Another 12-Step Program for EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer

Yes it’s beginning to look like Christmas – oh we don’t have the snow but we do have the tree.  And, yes, I have it up and fully decorated.  No, you may not see it yet.  That is for Friday’s post so  you will have to be patient a little longer.

Today’s story does, however, involve the tree.  You see, I have learned from past Christmas seasons that the one thing more important than any other in this house is to keep the tree secured and safe from the stealing paws of EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer.  She has in the past stolen and chomped on many ornaments, even destroying some old family treasures, much to my displeasure.

I learned several years ago to put baby gates up to protect the tree from her midnight raids.  We put up the tree in a corner of our dining room so a gate goes across the dining room entrance to the kitchen, and another gate is set up among chairs going from the dining room into the living room.  Sounds confusing and it doesn’t look very nice, but it serves the purpose.

So there I was this afternoon sitting on the couch watching a DVR of Dollhouse and having a wonderful time while Devoted Spouse was in the living room reading.  What is that noise I hear?  It sounds suspiciously like chewing…chewing on some type of wood…there is loud crunching involved.  Nah…we have baby gates.  Devoted Spouse must be eating Trail Mix and he’s just being overly loud about it.

I continued watching Dollhouse when that little alarming bell in the far reaches of my brain went off.  What if one of the baby gates wasn’t up?  Could that sound be EmmaLou eating one of my ornaments?

Yup.  I raced into the dining room to find that the baby gate had been moved.  There EmmaLou was on the floor by the tree and she had one of my ornaments, a cluster of wooden cherries, complete with wiring, in her jaws and she was thoroughly enjoying chewing.  I pried her jaws apart – no easy feat – and managed to get my hand in her mouth — yes I got a few war wounds.  Giving up those wooden cherries was not on her agenda.  I finally pried the entire cluster from her mouth, plus the two she had pried off the original cluster.  She continued chewing and swallowed.  I examined what was left of the ornament and I don’t think she really ate anything dangerous, she might have gotten a wood chip or two, but the wires were still intact.  This is what she tried unsuccessfully to consume:

wooden cluster of cherries

I was livid.  She thought it was a new game and started racing around the house to stuff into her mouth as many toys as possible so I could pry them loose also.  Grrrr…

Crisis averted narrowly.  Devoted Spouse and I reminded each other of the danger to her of the Christmas tree and we both vowed to make sure those gates are up and EmmaLou is nowhere close to that tree unsupervised ever again.

She knew she had done wrong – I ignored her for several hours and to EmmaLou that is a fate worse than death.  It is her usual punishment when she has been a bad dog.  That, and a mugshot to add to the books.  Oh, and I signed her up for a new 12-step program:

I'm addicted. I'm going on Oprah to admit it to the world

It has been a nerve-wracking experience — my fingers are raw from having her bite me as she continued to chew the wooden cherries and I’m on my last dog stunt nerve.  EmmaLou has been warned that there is a Puppy Farm and they have a room waiting for her if she tries this stunt again.  If she attends her OEA meetings and makes amends, I may forgive this incident.  Given her past history, I’m not hopeful; once an ornament eater, always an ornament eater.

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20 thoughts on “Another 12-Step Program for EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer

  1. My cat’s have eaten the same cherries! OMG we are sister’s. Hey…can I send the cat’s with Emme?You are a hoot!
    When my last cat Benjamin was alive we literally had to wire the tree to the wall because he would climb into it and knock it over. Gah… He would bat the ornaments around but never ate them — EmmaLou is like a human toddler – everything goes right into the mouth and is eaten. She’s driving me insane. Yes – send cats — maybe they will distract her from the tree and I can keep my ornaments safe!

  2. Ahh, I’m so lucky my dog doesn’t chew on things. I think he ONCE chew on one of my mother’s shoes, but even after only a mild, halfhearted lecture, he never really chewed on anything again.

    Now I had a cat…
    I had two cats and their biggest problem is both of them would spray the wall instead of going in the litterbox – Ugh – horrible habits. They both climbed the Christmas tree but we wired it to the wall so all were safe. Pets…gotta love ’em!

  3. I’ve found that when trying to pry something out of a dog’s mouth, if you press their upper lip in so that it goes over the edge of the back teeth, they can’t chomp you without chomping themselves quite painfully, which keeps the mouth open.

    Best of luck keeping her out of the tree for the rest of the season!

    ~Kali
    http://www.brilliantmindbrokenbody.wordpress.com
    Oh what a good idea – I was so panic stricken that she had actually swallowed wire that I became a human jaws of life machine and just pried open that mouth (which is no easy feat; they are very strong) and wedged my hand in there. Then I turned her head and started shaking and stuff fell out of her mouth. It was painful, and she thought it was a new game. I will try your suggestion the next time and I just know there will be a next time. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Maybe she was trying to add a little fiber to her diet … My puppies could care less about my tree, but my daughter has a new puppy and she will be bringing him for Christmas (Bear). He’s already 35+ pounds of clumsy Golden Retriever/Lab/Border Collie mischievousness. I am soooooo worried about my tree!
    I would also worry about every other possession of yours when he is around – they chew on everything and anything. In the course of her life, EmmaLou has destroyed in no particular order: one couch, one large chair, one large ottoman, several antique kitchen chairs, several table legs, untold linens, various items from the laundry, the wood trim around the back door, the carpeting in the family room, the WALL of the family room where she just decided one day gnawing on the wall itself until she had chewed a HOLE in the wall about 4 inches in diameter would be fun, Christmas ornaments, part of a turkey, a loaf of bread, carpeting in the dining room, hundreds of plants and flowers right after I got them planted, pillows, an antique quilt, several throws, a library book, shoes, slippers, the gate to her 7foot X 7foot basement kennel (Yes, she is chewing her way out of the fencing on the gate!) and I’m sure I’ve left out tons of other items. Amazing and yet I adore her.

  5. Another reason for me to do without a tree…Two BTs a lesson in destruction at its best.

    R made it through his knee replacement surgery safely much to his wife’s and our relief.

    93 hit hits today! (Is that dinner I smell?)
    I am slowly downsizing my Christmas decorating and am learning (repeatedly) that EmmaLou is not to be trusted. If there is something I like, she must be watched like a hawk or she will steal it – from a sandwich on a plate on the counter to an antique handmade ornament – she’s quick and maintains an innocent look on her face as she burps your ham sandwich in your face!

    Glad to hear the good news on the knee surgery!

    We all want details on that dinner you will be getting at the end of the year as you make your 50K hits on your blog. You go, girl!

  6. I had to Basset Hounds and they would eat anything from the tree that was at eye level , the next year even though it looked strange I hung ornaments on only half the tree that was above eye level and with Merlin kitty he would “knock off ” anything on the bottom 2 branches and claw at flashing lights so this year no flashy lights and no ornaments on the last 2 branches , Silly fur babies
    I never had much trouble with my cats – they would climb into the tree, so Devoted Spouse wired it to the wall. They would walk by and bat the ornaments but never ate anything. EmmaLou, on the other hand, is 80 pounds of total chaos and destruction. She makes Marley the dog look like an amateur. Based on statistics for her life span I figure I have another 5 or 6 years of this to endure. It’s not the monetary value of things or the issue of fixing the walls or replacing furniture — mostly I worry she will harm herself when I don’t see something she has done. Hence, baby gates and the kennel when we are not around. It’s for her safety, not the safety of my junk. Remember the episode with the leather glove and having to get the Hydrogen Peroxide in her so she would throw up the glove? She’s worse than a toddler. And I love the stuffin’ outta her! But she will be the one and only Golden Retriever in my life.

  7. My Bull Terrier used to spend hours tickling his head on the lower branches of the tree….crazy animals!
    Now THAT’S cute – thanks for stopping by!

  8. I made the terrible mistake of agreeing to buy 2 yes I said 2 of these dogs from the same litter. So far they have destroyed and eaten, telephone wire, calculator, flip flop, vegetable rack, pocket of potatoes, trees, various plants, socks, a baby book, photo and frame and an assortment of slugs and snails found in the garden. The terrorists are now in lock up at night with one of the family patrolling every so often.
    But they are family! Awh shame.
    See earlier comment for my list of destruction. Goldens are amazing dogs – EmmaLou has the most compassion I have ever seen and earlier this year when I was in an accident she never left my side – constant love and attention from this dog. She is full of love but she is a stinker if she is not kept busy and so I can complete relate to your situation. Now I almost got another one to keep her company, but something stopped me and that’s probably a good thing. I love her to pieces but she is eating me literally out of house and home! Thanks for visiting me!

  9. That dog seriously needs a job or you need a tennis ball launcher! Ha ha! I’ve been very lucky with my Sparkie girl, she’s not a big chewer except for paper & cat toys:)
    We have a tennis ball launcher – alot of good it does – you can’t wear her out!

  10. Growing up we had a golden retriever. He would dig huge holes in the back and went through a lot of furniture. I can think of a whole couch that didn’t survive him. They are extremely destructive.

    But nothing beats my brother’s 130 lbs. german rotweiller, Gus. He does have an excuse. He was abused at his first home as they trained him to be an auto yard dog in Providence. Well he has abandomnet issues and is upset every time my brother leaves. My brother had to put him in a kennel while he was at work with ratchet straps across the front. Well Gus figured out how to pull the front of it the kennel towards him and climb out. My brother came home to the fridge open with everything all over the floor, alluminum cans of stew with holes bitten into them so they leaked everywhere that he rolled them around, all his cookbooks were destroyed, and other misc items everywhere. Two weeks ago Gus also ran through my brothers sheet metal autoshop garage door while he was teaching someone how to drive in the neighborhood. It was pretty epic.
    Wow – I think Gus has EmmaLou beat paws down!!! The only thing EmmaLou has NEVER done in her life is dig a hole in my yard – and I hope she never picks up that bad habit – other than that she’s not quite at Gus’s level but she’s a stinker if you don’t watch her. I still am crazy about this dog – she’s just chocked full of unconditional love so I put up with some of her nonsense. Thanks for visiting!

  11. My dog chewed the rear left leg off my wooden chair. I then sat in this barely standing shell of a piece of furniture and had it crumble beneath me.
    That’s never good. One of my favorite memories is walking into the family room and seeing the stuffing from our couch strewn all over the room and EmmaLou wallowing in it having the time of her life – yes, good times…

  12. Bazil, that’s a typical BT thing. Mine used to stand with their heads in the hedges and get their ears scritched. Yes, they used the Christmas trees too.

    Linda, I see a post in my future about what sort of destruction my many BTs have wrought over the 30 some years we’ve had these dogs. Whatever you do Don’t let EmmaLou read it because she’ll get ideas.
    I have a sneaking suspicion there isn’t much she hasn’t already discovered!

  13. Bad dog!
    Good blog!
    Hey, that rhymes!
    ((hug))
    Watch out – EmmaLou & Coco have been tweeting entirely too much! Don’t want Coco DivaDog to pick up her bad habits!! 🙂

  14. I can actually be useful here, I used to have a similar problem with Womble when he was a young dog although with him it was the legs to my moms dining room table.

    I can’t remember the name but there is a spray you can buy that tastes really horrible but does not smell and is non-toxic. It saved many a table leg during his puppyhood.

    Don’t laugh but I tried a bit before I used it just to make sure it was safe and it was really awful.

    Merry Christmas.
    Hi sweetie – you have such good ideas! I tried something here called Bitter Apple and EmmaLou just loved it; thought it was a treat. Then I put this horrible medicine cream called BenGay on the table legs and she didnt like that at all – but I was afraid she might actually get too much of it in her system, so I wiped it all off – plus it smelled really strong! LOL Now I just try and keep her busy with her sterile bones filled with a bit of peanut butter, and give her plenty of exercise in the back yard – but sometimes she gets away from me and goes after the laundry or the Christmas tree. Can’t watch her constantly. She’s sleeping on the couch now, so the house is safe! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  15. Between the cat and dog a Christmas tree doesn’t stand a chance so that is why we haven’t had one for years and just put up lights around the top molding.

    Now Hubby got me roses for my birthday and every evening I have had to put them in the spare room and close the door because Marvin – a.k.a. brat from hell- couldn’t seem to leave them alone. Today I went to the bathroom and heard them hitting the floor. They were on the fireplace mantle, at least until Marvin realized I wasn’t in the room and thought they were fair game. Luckily (for him!) nothing broke and the roses were salvageable. Ah, what we tolerate from our lovely pets. Marvin was very, very lovey after he got hollered at and Freddie stayed clear of the war zone.
    I’m sorry you’re having trouble keeping those lovely roses intact, but I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this pet nonsense!!

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