangers like cars and bigger dogs and cats and nasty people.

    I think rattling a treat bag is our only weapon.

  11. Traci

    When our dog runs off, we need a car to go catch her. ;)

  12. Half Assed Kitchen

    Aw, you’re making me want a rotten, lovable dog.

  13. feefifoto

    Don’t look at it as ungrateful. View it instead as “secure” — secure in the knowledge that no matter where she goes, you’ll always be there to pick her up.

    Feel better?

  14. Miss.Magorka

    When I was still living at home with my parents they bought a Jack Russell puppy and it was a pretty good puppy but after a few months we realized that it wasn’t that she was bad at listening, but that she was deaf. So being that we lived in town my parents thought it might be safer to find her a home in the country were there was less traffic. So in the meantime, I had her out on the front deck and that little bugger jumped between the rails and off she went, then after a moment of shock I realized I wouldn’t be able to call her back and I had to chase her around the neighbourhood throwing raw hot dogs at her. Once she realized that the magic flying wieners where coming from me, she ran up to me and I took her home.

  15. RuthWells

    My dog is rotten like this, too. We paid a ridiculous sum of money for private training last year, but I still don’t trust him off-leash. And he has knocked me on my butt to get past me out the door when properly motivated (i.e., cat).

  16. Andrea

    My aunt used to have a bassett named Rosie, and a black something named Shadow…When they got out of the yard, we could watch Shadow lead Rosie away by the ear, down a few blocks out of sight, and then Shadow would come racing home like mad. We always had to get in the car and go find Rosie!

  17. Liz

    Dogs will be dogs! We had an Irish setter when I was a kid, that dog would’ve taken a bullet for any of us if he thought it was necessary, but every once in a while he would get out of the house and run up and down the block gleefully. He just couldn’t help himself. If we didn’t end up catching him ourselves, we knew where to find him – two blocks away at my grandparents’ house, eating a bowl of ice cream that my grandfather gave him.

  18. Nicki

    I love your stories. It makes me miss Bishop-no so very much.

  19. melanie

    My black lab was very good about not running away. We never had any qualms about her being outside in the front yard. She never went passed the sidewalk or past the driveway. It was almost as if there were invisible barriers around the front yard that only she could see. But then we had the gall to put her on a diet and she soon learned that there was a Rib Crib (BBQ restaurant) around the corner. From then on, when Jessie would disappear, we only had to walk to Rib Crib and she would be at the dumpster attempting to cheat on her diet. She is in doggy heaven now where I’m sure she has her very own Rib Crib Dumpster refilled daily~

  20. Suzy Voices

    Awwwwww!! How sweet! I love hearing about rescue dogs. I currently have two which were supposed to be foster dogs, but I suck at not letting other people adopt them. ;-)

  21. Scottsdale Girl

    OH and MissMagorka made me cry with laughter. Magic Flying Weiners. FUNNAY!

  22. karen

    Mir I am laughing my a** off, and I won’t dare crack another Super joke. I can only imagine the internal dialogue as you were chasing that dog… “NO WAY, no Friggin WAY is this happening again, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DOG????? REALLY???? I thought we had a RELATIONSHIP! I SAVED YOUR SORRY BEHIND”…

    Been there, done that. Atleast it ended in minutes, not hours or days.

  23. ellbee

    We had a weiner dog from the pound when I was younger–he would occasionally make a break for it for no other reason than the voices in his little weinery head told him to. I remember one occasion when I was rollerblading out front and he made a bid for freedom down the street; I chased him and–even with skates on– it took me half a block and a flying leap to catch him. Boy, were the neighbors suprised at the ball of dog, wheels and little girl rolling across their lawn.

  24. Tracy

    So, I realize I’ve been outta touch awhile…(had surgery but much better now, thanks!)…but didn’t they teach Licorice something about “come” in obedience class? Or did she drop out?

  25. Brigitte

    Ha, Miss.Magorka’s “magic flying weiners” got me too!

    I like the lying down idea to lure Licorice back, I hope you try that next time so I can read about the results.

  26. Sarah

    When I was a kid we had a cocker spaniel. She loved to run off leash at the park, and it was hard to get her to come back. However this worked every time: (holding up her leash) “Tuffy, want to go for a WALK??” (she loved going on walks and made a beeline back to the leash)

  27. Karin

    Our dog, who usually won’t even walk past the gate without permission, decided to wander out of it one night when my hubby didn’t close it and had her out with him. She wandered down the street and he found her and all was well, but he does make sure he closes the gate always. Especially at night. I think they sometimes decide to wander off just to make sure you’ll come after them. ;)

  28. styleygeek

    My parents’ little jack russell puppy was only a couple of months old when she took off out a momentarily open door just as you describe. Sadly she ran straight onto the road in front of a car and was killed. My parents were devastated.

    I am so glad Licorice was smart enough to stay on the pavement!

  29. Springsteen fan

    The last time my Bernese Mountain Dog made a break for it, it made for a very lively morning for the neighbor kids walking to school (think masses fleeing the sidewalks in terror). I think the kids’ parents thought a giant pony had broken free of its carriage.

  30. Alison C

    My previous dog would make a break for it at any chance.

    He would run so fast that there was no chance of catching him. We would just have to pace the floor and wait for him to decide to come home. If we spotted him nearby and called he would look up and see us and then would come running to us as if he had been searching for us all day.

    Our current dog stays right near the house when she gets out and is easy to call back which is much better for our nerves.

  31. Randi

    Now add about a hundred pounds to Licorice, double her, make them both male, and black and white – looking sort of like wolves, and have them escape on you, only to have a neighbor (who lives a mile away) call and say that they’re chasing his chickens.

  32. Leila

    Licorice is the nicest dog in the small dog category but Buddy is in first place for the large dog category.

    I suggest that you consider installing an invisible fence. It’s worth the peace of mind and the kids will have fun training her to stay within the bounds that you set.


  33. Shauna

    I just LOVE how much everyone loves their dogs. Seriously, we could talk about them all day, couldn’t we? Their fuzzy faces and their happy trot, trot, trot and their THWAPing tails and their cocking heads. Love ’em I tell ya, absolutely love ’em :)

    I’m glad your pup didn’t get too far! I would have had a heart attack, I can just imagine how freaked out you must have been!

  34. Yan

    my girl Missy (min. schnauzer mix) makes a run for it every opportunity she can. this usually requires me to jump in the car and go on a wild dog chase. it always makes me laugh because as soon as i find her, she comes to the roadside, i open the car door and she jumps in as though taking a taxi.

    it does terrify me though because if she does escape when i am not there, i fret until she is back home safe and sound. it is the not knowing if she is fine that gets me every time.

  35. pam

    Hopefully your training sessions will curb that enthusiam for ‘the bolt.’

  36. cindy

    Oh Mir, our little dog is like Licorice. Crazy love. Crazy friendly. Everyone will surely be thrilled to play and love and visit.

    Setting the scene: Another dog, on a leash with owner, approaches. Our little guy is not leashed in our yard and so excited with happiness. He went up to say Hi…and bam, like lightning, the aggressive dog had mine by the neck. It did puncture. All ended fine…but, there isn’t a lot you can do. My husband reached right in and grabbed the aggressors collar and thank goodness it dropped my dog.

    Your loving little Licorice sounds equally naive. Hard doggy lessons.

  37. Michele Bardsley

    My Shih Tzu does the same thing. Given the opportunity he will dart out the door and play the “chase me” game. And he’s completely thrilled when he’s caught and oh, he loves you and wasn’t that FUN!? But I have taught him the meaning of “treat” also known as “cookie.” Utter those two magic words and he trots right back.

  38. Michele Bardsley

    Also, I know it’s bad to reward him for running out the door, ’cause I have to give the treat if I say the word. But better he get a Meaty Bone than squished by a car.

  39. Heidi

    I can’t get over the fact she weighs 12 pounds. We have a CAT that weighs 14.

  40. Katie in MA

    My jaw dropped when you said she escaped. Just…dropped. I’m glad this one had such an entirely different laugh-out-loud ending. :)

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