I have 3 dogs: one 10-year-old Rat Terrier named Monte, and two 2-year-old Shih Tzus named Rocky and Athena. While Monte caused us a fair amount of frustration in his puppy days, he has mellowed into a reasonably non-destructive dog. Fear not, though, because his younger brother has been doing his damnedest to outdo him on every possible level.
This is surprising (or maybe not) because when we first brought the puppies home, Rocky was timid, and would squeak and whine pitifully when his brother gave him the slightest sniff. He was obviously afraid of Monte, and perhaps this has been his motivation for every action since. Clearly, this was my younger brother’s life motivation. (I can say that because he never reads this blog. If I’m wrong about that, hey, Daniel, I’m just kidding.)
Rocky destroys everything he finds. Newspaper. Shoes. (So cliché, but he loves metal and anything leather.) Books. Pens. Chip clips. Paperclips. Zippers on pillows are his specialty; he mangles them regularly. If it’s small enough to fit in his mouth, even if it’s so small I cannot see it even with my glasses on, Rocky will find it and chew it until it becomes a contestant for our favorite family game, “What the hell WAS this?”
He eats rugs and likes to redistribute them, with his sister’s help, throughout the house. We can’t keep any towels on the oven handle because he will pull them off and we will find them strewn about (if we find them at all). He regularly pulls the insoles out of my shoes to use as chew toys.
He has a highly annoying habit of marking on our beanbags, which, when discovered, requires frantic removal of the cover before it soaks in, and the liberal use of Nature’s Miracle. He doesn’t pee anywhere else in the house, just on the beanbags. We hate this.
He eats poop when he thinks no one is looking; always Monte’s, for some reason, probably having to do with jockeying for top dog position in the pack.
Rocky is also a climber, and he learned quickly how to get up on a dining room chair that had been left out, and from there onto the table, where he would snack on any and all available comestibles, including whole sticks of butter. (Our living room carpet was never the same after that particular incident.) When he can’t get up on the table itself, he will make like the Coppertone puppy and grab a corner of the tablecloth, pulling it until whatever is on the table comes crashing to the floor. The other day it was a bag of cheesy rice cakes, but I’d heard the crash and grabbed the bag before he did.
It is largely because of this behavior (and Monte’s propensity to flip open the garbage can to hunt for snacks) that we had to put a gate between the kitchen and the rest of the house, and we have another at the entrance to the hallway to the bedrooms. It’s like the Soo Locks at our house. Or a maximum dog security prison. However, there are always loopholes, and you can count on our Rocky to exploit them fully.
While his rap sheet was already an impressive documentation of canine delinquency, Rock finally earned the not-so-coveted “Shitbird of the Year” award last Wednesday. It was an unusual day, in that I had an 8 a.m. dentist appointment, and my being up early for that threw the day’s usual routines off. I’m usually not up until 7:30ish, and Scott takes the dogs out before he goes to the gym, then locks them up again until after he’s home, showered, and dressed. Because I was up, I took them out, and let them run free while I ate my breakfast and finished getting ready. They were roaming the premises when I kissed Scott goodbye and headed out the door, and remained so until he locked them up before leaving.
We went home at 1 for lunch as usual. I took the dogs out while Scott nuked our leftovers for lunch. I sat down at the table, grabbed the cloth napkin that was sitting there, and started to eat. After a couple bites I stopped to wipe my mouth and was overwhelmed with two facts:
1) My napkin was quite damp.
2) It reeked of urine.
Now, in case you’re wondering, we don’t generally pee on our table or linens, so this was as much as surprise to me as it is to you. I sniffed the napkin again, wondering if I was just imagining it, but no, it was definitely dog pee.
“How did that happen?” I asked Scott as I started patting down the rest of the table.
“Well, your chair was out…”
“Yeah, but I thought I locked the gate when I left this morning.”
“I don’t know, but your chair was out, and they were unsupervised after you left.”
Eventually, my hand found a damp spot on the tablecloth, and with a sickening feeling, I bent down to sniff the table.
“That little shit pissed on the table?! He pissed on my dinner table??? It’s not enough that he was on the table at all, BUT TO PEE ON IT?”
The little shit in question looked innocently at me from the kitchen, making sure he was out of arm’s reach.
I began stripping everything off the table and throwing it in the laundry, throwing evil looks and the occasional “BAD DOG!” in Rocky’s direction. Fortunately, we had a vinyl liner under the table cloth so we didn’t have to burn an entire pee-soaked table.
Scott was trying not at all to hide his chuckling. He found the entire thing hilarious, although he admits had Rocky pulled the same thing on his desk, we would have only two dogs. But that’s fine. Because as far as I’m concerned, I only have two dogs. Rocky now belongs entirely to his much-amused daddy.