Jul 1, 2022
Quiet everyone! The blog is starting! THE BLOG IS STARTING!!!!
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely seen them eat just awful, weird, and unexplainable things. I once saw an article about a dog that ate packs of cigarettes. Open or unopened. Then she would vomit them all over the house. When her owners secured the cigarettes away (rather than quit), the dog would eat cigarette butts and lick ashtrays. It makes you wonder how dogs ever even evolved. Unless you’re a creationist.
Here are some weird and not-so-weird things my dogs have eaten. Let’s get through the Not-Weird and Done-Before Things quickly, shall we? Humor abounds in the later chapters.
NOT WEIRD #1 — HOMEWORK
Now let’s get this clear, not one of my dogs has ever eaten any homework. And if they had, it would NOT be weird or funny. It would be the opposite of weird. It would be mundane. It would be like reading the Sunday Funnies on the can, or directions on how to fertilize your lawn. I take that back. Fertilizing your lawn is useful assuming you have a lawn.
One time Auggie ate a bunch of Liana’s important work papers to get at a bag of Stella & Cheweys in the back seat of her car. It’s kind of like homework, but she had copies on her computer, so she just had to print it all out again and re-bind it. It was pretty mundane. She was inconvenienced, and she was upset about the mess in her car, but she easily took charge of the situation. We also thought a lot less of Auggie and wouldn’t let him borrow the car for a month.
I can’t believe I wasted all that space on something I said I wasn’t going to bore you with because it was too mundane. Email me. I want to feel your anger so I can change myself.
NOT WEIRD #2 — SHOP THEFT
The first day we got Coal, we also opened the shop for the first time. We were overwhelmed and I left the the display door to the bakery treats open by the register. He silently put his giant, fuzzy head into the case and started munching happily at the cookies and birthday cakes. When I realized what he was doing, I shouted “COAL!!!!” He pulled his head out of the case and looked up at me, so happy with his new home and me. How could I be mad? I closed the display door, got him a pig ear and directed him to his bed out back.
The hundreds of dollars he cost the shop on his first day were forgiven, and it was the largest single theft of any dog in the shop ever.
I won’t bore you with stories about my dogs eating weird things I’ve already described in previous blogs. Things like vomit, a whole herring, at restaurants, berries & rotten apples, kelp and dead crabs, a “cargo cult,” poisonous mushrooms, or a leaf of lettuce. Click on the links if such is your wont and you have just a ton of free time. There’s also the time Auggie stole an avocado seed, but I can’t find the video and it isn’t funny without the video.
WEIRD EATIN’ #1 — ANTS & WASPS
I just lied to you. I DID write this story previously. But THIS time I’m going to write it whilst yelling at a Red Sox game on TV. Liana says I only do this because the TV can’t yell back.
Auggie has always been obsessed with food. So when he was a pup and discovered lots of protein running around our dirt driveway in the form of carpenter ants, he hunkered down over the anthill and began his meticulous campaign of slaughter.
He would obsessively sit over it and patiently pick off those ants one by one. I can’t say he ever had a full belly of ants, but he was very busy and happy sitting out there. And we didn’t need to call an exterminator.
It didn’t stop with the ants. We’d see him lunging randomly in the air. Turns out he was also eating the parasitic wasps that planted their eggs in the carpenter ants.
As he slowly eliminated the ants, there were of course, less ants to eat. He’d sit in the driveway staring at the ground in the pouring rain, waiting for even the smallest termite to appear. I admit I felt sorry for him and sometimes I would drop a piece of candy on the anthill trying to lure the rest of the ants out for him.
Historians of World War II often compare the invading German army to a sophisticated elephant and the Soviet army to millions and millions of simple ants. In this parable, the tiny ants and their bites must eventually overcome the enraged elephant no matter what horrific losses the ants sustain because of a whole bunch of nerdy historian stuff. Auggie proved that theorem very, very wrong.
Eleven years later, I’ll still catch him morosely scratching the ground where his glorious anthill was. He’ll stop and look up at me so sadly.
WEIRD EATIN’ #2 — THE BUFFET
Hey! This is the SECOND time I lied to you in one blog! I DID write this story previously. But THIS time I’m going to tell it like it should be told– with a lot of cerebral swearing and dark, explicit, sexual switchbacks.
One fine spring night, a pack of coyotes brought down a rather large deer in the woods just outside our front lawn. It was about 30ft from our living room. The carcass became a nexus that attracted all kinds of scavengers and disease-laden wildlife. Every night they would fight over the corpse very aggressively and loudly.
Not only that, but the engorged ticks dropped off the carcass and reproduced 1,000-fold. It was like a Nuclear Tick Bomb went off. The fallout of tiny tick babies marched their way up to our house in a huge swarm looking to attach themselves to our private parts and eyelids.
When Liana and I watched TV, we could hear the howls of the alpha scavengers declaring ownership of the carcass. Then there were the snarling and fights between the challengers and the alpha scavengers for the trophy carcass. In rare times of quiet, the gnawing and crunching of bones was enormously distracting. We could hear this cacophony even after closing the windows to keep the stink out.
When we just wanted to watch TV, I would fire shots over the coyote’s heads to scatter them. Yes. We live in Maine. Yes. I own a shotgun. No. I am not a gun nut. I own a shotgun JUST for this type of eventuality. I would have to fire shots over the coyotes’ heads just so Liana and I could watch Dumb & Dumber for the 10,000th time in peace. Don’t laugh. That’s our favorite movie and we never miss an edited network re-playing of it.
The shotgun also came in handy when we let the dogs out for their morning pee-pees and poopies before breakfast. They would all run straight down to the carcass like it was free beer at a NASCAR event, and I’d clear out the vermin and any remaining scavengers from the carcass with a couple quick shots into the air.
I can just sense a lot of you city dwellers out there asking, “Why didn’t you just run down to the carcass banging a metal pot with a heavy spoon to scare the wildlife away?”
The answer is that the shotgun was way quicker and easier. And I could shoot the rounds off from the deck completely naked whilst simultaneously taking a whizz rather than run across my lawn like some kind of creative city nutjob invoking some half-baked Native American Spirit.
I can never forget 14yr old Buddy wobbling desperately down to the carcass in his painful, arthritic gait as fast as he could. It was the only time I remember my dogs not caring about breakfast. I’d have to physically bring them back from the stink-pile to the house. Half of them were deaf and couldn’t hear my screaming to come back and the other half were just disobedient. They were all covered in ticks.
They stank of rotten deer and eventually they started getting sick. Liana and I started getting sick when the dogs began rolling in it. I also got tired of spending my life’s savings on shotgun shells just so Big Dumb Buddy could go outside and pee 600 times a day.
So I put an end to The Buffet about a month later when I saw a coyote in the woods eying Buddy like a veal calf. I put a military surplus gas mask on and wrapped the carcass in a tarp. I tossed the whole disgusting mess across the road onto the neighbor’s property like any honorable neighbor would. I forget what crime the neighbors had committed against us, but trust me, I could find one.
Then all I had to do was prevent my dogs from crossing the hyper-fast road out front to rediscover The Rotting Buffet on the neighbor’s property.
That was a hoot.
WEIRD EATIN’ #3 — BIRDSEED BOUNTY
When we first started the shop, I would walk all three dogs- Max, Auggie, and Coal- around the harbor. They had jackets that said “Follow Me to 2 Salty Dogs!” It went great until someone dropped pounds and pounds of birdseed on the dock around the Schooner Eastwind.
I can’t even begin to fathom why that much birdseed was in front of a place that sold tickets to schooner rides. Was someone booking a day sailing trip trying to feed the seagulls, cormorants, puffins, loons, sea hawks, and osprey with birdseed bells? And where was birdseed available for purchase in Boothbay Harbor? Grovers Hardware? And how did that much birdseed get dumped at that spot? It being Boothbay Harbor, I suspected booze and just left it at that.
Regardless, it was a feeding frenzy when the dogs discovered it. I couldn’t get them to move off the spot. Their tongues maniacally scoured the splintery deck and probed every disgusting crevice of the wharf for the tiniest bit of birdseed. They were completely oblivious to everyone and everything around them. My 240lbs of dog and their taught leashes completely blocked all tourists trying to make their way down the boardwalk. Max, Auggie and Coal could not be moved by any power man or dog possessed. “The Vein” in my forehead throbbed alarmingly as a kindly passer-by pointed out.
Eventually, my screaming and leash-pulling had effect and the dogs finally pulled away from their Birdseed Bounty, albeit unwillingly.
Years afterward, whenever the dogs passed the spot, they would perform a thorough check in case they missed a single seed. I avoided it like the plague. Even now, years after Max, Coal, and Buddy have passed, Auggie will still stop at that exact spot and search forlornly for the merest molecule of birdseed. Perhaps it’s an homage to The Greats.
Dejected, we’ll march on to Pier 1 Pizza where Miss Winter will grant the Aug Dog a pizza crust, or at least some popcorn.
He loves Winter.
WEIRD EATIN’ 4 — SURFING & MINING
When Max was a pup, he discovered the joys of counter-surfing and garbage-mining like any other puppy.
I didn’t quite know what to do. Punishing him after the fact would make him hate me more than he already did. I tried being passive-aggressive with him. For some reason that never worked. I tried posting a sign that warned him of the multiple dangers of eating unrestrained garbage. I tried hugging him and reasoning with him in a high-pitched, syrupy voice until I felt he promised me he wouldn’t Surf or Mine any more. Nothing worked.
So I did the next best thing. I got a couple Habanero peppers, split them in half, stuffed them with cooked hamburger, and placed them strategically on the counter and in the garbage as we made dinner.
Liana and I retired with our meals and Max sensed his opportunity. We heard him hop up on the counter and take the bait.
Then we heard him go “BLA! BLA! BLA!” loudly. He backed up, swinging his head to and fro, licking the carpet, just trying to get that burning out of his mouth. It was really hard to watch.
Of course he got into the trash later that evening with similar results.
Max never Counter Surfed or Garbage Mined ever again. Except when we had parties and he was extremely confident the Habanero-Spiked food ratio was extremely low.
WEIRD EATIN’ 5 — JUNE BUGS
Every year our Southport cabin is relentlessly assaulted by June Bugs. Usually it happens in June. Who would have thought? They clang annoyingly on the windows and make a huge racket when they beat their wings on the sliding glass door and window screens.
It goes without saying that everydog in Chez Salty is on maximum alert- focused like a laser beam on defending their home against the resounding insect invaders.
It started out as utter bedlam. I’ve never experienced war, combat, or Times Square for New Year’s Eve, but I’m pretty sure I’ve come as close as I can to those gut-wrenching moments when our petless friend opened wide Chez Salty’s sliding glass door and walked through with about a dozen June Bugs.
Buddy started by intermittently licking confused June Bugs as they frantically crawled across the green shag carpet for the floor lamp. He seemed confounded they were trying to get away from him. Coal ran around and around and barked excitedly at all the flying bugs. Confidentially, he looked a little scared but trying to do his part. Max was having a great time batting them around and flicking them. Auggie conducted a grim search and destroy mission for the half-crawling, half-flying June Bugs desperately trying to get away from him.
Liana and I barked at our dogs and tried to shoo their prey out the sliding glass door. I turned the outside flood lights on and shut lights off in Chez Salty, trying to drive the June Bugs out the door. We only let more in. Not only June Bugs, but mosquitoes, black flies, lightning bugs, moths, and weird insects only doctors have pictures of.
We laughed politely to our guest like it was nothing to worry about and poured heavy drinks all around. I closed the sliding glass door and turned the inside lights back on.
Shortly thereafter, we heard all our dogs corner, capture, and viscerally crunch up those trapped gigantic June Bugs. It was then we knew the Chartreuse Board we prepared was wasted on our petless guest.
The dogs started on the moths and lightning bugs with a fury.
Our petless friend dealt with it heroically by never coming back.
WEIRD EATIN’ 6 — THE BLAND 2 DOZEN
I LOVE farm-fresh eggs. I like the unwashed ones that come in a previously-used container in all different colors and sizes. Like brown and average, tan and “How the Hell did a chicken pass that?” freckled and average, off-white and gigantic, white and marble-sized, and of course those thin-shelled green ones with the double yolk.
Whenever I’m fortunate to get them, I put those precious eggs in a big bowl on my kitchen counter and pretend I’m a French peasant. Sometimes I’ll get fruit.
I pluck those eggs like they were yellow and white gemstones. I regard them carefully before committing them to my daily crowning omelet achievement. After re-reading this paragraph, I understand why “they” hate me. You probably should too.
So when, by some fantastic fate of Providence, I obtained two cartons of these beauties, yet had two dozen of the bland, uniform, nondescript, dull supermarket eggs in the fridge, there needed to be an accounting.
I was liquored up when I boiled a carton of the inferior supermarket eggs that night. I thought I would make Liana egg salad and share it with her the next day to her amazing accolades. In my inebriated state of mind, I thought that would quench her thirst for “The Good Eggs” and I would have all the good eggs myself.
I ended up putting the boiled supermarket eggs in the freezer and taking them out after 2 hours. I kicked the dogs out of the cabin, drew all the shades, and hid six eggs. Technically, I only hid four. Buddy and Coal’s were at their food bowl. They’d never find them anywhere else.
Then I let the dogs in for the Easter Egg Hunt.
Everydog was so happy and I was feeling on top of the world with my seemingly unlimited precious farm eggs and liquor.
Feeling top of the world, I took the other raw supermarket dozen and just fed them to the dogs, raw, shell, and all.
WEIRD EATIN’ 7 — A HEARTWORMING DINNER
One day Liana and I went to the Newagen Inn for dinner without feeding the dogs beforehand. It was a fantastic dinner. I recommend the calamari. But it was also a mistake of gigantic proportions.
When we got home, the contents of the cabinets were scattered all over the kitchen. Some dog had dug into the cabinet, pulled out all the stockpiled heartworm medication and ate it, plastic and all. Only a half-chewed box remained. Some dog ate a whole year’s allotment for all four dogs. I feel the need to also say it was very, very expensive. Very.
Coal was acting guilty, but he was an empath. There was no way he could ever perpetrate such a crime. Max was overly-happy and rubbing himself all over us. Buddy was asleep.
Auggie avoided eye contact with us and tried to slink away to the bedroom without dinner.
There was our guilty party. And the foil in his poop in the coming days confirmed it.
After the anger, we were terrified that our little Aug Dog was going to die from an overdose of heartworm medicine. The vet just laughed. If the 2lbs of kitty litter last month didn’t kill him, pretty much nothing Auggie ate would kill him.
I asked if Auggie was OK not taking his heartworm medication for the next four years. The vet lost her sense of humor and hung up.
From that night, we made a rule about the Aug Dog: we could never leave him alone in the car, cabin, apartment, house, or anywhere without feeding him first. Not treats. It had to be kibble. In a bowl. It had nothing to do with anxiety. He would just get pissed and hungry.
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That’s all I can write for now. Like you, I’m pretty grossed out by everything and liquored up.
-Don (Not a Dog)