Friday 5: Bugs Books the Dog Ate

This is my dog Monkey:

Monkey

Monkey

Even though a lot of people think he’s a big, scary pit bull (he’s not), Monkey’s a big lump of a 65 pound lap dog wannabe that absolutely adores being around people.  Monkey spends the majority of his non-sleeping life trying to get one of two things: food or a good chest rub/head scratch from whoever is closest to him.  I love him to pieces and I did from the first moment I saw him at the shelter.  It was truly love at first sight, so I was ready and willing to nurse my new puppy through a long series of illnesses (parvo first, then several others) that started two weeks after I got him.

While he was sick, I never really got to see his true personality.  Boy did we see that personality as soon as he came through the last illness though!  Once he was well, what I’d thought was a nice, sedate dog revealed himself to be an incredibly energetic puppy.  That would have been okay, except he also had serious separation anxiety and hated our leaving the house without him.  So, for nearly a year, we would come home to scenes such as this:

naughty dogs

Naughty dogs.  This took FOREVER to clean up!

He chewed everything!  He destroyed a coffee table, dozens of pillows, several dog beds, a couple of couch cushions, a dozen pairs of shoes, and several items of clothing.  Worst of all, he realized early on that the best way to punish me for leaving him was to chew up my beloved books.  For months I would come home to at least one book with nibbled corners sitting in the middle of the living room floor.  My insect books were, unfortunately, particularly hard hit.  Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

Comparative Biomechanics

Comparative Biomechanics

Comparative Biomechanics

I’m the kind of person who randomly decides that I need to learn something, like biomechanics, and buys a textbook.  I hadn’t even gotten to start reading this one before it fell victim to Monkey and appeared on the living room floor.  The damage is comparatively tolerable on this book at least.  The spine is mostly intact and none of the pages were harmed at all.  That was the best you could hope for at the time.  This book was also brand new when Monkey entered the chewing phase:

Physiological Systems in Insects

Physiological Systems in Insects

Physiological Systems in Insects

This was recommended to me on Amazon at some point.  It sounded good and was actually relevant to what I do, so I bought it.  Then Monkey chewed the spine off.  The front cover is still physically attached to the book, but the back cover is not.  I intend to repair this one eventually, but I never seem to get around to buying the book repair tape I need to do the job properly.  Other books did not get the proper treatment, such as…

Dragonflies of the World

Dragonflies of the World

Dragonflies of the World

Duct tape really doesn’t make a good book repair material, as much as I love the stuff.  The sad thing about this book: it was the SECOND copy of it that Monkey ate!  He absolutely destroyed the first one, so I bought a used copy on Amazon to replace it.  I carefully sprayed it with bitter apple spray and set it lovingly on the shelf.  Two days later it was out on the living room floor with the covers laying 10 feet away.  Buying a third copy was going to be too expensive because it’s out of print, so I just slapped some duct tape on and hoped it would work.  It’s a little sticky, but it’s otherwise holding up alright still.

Living Jewels

Living Jewels

Living Jewels

Second copy of this book too!  Darned dog…

Dragonflies of North America

Dragonflies of North America

Dragonflies of North America

In this last example, you’ll notice that there is no cover at all on this book.   This is Dragonflies of North America and at the time that Monkey ate both the front and back covers and the spine of this book, the cheapest used copy I could find was close to $400.  Hence, I tidied it up and put just the text block back on my shelf.  Happily, a new edition of this book is coming out soon, so I can replace my sad little topless book with something new and shiny.  Can’t wait for that day!

About a year after Monkey started his chewing phase, he suddenly stopped eating books.  We would come home to chewed books once a month, then once every 3 months.  It was like a switch was flipped and book chewing was simply turned off.  I like to think he realized that chewing up books wasn’t doing any good, that we were still going to leave him regardless of what he chewed.  Maybe he finally realized that even if we left him, we would always come back.  Whatever the reason, I’m so glad those days are behind us!  Now, he’s okay with our leaving.  He hasn’t chewed a book in ages.  And if any of you were wondering why I put up with his chewing up my stuff every time I left the house for a year, this is why: nothing beats coming home to a happy, healthy dog who tackles you the moment you get home – every time – to let you know how much he missed you.  It was worth trading a few books for the sappy little love of a dog he’s become.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

17 thoughts on “Friday 5: Bugs Books the Dog Ate

  1. Your narrative is wonderful. Anyone who has ever had a dog can understand your final analysis that stuff can be replaced (albeit at great cost at times), but nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the unconditional love of a dog.

  2. Awwww . . . this is so sweet and wonderful. My hubby is asleep beside me. It’s midnight here. I may have to wake him up to show him that picture. You know which one :) How I miss our dogs. Thanks for the memories.

      • Grow out of it? No, cats need to sharpen their claws throughout their lives. I’m told you can train them out of it. Certainly other people with cats have successfully done so. Our furniture is usually bought from yard sales and we don’t typically expect it to survive long anyway, so we’ve never really cared what the cat does to it. It’s more trouble training the cat than it is to just accept that we have cruddy furniture. : – )

        • Nice! I did that during Monkey’s chewing phase – kept my really terrible coffee table for much too long because I wanted Monkey to grow out of chewing before I replaced it with something better. It was easier to loved with the bad furniture than convince the dog not to gnaw on it. I don’t think I’d like to have a cat if it’s difficult to train them not to scratch up the furniture though! One of the many reasons why I’m a dog person. :)

    • I also have cats, but I learned quickly not to put large expensive books that stick out on the bottom two shelves. Thankfully, they mostly did minor damage to the dustjackets…although one of them used to eat the mail when she was stressed.

      You can’t really train cats out of scratching, just redirect the scratching to suitable targets (such as scratching posts or cardboard, depending on feline preference–different cats like different textures).

    • Ha ha! I hadn’t thought of it that way! I’m pretty sure they were the books that smelled like me though. He only chewed MY stuff, never my husband’s. MY clothes, MY shoes, MY books, MY pillows, MY furniture I brought from my former single life. He was very clearly punishing me for leaving him. He didn’t care that my husband left him because they hadn’t bonded yet, but when I left is little doggy world was apparently a dark place. I couldn’t help but think it was a little sweet, in spite of how incredibly annoying it was.

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