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Emma, destructive pound dog: A most unusual experience

This is the third of an occassional series outlining the most unusual experiences of the FC community.

The joy and exhilaration of a new puppy thrilled the Callisch household three years ago. Scott Callisch, video production adviser, his wife Carrie and his two sons Mitchell, ’09, and Steven, ’13, searched for the perfect dog to add to their family. Then the innocent eyes of a terrier/lab and husky mix fulfilled their criteria.

The puppy, Emma, arrived at her new home with much fanfare. She sprinted around the house and explored. But soon the once calm and docile dog discovered an alternate personality at the expense of Scott’s financial funds.

“We went to the pound to get a cheap dog, but Emma ended up costing me thousands of dollars,” Scott said.

Within the first hour of bringing her home, Emma roamed throughout the house and ate her way into ant poisoning. The Callisch family, unaware of the poison stored in their house, found Emma in the front room with a broken leg. Puzzled, Mitchell searched for possible dangers that caused her injury. With failure to find any plausible explanations, Mitchell accepted the random event as a coincidence.

Two days later, Mitchell witnessed Emma in midst of a seizure. Ant poisoning spilled across the back bathroom floor hinted towards the cause. Mitchell concluded that the broken leg resulted from the first seizure caused by the poison which was originally hidden behind the toilet.

Emma loved to outsmart her owners. The playful look and satisfaction in her eyes showed her passion for mischief. She waited until the perfect moments to get what she wanted. At night, Emma pretended to fall asleep on her dog bed. Then when everyone in the house was asleep, Emma snuck onto the couch for a more comfortable spot. As soon as the alarm clock went off in the morning, she dove for her dog bed before anyone discovered her secret.

Despite Emma’s unique trouble-making sensibilities, many students can identify with clever and devious pets.

“I have experienced a similar situation with my little dog Elmo,” Tatiana Fontes ’10, said. “He will get on the bed when were not home. Then when he hears the front door open, he will sit in front of the bedroom door and pretend like he didn’t do anything wrong.”

Another of Emma’s tricks involved stealing food from the table. While someone in the family prayed over the dinner, Emma nabbed herself a tasty from an unguarded plate and vacuumed up as much food as possible before prayer time was over.

Emma’s ability to escape mesmerized her owners. An open fence or a hole in the yard was not a challenge. In order to make things more complicated, Emma pulled the screws out of the fence and tore down the boards. Emma liked to swim in her neighbors’ pool or bark at the people putting up Christmas lights. Once outside the fence barriers, the opportunity to hunt different kinds of animals excited Emma.

“When she killed something she would always bring it to the back door as an offering,” Scott said. “Emma was very sly. You had to know where she was at all times.”

Emma seemed to think of herself as a wolf rather than a dog, Mitchell said. In her lifetime she devoured two squirrels, four possums, two mice and one unwary or ignorant cat. Additionally she seemed to find pleasure practicing her predator skills while in the pool. Emma followed above Mitchell or other friends as they swam under water. Then, as soon as they came up for air, Emma splashed and kicked her legs scratching up the innocent backs of the swimmers.

One weekend the Callisch family decided to take a vacation. Emma, forced to live outdoors for a few days, pouted in her misery. She longed for a comfortable couch and air conditioning. Without hesitation, Emma flew through Mitchell’s window and shattered glass across the floor. Once inside, she took revenge on Mitchell’s clean room. She tore the curtains off the window, yanked out all of the clothes from the drawers and pounced on top of the bed. Emma, free from injury, seemed satisfied with her accomplishments.

“To this day we can’t figure out why her leap through the window didn’t kill her,” Scott said. “Huge shards of broken glass covered the floor. She seemed immune to personal injury.”

Despite the damage and inconvenience that Emma caused the Callisch family, they still loved her.

“I was shocked but not surprised,” Mitchell said. “Anything was possible with Emma. Even though she was destructive, she was still a part of our family.”

However, the family pound dog was only a family member for a little over three years. Emma died of a seizure just over a year ago. In June 2007, Scott and the boys went back to the pound and chose a German shepherd mix, Gunner, who lives with the family without incident.

Read past stories outlining the most unusual experiences of the FC community: Snake escape triggers hysteria, Splashing through fat and Duct tape may be banned.

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    Chantelle BrownMay 17, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Nicole Hensley is the best! Even though her older sister (Larissa Hensley) gave her some high standards to live up to; I believe that Nicole is doing a great job with filling in her big sisters position:) Keep up the good work girl!