Adopting a dog is a major decision—one that we fully support and think is a great idea for most people—but like all major decisions it requires some serious thought and planning.
It's important to consider whether the dog you're thinking of adopting matches your lifestyle, the space you have available, your financial resources, etc.
Is the breed a good choice for your energy and activity levels and the region you live?
But even the most considerate adopters sometimes come up against a dog that just ... defies all logic.
Aside from being obviously gorgeous, she's incredibly intelligent—which is kind of the problem.
She's a trained service dog whose job is to assist individuals with autism. According to her owners—including author and illustrator gallusrostromegalus, Arwen is a total professional when she is suited up and on the job.
Her training was intense and rigorous and she takes her job very seriously. That training may have accidentally planted the seed for some serious mischief, though.
Arwen was trained by inmates who really went above and beyond in what they taught her. Her skillset is far larger than that of most service dogs, but since she's a high energy husky/kelpie mix, if she's not kept active and engaged when she's "off duty" she sometimes decides to use that skill set to have a little fun.
Unfortunately, nothing sounds like more fun to Arwen than showing off how much of an evil little genius she is. Her family knew from the first day they got her that they were in for some trouble.
According to gallusrostromegalus, who documents Arwen's exploits on tumblr:
"'I wonder if she can jump?' my dad asks the first five minutes we have her. She perks up at the word, and clears a six-foot fence form sitting on the ground.
"'Oh.' Says dad. "Sh*t.'"
"Later that night she got up on the counter and ate three pounds of corned beef in roughly 68 seconds but this was considered part of the learning curve of having a new dog."
Well, you know what they say—you never really stop learning.
Adventures in Arwen-ism didn't stop after that first day. Her owners have found themselves in situations where they learn she has new skills all the time.
Unfortunately they usually learn about these skills because of some shenanigans they didn't really want to be involved in; like the time Arwen taught them that she knew how to hunt for snakes. That story ends with Arwen's owner accidentally whipping their elderly neighbor in the face with the aforementioned serpent:
"Took her walking along the lake with the long lead so she could sniff things to her heart's content. She went about shoving her head in the undergrowth, usually coming up with her head covered in leaves and pollen."
"Except for the bush where she came back out with a 7-foot Bull Snake wrapping itself around her head and neck, trying it's best to strangle her before she can eat it. She immediately ran back to me, the parts of her face not occupied with the snake arranged in a gleeful expression of 'Look! I found Snacks!'"
"I screamed, not immediately recognizing that it wasn't a rattler, and fell, splitting my knee on a rock. The screaming made her let go of the snake, but I still had to grab her and wrestle the snake off her because it lacked the sense to just scuttle away."
"I finally got it loose from her (despite her best effort to continue trying to eat it) and turned around to fling it off the trail-"
"-And directly into the face of one of my 90-year-old neighbors who'd come out to see what the screaming and profanity was, making her collapse."
"I'm pretty sure being told 'I accidentally threw a snake at my neighbor' was the highlight of that EMT's day. Dottie was unharmed but she still doesn't speak to me."
We were horrified, but also kind of proud like:
The stories go on and on—and they get worse.
Arwen has even escaped from trained professionals. A routine visit to the vets office ended up with her on the roof of the building. They still aren't sure how.
"Arwen was at the vet's office for a check-up and daycare, and decided partway through the afternoon that the other two kelpies were annoying her, but she didn't want to go inside to be kenneled for a nap, so she instead…"
"…ninja'd her way onto the vet's roof despite there being three people in the yard watching the dogs and no clear way up there. She had a pleasant hour of watching the vet staff try to figure out how she did that and how they were going to get her down before mom came to pick her up."
"'Arwen, get your furry butt down here!'"
"At which point Arwen obediently got down by jumping into a nearby tree that's technically inside a neighboring house's yard, shimmied down that like a bear, then walked out of their side yard and back around the block to come sit at Mom's feet, putting her paws up like she expected a treat."
"That tree is not accessible from the daycare yard. We still have no idea how she got up there."
"Shine on you beautiful b*tch."
According to her owners, most of her "bulsh*ttery" comes down to the fact that she's incredibly well-trained, fearless, high energy, well-socialized and smart.
She was pulled from a shelter by a rescue whose purpose is to train service dogs. She finished her training but was eager to keep learning, so she was then doubly trained as a therapy dog.
When she's working she is "instantly 9000% better behaved" but when she's not—her owners need to work extra hard to keep her from getting bored.
A bored Arwen will seek to entertain herself—and that's when things go sideways and you end up 40 feet in the air trying to fight off a porcupine, or arguing with her about whose turn it is to use the recliner, or having to beg her to get out of the freezer she has claimed as her personal den.
There's one trick that almost always works, though. Brussels sprouts.
Arwen eating a Brussels sprout. tumblr
You can follow more of Arwen's adventures here.