The post in which I value life over material things

The Material Things

About three weeks ago, I woke up, got dressed and went to retrieve my gold wedding band that I take off at night and leave on my nightstand while I sleep. My ring wasn’t there. It wasn’t on the floor. It wasn’t in the bed, on my finger, or anywhere on or near my nightstand or bed. My ring was simply nowhere to be found.

But guess who was there?

Since July 15 when we acquired Buddy, the sulfurious farting dog, he has chewed up, destroyed or eaten the following:

  • My favorite and most expensive bra (and mama needs her comfortable over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder)
  • Chewed three big holes in the brand new quilt on our bed
  • Chewed holes in our son’s quilt on his bed
  • Chewed/destroyed the corner of the lap blanket we keep in the living room
  • Mangled my favorite go-to purse
  • Destroyed two pillows and two pillowcases
  • And now he’s eaten my wedding band

Yes, you heard me right. My wedding band!

The Big Red Bone

Buddy has chewed up or eaten all of these things in spite of the numerous and expensive chew toys he has, including his favorite — a Kong, big, red, rubber bone that Buddy constantly has in his mouth. This particular toy is virtually indestructible, which doesn’t stop Buddy from trying and eventually succeeding at turning it into tiny rubber bits, most of which he eats. It takes many hours and a good month for him to wear it down, though. He is now on his second Kong bone and I need to go and replenish because this one’s getting a little too chewed up at this point.

It seems like Bud is either gnawing on his hard rubber bone or that he’s sticking it into my hand, trying to get me to play with him. This toy is always covered in slimy dog slobber but, even so, Buddy wants me to do the following: wrassle it away from him in a vicious game of tug-of-war, which often requires brute strength, distraction, dirty tricks and his letting me win — but only so I will throw it so he can then go chase and retrieve it. This is what Buddy lives for. We go through this about a million times a night while I’m watching TV. Who says I don’t get a helluva workout while watching the NCIS’s; Chicago Med, Fire and P.D., and the various sitcoms and British mysteries I watch throughout the week?

My Wedding Ring

About my wedding band — this has a bit of a back story to it. Ten years ago or so, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find that my ring finger was starting to turn an odd color as my wedding band cut off circulation. Of course, I started panicking because it was on tight and my finger was continuing to swell and the ring did not appear to be interested in coming off. At that point, a weird, claustrophobic sensation set in and it occurred to me that the ring HAD to come off or I was going to die. So between Crisco and a lot of twisting and pulling and screaming, David and I eventually worked it off — my memory is that a little surface skin might have come off as well. After cleaning up the Crisco mess and calming down, I put the ring on my bedside table and went back to sleep. I was exhausted but thankful that we got the damned thing off without having to go to extreme measures, like cutting my ring off or getting my finger amputated. This same scenario played out more or less the same way, but without the panic, once more, a week or two later.

That’s when it dawned on me that I could no longer wear my ring at night. I don’t know why wearing it during the day has never been a problem. At least there’s that. It slips on and off just fine. However, at night, my fingers swell, apparently, and I’m not interested in waking up one morning to find that my appendage died while I was asleep; so I’ve adjusted. I’ve taken my ring off (gold band) right before I get into bed for the last ten years, give or take. Then I put it on my bedside table right before I turn out the light, and it goes back on my finger after I’ve had my shower and dressed in the morning. I feel naked without it on. In bed, I don’t mind. Walking around in public, that’s not a good feeling.

Evidence or Lack Thereof

Now to be fair, I didn’t actually see Buddy snatch my wedding ring off the nightstand or swallow it. However, he is the only one who has eaten and/or chewed up/chewed through non edible things in our home — usually things that belong to me. Buddy didn’t deny it either. He was laying next to my side of the bed when I discovered my ring missing and he looked up at me with those big, brown eyes that said, “Uhm, but it was shiny. It looked delicious and I had to eat it. Plus, you didn’t play with me at 3:00 AM this morning like I wanted you to do, so you deserved to have your ring eaten. Ha!”

Passive/aggressive little shit! I started noticing that every time I didn’t do something this damned dog wanted me to do, I’d find something I valued chewed up the next morning. Not cool! You are not going to convince me this dog doesn’t know what he’s doing. He is quite adept at Revenge 101.

That was the day that I made the phone call.

The Call

I talked to Steve at the facility. My daughter reluctantly gave me the number to call, telling me she hoped it wouldn’t come to this, and that given a little more time, maybe Buddy would learn not to chew. After the ring incident, though, she told me, “Do what you’ve got to do. Here’s the number.”

No, it wasn’t that kind of facility. Though, at this point, Buddy is lucky to be alive and still in our home. That’s when you know you truly love your pet — when he’s eaten/mangled your very expensive things, including your wedding ring, and you haven’t beaten him, kicked him out or sent him away to be destroyed. And as much as I wanted to kill him at the moment I realized he’d eaten my ring, Buddy remains abuse-free and alive in our home — cuz I wuvs him — and he’s such a good boy, ‘cept when he isn’t! BAD, GOOD DOG! BAD, GOOD DOG! God, I’m so confused.

Lauren told me that this place came highly recommended and had a good reputation for training dogs but that it was expensive. Yep, that kind of facility. And Lauren was right. Steve explained that it was only going to cost us a mere $1,400 to get Buddy trained. David just laughed and shook his head no. And here’s the kicker — because Buddy is a young dog, less than four years old, according to Steve the dog trainer, he wasn’t going to be able to train Buddy to not chew up our things. So Steve can teach Buddy to stay and heel and sit, but he can’t train him not to be passive/aggressive.

Steve’s words of wisdom to me were, “You need to crate him whenever he can’t be right next to you.”

“Well, it’s not during the waking hours, mostly, that presents a problem,” I argued. “It’s at night when we’re asleep and he is right next to me!” I answered back.

“Then he needs to be in a crate at night,” Steve reiterated.

“But that seems…harsh,” I said.

“Hey, it’s your stuff. That’s what I would do if he were my dog and had that problem,” Steve argued back.

And I couldn’t argue with that.

The Great Crate Debate

So, yeah, David and I went to look at crates but we couldn’t agree on which one to get. I wanted to get Buddy the biggest one they had. David thought I was being ridiculous. We left the pet store without making a decision. Eventually, David went back and bought what he thought best. It’s a perfect fit. Not too big. Not too small. Thank God for David!

Since then, I’m pleased to announce that we haven’t had any more of our things destroyed. Knock on wood! However, I’m the one who has to put Buddy in his crate at night. Whenever David comes near, Buddy runs under the bed. Of course, Buddy’s tried that nonsense once or twice with me as well — but so far, I’m still smarter than Buddy and I’ve been able to get him to walk into his crate of his own volition with just an encouraging word or two. Damn, though — he always looks miserable and ashamed whenever I put him in there. He’d much rather be in bed with us or next to me on the floor or even under our bed. He pleads for mercy with those eyes of his. He promises he won’t chew anything up anymore. His eyes say that he’s learned his lesson and please, please don’t make him go back in the crate! I tell him that in about two years, we’ll see.

I am such a bad dog mom. But for the fact that Buddy ate my WEDDING RING, the guilt would eat me alive. However, feeling naked all day long is not a good feeling — and that assuages whatever feelings of guilt I have that pop up.

24 thoughts on “The post in which I value life over material things”

  1. Mona, I had a black lab that ate EVERYTHING when she was younger. Drywall, carpet, baseboards, window sills, every bed we bought her, every toy we bought her, my mother’s Ethan Allen sofa and two slipper chairs, railroad ties….I could go on. We did have to crate her quite a bit until she FINALLY outgrew it some time after her fourth or fifth year, so there’s still hope for Buddy! I recommend giving Buddy a treat every time he goes to his crate. Always say the same thing to him when he goes. Both of my dogs always knew when I said, “Go Cage” that if they hopped into their crates, they would get some kind of little treat or snack for going. Food is the best bribe and it doesn’t have to be something big. I just kept a jar of treats on hand for exactly that purpose. Hope this helps!

    • Kat,
      Great tip! I’ll start doing that tonight. If I’m lucky, I can train David to start doing this as well and maybe he can start getting Buddy to go into the crate. Ha!

  2. I have an 8 month old Black Lab/Pit vacuum cleaner, too. With huge, kind, brown eyes. With this infuriatingly adorable way of laying her head on my shoulder and standing still, leaning into me, when I sit on the edge of the couch. With fetching skills, zoomies that move the furniture, and an imposing bark and countenance that makes me feel safe. Blankets have holes chewed in them. Four harnesses have gone into the trash. My glasses were eaten. The Male Sibling Unit’s phone, clock radio, and glasses were consumed. Cookies cooling on the counter have gone missing. The cats occasionally get a mouthing, but they have claws and fight back. My solution? Same as Steve’s. Crate at night, when most of the madness occurs. She’s too big to be in the bedroom, where the kittens are, so she crates in the laundry room. She bawls for about an hour. But she’s still alive, so she ought to count her blessings.

    • Lori,
      Between you and Kat, I suspect I need to count my blessings! It’s a good thing I didn’t know any of this in advance of getting Buddy. What I’m discovering is that a lot more people crate their dogs than I ever knew. It looks like I’m in good company, then! Have you ever totaled up the damage? I don’t think I want to know what ours is.

  3. So which one of you is going to be sifting through his poop for the next week until you find it?! 😳 My dog once ate a rubber gecko without even chewing the damn thing and I found it unscathed in the yard a couple of days later. Dogs are so effing weird!!! Like, does it even taste good?! Good luck with Buddy, hope he poops out something shiny any day now!

    • Tanya,
      Funny you should ask these riveting questions. Stay tuned for a new blog post that answers at least one of them. And you’re right. Dogs are effing weird! My cats think so. They warned me about keeping a dog. Now they are quite satisfied with themselves about how right they were. Damned cats. I hate when they’re right.

    • You’d be surprised. I was anti-crate before I had Cleo the vacuum dog, but it actually becomes a place of security for them. She and Kova, my other dog, would often go in their crates even when they didn’t have to and sleep on their big fluffy beds that I kept in there. Kova is the only one I have left now and I never have to secure her in her crate for anything anymore, but she still likes to sleep in it, especially when everyone is gone from the house. I think it feels like a cozy little cave to her!

      • Kat,
        So glad you could answer this! Plus, I’m glad I learned this! So thanks to both you and River for questioning this practice and answering this with experience and compassion. I feel much better about the whole crate thing now! 🙂

    • River,
      So far, Bud’s only in the crate when it’s bedtime, sooo…I’ll refer you to what Kat says. Thanks for your input, though. I know Buddy thinks of you as his new best friend and advocate ever!

  4. I’ve never had a dog that eats anything in sight, but my black lab will eat absolutely anything related to food. When he came to me, his previous owner was very proud of the fact that he’d always eaten one carrot a day, ‘I think that is what causes his lovely shiny coat’ she said. An hour later my I became aware that my dog fartes on average every five minutes, it was November, freezing, and I had to keep the windows open. It was not good! Carrots had to go! It worked. Just a thought. Does Buddy eat carrots!? 😯X

    • Pip,
      That is hilarious that carrots were the culprit that made your dog fart! To answer your question, Buddy is the most finicky eater I’ve ever encountered. He turns his nose up at just about everything including carrots. He doesn’t even always eat his own dog food in one sitting. However, if the cats haven’t finished their special diet canned food (by prescription only = expensive), then Bud’s happy to lend a paw to help them out! I actually tried the yogurt trick that Jan recommended and it seemed to help Buddy. However, David feeds the dog and I’ve noticed that in the last couple of days, the smelly farts are back. I wonder if we’re out of yogurt. Hmm.

  5. But have you, erm, *found* your ring, yet? Or are you just not even gonna look? Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve be able to put my ring back on after… that.

    • Adie,
      As I mentioned to Tanya, look for an upcoming post that answers those questions. By the way, I’m so looking forward to your Blogtober daily postings! How terribly exciting! I thought a brief second about doing that — and I’d really like to join you in this — but, I know myself too well. I bet I couldn’t make it a solid week. But I will be checking out your blog on a daily basis beginning tomorrow morning. (Today’s Sunday, 9/30.) For all my Wayward Friends, check out From Adie,With Love for the most wonderful time of the year at

    • Patricia,
      AWWW! I so love you, you know that? I’m so glad you got to come to town for a week. I miss you when you aren’t around. Hopefully, I can make it out your way in the not too distant future! You, my friend, are the best!

  6. Robbie,
    You’re right about the calamity, my rhyming friend, but I’ve been spending quite a bit of time and money trying to undo said calamity. BTW, you know I put the “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder” in there just for you, don’t you?

  7. Oh no! Bad good dog!!!
    Notice that all of these “My dog also chews” stories are about labs! Buddy doesn’t look like a lab though?
    I agree with Kat, I’ve heard that as long as you make it a positive thing he won’t mind so much… don’t feel bad when you send him in there or he’ll pick up on it and feel bad too!
    Your wedding band, oh my gosh. This is why I prefer cats for indoor pets. Household items get shredded instead of chewed. It’s a slower destructive process. Irreplaceable jewelry gets batted under the fridge instead of swallowed, but you still have to sift through their poop every day no matter what. It’s all a question of what you prefer, haha

    • Sarah,
      Wiser words were never spoken. We have no idea what Buddy is except a bundle of ADHD love with passive/aggressive tendencies. Go figure. I’m quite experienced with the slower destructive process of cats — we have three — and I have an ottoman that I finally just surrendered to Birdie. I once had hope that I could somehow stop her from using it as a scratching post, but no. That hope is forever gone. Also, I’m still waiting to get my kitchen chairs aka Merlin and Growleth’s favorite scratching posts recovered. And because I’m a glutton for punishment, not to mention a horrible enabler, we now have a dog as well. The cats are my daughter’s, even though she has long since moved away and acquired a new set of pets. Of course, Buddy came from my dad’s house. I love all of them dearly, but David has laid down the law — no more pets! At this point, I wholeheartedly agree. Of course, I was on board with that law before I got Buddy. Soooo….

  8. Okay, Mona, erm, how do I put this? See, this one time, Chester ate $45 off the counter, and we got the two twenties back a few days later and there was a whole lot of bleach involved – I mean, a lot, and gloves, and various other things – but I think with a bit of work, you can get your ring back and after cleaning it scientifically, you could burn some sage over it and then wear it again. Just think of it as being encased in chemically modified dog food. Er. Yeah.

    • Lille,
      Yep, lots and lots of bleach. I guess the $5 bill was beyond… saving? At least you were able to retrieve $40. Still, gross! Ew. Chemically modified dog food, huh? And sage. Hmm. All things to consider. Stay tuned for more, my friend.


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