Friday, February 4, 2022

Insight: Blame the dog when things go wrong

Fancy, age 5
By Ed Pierce
Managing Editor

Thanks to my stepson Daniel we now have a new living room rug after the old one was soiled by our dog Fancy.

The evil deed was perpetrated one evening last week when we were the dinner guests of Daniel and his fiancé Mckayla. By the following day, the rug smelled terrible, and my wife Nancy and I decided to pitch it out.

The rug was old and had previously been used in Nancy’s classroom for several of her first-grade classes at school. Fortunately, Daniel had given us his apartment rug when he and Mckayla got together, and it happened to fit our living room perfectly.

This is not the first time Fancy has been caught ruining our home furnishings. As a puppy she chewed rat holes on both ends of our sofa and once while we were at work, she got out of her crate and tore the covers off several sofa cushions.

When we moved from New Hampshire to Maine, she took a liking to the taste of the baseboards in our first-floor office resulting in them having to be covered. We don’t mind her looking out the dining room window in the summer but learned quickly to keep the window shut as she ripped the screen trying to get at squirrels that she spotted in the neighbor’s yard across the driveway.

Can’t begin to tell you how many television remotes we went through before we got the expensive smart TV. Since that smart TV remote is costly, we now make sure we either take the remote with us or place it higher than the dog can reach when we get a phone call or are summoned away for a minute to the kitchen.

The old TV is now in the spare bedroom, but its $16 remotes were an ongoing order for a while from Amazon after Fancy chewed and mangled them. Same thing for the DVD remote ($12). By my estimate, we went through eight TV remotes and four DVD remotes, courtesy of our dog.

She also was caught chewing on one of my wife’s school yearbooks and has been apprehended numerous times stealing papers from my desk and frequently from Nancy’s desk in our office. Quite often the papers she grabs and dashes away with to chew on are student’s school papers that have been graded, but Fancy is also known to snatch paper clips, rubber bands, ballpoint pens and pencils.

That usually ensues in a frantic chase around the dining room table or down the hall into the living room to extract the items from her mouth before she swallows them.

Early one morning last year, I had toasted a piece of raisin bread and had just sat down at my desk to eat it when Nancy called out from the bathroom and asked me to bring her a clean towel. I was only gone for 15 seconds but in that length of time, Fancy had jumped up and grabbed the piece of toast from my desk and was swallowing it whole when I had arrived back there.

Because raisins are highly poisonous to dogs, I was advised to bring her immediately to the 24/7 animal emergency facility and what typically takes a drive of about 40 minutes was made in half that time. After having her stomach pumped and being put on an IV, the veterinarians released her after I paid the $585 bill for treatment. And for the record, since then I have not had one slice of raisin toast.

This dog is a serial mischief maker. She’s been known to go through your coat pockets to extract Kleenex placed in them and she will scoop up leather gloves and race by you at breakneck speed to the other room with her prize possessions.  

Fancy will knock the toilet paper roll off its holder in the bathroom and strew it all over the house. She’s always vigilant for socks, napkins and wash cloths fresh out of the dryer awaiting folding before being stored and put away.

Once in New Hampshire we visited a couple that sold alpaca merchandise and I purchased Nancy some warm alpaca mittens to wear in the winter to school. Those lasted less than a month before having a hole torn in them by our dog.

If you are careless with your food, Fancy is laser-focused and has been known to grab cheeseburgers, tuna fish sandwiches and an assortment of snacks and crackers right from your plate at both the kitchen counter and from the dinner table.

We’ve tried exiling her to her crate during dinner and putting her on a leash while we’re eating, but nothing so far has worked. I’ve found that it’s hard to guard your food, cut your meat and pass the potatoes all with one hand on the leash and one foot stepping on the leash to restrain her impulses.

The moral of this tale is that new dog owners (like we were at one time) should be rigorous in training their furry friends or else they could create a rascal like we have. But then it’s truly all the dog’s fault. < 

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