Baaa Woof

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My dog is a beautiful, if not ill-behaved, Golden Retriever who we got about 6 months after we were married.  We like to call her our practice baby.
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Aren’t I pretty? I promise my eyes don’t look creepy normally.

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My parents were thrilled when we called six months after our wedding and said, “Mom and Dad, we have HUGE news!  Call us back right away!”  It never occurred to me that they would assume there was a bun in the proverbial oven.  But, to their credit, they masked their surprise as best they could. (“You are having a ….. dog??”)
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From the start, Marigold was a spirited pup.  We hired a trainer right away so we could be responsible pet people.  The trainer was a character in his own rite; his name was Bob Maida.  Bob was a life long New Yorker who interacted far better with canines than with humans.  You know the type.  Gruff.  All business. Cranky.
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We hired Bob because he had impressive experience.  He was a dog trainer in the White House during the Reagan years.  Here’s a picture of a much younger Bob shaking President Reagan’s hand:
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First Lady and the Tramp?

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To this day we impersonate the poor guy.  “The dawg is not yuh baby.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, could we pause there and explore that?”
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Him: “The dawg is not yuh baby.  Would you let your baby lick and bite you?  No?  Then don’t let yuh dawg do it.
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It’s sad that the guy’s accent is the most memorable aspect of our training sessions.  I’m not sure Marigold even remembers the accent, nevermind the training.  Suffice it to say that I’m no dog whisperer. But to my credit, I really think Marigold is not actually a Golden Retriever.  I think she is a goat.
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Like a goat, this dog will eat ANYTHING.  I can’t tell you how many times I have come home to see various, seemingly inedible objects half-chewed and strewn all over the floor.
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Poopy diapers are a favorite (mmmm, delish).  Another preferred delicacy is paper: paper towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, paper plates.  She doesn’t just eat paper products; she shreds them and leaves the remains all over the house.
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But Marigold’s all time favorite treat is peanut butter.  B and I swear she has opposible thumbs.  If you leave a (closed) peanut butter jar out on a counter it is only a matter of time before she jumps up, retrieves it, mysteriously screws off the lid, and leaves a tongue-depth divot in the jar.
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Apparently, she’s not alone.

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It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that anything you leave out on the counter will be eaten by the dog.  But I’ve got her routine down now.  It goes a little like this:
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She bides her time, lazing in the hallway until the kids are in bed.
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I’m in no hurry and I’m not here to impress anybody.
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Then she walks the perimeter of the kitchen like a mall cop on the grave shift.
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I got all night, people.

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She is tall enough to get her nose and half her head (if she cocks it to the side) up on the counter.  So she sniffs.  And shops.  And sniffs and shops.  Andsniffsandshopsandsniffsandshops.
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Eventually, she’ll find something that strikes her fancy. It might be some crumbs deep in Pumpkin’s high chair or a box of cereal left out on the counter.  (What?  You don’t have cereal for dinner sometimes?)  Occasionally she’ll find a piece of cake or a cookie.
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Catching Marigold in the act is nearly impossible but the few times I have, I’ve been torn between stopping her and watching the magic happen.  In most cases I’ve chosen the latter.
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The goat dog can get up on her hind legs (a feat in itself since she’s had surgery on them twice to repair a torn ACL), cock her head to the side at a downright unnatural angle, and use her go-go-gadget tongue to sweep the counter for her prey.
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It says here that if I tilt my head another 5 degrees,
my tongue can reach the backsplash.  Come to mama, cookies!

 

We’ve thrown out dozens of peanut butter jars, half-destroyed baby toys, and countless dog-spit-soaked toilet paper rolls.  The most expensive mistake we ever made, however, was leaving a bulk-sized canister of raisins out on the counter.
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Raisins, you ask?  Why would leaving raisins on the counter be an expensive mistake?
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According to our vet and other (reliable?) sources here and here, grapes and raisins are highly toxic, even fatal, to dogs. As few as 7 grapes can cause acute renal failure within hours. Who knew?
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On that fateful day, I came home to discover that Marigold had eaten 22 ounces of Californiaraisins as well as half the cardboard carton they came in.  When I called the vet, they told me to bring her to the emergency vet hospital immediately.  I explained that she is really a goat and has eaten far worse things before (hello?  Poopy diapers?).
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That was when I was educated about the dangers of grapes.  I think I was in the car within 5 minutes.
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Poor Marigold spent the whole weekend in the emergency vet hospital getting fluids pumped into her intravenously.  Her internal organs were essentially floating for 48 hours to make sure any toxicity was diluted (or so they told me).
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And the price tag for this raisin-tastrophe?  $2,000.
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Let me say that again.  TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.
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So let this be a cautionary tale; be careful of what food you leave out if you have a goat dog. And if anyone has any anger management suggestions, I’ll be over here stewing in my newly found rage toward raisins.
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I hate you, raisins.

 

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