By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
You’re kidding me. That’s my new gazillion dollars heartburn medicine scattered all over the entry hall rug! So this is a slight cost exaggeration but those Dexilant pills cost about ten dollars apiece until our deductible is met and are my last resort in my relentless reflux battle.
So what happened is, I’m a sucker for a sweet face. Full of kibble, chilling out after we played fetch for about “forever,” I decide to leave our grand dog Tucker, looking exhausted and angelic, lying in the living room with our three older dogs while I run an errand. Surely, at almost a year old, he’ll be fine out of his crate for a short time. Yeah right.
An hour later, I enter the front door to the sound of happy barks, ready for my big welcome home. Unconditional love times four. This is why people have dogs. For the smiley-faced greetings. All four dash outside for potty time and I look down at the mess on the rug. A crushed medicine bottle and some chewed up blue capsules scattered among a few intact ones.
Tucker is the culprit of course. The other three are long past chewing things. My thoughts bounce between aggravation, to concern for the puppy, to concern for my brand new bottle of meds. After childproofing for our four kids, you’d think I’d know better that to leave meds unsecured, but no. Empty nesting has made me soft and careless. I set the bottle temporarily on an office counter; never thinking it would be a hazard. Either the tall puppy stood up on his hind feet and got the bottle or Daisy Cat must have helped him, batting the bottle around on the counter and onto the floor. Teamwork. And yet another not-so-gentle reminder of childproofing skills for future two-legged grandbabies.
I crawl all over the entry rug retrieving every squished capsule and the microscopic white ball innards that dot the rug like dollhouse sleet, collecting them in the unchewed bottle cap. Inside the crushed pill bottle I squeeze out a few untouched blue capsules. Praise be. Maybe Tucker will live after all.
Crawling from the hall to the living room floor, I find more whole and partial pills in the sofa seams. I use my newly manicured fingernails to dig out and capture all those tiny medicine marbles, along with other sofa-seam crud, as well as scraping up more from my office rug. The grand total of accounted-for capsules comes to twenty-nine. Hallelujah. The bottle holds thirty, so at worst Tucker may be heartburn-free for about twenty-four hours but Poison Control isn’t necessary this time.
Would it gross everybody out to know I plan to ingest the white balls from the chewed up capsules? If I toss them out, I’ll waste about fifty dollars worth of reflux-free days. Heck no. You know what they say, “God made dirt, so dirt won’t hurt.” I’ll sprinkle those anti-reflux dots on my eggs like salt and never know the difference.
I should mention a couple of other things: there is also a crunched up blue ink pen mixed in with the meds by the front door. And there’s a new loaf of bread, pulled off the kitchen countertop and devoured except for a few pieces lying on the kitchen floor. Did my arrival interrupt that snack?
Hoping for the best, I leave town to visit my mom thinking I’ll relax a bit, finally off pet duty. Fat chance. I get daily Tucker reports from my husband.
Here are the exact texts, and photos included: “Here’s some more of the bad news. While I was out enjoying the weather, Tucker was destroying a few more items. Nothing is safe on that first low file cabinet in your office. He also pulled your very nice mouse pad off your desk and destroyed it. Your mouse was on the floor undamaged. A glasses case was damaged but the glasses inside are fine. What you see in this picture is partly the pad and partly a small package of tissues and used ink cartridges. I hope you can replace the nice mouse pad. Nothing else of real value was lost today but I can’t explain his resurgence of interest in destroying things. Enjoy your stay and say hi to your mother for me.”
Yep. I can totally relax after that report. Not to label any breed as more destructive than others but we’ve had several dogs with lab bloodlines. Maybe it’s just ours but they seem to chew and dig and proudly present gifts they’ve stolen more than any of the other breeds we’ve loved.
Tucker, likely a lab-boxer mix may settle down in another year or so. In the meantime, I plan to buy stock in chew toys in order to save our belongings when he visits. Let’s just say, puppy parenting isn’t for sissies and neither is grand parenting. Whether it’s four legs or two, hyper-vigilance is vital and I assume it’s good for the old brain cells keeping us on our toes. It sure is a hoot between incidents, looking into those sweet faces and big eyes that sucker us in every time. That is, until we spot the latest item chewed to confetti.
March 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm
Boy did you remind me what I would be facing with another puppy. Lately I have been having puppy fantasies. One of ours ate a light bulb. Vet had us feed her white bread. Then one ate a box of chocolates and spent the night jumping on us as we lay in bed. One ate the book of John from my leather Bible. I remember a vet telling us that a puppy will always eat one thing you really care about. In his case it was the arm of his leather jacket.
March 26, 2018 at 11:05 pm
The book of John. That’s hysterical. Very precise puppy. Our other daughter has a hundred pound dog who has eaten a few socks. They knew when they cleared the system in the back yard. Scary stuff. It’s amazing they don’t choke on such. And a lightbulb. Wow.
March 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm
The lightbulb was a first for our vet.
March 26, 2018 at 9:25 pm
You know what they say…”You don’t buy a good dog, you EARN a good dog!” I’m happy that puppy survived, and no, I won’t be grossed out…I’ve kissed my dog and I liked it! So a little puppy slobber won’t kill ya! Cheers! – Lynn
March 26, 2018 at 11:02 pm
I love that saying. Thanks. I learned a valuable lesson. That’s for sure. He’s gonna get me organized yet.
March 27, 2018 at 6:38 am
i had to chuckle reading this post because it brought back so many memories of Dwayne (named by one of my sons) who one day, when left at home (after a good run at the park mind you)… ate through all the bindings of my huge art books which were stacked on the lowest shelves of the bookcases! My best expensive collection of art books.
Ah well… one of the best things we came up with to help him through the “chew everything ” period was to buy those really big real bones (not the fake ones) for dogs. Then when we knew we were going out, thats when he got those.
Also, the breeder of our Aussie gave some words of wisdom “a good dog is a tired dog”. Doesn’t always work, but generally if they get tired out, they get into less trouble. Glad that your dog did not ingest more than one pill and did not get sick!!
March 27, 2018 at 1:41 pm
Ah. Spoken like words of experience. Yep. Dogs lovers get it. The huge bone sounds like a plan. I’d have to have a barrel of them as when Tucker visits we have him and our own three dogs. Don’t want any arguments.
March 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm
That is why Scooter is an outside dog. He can chew on anything he wants out there – except the cats. They chew on him.
March 28, 2018 at 3:10 am
Hopefully moving our invisible fence to exclude our horse fields will make leaving Tucker out easier. He’s been in danger because he wants to bark and run the horses. Scares us to pieces. He also loves horse poop. Our other dogs do also so when the fence line is moved tomorrow I have great hopes for an easier life. Permitting him to run like crazy within the invisible fence should release some pent up energy. Yay
March 27, 2018 at 11:24 pm
You have to love them to put up with all that misbehavior. It’s their saving grace.
March 28, 2018 at 3:06 am
Yep. Those incredible eyes warm my heart.
April 3, 2018 at 2:53 am
I love puppies, but I have to admit, my next dog will probably be at least one year old, maybe two…. That’s the problem with aging, we have less energy to keep up with the young, canine or otherwise!
April 7, 2018 at 2:39 am