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Why I’m pretty sure my dog is a psychopath

Do you ever look at your dog and think, She might be the canine equivalent of Dexter? Admittedly, this is generally more a concern for cat owners. You’re used to being stared down as if they’re trying to Jedi mind-force kill you if you don’t fetch the treats. As a dog owner, this was a bit of a new sensation for me. I’ve had Labs all my life, and while stubborn, they tend to be a rather affable bunch. You might get a passive-aggressive tale thump or an eye roll when you try to boot their plump rear end off the couch, but you don’t generally find yourself consulting the DSM-IV to try and psychologically analyze them for sociopathic tendencies.

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That is, unless you have a Lily dog. Part pit bull, part hound, part something super fast and kind of cranky, Lily is the mutt who walked into my life and immediately made me question my sanity (and hers). Over the years, her Machiavellian shrewdness has had me mostly convinced she’s a psychopath for a multitude of reasons.

She takes delight in scaring nuns

A group of nuns lives in my neighborhood, and they’re routinely seen walking around in their habits to get a bit of fresh air. They’re a heartwarming and lovely bunch of women that everyone cherishes — except for Lily. She lies in wait behind the fence, making no noise whatsoever. She’s like a cheetah stalking a hapless gazelle, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Just as they pass, thinking Lily is not outside today, she pounces at the fence and barks up a storm to rival the trumpets that blew down the walls of Jericho. The nuns’ handbags and groceries go flying, their hearts go crazy, and one time, I heard the smallest and oldest shriek the F-bomb. Yes, my dog is so rotten she makes nuns curse.

She’s a narcissist

The only thing Lily loves more than sleep is herself. If you want her to do something, your best bet is to compliment her. After 15 minutes of screaming in the front yard for her to get in the house and making my way through benign threats yelled in my Christian Bale Batman voice to outright bribery cooed as if I were conniving a toddler, she’s generally still ignoring me. Yet if I tell her how smart and pretty she is, how she’s such a good, sweet girl, that she’s the light of my life and I’d be lost without her, she puts her head down and does a bashful “I am so pretty” trot over to me and sits there to be adored.

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She’s turned the yard into her killing fields

Isn’t one of the signs of a serial killer that they kill small animals? Lily’s never met a rodent she didn’t want to eradicate. Moles, voles, mice, rats and once even a chipmunk — she’s made it clear that death will follow if they step into her yard. On a day trip into the country, I even caught her interrogating a groundhog, until they seemed to come to an understanding that he could live as long as he let her stick her head in his hole to check for other rodents. But it’s not enough to just lay waste to hapless mice, she’s started sending messages to any who think about crossing her yard. Last week I found a decapitated rat, the head neatly separated from the body, just lying in the middle of the front yard. She may as well have been Joffrey Baratheon putting Ned Stark’s head on a pike on the castle walls, as she was sending a very clear message that she will take no prisoners.

She has brainwashed everyone into thinking she’s a good dog

The surest sign that Lily is at least a high-functioning sociopath (à la Sherlock) and, at worst, a full-fledged, card-carrying psychopath is that she’s manipulated everyone who meets her into thinking she’s delightful. This is the dog who will hate-fart in your face if you make her share the covers. She’ll step on your head in an effort to stand on the back of the couch to bark at squirrels. She’s the first to have zero respect for your wishes or any kind of training you’ve tried to instill over the years. And yet everyone moves when Lily’s cold so she can get closer to the fire, or if she’s on the couch without a blanket, someone will give up theirs. If she’s looking morose, I’ll stop what I’m doing to go cheer her up, even when I know she’s just upset because there are no critters or nuns outside to terrorize. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s Lily’s world, and we should be thankful she deigns to let us share it with her.

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