Life Is My Chew Toy
by Eve Livingston
Life Is My Chew Toy
by Mister Puppy
“All the world’s a chew toy….Life is good.”
This is how he might begin his memoirs, I surmise, if my puppy were one day telling the tale of his idyllic childhood.
“I sleep as long as I possibly can, then I take a nap between bark-fests (always the best when nothing really is there to be worried I should bark at…gotta practice these things, you know…).
I live off leash, and that whole tethering thing just really escapes me (though I cannot deny I appreciate it when I’m jittery in public and want to know where exactly my mama is located).
Before and after my naps, between bark-fests, I go on romping walks up and down wooded paths. So much fun. You think barking at nothing is fun? Try chasing after nothing and barking at it! That’s even better!”
Yes, yes…his version of the story. I’m sure some day I will be called upon to pen for him the episodes of how he’s heroically chased away the Big Bad Wolf (coyote). Those are exciting adventures! Who cares if the older dog does most of the legwork, or, all of the legwork? For the sake of imagination, we will agree that it is brave Sir Puppy in his Superman cape who swoops in to save the day!
So, now, is all this the same reason he seems to defy imagination when it comes to his difficulty learning to keep his gosh darned mouth offa things? Well, the only things that really matter are the house guests. This is one excited little bugger, when people come to visit. He becomes overwhelmed with joy, and, when the bestest, most favorite guests come by (read: the ones who take him for walks, or give treats or are unashamed of their love for him), this 80 pound bundle of joy becomes a ballistic missile of love. Lick lick lick, chew chew chew. “Oh, sorry…was that your hand? My mistake!” “I’m just so excited (wag wag wag)….I’m not quite sure what to do with myself!”
Mouthing. That’s what the experts call it. Same reason, different sized teeth, that babies do it when everything they can get their hands on go into their mouths. Everything that’s worth finding out about is found out about through this most sensitive sensory medium. Yum!
I’ve thought more than once about having a taped loop I can turn to as the guests are arriving, so I can just hit “play” when they get to the door. My voice sternly saying, “Uh uh…no teeth. Gentle….gentle.” Then if only the taped loop could go fetch the sprayer bottle…alas. Some inventions are worth spending a lifetime pursuing.
I don’t know about other dogs who pass their year mark, but this seven-years-to-one ratio story you hear (about dog years as compared to human years) seemed to skip houses when it came to Mister Puppy. If they were right, he’d be acting more like a ten and a half year old boy, and less like a 1.5 year old toothy mouth with legs, hair and momentum. Or wait…let me rethink this…maybe they’re right, after all.
I guess I was still chewing Barbie shoes when I was that age, on rare and special occasions. Granted, not the way I chewed them when I was younger. I wasn’t squirreling them away as I once had been with my sisters a few years earlier (it was a conspiracy). (It’s the gateway drug, ladies…don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) My sisters knew exactly what trouble they were getting me into. Still, as a means to seek asylum in regression, few avenues worked better than chewing on soft, rubbery Barbie shoes.
I was thinking about this because Mister Puppy seems to really love anything with the same texture, and the same potential for creating that sucking-smacking noise the Barbie shoes made. I happen to know I’m not alone in the traumatic experience of coming-to in a boring classroom and realizing people were looking.
Soon I will write more about this topic of play, normal aggression in play and the importance of both. This might be just the lead-in I was looking for.
©Content copyright 2017. Eve Livingston, Ph.D. All rights reserved, for more information, see content page.