Now, I know you’re all going to laugh at me for this… because it’s a well-known fact that I may have the most pampered, loved and spoiled dog in existence. But I feel this nagging guilt about the fact that he doesn’t actually get to be a dog.
You know, he doesn’t get to go on walks and pee on the grass and romp with other dogs. He’s got all this pent-up energy that can’t be run off in the confines of my little condo, which regrettably results in his insatiable desire to mark in the kitchen. Then there’s the fact he’s so hyper-sensitive to my not feeling well that he, instead of me, is on anti-depressants.
As is evidenced in the above photo, he has so morphed into thinking he’s human that he often sits up on the couch like this, mimicking the stature of the rest of us [while demanding belly rubs, of course].
Yep, I’m always trying to think of ways to make him happier as a dog.
I discovered early-on in Riley’s puppyhood that he is what they call an “aggressive chewer.” It wasn’t hard to figure out when I came home one day to discover he’d chewed a 2-inch deep hole in my wall. Not the corner, mind you, where he could get a good angle on it. No… he took his front teeth and gnawed right through the flat drywall.
And then I learned how to spackle.
I tried giving him rawhide bones, only to find out they were too easy for him to chew apart. He would swallow such large chunks of them that he would end up making himself sick. Which required my clean up. Which put an end to the rawhide bones.
Recently, however, I read that compressed rawhide bones were made especially for aggressive chewers… that they couldn’t swallow big pieces and were great to gnaw on and get out that extra pent-up energy. So I ordered them and we gave them a try.
Oh, was Riley a happy dog.
That bone was chewed on front, back and sideways.
He worked and worked until he whittled it down to tiny little pieces.
And then I found out my dog actually has dog instincts! He took those tiny little leftover pieces and dug at my furniture like he was digging a dirt hole in the backyard trying to reach China. He’d root in the crevices of pillows and couch cushions and bury his little bone pieces like they were treasures to be cherished.
And then he would come running over to me, whining for me to follow him, until I would get up and he’d show me his handiwork. Then he’d promptly pounce on his treasure and re-hide them somewhere else… after realizing he’d let his secret hiding place slip.
To say it was entertaining would be an understatement.
Now, still being more human than dog… and after almost six years of training me into submission… he decided to finish this little game by bringing me the small pieces to hold for him while he chewed on each and every last bit of them. They were too small for him to grip in his paws, so he’d lay them in my hands and wait for me to hold them for him … content to chew away.
This past Wednesday I made the mistake of not paying attention while holding onto the small piece of bone. And when my aggressive chewer bit down into the rawhide to rip it apart, he instead ripped apart my thumb.
He chomped down and his tooth went all the way through my thumbnail, cracked the nail upward and sideways, and punctured so deep into my thumb that the pressure split a hole all the way at the top, meaty part of thumb as well.
It hurt. And OH MY WORD did it bleed.
And it was at that point I realized how absolutely abnormal my life has become when I didn’t even yell, cry, wince or react. I simply pulled my thumb from his mouth [said a swear word I won’t mention here… uttered more incredulously than dramatically] and started cleaning it up. My mom happened to call shortly afterward and she held her breath as I started the conversation with, “You will not believe what I just did…”
It took me a day to decide if I should laugh or cry on top of everything else that’s happening right now… and decided I would just call it an added insult to injury. :) But in the grand scheme of things it isn’t really anything more than a nuisance. It’s clear every time I try to use my thumb to hit the space bar, however, that the universe is really trying to teach me patience!
But at least I can say … it’s never boring around here.
Yes, peeps. This is the innocent face that punctured a hole in my thumb.
Considering he is faithfully by my side 24/7 with that endearing look, it took all of 3.2 seconds to forgive him.
But not even this look is going to get me to hold a bone for him ever again. I may be a well-trained pushover, people, but I’m not stupid…