11: The House Special

11: The House Special

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Dog Did That!

The House Special

To eat is to appropriate by destruction.

~Jean-Paul Sartre

Walking through a secondhand store on my lunch hour, I saw it — an elegant doghouse with oak shingles layered on every side, in my price range. Just what Yainex, my new four-month-old Golden Labrador Retriever, needed in his dog run. But how would I get it home?

Returning to work, I told a coworker about the doghouse. I sighed and said, “It’s too bad my husband is out of town with our pickup.”

“Hey, I have my pickup here today. I can help you get it right after work,” he graciously offered.

The doghouse was still there when we arrived at the store. We loaded it into his pickup and after reaching my home, he helped me carry it to the dog run.

“Yainex, here is your beautiful new home,” I said.

Yainex ignored it. Jumping up and down with excitement, he grabbed his ball to play as soon as I opened the gate to the dog run.

“Oh well, I really like it. Let’s go play,” I told him.

The next morning when I went down to feed him, I was shocked at the sight of the doghouse. One whole side of the doorway was gone.

“Yainex, what have you done?” I asked.

He had chewed all the cedar shingles on that side. He was eating his beautiful house.

My mind raced back to the first time I realized that Yainex was a serious chewer. Knowing that puppies like to chew and play, I purchased some toys and rawhide bones for him. Then one day his favorite squeaky toy, a bright yellow Tweety Bird, just disappeared. No sign of Tweety Bird could be found. Then, the following morning, bright specks of yellow told the story. He had eaten Tweety Bird. It wasn’t long before I had to take away all his toys and rawhide bones.

Bored while I was at work, Yainex began to chew the edges of the boards on the walls of our house that were exposed in his dog run. I nailed up sheets of pressed plywood to protect our home. Yainex tried chewing the edges of the plywood, but didn’t like the crumbly texture and stopped.

I wondered if that might work again. Where was the leftover pressed plywood?

Pulling it out of the garage, I used a handsaw to cut it into pieces big enough to cover the oak shingles still left on the right side of the doorway. For good measure, I also covered the whole exposed north wall of the doghouse.

The next morning I gazed in utter amazement at the doghouse. Yes, the pressed plywood had done its job, but now there was a skylight in the doghouse. He had chewed an eight-inch hole in the roof.

“Oh Yainex, what have you done now?” I cried.

Looking inside the doghouse, I noticed that the corner studs and the inside walls had been chewed also.

He was destroying his doghouse. I had heard of horse owners putting soap on fence rails to prevent them from being chewed, so I decided to try that. Soon I had coated the entire inside walls of the doghouse with dish detergent.

“Okay, chew that!” I told him. And then I added another piece of pressed plywood to patch the hole in the roof.

It seemed to work. Yainex didn’t like the soapy-tasting wood or the pressed plywood. Morning light revealed no new damage to the doghouse. When my husband arrived home, I showed him the new doghouse and proudly told him of my efforts to save it.

Shaking his head, he dryly said, “If I had known you wanted a doghouse that ugly, I could have made it.”

~Yvonne Kays

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