What DO you do with a Voodoo Doberman? (by Stephanie Wetzel)

I asked Steph of the Red Clay Diaries to guest post for me roughly six months ago.

Then I asked her again.

Then I said, “Steph, seriously – just give me SOMETHING!”

So she says, “Like what?”, and I say, “Voodoo Doberman.” So she says, “Oh, okay.”

(insert sound of crickets chirping here)

Then I say, “You’re going to have to email it to me, because I’m can’t do EVERYTHING!” Then she called me pushy or something like that and says, “You’re not the boss of me!”

(That might not be our conversation verbatim, but pretty darned close.)

Without further adieu, Here’s Steph of the Red Clay Diaries:

Based on the blog name, you might think that as an outsider, I am making fun of the rural South. But here’s the truth:

I grew up in California, but in the part that nobody knows about: central California. During my teen years, my family lived in a single-wide mobile home – with the wheels still on – on one dusty acre behind my parents’ junk store.

Yes. Junk store.

Surrounded by cotton fields and dairies, our household consisted of four people, five dogs, one horse, and anywhere from five to twenty chickens.

One of our dogs was named Buffalo, and he had issues with cats. He hated them. When we moved to the country, he quickly transferred this animosity to the chickens. In fact, Buffalo made it his mission to purge our property of poultry.

I heart alliteration.

My dad built a Buffalo-proof pen, so the dog spent most of the day glaring through the wire at his feathered enemies. He was biding his time, because he had learned that my little sister wasn’t consistent at latching the chicken gate. She forgot about once every three months.

Chickens being, well, chickens, an open gate drew them out into the yard. And to their demise. It never happened when we were home, so here’s what we gathered from forensic evidence:

Buffalo waited until all the chickens left the pen. Then he systematically killed them. And stacked them in a neat pile against the fence. Obsessive-compulsive? We never knew for sure.

My parents tried every solution, but Buffalo could not be broken of his chicken habit. As a last resort my dad tried something that the old-timers swore by: letting the animal live with the consequences of his actions – literally.

So, after the next killing spree, my dad chose a dead chicken – our biggest rooster, as it happened – and tied the carcass to Buffalo’s collar. The idea was to leave it there until your dog grew to hate chickens, and then he’d never go near them again.

So hanging from our Doberman’s neck, tied by the feet and dragging on the ground, was a chicken pendant. A chicken necklace. A chicken choker.

This training method did not have the desired effect. Buffalo soon adjusted to the weight and awkwardness of his new accessory. And apparently the smell. In fact, I think he kind of forgot it was there.

Days passed, and the rooster rotted in the 100-degree heat. We girls spent our time dodging a 90-pound dog as he dragged around what looked like a large feather duster. A large smelly feather duster that kept shedding body parts all over the yard.

Even my dad questioned his plan when he realized that he’d lost his junk store dog. He couldn’t really lock Buffalo and a dead chicken in the store every night.

So eventually Dad decided to remove the carcass, and there was much rejoicing in the land. But when Buffalo greeted us that morning, something was missing. At first it looked like the chicken had finally disintegrated.

But then we saw it: Buffalo had removed the chicken himself, by chewing it off at the feet.

The only thing hanging from his collar now, like the necklace of a voodoo queen, was a pair of large bright-yellow chicken feet.

See? Rednecks = my people. The soil may be red here instead of brown, but it feels like home to me.

In your FACE, Jeff Foxworthy!


To read more from Stephanie Wetzel, visit her at The Red Clay Diaries and follow her on the twitter at @redclaydiaries.

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25 Responses to “What DO you do with a Voodoo Doberman? (by Stephanie Wetzel)”

  1. Candace Jean July 16 October 14, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    >I think I prefer the head cheese.

  2. Heather Sunseri October 14, 2009 at 6:22 am #

    >Oh, Steph. That was so funny and gross and redneck. Having grown up on a farm in Kentucky (no, not a beautiful thoroughbred farm), I am so impressed with your Central California upbringing. That was awesome!

  3. Steph @Red Clay Diaries October 14, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    >Thank you Katdish, for sharing my redneckness with the world! Now that post will be seen by more than just the weirdos who google search "voodoo chicken necklace" and land on my blog.

    Oh, and you're STILL not the boss of me.

  4. Janet Oberholtzer October 14, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    >I'm not a dog lover and a Doberman with a dead chicken around it's neck would really send me over the edge.
    Great story though!

    It's south further than central CA … but ever heard of a little town called Castaic?

  5. Annie K October 14, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    >Steph, why have we not heard even more of these colorful stories from your childhood? I'm sure they only get better and better!

  6. Janet Oberholtzer October 14, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    >Also congrats on your first guest post!

  7. sherri October 14, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    >I was also thinking that now the voodoo web searchers will be landing here also.

    This is a great story.

  8. Heather of the EO October 14, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    >Um…you need to put this in your memoirs.
    That was ridiculously funny.

  9. Jewda October 14, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    >Now I want a chicken feet necklace for my dog.

  10. Jeff October 14, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    >THAT was pure awesome-ness. I'm still smiling.

    Not that I'm celebrating the cock-a-doodle carnage. But seriously, bless their pea-pickin' hearts (and pea-sized brains), chickens are as dumb as rocks.

  11. CHICKEN LITTLE October 14, 2009 at 11:36 am #


    Jeff, what do you mean chickens are dumb? I take exception to that!

  12. Bridget Chumbley October 14, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    >I hope your dad didn't use these same 'methods' with you kids!

    Loved this post, Steph!

  13. Bob the Dog October 14, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    >How come I never got no chicken foot necklace? Don't you love me?

  14. Billy Coffey October 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    >You are such a redneck, Steph. Which is why I like you so much.

    And I'm saving this story for the Coffey Christmas dinner.

  15. Helen October 14, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    >This was the first post I ever read on your blog. I think it was a repost at the time. It must be one of your favorites… I know I talk about it a lot!

  16. jasonS October 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    >Yes, yes, yes! That was hilarious.

    When you talked about forensic evidence, I pictured David Caruso coming to investigate. "Looks like someone flew the coop…when they should have stayed home" *cue music*

    This is a hall-of-fame story (and I needed a laugh).

  17. Rebecca on The Homefront October 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    >Oooh, I just laughed out loud! It doesn't get much more redneck than that…unless your dad *did* punish you kids the same way? 😉

  18. Candace Jean July 16 October 14, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    >I do NOT want to be at the Coffey Christmas dinner. Well, I do, but not for the chicken feet.

  19. Tina Dee Books October 15, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    >Great post! I LOL imagining the chicken foot collar.

    Good way to end the day, with a good laugh!

  20. ~*Michelle*~ October 15, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    >That is hilarious!

    Our Rottie leaves puddles of drool outside our chicken coop. He is bound behind the invisible fence system, but has taken the jolt a few times figuring it was totally worth it.

    Can I tell you that I think it's a game to them? Mufasa would not eat ours either. He would just "play" with them which would of course break their necks and them leave them in my garden. neat.

    funny post!

    ps. love the visual of the chicken legs dangling.

  21. Marni October 15, 2009 at 11:33 am #


    That was the funniest thing I've read all week (and that includes the directions to the Tamiflu hand written on a Post-It since the pharmacy was out of labels.)

  22. katdish October 15, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    >Marni –

    I smell a blog post! With pictures.

  23. Marni October 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    >Katdish, good call! Okay, I'm in.

  24. vanityofvanities October 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    >I wish I had had the time to read this yesterday. What a birthday post for me! So gross.

  25. JML October 17, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    >That was actually a great story. I genuinely enjoyed it!!

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