M is for Mystery

When you “rescue” a dog, unless it is an owner surrender with a uniquely upfront surrenderer, the dog’s previous life is a complete mystery.

We look at Mia all the time and ask her, “What were your families like before us?”

Mia hopped right in our car the day we met. Who would abandon this face? (Those aren't mites on her face, but white microbeads from a headrest Leo tore apart while we were meeting Mia.)
Mia hopped right in our car the day we met. Who would abandon this face? (Those aren’t mites, by the way, but white microbeads from a headrest Leo tore apart while we were meeting her.)

Mia came to live with us when she was about 7. The only things we know for sure are:

  • She answers to the name Mia.
  • She was microchipped but not registered.
  • She was spayed.
  • She was vaccinated.

Mia was living with a family on an Indian reservation for a few weeks, where she was probably outside, off leash, and unfenced most of the day, but slept inside at night. Her foster mother said Mia had two other families before us, and that the most recent one moved away and couldn’t take her along.

“Who would leave behind a Mia?” Rob and I ask ourselves every day.

Lately, we’ve started wondering if maybe she didn’t have a home because she ate it. We thought we’d solved the problem of door-chewing by leaving all the inside doors open, but then she started working on the door from the laundry room to the garage, and the moulding by the sliding glass door to the backyard. I fear she’ll turn on the front door next. When we got home from work on Friday, she’d torn the doorknob OFF the door to the garage, so now we can’t open it from the inside.

I took her for a long walk that evening and tried to figure it out. Why does she hate closed doors so much? Why was she close to perfect for two years before this started?

All the solutions that I can think of — leaving her outside, taking her with me, having Rob’s parents come by more often — none of those would have made a difference on a Friday when I couldn’t have taken her to work, didn’t want to leave her outside from 9 to 6*, and Rob’s parents were out of town. The best option is blocking her access to the doors. We can put an X-pen across the door to the kitchen, which keeps her away from the sliding door and the laundry room. Maybe we should blockade the front door too …

Later that night, our security cameras started beeping. After Mia’s first door destruction, I blamed the beeping from Rob’s car alarm key fob. Oh, the cruel irony. The very device that allows us to watch Mia destroy the doors could be the thing that causes her to destroy the doors.

Rob got on the phone with customer service and we think we’ve got the beeping fixed.

Again, my suspicion is that the beeping makes Mia anxious, so she tries to escape it, this time out to the garage or the backyard. Then again, maybe she’s trying to get inside the garage, where I like to hide cooked liver for her to find. I may never know.

And that’s what makes Mia a Mystery.


*Wondering why I don’t want to leave Mia outside from 9-6? Check back in two days for the letter O.

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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

8 thoughts on “M is for Mystery

  1. Oh no, so sorry to hear whats going on with Mia.
    We crate train our one husky which is destructive at times. I was against crating at first and i’m not sure your views on it, but when crate training is done properly and not used as a punishment ever, it works really really well! He actually loves his crate, it is a safe peaceful place with a comfy bed and toys, and he hasn’t minded at all. And because we leave the door open on the crate for him to go in and out as he pleases when we are home, we often find him laying in there of his own free will. The only other thing is making sure they have lots to do while you are away, and like you said, blocking off things you know she will chew. (doors etc..)
    A stuffed kong, frozen and packed full works well to keep them entertained for a while, or things like antlers etc…(unless she is a very strong chewer, then antlers should be monitored) um…treat dispensing toys that make their brain have to think on how to get the treats out, can be very helpful. And a big one for us is making sure the dogs are well exercised before we leave, so that they just lay down and relax, and chew their frozen kongs for a while. But above all that, the crate has been a savior!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    1. All great suggestions! We never crated Mia because she was so “perfect” when we got her. I have definitely considered it, but worried that there was a separation anxiety element to her destruction, and thought she might hurt herself trying to escape the crate. Maybe she’s opening the doors because she feels too confined, you know?

      We crated Leo in our absence for his first few years. We hardly ever close the crate door on him now, but we do put his food bowl in there. Every once in a while, he’ll wander in there and lie down for no apparent reason. Another mystery. Guess feels like going to his safe place.

      1. I would say it is definitely a separation anxiety issue. I feel for you, I have been, and continue to go through the same thing.
        With the crate, if you are worried about her hurting herself, the plastic ones are made much better then they were before. The older style ones, there were areas where dogs could chew them and escape, but the curves of them and the way they are made now help that issue a lot. One more suggestion I have for you is Melatonin. When we first got Koda, he had a ton of separation anxiety, and it was nearly impossible to leave him, even in the crate, so we talked to our vet and they suggested melatonin. It worked wonders for us! It settles them down and helps them rest. A lot of people give it to their dogs when they travel long distances in the car as well. So that might be another option for you. I wish you the best of luck and if you ever need any help feel free to shoot me an email. markandjenna01(at)gmail(dot)com

        ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  2. My Italian grey and my previous mutt had mysterious pasts too . I try to make up for it with their lives at my place! I’m so gld Mia now has a great home!

  3. Have you ever thought about putting a basket muzzle on her? We always get one when we adopt a Greyhound, so there are quite a few of them around here. When we tried new things with Morgan, like nail clipping, my husband decided to put one on her as a precaution, and it does fit her even it it looks a little weird. They are also handy if there’s an injury that you don’t want the dog to lick, since you can get a small part that attaches to the end called a stool guard. It might help if she’s only attacking the door with her mouth, and it would protect her from injuring her teeth or mouth in the process of what she’s doing. I know some people think they look scary, but they are harmless and a better alternative than broken teeth (or, in our case, a leg with stitches that got licked to the bone one day).

  4. Could be the beeping..we noticed that a few years ago Forrest would get anxious and start pacing while we were outside with family on summer evenings..he wanted to go inside and be by himself…so we thought..then he was doing it when it was just hubby and I …then I clicked the mosquito zapper…did not use it all summer and no problem! quirky boy love him to bits..always a work in progress 🙂 Fozziemum

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