My Escape Artist

Australian Shepherds are known for being smart. Nobody ever said those smarts had to be used for good. They just said the dogs were smart. I started noticing things while i was working on projects or cooking in the kitchen. I would turn around and Cashew’s crate would be closer to me than i remembered it. Her crate was somehow moving across the floor. One day i faced her as i did a project and i finally got to see how she was doing it. She would run towards the front of the crate and slam her shoulder into it, moving it a good two inches forward. Then she’d shake it off and repeat. She became quite good at this and whenever she was in the crate and unhappy with her location, she would use her body weight to take advantage of the rollers it sat on and move the crate to wherever she felt she needed to be. I thought this was mischevious enough but one day i had moved her crate to the bathroom to try and contain some of the water she flung everywhere when she decided to play helicopter propellor disaster with her water bowl. I noticed she got real quiet, which scared me. Quiet with Cashew was unnatural. She was either hatching a diabolical plan or dead. I peeked around the free-standing closet to see her problem solving how to unlatch her crate door from the inside. But, freedom was no fun experienced by oneself. So, she figured out how to unlatch her sister’s crate as well. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Soon Cashew and Sili were loose in the house and timeout appeared to be over. I made a run to the dollar general that day and bought a padlock. I thought i had solved the problem and was quite proud of myself for all of 2 days. I started noticing a smell. There was a definite odor of poop coming from Cashew’s area but every time i checked the crate there was no poop either on top of or underneath her pee pads. There was no poop anywhere. The problem persisted for days until Cashew peed everywhere but the pee pads in her crate and i decided to remove the tray to rinse it under the spigot in the yard. Underneath the tray in the bottom of her crate was a thousand smooshed-up dog turds. I was bewildered. How was she getting them down there? One day i left the curtains to the front door window tied up, fed her a full bowl of food, put her in the crate, and made like i was leaving the house. I took my purse and keys and everything. I started the car. Then i tip-toed back up the porch steps and stood at the window. There was Cashew, throwing her weight in one direction and riding the tray in the bottom of her crate like a surfer. She would throw her weight in the same direction enough times until she had slid the tray about a third of the way out of the crate. She would hang her butt over the edge of the tray and make a turd. Then she would stand up, reposition, and throw her weight in the opposite direction; once again riding the tray like a surfboard and rolling the tray back over her freshly laid turd. She had made a self-cleaning litterbox. Well ****. I was in over my head with this one.

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