Creativity, Dogs, Family, Things I Can

15. Things I Can Hazard: Deep Fat Frying

The dog’s anxiety has escalated to self-harm. She’s not burning herself with cigarettes, although once her toes can work the lighter, all bets are off. For now, her injuries are of the indirect variety. Her daylong bouts of howling shred her throat, leaving her hoarse and coughing through the evening. Between yelps, she thrusts her head repeatedly against her crate, bending the bars and tearing strips of flesh off her snout and cheeks. We come home to bleeding gashes and hysteria.

The vet is tapering her off one prescription and starting her on another. We have the number of an animal behaviorist who specializes in unique temperaments. New approaches could take several weeks to sort out, and new behavior far longer to establish.

At the beginning of the highest pressure work month I’ve faced in five years, I’m now the proud owner of a dog that can’t be left alone. Continue reading “15. Things I Can Hazard: Deep Fat Frying”

Choices, Dogs


In the fourteen days since she joined us, she’s destroyed:

  • One chest harness
  • Two dog blankets
  • One nylon leash
  • One leather leash
  • The molding around the bathroom door
  • The molding around the front door
  • A good portion of the bedroom carpet
  • The cap of Bug’s new marker
  • One magazine basket handle
  • The zipper of a purple down vest
  • The zipper of raincoat #1
  • The hem of raincoat #2
  • One complete ham bone
  • The pink bathrobe sash
  • The metal bars of her crate
  • An entire issue of the Washington Post Sunday magazine, all the way down to Gene Weingarten


Dogs belong to that elite group of con artists at the very pinnacle of their profession, the ones who pick our pockets clean and leave us smiling about it.

– Stephen Budiansky, The Truth About Dogs

It’s pushing 11:00pm. I want nothing more than to stash the last of plates in the dishwasher and collapse into bed. Instead, I will don a scarf and a jacket (one with an intact zipper), and pocket a few plastic sleeves from the Sunday Post. The little monster will quiver in a half-sit until she hears the harness snap, then she’ll lunge for the door. I will stumble out into the dark trying in vain to keep her behind and to the left of me as we circle the block half a dozen times. Only after she’s memorized every drop of canine urine that’s graced the grass in the past 72 hours will she relax enough to do her business. Then we’ll come back in where she will dedicate another 30 minutes to pacing from my room to Bug’s room to her blanket to her crate and back to my room again, collar jingling all the while, until she finds the right place to curl up for the night.

And I’ll be the grinning idiot who coos and strokes her back as she sighs off to sleep.