Friday, May 4, 2012

I Love My Dog But . . .

A while back I wrote about how the end is drawing closer for my dog, Zooey.  We don't quite feel like it's his time to go, but in recognition of that approaching day we've been spoiling him in ways that we never wanted to do when he was younger. 

We've allowed him to eat more of the table scraps.  We scramble an extra egg for him on Saturday mornings.  And maybe he gets more bacon than is healthy for him.  I liken it to when my dad was dying from lung cancer and I caught him smoking a cigarette in the side yard out of sight.  It's not like that indulgence was really going to change the inevitable. 

He's also been getting bones more regularly. 

But not from me. 

My wife and daughter, who are both kind-hearted and thoughtful, were out shopping and my daughter wanted to get Zooey a bone and Mom agreed that it was a nice idea.  Who am I to argue with that kind of thoughtfulness?  It's just a thoughtfulness that wouldn't cross my mind anymore.  Look, I love my dog and I want him to be as happy as possible in his golden years, but he torments me with these bones.  

I took this picture 7 years ago.  He's been burying his bones in the yard for at least a decade.
A few nights ago when he thought we were sleeping I heard him sneak off to the living room where he left the bone.  I knew what he was up to and it wasn't a midnight snack.  Moments later I heard his nails clicking on the tile of the kitchen floor and then came the soft plodding on the hallway carpet.  He was getting ready to sneak outside with his bone.
Now one of the greatest (and simultaneously worst) tricks Zooey has is the ability to open our sliding glass door and let himself outside by using his snout to push the door handle.  This is great when we're not awake and he needs to relieve himself.  It's not so great when it's 25 degrees outside and we're suddenly awoken by a blast of arctic air. 

On this particular night he snuck back into our room and dropped the bone on the floor so he could get his snout in there to open the door.  At that point I thought to myself "On no he didn't!" and I got out of bed in a huff.  Zooey pretended he wasn't up to anything other than answering nature's call and he went outside without the bone.  "That's right, Mister.  There will be no burying of bones tonight."  While he was outside I hid the bone in the bathroom sink and got back into bed.  I thought I was outsmarting him. 

He spent the next 30 minutes wandering around our room sniffing the side tables, poking his head under the bed, sniffing my face, pacing in circles, wandering out into the hallway to have a look around, coming back in and sniffing the side tables again in . . . I'm sure he was perplexed.  I'm sure that if he could talk he would have been scratching his head and muttering "now, where did I dwop dat darn bone?" (He would have a bit of a speech impediment, we think.)  "I swear, I weft it wight here by duh swiding gwass door so I could sneak it out waiter." 

I'm not sure who won that battle of wits.  On the one hand, Zooey didn't take the bone and bury it outside.  On the other hand, I awoke the next day extra tired since someone kept me up with his sniffing, pacing, and crying. 

Perhaps because I was so tired from that night, I slept soundly the following night.  I can't tell you how things went down when the sun fell . . . but I can show you what the light of day revealed:

I sounded like Fred Flintstone when he got locked out of his house at night shouting "Wilmmmaaaaa".  Except, of course, I was crying "Zoooooooooeeeeeeeeyyy!"  It's so depressing to nurture these plants along only to have them ripped from their potted places.  And I don't know why, exactly, but it bothered me even more that he didn't even end up burying the bone in the hole he dug.  He just dumped the evidence in plain sight.  "Come on, man."  I told him.  "If you're going to destroy everything, at least have it mean something."  He just looked at me blankly.  While he laid on the couch.  And then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.  After all, he'd had a late night; apparently.

Blankets and the TV remote and he's set for the day and ready for us to leave him alone.
I thought about throwing the bone away but I didn't for some reason.  Call it a momentary lapse of compassion.  I cleaned it off and gave it back to him.

This morning I awoke to a different crime scene and, once again, the bone wasn't buried there.  The difference this time though is that a complete search of the yard turned up nothing.  If I find it before he does, I'm sorry buddy, it's going in the trash this time.    


  1. Ah that is too cute. I know I'm not dealing with it, but he is adorable.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. It is better than waking up to a slimy bone laid on your pillow. Dogs do the darnedest things.

  3. Great narrative and a heart-rending story -sorry about the disturbed night, the digging and especially for the end of dog days on the horizon

  4. Sometimes I wish my dogs would bury their bones. Instead, they hone one end into a sharp point (I'm still convinced man didn't invent tool use, DOGS did!), and then they leave it, pointy side up, right where I'll step on it. Admittedly, my plants are safe, but the soles of my feet aren't usually so fortunate. You know that in your Fred Flintstone moment that Zooey was saying "I sorries, but I knows you still wuvs me, wight?" ;)

  5. Give him the kind of bones that are completely edible, like Greenies or pig ears. There won't be anything left to bury. :o)

  6. He HAS to bury his bone to prevent someone from hiding it in the sink.

  7. Let him have it, these are the things that stick in our minds when they're gone :) I agree with gardentalk here, it's better than waking up with slimy 'anything they can get a hold of around the house' on your pillow.

  8. Good thing my dog doesn’t like bones! What a relief! Anyway, just spend more quality time with your dog and make him feel how special he is to your entire family. Time is the most precious gift we can ever give!

  9. I know the mixed emotions you are feeling, Chad. I had once an aging dog named Brian (no reference to Family Guy). He was a Siberian Husky and had been my buddy for 8 years since I moved to my own place. We had our differences and I wanted to let go of him at times. But when the fateful day came, my eyes were filled with tears and I wished that I had one more day with him so that I could spoil him one last time. How's Zooey now?

    Tyesha Caron @ Dog Training Now

    1. Hi Tyesha, we euthanized Zooey back in December. I can't believe it's been that long already! I still miss him. I wrote about it here if you're interested: