I’ve never put too much stock in talk of demon possession and exorcisms and such, but a new dog we acquired about a month ago is causing me to reconsider.

My wife and son call the dog “Banjo.”

I call him der Teufelhund.
Le chien de diable.
Il cane di diavolo.
El perro de diablo.

The devil dog.

He’s a puppy we got from the pound, a melange of so many canine ethnicities that he was labeled only as “mixed breed.” His shape is reminiscent of a tall terrier, and he has the coloring of a holstein cow. His head seems a size or two too small for his body.

He has the needs of a government and the behavior of a passive-aggressive pig.

He’s possessed, I tell you.

The idea was for the dog to spend time both inside and outside. We went to work early trying to get him housebroken, but he resists all efforts. He’ll urinate outside when I let him out of the crate in the morning, because he probably has little other choice. At other times, he seems determined to leave his mark in every corner of the house.

You can take him for a half-hour walk and he never lifts a leg or stops to squat. You can leave him outside for hours, figuring he’s had every opportunity to do his business in the appropriate place. Let him in the house, however, and he’ll collapse on the floor like he’s so glad to be inside where it’s cool. Turn your back, and he’s not only watered the carpet but left a pile of fertilizer.

He’s so determined to use the house for his private bathroom that I’ve taken to putting him on a retractable leash, with the handle in my pocket, even when inside.

Leave him outside longer, and he digs up the flowers, bedevils the cat (who fights back) with persistent yammering, or he whines and cries to get back in, which makes our neighbors unhappy. If he’s not already asleep when I put him in the crate at night, he howls and makes everybody unhappy.

Try to play with him, and the dog goes bananas. He runs laps from room to room, gaining enough speed to leap on unsuspecting victims. He bites like a piranha in a feeding frenzy, and the vet’s advice to pull away and ignore him doesn’t work, because he pursues you. None of the tricks we’ve learned from watching “The Dog Whisperer” have been effective, either.

Jan and Samuel sometimes call him “psycho dog,” but I remain convinced that he’s a devil sent to try my soul and make me cuss.

I remain of the old school, and firmly believe that constant cussing or vulgar language reveals a lack of basic manners, creativity, and vocabulary. But this dog brings words to mind that I rarely think, much less speak.

As you might guess, getting a dog was never my idea: I have a limited amount of emotional energy, and more than enough relationships and work to use it up. Trying to accomplish anything productive while also keeping a watchful eye on a dog and still failing to protect the carpet from potty pup is draining.

But, our son wanted a dog. Pleaded for a dog. Offered his allowance “forever” for a dog. Promised to take care of a dog. Complained that he felt left out among his friends because they all talked about their dogs.

I don’t love owning a dog, but I love our son, so we have a dog — a dog with innocent puppy eyes and a mischievous demonic heart.

Veterinarians can prescribe a single pill to take care of heartworms, roundworms, whipworms, and fleas.

Anyone know where I can get a prescription for doggie-demons?

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