The Joy of Dogs and the Unending Chewing Excitement

We have two animals in our house. If you saw what are house looked like sometimes, you’d think we have more than that.

Six children. Four teenagers. You can just imagine what the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms look like. It’s fun. We also have a dog that likes to go from room to room and see what she can play (chew up into little pieces and walk away) with.

A carpet with chewed up plastic containers and paper, and a large bone.
Remnants of Doggie’s chewing. The blue is the inside of a chew toy she pulled apart.

I Learned Something the Hard Way

We’ve learned to keep things away from the edge of the table. Doggie likes to take whatever she can find and chew and tear it beyond recognition. There was this one incident last year when I had been commissioned to write a newsletter for a college’s pharmacy school. It was a long process that involved hours of telephone calls and video conferencing. Because I’m old school, I took notes on paper for these interviews. I was looking everything over, including my finished stories when another emergency required my attention.

I left my notes on the dining room table to tend to said emergency. When I had returned, I found that Doggie had somehow made her way onto the table and chewed on my notes. Lucky for me, my stories had been written and I was just waiting for final confirmation and approval from the school. The point is, Doggie had violated my personal space and my work that day.

There are plenty of exciting things in your wastebasket for a dog to discover and play with.

There are a lot of violations Doggie likes to commit on a daily basis. If you have a dog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We have learned to keep the bathroom door closed all day every day. You would never think there could be so many things for a dog to play with. Humans see trash as something to get rid of. For dogs, however, trash can be a meal, an appetizer, or even maybe more chew toys.

Our Territory and the Dog’s

Yes, there are plenty of exciting things for a dog to discover and play with in your wastebasket. The real fun, though, is when you get to clean up after Doggie is done playing. It’s amazing to see what one small creature is capable of.

Doggie has her own chair in the house. It’s chewed on. She has chew toys. They are chewed to the point of the toys being opened up and the insides pulled out and chewed on. Furniture? Chewed. Books? Chewed. I have notebooks I like to keep with me while working. She got one and chewed it.

A black notebook missing the top right corner. It's been chewed.
My notebooks are now in protective custody.

Doggie has a mat next to her chair. She hasn’t chewed on that… yet, but she does like to take things with her to the mat and chew away. We’re always finding remnants of things all around the house. Wife and I don’t need many guesses when we hear one of our children yelling, “No!” or, “Bad dog!”

Our First Dog

As bad as things can get, it’s not as bad as the first dog wife and I owned. We had talked about getting a dog for a while and we did it before we had children. He was a puppy, just four months old when we got him. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we knew that when we got him because this was our first dog. No matter. We were ready for whatever this dog was going to bring us.

A man posing with a dog.
Me, with our first dog. Note the blue floor between us and the gray surface with pee stains behind us.

What he brought us was months of chewing on every piece of furniture in the house. We tried to buy a spray that was supposed to make furniture taste so bad, dogs wouldn’t want to chew on it. It didn’t work. We tried a “trainer” who only seemed interested in getting our money and that didn’t work.

Between behavioral issues and Wife getting pregnant, we couldn’t chance it with the dog and a baby. We finally gave up the dog. The day we went to the shelter, the room reserved for families who were surrendering their pooch was closed for repairs. Wife and I had a meltdown in the middle of the property as we said good-bye to our dog.

We got Another Dog

We thought we were done with dogs after that. It wasn’t easy, but we tried. Our house had pools of pee in various rooms and floors pulled up and chewed up. I honestly considered renting him out to demolition crews. He was efficient with that. Then one day, one of our children wanted a dog and did their due diligence online. They found a nearby shelter that had a dog that said child thought would be just perfect for our family. We agreed to go to the shelter to LOOK.

A dog laying down on a mat.  Chewed plastic behind her.
Doggie is tired after chewing… Or she knows she’s in trouble.

That was then. This is now. Now we know to leave things in the middle of the table. We know to make sure Doggie has a chew toy with her if we need to leave the room or house. No one leaves valuable possessions (like notes for work) within her reach. Now I know to work upstairs where my work and I are safe from the canine’s canines. It’s fun. If you need any documents shredded, I can introduce you to our dog.

Lucky for me, Wife, and the rest of our children, things haven’t been that bad with this pooch. We have our challenges. Doggie can be a little over-aggressive at times. A lot of this comes from her still being a puppy. The younger children at our house, including the visitors, need to get away from her sometimes. Kitty needs to get away more often than that.

A dog sitting on a rug.
Good dog. Just ignore the paper and plastic pieces.

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Cats and Dogs

There’s never a dull moment in our house. Me, wife, five kids, a cat, a dog… Oh, yeah. We got a dog.

I’m still not sure how this all came about. One of the children, I think, started talking about how nice it would be to have a dog. The Miracles of Christ don’t think we quite have enough going on in our house or in our lives. Between elementary school and high school, we have someone at home learning remotely five days a week. Wife is still working from home. Someone needs to go to school for a tutoring session at least two days a week. On top of that, there are the daily responsibilities of keeping the house clean. Now the children want to throw another pet into the mix.

We got a dog.

I reminded the children of the additional responsibilities that come with a dog, responsibilities that require getting out of bed before 11:00. No problem. They can do it. They will remember to feed the dog and walk the dog. These kids can’t remember to turn off a light when they leave a room but they’ll remember to take care of another animal.

It’s okay. They’ve got this. They’re going to take care of the dog. I voice my concerns, which are seriously considered by all before we start looking online for another member of our ever-growing family. We find a puppy at a local shelter. We sign up for our socially-distanced appointment. Before that, it’s off to the bank for a second mortgage and then the pet store where we buy up every dog supply the store has to offer. Wife and I are a little apprehensive now since there are no guarantees we will go home with a dog.

Who’s walking who?

We get the dog. Doggie hangs out in the office with wife where she whines and whimpers. Wife stops her business presentation to explain to the listeners we have yet another addition to the family and God forbid we don’t give her our undivided attention every waking moment.

Walking the dog is a treat. The dog fights us leaving the house and down the driveway and around the block. I’m trying to get Doggie to pee or poop. I don’t need to clean another mess in this house. Wife and I had a dog before. That dog took out three chew toys, five rugs, two mats, a bookcase, and the entire floor of one room. Some of these casualties are from chewing. Some are from peeing. Wife and I are especially vigilant about walking the dog.

We took Doggie to a check-up to make sure she’s healthy and alright. She has an ear infection. Fun times. The vet said we need to make sure her teeth are clean. The Oppressed has offered to share her toothbrush. I immediately vetoed that offer.

On the plus side, we have a fenced-in yard and our compost pile (We’re such good citizens of the Earth) is also fenced off. We have that to give Doggie a space to run around and expend some energy.

The family, especially the children are excited about this addition, especially one of the Gaggle, who has immediately adopted Doggie as yet another support animal. Speaking of support animals, Kitty is not pleased with this fellow four-legged creature. She is on alert every time she sees Doggie. Bristled fur, arched back, puffy tail. The whole bit. The truth is Puppy is just as scared of Kitty as Kitty is of Puppy. They’re both little timid animals who want protection from the other. What could possibly go wrong?