Stuff My Dog Ate

by Ken Mueller on January 18, 2013 · 38 comments

white 15 Stuff My Dog AteSend to Kindle

310882 10150397767391843 1467939036 n Stuff My Dog AteThis is the latest post in my Friday Blogging Experiment series, in which I seek to get away from the world of marketing and be rather…random. Enjoy!

About eight years ago we came into ownership of a chocolate lab named Shadow. Our previous dog had died and we ended up helping out some friends by buying Shadow from them. In fact, I came back from a trip and there he was: our new dog. At the time he was about eight months old. Super exuberant and very lovable. I’d always loved labs and never heard anything bad about them. But what no one had told me was that while most dogs are only puppies for the first year or two of their lives, labs are rather slow to outgrow that “childish” stage. Very slow.

One thing we learned quickly about Shadow was that while he was rather well behaved in most ways, he liked to eat things. I’m not talking in the way that some puppies gnaw on furniture as they are teething. He just liked to eat things. And early on, it was everything. And apparently this was one of the deep dark secrets that the Secret Society of Lab Owners didn’t like getting out, because after years of how wonderful labs were (“They are great with kids!” and “They love everyone!”), we suddenly became aware of this unspoken truth. Whenever we would tell someone about our dog that ate stuff, invariably we would get the reply,

“He’s a lab, isn’t he?”

Oh, so they have THAT kind of a reputation, do they? Why didn’t anyone ever tell us this? I’ll point out that we got Shadow right around the time the book Marley & Me was published, so we didn’t even that as a warning! All we heard before hand was how wonderful and cute they were.

The earliest indication of Shadow’s love of eating things usually revolved around paper. After training our kids well and working hard to place their napkins in their laps while eating, we had to quickly break them of that habit. Apparently a napkin in the lap was an invitation to shadow. He loves napkins. He would walk under the table, grab a napkin from some unsuspecting diner, and run out of the room to eat it. We even had to warn our dinner guests of this behavior. The love of paper early on also included tissues, both new and used (snatched from trash cans), and any newspaper you had left unattended. In fact, his love of the newspaper seemed to be directed mostly at those sections of the paper which we hadn’t had a chance to read yet.

Over time, he has lost interest in newspapers, but tissues and napkins are still fair game. Each morning when we take him on his two-mile walk, he keeps his nose to the ground, not to follow the scent of cats, rabbits, or other wildlife, but to find litter that people have left on the sidewalk. And we have to keep gates in front of the bathroom doors to keep him from emptying the trash cans while filling his belly.

And you know those tissue boxes that dispense the tissues one at a time? You pull the one out, and another pops out ready for the next user, right? These are like Pez dispensers for him: he grabs one and eats it, then goes back for the next one that pops up. And so on and so on.

Oh, but it’s not just paper. Early on there were a lot of other things he ate, most of which we weren’t aware of until we…uh…discovered them in the back yard after it had exited his body:

  • a group of small plastic toy frogs
  • socks
  • a little alien toy
  • rubber bands

When I saw the plastic frogs in the back yard, I remarked that I wish he hadn’t come with the name Shadow and that we could have named him ourselves. I would have called him Crackerjack, because there was a prize in every poop.

27180 369583712814 4980768 n Stuff My Dog Ate

His eating of things wasn’t confined to just non-food items. He’s also stolen his fair share of food. We’ve learned (mostly) to keep all food out of his reach. If you walk around the house dangling a cookie or sandwich, you might as well just kiss it goodbye. He’s stolen food from all of us, and many of our guests. And because he’s a big dog, we have to keep things protected on the counter. His head is right around counter height, so anything he knows is there is fair game for him. If you’re making a sandwich and turn away for just a second, whatever you’ve left there might be gone.

Several years back we looked online for a way to prevent him from stealing our food from the counter, and found several people who recommended putting a small piece of lunch meat in a mouse trap and leaving them on the counter. The meat was to tempt him into trying to get it, and presumably the snapping of the mousetrap would be enough to scare him from doing it ever again.

Uh, no.

Shadow sidled up to the counter, approached the lunch meat with the side of his mouth very carefully, and tugged until he got it out without ever setting off the trap. So much for good ol’ ingenuity!

Other foods that have fallen victim to Shadow’s appetite (and taken from the counter) include:

  • entire sticks of butter
  • nearly full pans of brownies
  • loaves of bread still in the plastic wrapper
  • every known type of meat

When he ate the loaf of bread in the plastic, we were a little concerned. After all, what exactly would happen to the bag? A call to the vet and we were told not to worry, that it would most likely come out…one end or the other. And sure enough, everything did come out the back end in due time.

Oh, and candy. Shadow loves candy. He has raided the kids’ rooms and consumed:

  • full packages of chewing gum
  • full packages of Twizzlers
  • full bags of Hershey Kisses, still wrapped in the foil

Yeah, those last ones make for some interesting clean ups during dog walk.

Oh, and chocolate? Yeah, you’ve probably heard that it’s supposed to be poisonous to dogs. Well, despite all of the brownies and chocolate that Shadow has consumed, he has never even gotten sick from it, let alone keeled over. Apparently a dog his size (nearly 100 pounds) needs to consumer an awful lot of pure chocolate in order to feel anything.

I’m sure there are a lot of other things that Shadow has eaten during his more than 8 years on the planet, but that’s about all I could remember. Yeah, he’s a piece of work, but, he’s my dog, and I love him. He’s loyal, he’s lovable, he’s friendly. And boy is he adorable.

It just so happens that food is his love language. In fact, that picture you see at the very top of this post? I have a hard time getting photos of him because he rarely sits still, so I had to bribe him with food just to get that picture.

And sometimes when he’s bad, he makes up for it, and gives you one of these looks, and you melt. Just look at that face!

426775 10150521459287815 996643574 n Stuff My Dog Ate

 

How about your dogs or other pets? Any interesting dietary habits?

 

 

 Stuff My Dog Ate
Buffer
37 comments
Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

My dog Jackson likes dog poop. But not just anyone's dog poop. Only certain types. I have no idea what it is either. He is horrified by his sister Pepper's but will gobble up others'. I'm actually putting together a submission for Dogshaming on this topic. 

For some reason, we are blessed with dogs that don't get into the trash and don't eat anything we don't give them. I don't know how that happened. But when we DO give them something? Jackson gobbles it up with no investigation whatsoever. Pepper, on the other hand, is very conservative - she gives it a sniff and carries it back to her bed for further inspection prior to consumption. 

I just love those babies so much - how is it possible we can love these things the way we do? 

MrTonyDowling
MrTonyDowling

I think @ginidietrich is right, because Buddy my 8 month old Golden Retriever is a land shark too! Ken your account is so like him, back turned in the kitchen and he's off up the garden to eat his treasure :) 

But soooo loveable! thanks for making me smile! 

Hajra
Hajra

When I was young, my mom had three cats and many many birds. One of the cats (Scratchy) ate everything she laid her eyes on - bandages, plants, rubber toys, clay and the bird food. 

Latest blog post: I don't need you

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

Oh, and you haven't seen thievin' until you share your life with a beagle.  He's deftly swiped things off my desk and countertops without his paws touching (he knows not to jump up).  That's usually my cue to take him for a run. 

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Robert Hass

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

Look at that face is right! I always say God made dogs and two year olds cute so you don't kill them. This must be a retriever trait because Jack Bauer is the same way. Darn dogs!

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Nick Kellet

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

" a prize in every poop." <-- Hahahahaha! Labs do have a reputation for eating everything. Im cracking up visualizing everyone at dinner with napkins getting stolen right from their laps then eaten in the next room without anyone knowing or realizing what happened. SO funny!

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Aw, such a cutie! I've only had Lola for about 3 1/2 months so not much experience but she eats everything and anything on the floor/ground.  And of course when she's outside she goes for the biggest stick...they're usually bigger than her so she doesn't get very far. The good thing is I can bribe her with food or toys...even a blanket gets her attention! Love this post Ken! 

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

Shadow is beautiful (in spite of the nasty eating habit). My dog Charlie is now almost 14 years old. She's (yes, a female) never outgrew the habit of eating pooh. And I don't mean the canine kind. It's amazing how many people actually s*** in the park.

sydcon_mktg
sydcon_mktg

Dogs are so funny!! We are currently under the guard of a insanely spoiled 3 year old West Highland Terrier named, Zamboni.  When Zamboni was a pup, he stole everything too (that he could reach that is) and paper was a favorite!! Thankfully, he outgrew that after shredding what felt like a million trees and leaving the evidence behind the couch!  

Now, the only thing he steals is socks. Clean socks to be exact and ONLY from our son.  He carries them around when Connor is at school, or just out of the house. Sometimes he cries while he wanders with them aimlessly, sometimes he sleeps with them hiding under his chin.  Other times, he wont give them up unless its a swap for food!

Being a Westie his nature is to want to hunt & kill smaller animals. So, he spends his day chasing squirrels and chipmunks from our family room window to our kitchen sliding door...as if he might catch them thru the glass.

When he is not on patrol, the only acceptable place for him to be is in my lap...doesnt even care if my laptop is there, he will push it out of the way! 

Another endearment, is that he loves his "babies" or stuffed dog toys.  He doesnt chew them, just either carries them around or whips them around while growling (he even tossed one via whipping into a pot cooling on the stove & I had "Squirrel stew").  He will offer them up in thanksgiving when we return home.  He is so thrilled we have returned he comes running, shaking his whole body with the wag of his tail, with a creature dangling from his mouth willing us to have it...but only for a second while he says hello then demands it back! 

Latest blog post: Come see our new digs!

JanelleNeithammerDowney
JanelleNeithammerDowney

Our cat, Buddy, turns his nose up at anything that isn't dry cat food, with some exceptions--basically, anything that looks snake-like.  He's eaten plastic twist ties, rubber bands, hair ties, dental floss and, his absolute favorite, ribbon, especially the ribbon you can curl with a pair of scissors.  He'll eat ribbon right off of an unopened Christmas present.  We have learned that we just can't leave it laying around the house.  Last week, we could tell he wasn't feeling well.  The next morning, he threw up his breakfast (it landed inside his food bowl, I might add) and wouldn't you know, there was a round ball of undisgested ribbon.  We still can't figure out where he got it.

coasterk
coasterk

Such a funny post!  Yes, I had a Yellow Lab for years and he was the same way.  I don't know how many times he got into the kitchen trash while I was away and I came home to a kitchen that looked like it exploded.  And he also stole and ate an almost completely full box of Girl Scout Thin Mints one day.  That was the day I almost wanted to give him away.  But I didn't.  And he didn't get sick on the chocolate either.  Oh, memories.  Thanks for this!


Kim

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Hajra  at least the cats didn't eat the birds! In our other house we had a bird feeder in the back yard, and Shadow would stand under it to eat whatever bird food fell from it. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@jasonkonopinski that's often what Shadow does. Just this morning he stole my son's bagel off of a plate. It never ends.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ginidietrich Yeah, that cute factor makes it hard when it comes to being firm. And I know JB has had his butter issues as well.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Shelley Pringle Thanks for the compliment, and I am SO thankful Shadow has never had any interest in eating any sort of poop, doggie or otherwise.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@sydcon_mktg Shadow does the same things with his toys. He likes to have two in his mouth at the same time, usually a stuffed bone shape toy that we call his "baby" and his stuffed Mr. Bill toy.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@coasterk It's funny, whenever I bump into a lab owner, I hear similar stories. And for some reason, it seems like chocolate labs end up being the worst. go figure. 

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

@KenMueller Not as good as yours and I dont have a dog but here goes... my mom is a CPA which means her office shreds a lot of paper. When I first got Tini (my bunny rabbit), I used to line her cage with shredded paper my mom would bring home for me. She would jump in it and move it around in her cage - all kinds of fun. One day I noticed she had a piece in her mouth. It was the strangest thing to watch her nibble this long piece of skinny paper little by little until the very last little bit went into her mouth. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it and I still think it's the strangest thing that she could eat paper like that.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ginidietrich hmm. i don't remember...next time he does it I'll let you know, because it's sure to happen again!

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@KenMueller @ginidietrich He seems to have outgrown that habit, but he's sneaky. We've always crated him if we're out for a while, but on the few times that I've forgotten to fully latch the door, he just hops onto the couch and sleeps the day away. 

Or so we think . 

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Robert Hass

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@C_Pappas nice. an animal kingdom shredder. you could market that idea!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] they found my blog, and spent some time there, is because of a post I wrote earlier this year about Stuff My Dog Ate. It was a random post, part of my Friday Blogging Experience series, and while they may have [...]

Previous post:

Next post: