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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.