What was funny two weeks ago ain’t funny now. It’s amazing how a $2,200 dog surgery changes your outlook on whether a puppy stealing a plastic wrapper from the garbage is horribly funny, or just horrible.
But it wasn’t an opportunistic theft that sent little Freya to the vet hospital – no, it was me, not realizing that a corn cob won’t hold up to sharp puppy teeth, and that the small pieces will plug her gut like a cork. She got sick, we got worried, the vet was delightfully nonjudgmental over my ignorance, and now our 4-month old darling has a row of staples that closes her 8-inch abdominal incision. She’s doing well. Maybe a little too well. A puppy that age, and not allowed to run? Trust her to find her own entertainment.
We play with her. I feed her using scent puzzles, devices where she must move knobs or tennis balls or crumpled paper to get to small amounts of food. It will stimulate her brain, they said. It will entertain her, they said. It will make her eat slower, they said.
They didn’t say her brain will be so stimulated, she’ll figure out how to step on the garbage can pedal and steal anything that smells of liverwurst. Or sausage. Or… anything edible, really. Dogs are opportunist feeders and omnivores. I can’t blame her for putting her newfound skills to gainful entertainment. Likewise, she can’t blame me for chasing her around the house and working the new “Let Go!” command as I’m trying to pry her jaw open and get that plastic bag with liverwurst skins back. Because eating that might result in a necessity to reopen that long incision – and never mind the sharp puppy teeth and the way my fingers get in the way. At least there was no blood, and no hospital bill.
She’s sleeping now, tired from all that excitement. Lord give me strength and patience, it’s been only 3 days and we have a full week before those staples can come out. Then it’s off to the woods where she can run free and burn off enough puppy energy to run a small electric grid. And back to her training class, where the teachers will probably help her figure out how to open the refrigerator.