Tuesday, June 27, 2006

OK, Cookie didn't chew this....

...but it could explain why he does so MUCH chewing.......

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Of Sticks and Gates

Everybody knows that dogs like sticks. We throw them, the dogs fetch them and bring them back. Cookie likes sticks as well. Not for fetching mind you, for chewing.

Not long after we first got Cookie we realised that he could probably climb up the wood pile in the back yard and leap over the fence. This led to the wood pile being de-piled into a broader, flatter mound:

The pile has provided Cookie with an excellent source of sticks, and logs, and bark and other forms of debris, that he can then gnaw and drop all over the place. In line with his penchant for chewing large bones, some of the logs he favours are quite massive:

Others are more your standard sort of stick:

Some can be quite small sticks, like my new carpenter's pencil that I inadvertantly left in a closed toolbox on a shelf that was apparently not quite out of Cookie reach:

Some sticks don't even have to be left lying around. In his efforts to gain illicit access to the house, the old gate fell victim to this. Cookie discovered that sticks can be made out of gate parts, if one is persistent enough, and if you have the right dental equipment. This is a picture of the old gate, following its decommissioning in favour of the new Colditz gate:

The gate was originally erected to keep toddlers from falling down the back steps, and, in hindsight, it lasted pretty well under the Cookie onslaught. These are the sticks Cookie created out of one of the bars:

In the photo of the gate (which is in the trailer on the way to the rubbish dump) you can see a couple of running repairs I did to replace the sticks Cookie made out of the bars on the gate - metal strapping. Sadly, while the strapping was chew-proof, Cookie figured out that he could squeeze between the straps and get in, so the whole thing was retired. If you look carefully, you can also see an amount of gnawing of the bottom cross-bar of the gate, where Cookie was trying an alternative way to tunnel in.

With the arrival of the new gate, Cookie was rather dissappointed to discover that all he can do now is peer in through the lattice-work at the side of the back porch:

Poor puppy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buckets and Flowerpots

The other thing we encourage Cookie to chew is plastic flowerpots - ideally the type that you get from the plant nursery and then throw away when you plant the plant that came in it. But plastic buckets of any sort are about as entertaining.

We discovered this in the very early days of chewing, when one of the laundry buckets got inadvertantly left lying about in the back yard. By the time we discovered the error, we didn't have the heart to take it away from him. He was rushing about the yard whanging the bucket from side to side and growling and chewing and generally enjoying himself tremendously.

And, relatively speaking, there is a LOT of chewing involved before a bucket becomes unrecognisable. But unrecognisable it inevitably becomes:

A plastic toy bucket in the process of being broken down into component atoms

Administering the bucket the thrashing it apparently so richly deserves

A flowerpot at about the half way point

Components of a flowerpot almost at the end of their useful life

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Bones

Ok, I'll start with things Cookie is actually allowed to chew, and like all dogs I have met, he likes bones. He is encouraged to chew bones. He has all he can use. But it is apparently not enough - hence this blog.

These aren't just ANY old bones, mind you, none of your chop-bone-off-the-plate sort of bones, these are pieces of some very large animal. Ox perhaps, or buffulo, I'm not sure. Big anyway. Heavy certainly. I know this, not because I can bring myself to actually touch one (you'll see why later), but because he is tremendously proud of them. Whenever I go to sit on the back step to keep him company, he scampers off to find one of the several hundred that he has, and comes lolloping back with it in his mouth.

That of itself is endearing, but there is a problem.

In his efforts to show you the bone, it is whacked into and wiped up and down your leg continuously. There is a sort of double action going on - apart from wanting to push the bone into your lap, as he wags his tail the rest of his body and head (and bone) sort of wag a counter-point. So you end up with a sort of up and down and side to side motion all happening at once.

But I can live with that if I have sufficient time to shower carefully later.

No, the problem is the bones are heavy. They are difficult to grip, partly because they are approaching the size of his head, and partly because of the primordal ooze that covers them. Whether he gets tired, or just slips, I don't know. What I DO know is that you do not want your bare feet under one when it falls.

These bones are also very bad for lawn mowers. When you hit one that has been lurking in the long grass, there is this sort of terrible grinding, splintering, hacking, spitting sort of thing that goes on. Suffice it to say that I think I may finally have to go and buy a replacement set of blades.

The worst thing about bones, apart from the fact that they are completely useless as a distraction from chewing other things, is that they are.....how do I put this....EWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Here is an example:

No, don't adjust your colour balance, that's what they look like. And to give you an idea of size, its the better part of the length of my forearm.

Ok, to be fair, this is an average sort of bone. Some are completely bleached white and picked clean by ants, the other extream is, well, lets just say I'd prefer not to meet one in a dark alley.

The bones are routinely buried then retrieved, covered in dust, flies, gunge, grass clippings, and things that do not really bear describing. But of course, to Cookie, the single word that applies best is: YUMMO!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Introducing Cookie

Cookie is a chocolate labrador.

As I commence this blog he is about 8 months old, and, I suspect, has been chewing things for about 10 months. He is a boisterous, playful, loving, happy, healthy animal, and a fine addition to our family, if not to our collection of chewables.

The final straw that made me decide to create this blog was the destruction of my favourite pair of "flip-flops", you know, those rubbery sandle-like things you wear to the beach. I had been breaking that particular pair in for a considerable time, and had finally gotten them to a comfortable state.

One slip, one moment of inattention, however, and they became a widely scattered pile of debris, and I'm back to having blisters as I start afresh with a new pair.

But there have been many many other things that have gone the path of my flip-flops over the last seven or so months we have shared our lives with Cookie. As a starting point for this blog, I merely had to go around with the camera photographing the collection of chewed items that are either still functional enough to be retained, or which had not as yet found their way to the trash.
I surprised myself with the amount of material I was able to collect.

In an effort to contain the destruction, we have put up a substantial gate to separate Cookie from the rest of our valuables:

Its nice to have a place where you can relax, but the gate is by no means a foolproof solution. One slip, one moment of carelessness and Cookie will be past you into the house. And once in, you can guarantee that, at full gallop with the entire family in hot pursuit, he will seize and destroy the single thing in the room that you wish he hadn't been able to get hold of.

For this reason, we have a second larger gate that separates him from the back patio into the back yard proper. So far he hasn't managed to get past both gates when a full lock-down is in force.

Its a rare talent. But then we need exceptional things in our lives or things would become boring.