Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 20, 2014

Cathie Shaffer: Of dogs, giraffes and messy rooms: 1/21/14

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — Good news. Carmyn, the now half-grown yellow retriever, no longer destroys everything in sight and leaves the remainders in my living room.

Apparently she’s reached teenhood in dog years because she spends a lot of time in her “room,” the dog crate she sleeps in at night.

Her room has become as messy as any human teenager’s. I’m never quite sure when I walk by what I’ll see in there.

Yesterday morning, I found her metal feeding dish, the empty dog food bag she’d hauled from the trash and somebody’s large McDonald’s soft drink cup. Finding them wasn’t all that easy, though.

I decided around Christmas time that her house training had worked and she could now have a sleeping pad in her crate. The first one I bought was super cute with a plaid dog paw print on the front.

The second one, purchased after she ripped the first one and yanked out the stuffing, was a utilitarian gray with tougher fabric. And until a week or so ago, everything was fabulous.

That’s when she ripped the new one and started pulling out stuffing in her shut-in boredom. Some of the stuffing has escaped into the dining and living rooms, but most of it remains in her cage like a fluffy brown snow drift.

Apparently sleeping pads are like bubble wrap to her. The very sight of one sends her into a frenzy of figuring out how to pull out the innards, the same way some people can’t handle bubble wrap without popping those air pillows.

What’s amazing is how much stuffing goes into one sleeping pad. The ones I bought here were average size, average thickness. At some point you’d think there would be an end to the filler inside.

As far as I can tell, the answer is no. No matter how much of the frothy stuff I clean up, there seems to be the same amount the next time I pass her cage.

I’d take out the pad completely except she really likes having possessions of her own. She’s stolen every teddy bear in the house, but most of all she loves the floppy stuffed giraffe I got her a while back.

Giraffe goes to bed with her. Giraffe goes to the back door when Carmyn goes out, left behind only because I force the issue. When her owner, my oldest grandgirl, goes upstairs to the bathroom, Carmyn’s right behind her with Giraffe in her mouth.

I got Giraffe for the new dog at the same time I got a much smaller plush squeaky pig for Maggie, my 9-year-old Sheltie. Maggie loves to squeak her toys and takes pretty good care of them.

She knows each one by name and when I say “Get Pig and we’ll go outside,” she immediately finds the soft pink pig.

Carmyn has no respect for other canine’s possessions and hasn’t quite learned to share. She’ll drop Giraffe in a heartbeat, snatch Pig from Maggie and race to the door as if she is in the Olympics.

So far Maggie’s been pretty good about letting it go. Yeah, she barks at Carmyn, but that’s as far as it goes.

Still I’m waiting for the day when the tables are turned and Maggie claims Giraffe on her way to the back door. Carmyn may try for it, but Maggie doesn’t give up unless she wants to.

Which makes me suspect Giraffe may soon become a permanent fixture in Carmyn’s ultra-messy room.

CATHIE SHAFFER, executive editor of The Greenup News, can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net.