Joanne Palmer: Kizzy the problem dog |

Joanne Palmer: Kizzy the problem dog

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Last week, I arrived at my hotel in Denver and opened my overnight bag to discover I'd forgotten to pack my dress shoes and a pair of long pants. But I did find two dog treats at the bottom of the bag.

Let me explain.

Whenever I go out of town, the instructions I leave for my son's watchers are easy:

"Do not let him sleep all day."

"Yes, the entire contents of the refrigerator are for him."

"Yes, he may appear to be growing before your very eyes."

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That's basically it.

It's the dog that's the problem. To fully describe her habits, the subtle nuances of her behavior, her little peculiarities might rival the 1,475 pages of "War and Peace."

Kizzy is a bearded collie. She looks like a miniature sheep dog. Just to give you an idea, I will condense and paraphrase the note (well, tome) I left for my neighbor.

Dear Neighbor,

Like her owner, my dog is lovably neurotic. Kizzy does nothing dog-like. She refuses to fetch, chase a ball or roll over. She doesn't like to be wet. She will do everything in her little dog powers not to get wet above her doggy ankles. However, her drinking water must be fresh and cold. Please put ice cubes in her water dish several times a day.

Walks: She will not "do her business" while on a leash. She does not like to be watched "doing her business," so only steal furtive glances over your shoulder in her direction. But wait, I've gotten ahead of myself.

Strategies to exit the house:

Strategy No. 1: Glance up and down the street to make sure no lawnmowers are in operation. She does not like the sound of lawnmowers. If you're up to it, scare birds out of the trees before attempting a departure. Two years ago, she was dive bombed by a protective mama bird and she hasn't forgotten about it. If reluctant to leave house, try to bribe her with dog treats. Say: "Treats! Treats!" Then race out the door, carrying a handful of dog treats, yelling at birds and on the lookout for lawnmowers. Look over your shoulder to see if she has followed you.

Strategy No. 2: Kizzy likes Lily, the neighbor's dog. Follow this script in the exact order to see if she will follow you. "Let's go see Lily. C'mon, hurry, hurry. Lily is waiting."

Strategy No. 3: Hook leash to collar and drag her out of the house.

Strategy No. 4: Get her in the car and drive her somewhere to conduct her business.

Car rides: Kizzy loves to go on car rides but she must ride in the exact middle of the back seat. This is her spot. She is very territorial about her spot and will snap at anyone but me who tries to displace her from her spot.

Walks: If you get her out for a walk, she is mostly fine. She is afraid of cars but will chase motorcycles and landscaping trucks. She loves to chase foxes but, not to worry, she never catches them. She enjoys summer flowers and will stick her nose right into a pot of fragrant flowers and inhale deeply. She will chase all neighborhood cats, except one big white one named Cooper. Cooper rules!

Her bone: She likes to chew on her plastic bone. She leaves it in prominent places that don't feel great on bare feet, so be careful where you step.

As cute as she is, do not attempt to take a photo of her. She doesn't like that either.

Nothing makes her happier than the sound of the garage door opening because she knows someone is coming home to lay on the love.

Good luck and thanks for helping out.