Clippings: Family newcomer can be gnaw-ty
Some dogs can allegedly be trained to bring their owners’ slippers to them.
But we’ve got one that carries mine out to the back yard and drops them into mud or snowdrifts, depending on meteorological conditions.
I don’t take it personally, however. On Monday, she picked up one of my daughter’s friend’s shoes and carried it through our two dog doors into the slop.
Actually, shoes are the least of it. Empty cereal or cookie boxes, chocolate wrappers, boots, plastic food containers, canned goods, firewood, upholstery, clothing, entire jars of fish oil pills — if they’re not behind locked doors, properly disposed of, or nailed down, they make the pilgrimage to the yard to be chewed upon.
Not that the latest addition to the household, a black Lab-pit bull mix named Reina (Spanish for queen and roughly pronounced RAY-na), but better known to us as Chewbacca, doesn’t munch stuff while indoors.
If we didn’t think the woman at Mark’s Upholstery was nice and trustworthy, we’d suspect she conspired with the rescue organization from which we got Reina to increase her business. Reina likes chairs; oh, yes, she likes chairs, both their wooden arms and the fluffy stuff inside the cushions.
Mark’s Upholstery has one of our chairs now, and another is in line. We took a third out of the living room upstairs, to which Reina and our other dog, Crown, have access when we’re not around, to protect it from a similar fate — becoming the epicenter of an indoor foam snowstorm. And two weeks ago, my daughter lost a pair of clogs that never made it through the dog doors.
Reina, like Crown, joined us through Golden Huggs, which rescues abandoned dogs from shelters, often high-kill shelters in the South. Both came from the same host family in Kentucky.
Truthfully, Reina is settling in after about six months with us, a time frame about typical for a rescue dog to bond. But she has been a more, umm, shall we say, interesting case than Crown.
To start with, we learned that when even the best of rescue organizations describe a dog as a boxer mix, it’s probably a pit bull. Reina, as well as probably being treated worse than Crown in her prior life, had some dominance issues we had to work through. Like having to pee where other dogs had been in homes we visit.
That proved to be a problem during the holidays. My wife has several pet-loving siblings who visit my in-laws all at the same time. We had a lot of cleaning up to do at Thanksgiving, including a mattress. Reina spent Christmas wearing diapers. We tried to find colors to match red and green bandannas.
And we had to make sure Reina knew that she was not the boss of Crown, which we accomplished by making her stay off the furniture for a while and lying at our feet. She’s smart, she caught on quick.
It’s not all bad, really. Crown is highly social, and loves the company. The two play constantly, and are both happy. Reina has learned basic obedience pretty well, even if it all goes out the door when we see other dogs on a walk. She also remains, for some reason we will never understand, angered and unnerved by bicycles, and does not like large groups.
Reina also has, despite what is also obviously a troubled background, a sunny and friendly disposition. She likes people, and vice versa.
And we have learned that elk horns distract Chewbacca, at least a little, from furniture and shoes. At $24.99 a pop, of course. Are we sure there was no conspiracy?
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