Safe From Remote Controls and Excedrin Bottles

Our dog Penny typically has a happy, placid disposition. If a masked villain entered our home bent on doing bodily harm, Penny would likely trot up to him, tail wagging, and lick his hand. If, on the other hand, a large remote control unit tried to enter the house, Penny would quickly attack and render it inoperable with but a few strategic bites. I know this to be true, because Penny already has disabled four remote controllers that were carelessly left within her reach.

So, it is safe to say that Penny has advanced chewing abilities. If she had gone to Canine College, she probably would have dismally failed every subject except Oral Fixation, where she would be performing at graduate school levels. Dog training literature says that pooches are supposed to lose their chewing impulse after their first year or so, but Penny is rapidly approaching her third birthday and the joy of chewing nevertheless remains a song within her heart. Every time we leave the house, we have to move all chewable items (except her designated chew toys, which she of course ignores) to unreachable areas. If we fail to do so, when we arrive home we are confronted with the grim evidence of the latest chewing incident. Last night we returned to find that Penny had dragged down Kish’s purse, strewn objects therein around the living room, and attacked an Excedrin bottle, gnawing off the top of its child-proof cap.

Kish theorizes that Penny is especially attracted to objects that still retain the scents of our hands, which is why remote controls are so irresistible. I’m a bit skeptical of that theory. Instead, I think one of two possibilities is true. First, Penny simply likes chewing plastic the way some people like chewing ice cubes, and delights in the satisfying crack and crunch of a good chew job. Second, when Penny attacks a channel changer, breaks up the laser feature, shatters the plastic shell, and leaves the unit covered with telltale bite marks, she hearkens back to her feral ancestry when the object between the jaws was a small animal and the items being gnawed and splintered were flesh and bone.

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