Join David Rosenfelt, author of 14 mysteries featuring the dog-loving defense lawyer Andy Carpenter. Outfoxed is his most recent novel, and it hits shelves on July 19th. To celebrate, David recalls his most cunning canine pal, Bernie, and asks you to share your own stories of your own conspirational pets. Three lucky commenters will win a copy of Outfoxed!
I’m not sure we’ve ever had a dog who hasn’t “outfoxed” me at one time or another; all they have to do is lick my face or tilt their head and I’m toast. But, the one who dominates me, who toys with me, who destroys me, is Bernie, our Bernese Mountain Dog.
I’m not sure why he does it. Maybe he’s pissed that we were so unoriginal in naming him, since maybe eighty percent of male Berners are named Bernie. Or, maybe he’s truly evil. Or, maybe he just tortures me because he can.
He creates rules for me as he goes. For example, he stopped eating out of a bowl, forcing me to pour his food on the floor before he would deign to partake. He will only drink water as I am pouring it from a pitcher into the water bowls, lapping at the stream as it descends, as if from a park fountain. He is unconcerned that the surrounding floor gets soaked; that is my problem, not his.
Bernie sleeps on our bed, and awhile back, he decided that jumping on was somehow unseemly. So, he puts his paws up on the bed, a signal for me to lift his 130-pound frame. But, that’s not the worst part; he won’t come do it until I’m already in bed, falling asleep. So, I have to get up and hoist the big dope, hoping to find an area that is not already filled with other dogs. That spot always turns out to be where my legs would ordinarily go.
But, those annoyances were just warm-ups. Bernie has always been housetrained; like his colleagues, he would routinely go through the doggie door out to the three acres of woods that are fenced off for their use. There are very few accidents in the house.
But last year, Bernie started to piss in the house. I’m not talking about marking his spot; I’m talking about rivers. You could canoe down some of his handiwork.
I took him to the vet, who was baffled. He couldn’t find anything wrong, so he sent us to a canine neurologist. Once again, the only thing we got out of the effort was a very large bill; there seemed to be nothing physically wrong with Bernie.
All I could think of was to lead Bernie out to the dog area myself and hope it would motivate him to do his business. But, Bernie threw up a bit of a roadblock; under no circumstance would he go outside. The dog area, he seemed to insist, was for the peasant dogs, and Prince Bernie wanted no part of it.
So I started to walk him in the front of the house, by himself.
He has never had another accident, but I have to walk him four or five times a day. In case you’re unfamiliar with Maine, there is occasionally inclement weather here.
Unfortunately, Bernie loves inclement weather, the colder and snowier and wetter the better. So, he likes to linger in it. I don’t like to linger in it, so I implore him to hurry up.
Guess how well that works out.
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Photos courtesy of David Rosenfelt.
David Rosenfelt is the Edgar-nominated and Shamus Award-winning author of several stand-alones and 14 Andy Carpenter novels, including Outfoxed. After years living in California, he and his wife moved to Maine with twenty-five golden retrievers that they’ve rescued. Rosenfelt's hilarious account of this cross-country move, Dogtripping, and his moving memoir of the dog that inspired his love affair with dogs, Lessons from Tara, are published by St. Martin’s Press.