In Her Own Words: (I Read it All, So You Don’t Have To)

 

With commentary:

Cricket was a wirehair pointer, about fourteen months old, and she had come to us from a home that struggled with her aggressive personality. I was sure she’d learn a lot going out with our older dogs that day. I was wrong.

Well, at least there’s some sort of first–and I believe last–acknowledgment of fault on her own part, one which doesn’t seem to have made it into any subsequent discussion of the matter.  She was wrong.  She had no control over this dog, and the thought that Cricket would “learn a lot'” by going out with other trained dogs was wrong.  (Not to mention that–in the opinion of dog handlers and professional dog trainers–putting a dog with questionable credentials to the test in this way is the height of idiocy and irresponsibility.)

Within an hour of walking the first field, Cricket had blown past the group, gotten too far ahead, and flushed up birds out of range. She was out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life. The only problem was there were no hunters nearby to shoot the birds she scared up.

OK, so Cricket was actually doing the right thing, flushing out birds.  Not her fault there weren’t hunters around to shoot them.  Or beaters, or bounders, or whatever the hell they are called, to bring her to heel and teach her the boundaries.

Amirite?  So, in the absence of any sort of any such controlling factors, the young Cricket lost it. (Where were you while all this was going on, BTW?)

I called her back to no avail. I hit her electronic collar to give her a quick tone to remind her to listen. I then hit the button to give her a warning vibration that told her to come back to me. No response. We all watched helplessly as dozens and dozens of pheasants exploded from the grass and flew out of sight. The hunt was ruined. I was livid. (Emphasis mine.)

K.  I am by no means an expert on bird shoots, but if the significant outcome of this one was that “dozens and dozens of pheasants exploded from the grass and flew out of sight,” then that doesn’t sound (at least in existential, long-lasting terms) like a particularly catastrophic outcome.

Unless a person becomes enraged by it.

After gathering up the dogs and paraphernalia after the shoot gone wrong, we come to:

As I loaded the dogs and supplies, I realized I was one kennel short. No matter. I would just let Cricket ride loose in the back end of the truck on the way home. If she was dumb enough to jump out, then good riddance. After what she had pulled that day, I didn’t care. (Emphasis mine.)

Yeah.  I do realize I emphasized the whole outtake.  That’s because it does, in its entirety, demonstrate such stupidity, irresponsibility, and unhinged thinking it beggars belief.  Keep in mind–if Noem had to leave one dog loose in the back of the truck–she appears to have had other, mature, fully-trained, non-excitable bird dogs to choose from.  And–if she’d been thinking clearly and not apparently in the grip of some fugue state–there was always the cab….

Noem then starts to drive home, stopping along the way to speak to neighbors who–she says–purchased a dog from the family.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of Cricket launching herself out of the back end of the pickup truck and racing across the yard. As I swung around to see what she was after, my stomach dropped. Chickens.

Yeah.  You left an overexcited young dog loose in the back of your pickup truck.  To this point, I’ve been doing you the courtesy of describing your action here as “failed to adequately restrain…”

But. No.  You left her loose, not even bothering to tie her up, saying you didn’t care what she subsequently did.  Once again, so stupid and irresponsible as to beggar belief.

Eventually I got my hand on her collar, and she whipped around to bite me. Shocked, I dragged her back to my pickup and threw her inside the cab. I took my checkbook out, grabbed a pen, slammed the door, and faced the music.

“Shocked?” Really??  Kristi, for a farm girl, you’re strangely ignorant of the natural world.  Putting Cricket inside the cab was your first good idea.  But way too late.

When I got back into my truck, Cricket was sitting in the passenger seat, looking like she just won the lottery. The picture of pure joy. I hated that dog. (Emphasis mine.)

To be clear I’m quoting Noem explicitly at this moment and in the situational continuum, for the benefit of any single one of you who might think that the “hatred” emotion she expresses in the immediate situation (as described by Noem here) might have anything to do with her subsequent actions.  Hope that’s clear,)

Noem then describes how she took Cricket to the gravel pit, “led” her in (it all depends on what the meaning of “led” is) and shot her. She then turned her thoughts to the (as yet) unnamed Billy goat:

He was nasty and mean, as most male goats are that are left uncastrated.

They can be.  And smelly.  And aggressive.  In fact, if you’re not breeding goats, and if you’re at all put off by any of the foregoing indicators, you probably should have your goat castrated while he’s still “Billy the Kid.”  But (in the absence of any clue that the family was involved in any goat breeding program), Noem says this intact goat had been a problem around the ranch “for years.”  (“Whose fault is that?”  I hear myself asking.)

I went down to the corral, caught the goat, and dragged him out to the gravel pit. I tied him to a post.

Convenient.  Do all gravel pits have posts–presumably down at the bottom of them–in place for the purpose?  Must check.

But when I went to shoot him, he jumped at the last second. My shot was off and I needed one more shell to finish the job. Problem was, I didn’t have one. Not wanting him to suffer, I hustled back across the pasture to the pickup, grabbed another shell, hurried back to the gravel pit, and put him down.

End of “Billy.” Rest in Peace.

Noem then describes the “shocked amazement” on the faces of a nearby group of construction workers she says were building the family’s “new home,” and who’d witnessed and/or heard both shootings.  And the appearance of the school bus, from which her children descended, and the first words of her daughter–“Hey, where’s Cricket?”

Then:

Later that evening, my uncle, who was the general contractor building our house, called me and said, “What got into you today?” “Nothing,” I responded. “Why?” “Well, the guys said you came barreling into the yard with your truck, slammed the door, and took a gun and a dog over the hill, out of sight. They heard one shot and you came back without the dog. Then you grabbed the goat and headed back up over the hill. They heard another shot, you came back, slammed the pickup door, went back. Then they heard another shot and then you came back without the goat. They said they hurried back to work before you decided they were next!” (Emphasis mine.)

I emphasized the entire outtake again here, because, apparently, Noem’s extremely proud of this passage; otherwise, I’m not sure why she included it in the story.

I’ve described the killings of the dog and the goat as having arisen from a woman in the grip of a rage.  Until now, I’ve done so on the basis of limited–but to my mind compelling–evidence, and on my own experience with rural matters and some alarm bells that were set off in the truncated telling of Noem’s tale in places like The Guardian and others who’d obtained a pre-publication copy of the book.

Now I’ve read “the rest of the story,”  recounted in Noem’s (or her ghostwriter’s) own words.

And I’m more sure than ever I have been correct all along.

  1.  She took a young dog, over which she had no control, on a pheasant hunt.   Strike one.
  2. Immediately following the pheasant hunt, on the way home, she failed to restrain the dog inside her own truck, and Cricket escaped and went after a neighbor’s chickens.  Strike two.
  3. She shot the dog, and then the goat, while in a rage (“I hated that dog”) and now she’s bragging about it, and adjusting her recollections to try to get herself out of a difficult situation which hasn’t gone as she had hoped.  Strike three.

This woman shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of power, from the White House all the way down to the County Fair.

That she seems to have scuppered her chances, at least for the first, is one of the fortuitous outcomes of her train wreck of a story, and one of the reasons  it’s a good thing it’s been well covered and discussed as it has.  It’s far more than an “Ooooh!  Noooo!  She shot her fur baby!!!” separating right-thinking rural voters from their lily-livered urban counterparts.  It’s the story of a woman who (in her early thirties, by all accounts), behaved badly and acted rashly, and who’s so tone-deaf and tin-eared that she thinks telling the story the way she has will accrue to her benefit in 2024.

Just. No.

PS: I’m totally willing to believe she made the whole thing up from start to finish.  Because it’s baffling to me that any sane woman would tell a story which,  if it’s true, accrues so far to her detriment.  God knows why, though, you’d make such a thing up, unless you’ve completely lost the plot. That bridge has yet to be crossed.  I expect, at some point, witnesses will start to crawl out of the woodwork on one side or the other, and then we’ll see.

German Wire-Haired Pointer Dog BreedWire-Haired Pointer (Purina Ad)

Billy Goat, from The South Dakota Cowgirl

Before I rest my case here, I’ll simply add that nowhere, in this multi-page, detailed recounting of the events, does Noem mention “training” for Cricket, that Cricket has “begun” her training, that she’d been in “training” for months and months, that Cricket was attacking and endangering Noem’s children, her family, or their livestock (she implies, at one point that Cricket’s snapping at, or “attempting to bite” Noem herself during the chicken-killing incident may have been the first time Cricket tried to bite anyone), or any of the other many exculpatory excuses Noem has come up with over the past week or so in order to try to emerge with some dignity and integrity from an escapade that, at the time it happened, and in the recounting a couple of decades later, shows she has none of either.

Now, I do rest my case. The rest of you can take it wherever you like.

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  1. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    She: …They said they hurried back to work before you decided they were next!”

    Oh my.  That whole thing reads like a bad joke.   She is to animal training what Jeffery Dahmer is to lonely boys.

    • #1
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Well, before I thought she was disqualified for VP, after reading this, I think she is disqualified from pretty much anything else.  

    • #2
  3. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    Yikes.  If that’s the whole of the account and there’s not something that makes this better missing, sounds like she’s not so hot on the forethought (I’m a poet!), which as I tell those around me can simply be one thought, it doesn’t need to be 4.  I can see why people would criticize her for this account, there doesn’t sound like any positive in it, since the whole of the problems stems from her, not some unruly dog that resisted all reasonable attempts to train it.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Please tell me this is a parody by Democrats. If this is real, I’d put her down. Not Cricket, the writer.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    She: The hunt was ruined. I was livid.

    The dog’s main crime was embarrassing her. That’s the warped thinking of abusive people too. Not that she is, but it’s the same psychology. The entire “the stunt she pulled” gives the dog some intelligent intent that dogs don’t have. It is really weird thinking. Whatever the dog is doing is the owner’s call, not the dog’s. Abusive people project intent where there is none. 

    But the most troubling part of the story, to me at least, is the part about the goat. The goat has been a problem for years, and having just killed the dog, now she’s in the mood to kill the goat too. 

    Wow. 

    • #5
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    jmelvin (View Comment):

    Yikes. If that’s the whole of the account and there’s not something that makes this better missing, sounds like she’s not so hot on the forethought (I’m a poet!), which as I tell those around me can simply be one thought, it doesn’t need to be 4. I can see why people would criticize her for this account, there doesn’t sound like any positive in it, since the whole of the problems stems from her, not some unruly dog that resisted all reasonable attempts to train it.

    You’re more than welcome to read anything I’ve left out, whatever, or wherever such a thing takes you. 

    Having read the entire thing, I’ve tried to be fair, and I think you’re entirely on point.  

    • #6
  7. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Please tell me this is a parody by Democrats. If this is real, I’d put her down. Not Cricket, the writer.

    If only.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Abusive people project intent where there is none. 

    Abusive people? Like politicians?

    • #8
  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    She: Cricket was a wirehair pointer, about fourteen months old, and she had come to us from a home that struggled with her aggressive personality. I was sure she’d learn a lot going out with our older dogs that day. I was wrong.

    I don’t know jack about training dogs, but it baffles me that someone thought she could bring along an untrained young dog and it would be taught what it needed to know by the other dogs.  Good thing she didn’t shoot those other dogs, too, for doing such a poor job training Cricket.

    • #9
  10. E. Kent Golding Moderator
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Make her a Judge or Prosecuter in a high crime area.

    • #10
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Here is a picture Noem shared on Facebook a couple of months ago.  This is the gravel pit where she shot three of her daughters’ aged rodeo horses.  Perhaps she has another gravel pit for smaller animals.

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Give her the nuclear football! 

    • #12
  13. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    She: When I got back into my truck, Cricket was sitting in the passenger seat, looking like she just won the lottery. The picture of pure joy. I hated that dog.

    So where else do you expect a dog to sit when given the chance? And the dog would be happy at the opportunity to sit with the people.

    • #13
  14. She Member
    She
    @She

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Here is a picture Noem shared on Facebook a couple of months ago. This is the gravel pit where she shot three of her daughters aged rodeo horses. Perhaps she has another gravel pit for smaller animals.

    Thanks.  If you have a link, please post it.

    • #14
  15. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Having gotten a pretty good analysis on  several podcasts of this situation, I think I can say pretty confidently that she is toast!

    • #15
  16. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Thank you She for reading and sharing this.  I had previously held high regard for the cute cowgirl pol.  Dang, this story is horrible.  I agree on all of your assessments. And I wanted to give Noem a pass.  I had previously read that there is a law in her state that a dog which kills chickens MUST be put down, so I thought maybe this story is overblown.  

    Would it have been different if she expressed cold regret for the dog’s death?  (ie.  I hated to kill it, but it was the law, and it had to be done.) Maybe.  Did the ghost writer change the tone? maybe, but she narrated the audio book,  so she knew what was written.

    Did she think this made her look tough and strong, or was she just so full of her self and her story that she liked the cringe and fear factor this story evokes. In this regard, I personally like to say and do things that I know will cause reactions, and do so intentionally. But I have no aspirations for gov, VP or Potus.  If you have those goals, your life needs to be scripted, acted, and led in a completely different way (unless your a dem, then who cares, this stuff would definitely be a nothing burger or highlighted as rad!) 

    Well another pol will drift away, deservedly so. 

    • #16
  17. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I really don’t know much about Noem at all, but I do know that she vetoed a State Bill that would  have prevented boys from participating in girl’s sports.  That’s enough to disqualify her for me.

    • #17
  18. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Good grief.  That’s ten times worse than the press made it sound.  She is an imbecile if she thinks this failure to train her dog and failure to humanely kill her dog, and everything else in that story  of incompetence was a way to make her look “strong” or “decisive.”

    She’s done.  

    • #18
  19. She Member
    She
    @She

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Would it have been different if she expressed cold regret for the dog’s death?  (ie.  I hated to kill it, but it was the law, and it had to be done.) Maybe.  Did the ghost writer change the tone? maybe, but she narrated the audio book,  so she knew what was written.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think it could have been different.  God knows, there have been dogs whose names I’ve known, who’ve been shot for good and necessary reasons out here.  That’s always incredibly difficult (for me, anyway.) But it’s something I’ve had to come to terms with over the years.

    And Kristi Noem might have been able to teach–either–a small lesson  when it came to the proper, humane, regretful killing of a lawless dog or a lesson that relates to the marvelous re-training and rehabilitation of a previously” untrainable” one.

    I’ve seen both outcomes in my life.  (Never in a political way.)

    Unfortunately, the story wasn’t framed, or told, in either of those ways.  Instead, Noem seems to have relished the killing of the “untrainable” dog or–if that’s not the case (and I sincerely hope it isn’t) at least she seems to have gone along with an ill-advised idea that showing “toughness” by killing a puppy would put her to rights with her political friends.

    I can only hope such an idea goes down as one of the worst political miscalculations in history.

    Especially since, as you say, “she narrated her own audio book,” so specious drivel about how she didn’t know what it said is a pretty bold lie, on its face.

    Ugh.

    • #19
  20. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    She (View Comment):
    If you have a link, please post it.

    I don’t know if this will work.  The post was from March 12.  And I erred in saying she shot them…she called the vet.

    https://www.facebook.com/share/p/2kWBx9KPr3Kzii8Z/?mibextid=ZbWKwL

    Screenshot:

     

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    My daughter has rescued two stray cats that were left as days old kittens in a shoebox at the back door of a friend of hers who is veterinarian who specializes in only cats. She has also rescued, over time, two goldens and one black lab who were “surrendered” for uncontrollability. She has a natural gift with handling animals, and they are fine with her.

     

    • #21
  22. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Well, before I thought she was disqualified for VP, after reading this, I think she is disqualified from pretty much anything else.

    She lives with children!!!

    • #22
  23. E. Kent Golding Moderator
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Well, before I thought she was disqualified for VP, after reading this, I think she is disqualified from pretty much anything else.

    She lives with children!!!

    I would recommend that those children not misbehave,

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    I would recommend that those children not misbehave,

    Even if they have never been trained any better.

    • #24
  25. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    What really makes the whole story most sordid is that after killing the dog, incompetently, she then continues the spree with the goat.  There’s something not right with this woman.  She seemed to like the killing.

    Can you imagine shooting a dog and missing and realizing you don’t have another bullet?  This is a task you should be more properly prepared for.

    So not only does she have a strange lust for killing healthy animals, she’s also a poor planner.  Not a great trait for a politician.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Skyler (View Comment):
    There’s something not right with this woman.

    Is there anything right about any politician in this day and age?

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Not a great trait for a politician.

    And yet, here we are.

    • #26
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The dog thing doesn’t bother me in the least.  What does bother me is her convoluted response when asked the simple question, did she really meet with the little dictator from North Korea . . .

    • #27
  28. She Member
    She
    @She

    Skyler (View Comment):

    What really makes the whole story most sordid is that after killing the dog, incompetently, she then continues the spree with the goat. There’s something not right with this woman. She seemed to like the killing.

    Can you imagine shooting a dog and missing and realizing you don’t have another bullet? This is a task you should be more properly prepared for.

    So not only does she have a strange lust for killing healthy animals, she’s also a poor planner. Not a great trait for a politician.

    It was the goat that she had to shoot twice, but your comment is spot on.  Something is not right.

    It’s confounding that she thought that this was a story that must be told, and doubly so that she thought it would show her in a good light.  I’ve heard that–because of her political ambitions–she was worried that oppo research would discover the details and the witnesses (the construction guys, I guess) and the story would be leaked at an inconvenient time, so she was trying to get ahead of it by telling her side first.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I think it’s fair to assume that she and her team put exactly the spin on the story that they wanted to.  And that’s quite alarming, too.

    I’ve really been focused (some might say fixated) on her state of mind, and the story as it’s actually told in the book is far more damaging (IMHO) that the earlier reports indicated.  I’ve referred before to the First Rural Rule of Animal Husbandry, which is “Curb your dog.”  People on farms and ranches have a very low tolerance for ill-behaved and untrained dogs running amok, and a very high recognition of their responsibility to keep their canine friends–and sometime employees–under control at all times.

    An idiotic statement like “I was sure [Cricket would] learn a lot going out with our older dogs that day,” indicates an ignorance or irresponsibility so profound (she’d already given the dog’s age–hardly more than a puppy–and indicated that there were what she termed “aggression” problems) I don’t even know where to start.  That approach may work in some situations with humans, once they’ve attained some ability to ratiocinate, but putting a three-year old child in a room full of high-school seniors won’t generally result in immediate potty-training as the toddler observes and imitates his elders.  It’s just nuts.

    I do know where to start on the next bit of the story, though.  I’ll start with it’s simply unforgivable:

    As I loaded the dogs and supplies, I realized I was one kennel short. No matter. I would just let Cricket ride loose in the back end of the truck on the way home. If she was dumb enough to jump out, then good riddance. After what she had pulled that day, I didn’t care.

    Noem is the one responsible for those dead chickens.  She’d have been happy for the dog to have jumped out and run off as a stray and probable predator on her neighbors’ farms.  “I didn’t care.”

    No remorse.  No second guessing.  Nothing in the story about, “I wish I’d tied her up, or put her in the cab.”  No, “If I had to do it over again, I’d do something different.”  Or, “I’m the one who put those chickens at risk by leaving an overexcited young dog unrestrained in the back of my truck.”  No teachable moment.  Nothing.

    Just shoot the dog.

    She seems to revel in the story.  She must think it makes her look really good.  She goes back to it, almost at the end of the book, where she says the “first thing” she’d do if she ever moved into the White House  (that’s a hard “no,” Kristi) is “make sure Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds (‘Commander, say hello to Cricket for me.’)

    Har. Har.

    Woof.

    *To reiterate: there’s no mention in the book of all these people and animals she’s now saying Cricket had attacked. If you believe what’s written in the book, Cricket had never bitten, or attacked anyone, merely an indication that she snarled or lunged at Noem when she was trying to pull a chicken out of Cricket’s mouth.  (You’ll have that, in that circumstance.)  There’s no evidence presented in the book that Cricket killed any pheasants while on the shoot.  And nothing indicating that Cricket had undergone any training at all.  You’d think, if Noem was trying to present herself in a positive light, that–if such evidence existed–she’d have included it as part of the story.  But she didn’t.

    • #28
  29. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Politico basically blames her publisher, and is far more intrigued with her claim that she met Kim Jong Un.

    And beyond the Cricket story, possibly making up an easily disprovable memory about meeting Kim Jong Un — or else confusing one of the world’s most recognizable tyrants with some random other person — is a quality-control problem altogether different from the usual one in which pols fill books with lame cliches. Newspapers and magazines stand behind the things they put out, but in book-publishing, the veracity of a work is entirely on the writer.

    I certainly beg to differ with that last sentence…those few newspapers and magazines still around stand behind the things they put out?  “Things they put out” is about right.

    • #29
  30. She Member
    She
    @She

    Stad (View Comment):

    The dog thing doesn’t bother me in the least. What does bother me is her convoluted response when asked the simple question, did she really meet with the little dictator from North Korea . . .

    I’ve tried to explain what was wrong with her behavior over the dog thing: In twenty-five words or less (something I’m not very good at most of the time), it’s this:

    Irresponsible, out-of-control woman shoots dog she’d set up to fail.

    It’s not the shooting, or the dog; it’s the woman.  If she’ll do that to a dog, she’ll do that to a person (hopefully, metaphorically).

    I completely agree with you about her half-baked and evasive answers to the question about meeting with Kim Jong Un.

    • #30
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