Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

by Kathy Miller Haines

Last April, we adopted a new dog after we lost our dearly departed Violet. Sadie is a dead ringer for her predecessor, but lacks the former's respect for our personal possessions. She’s eaten shoes, couch cushions, part of a coffee table, and enjoys destroying new issues of Entertainment Weekly before we have a chance to read them. Don’t worry: she has toys. Many, many toys. And a rawhide fetish that’s made me seriously consider investing in a cow.

We tried to abate the destruction by kenneling her when we’re not home. Neither the husband nor I was particularly thrilled about imprisoning her,so we’ve been trying to wean her off the cage during those times when we know we won’t be gone long.

Alas, it hasn’t been going so well. Last week I came home to find that she’d left everything alone, except for one thing. Let’s take a look, shall we?

What could it be that’s given her hours of pleasure? It clearly involves paper. Perhaps another view could help us identify it…

Ah, it’s a book! And it looks like an excellent read, doesn’t it? Whatever it is, it’s so delightful that she can’t be bothered to acknowledge that she’s being photographed. And wise animal that she is, she has a bookmark on hand, just in case she needs to pause in her activity. In fact, the bookmark looks vaguely familiar….

But the book! What book could possibly have such a death grip on her attention? Oh look, fellow sleuths, a piece of the cover!

Yellow moon, a woman in a red dress…it does looks familiar…

Yes, in a house full of hundreds of books, all of which are carefully stored on shelves, she chose the one title to decimate that, one hopes, will be keeping her in kibble for years to come.

The moral to this story? Aw, so many to choose from, but how about this: buy books this holiday season. Even when used improperly, they will provide hours of enjoyment. And when used as intended, you’ll be giving the recipient an experience they’ll keep with them for many days to come.

And maybe, with your help, I’ll be able to afford to get my dog more rawhide.

So what’s the last great book you…er…devoured?


Annette said...

Hey, Kathy, at least she has good taste.

The last book I read was Laura Lippman's BY A SPIDER'S THREAD and I'm currently engrossed in her NO GOOD DEEDS. I guess I'm doing a Laura Lippman marathon. Read-a-thon?

Anonymous said...

Very funny, Kathy!

I had a cat like that, once. Her owner moved to Boston to get married and left her with me, and she proceeded to pee on everything she could find in the house. UGGH!

She was a bright cat, though. She figured if she made my life miserable enough, I'd get her back to her original owner, which is in fact what happened.

Can't say her owner is a friend of mine any more . . .

The moral? Never get between a cat and her long-lost love!

Joyce Tremel said...

Well, Kathy, if I was going to devour a book, that's the one I'd pick. I LOVED your book!

I haven't read anything lately--I've been too busy writing.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm reminded why we've chosen NOT to bring a new dog into our family after the passing of our Wheaton Terrier last summer.

The look on it's face with your book reminds me of a German Shepard I had when I was young. We returned from driving around looking at Christmas lights only to find that she had devoured a stuffed Santa and the beard was stuck in her teeth.

Personally, I haven't devoured a book in quite some time.

Jenna said...

They grow out of it. I think. And they like their kennel boxes. Makes them feel safe. It's not punishment. Really. My dog sleeps in hers (with the door open) and lies in it whenever she feels like curling up. Mostly when I'm not around, admittedly; when I'm here, she's on my feet.

The last book I devoured... I've read a few lately, but I don't know if 'devoured' is the right word. If we're talking devouring, I think we'll have to go back a few months to 'The Laughter of Dead Kings,' Elizabeth Peters's latest. I read that one in one sitting. That's pretty much the definition of devouring, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Heh. I keep hoping she'll grow out of it, but she's fifteen months old now and that doesn't give me much hope.

I devoured Chris Grabenstein's Crossroads over the weekend. It's middle grade, but very well done, as all of Chris's stuff is.

Annette said...

I LOVE Chris Grabenstein.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'll second the crate training. Dogs are denning animals and, like Jennie said, it makes them feel safe. You have to make it part of their routine and not a punishment to be in there.

True story. When my wife and I got our first dog, a Lhasa Apso named Tigger, he was a chewer. One day I was working on a project and had an extension cord stretched across the living room floor.

Tigger was maybe 4 - 6 months old with those needle sharp teeth. I noticed from across the room that he looked funny - dazed. He was kind of laying there jerking. Then I realized he had the extension cord in his mouth. I ran over and yanked the cord from the wall. He NEVER chewed anything again. I mean he wouldn't tough a rawhide treat or anything except his food.

BTW, he was fine. No ill effects and lived a long life.

NL Gassert said...

Last book I devoured? Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Slan. Delightful read, even though I'm not into scrapbooking at all.

Anonymous said...

Hey K,

That is such a GREAT excuse about not reading more! I can say, "I try to read but this dog SADIE always comes over and eats my books!" BRILLIANT!
God Bless her....

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...Delicious AND nutritious! Chock full of fiber... but I daresay could use a bit more sugar. (not that I actually tried it, or anything)