Friday 5: Insects The Dogs Ate

I’ve got two dogs.  This one was part of the bargain when I started dating the man who is now my husband:



Her name is Cotton and she’s a purebred coton de tulear.  She’s also purebred crazy!  I’m not a little white fluffy dog person at all, but I think Cotton’s pretty awesome as far as LWF dogs go.  She has issues.  Big issues.  I’m pretty sure she was a cat in a former life actually.  She doesn’t like to be touched, unless of course she decides she wants to be touched, in which case you are obligated to immediately drop whatever you are doing and pet her RIGHT NOW!  She won’t eat the same food for more than a few days in a row.  She scratches the hell out of your legs.  And, she is a fierce hunter.  See what I mean?  Cat!

This one is my baby:



Monkey is a mutt (obviously).  I rescued him from the pound, my reward to myself for passing my comprehensive exams.  And what a reward he’s been!  He came down with parvo two weeks after I got him and nearly died.  He came home from intensive care with a stubborn case of kennel cough, which eventually turned into pneumonia because the normal medications didn’t work.  He caught valley fever while he had the pneumonia and underwent treatment for that for about 6 months.  Next came inflammatory bowel disease (that’s right, my dog has a canine gastroenterologist) and most recently luxating patellas (might be getting an orthopedic veterinarian soon) and a skin disorder.  He averages one vet visit every 2 months.  But Monkey is worth every penny and every worry because he’s the sweetest, most loving, wonderful dog I could imagine having.  In spite of all of his illnesses, he’s full of life and personality.  He’s also a total mama’s boy.  I adore him.

My dogs are polar opposites.  Monkey craves (nay, demands!) attention while Cotton wouldn’t dream of demeaning herself with such base behavior.  Monkey is prissy and very clean while Cotton would happily spend the rest of her life rolling in a big ol’ pile of duck poop (the only reason why I’m convinced she’s actually a dog deep down).  Cotton is very nervous and barks at everyone and everything while Monkey would invite Satan himself into the house if it meant he’d be petted for a few minutes.  To hell with guarding the house!  That suspicious person knocking on the door might pat his head or scratch his belly!

They’re also very different in the way they handle bugs.  Monkey isn’t at all sure what to make of insects.  I think they scare him, which puts him firmly into the male camp in our household.  :)  Cotton’s hunting instincts kick in when she encounters an insect (she belongs to the female camp) and she’ll happily eat insects that are bothering her.  She’ll chase flies for twenty or thirty minutes at a time, even launching her whole body into the air trying to catch them (once again, cat characteristic).  Occasionally one of these ends up in her mouth and is quickly dispatched into her stomach:



Both dogs are incredibly jealous when the other one gets something that they don’t though.  It really comes into play in their dealings with insects around the house and jealousy can override their usual instincts.  One night Monkey was playing with a click beetle he found in the bathroom:

click beetle

Click beetle

He kept putting his paw on it and then jerking back when the beetle clicked.  He seemed to be nervously trying to figure it out, but then Cotton noticed he was up to something and ran in and ate the beetle so he couldn’t have it.  He chased her through the house for a while, presumably trying to get it back, but it was down the hatch the instant Cotton got it into her mouth.  Cotton doesn’t mess around.

Another night I was in the back yard taking photos by the porch light and Cotton was toying with a cicada.  Monkey was very upset that she was playing with something that he wasn’t, so he ran over, grabbed the cicada in his mouth, and ran into the house with it.  It was still alive, and considering his nervousness around insects, I can’t imagine it was pleasant for him to carry a screaming, angry cicada in his mouth.  He wasn’t about to swallow it, but he certainly wasn’t going to let Cotton have it either!  10 minutes later, I finally extracted this slimy, dead cicada from his mouth:



You can’t see the teeth marks from this angle, but the deep puncture wounds in its back were likely the source of this poor bug’s demise.

We’ve got a ton of these little ants in the house:


Ants on my kitchen counter.

Both dogs will eat these when they crawl onto their fur.  I’ve seen them stomp a few with their paws too.  I don’t think these ants sting, so I don’t worry about the dogs eating them too much.  The ants annoy the dogs and they respond by licking them up and swallowing them or crushing them.  But there are also a lot of these:



Monkey doesn’t like crickets at all and gives them a very wide berth.  Cotton eats them like candy.  She’s even tracked and eaten them before.  This is great because I hate the noise crickets make.  I’m happy that my little huntress exterminates them for me so I don’t have to do it myself.  Go crazy little Cotton!

Thankfully neither of my dogs have ever eaten any of the stupid things other dogs in Tucson have eaten.  The beagle I grew up with once ate a massive tomato hornworm feeding on a tomato plant and vomited more than it should be possible for a dog to vomit.  Yea for nightshades!  A friend of mine’s LWF dog licked one of the psychedelic toads we get in Tucson and nearly died.  There’s none of that going on at my place.  Neither dog has ever encountered a toad or a rattlesnake or a scorpion.  Monkey’s too chicken to eat most insects and Cotton sleeps 21 hours a day so she misses a lot of what’s going on around her.  Yep, my dogs live a pretty sheltered life.  It’s good to be a dog in the Dragonfly Woman’s home:

Monkey on back

Cotton on back


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5 thoughts on “Friday 5: Insects The Dogs Ate

  1. I’d read that folks in France train pigs to sniff out truffles (those expensive little fungal delicacies). Here in the Ozarks, the natives go CRAZY in April, scouring the woods for morel mushrooms. I went out yesterday with Dobby, my Boston Terrier, and decided that it MIGHT be possible to train Dobby to sniff out morels.

    I found a couple, then rubbed her nose in them for a minute, praising her and cooing, “Good girl. Go get ’em.” She farted, peed, and went to sleep, right there in the woods. SOME Truffle Pig!

  2. I love click-beetles! I amused myself for almost half an hour one evening in Costa Rica playing with one. The poor thing, actually… I’m sure it was exhausted once I fianlly let it crawl back into the folliage. But they’re so cool – we have nothing like them up here in the north land.

  3. All great characters, aren’t they? and you make them come alive!
    we’ve more than twice the fun here – 5 dogs – all completely different from each other. they agree on one thing with your monkey: strangers are adorable. But : toads were great to get high on, for years, now they are ignored completely even when they regularly turn up in the dog water tub. We have had fights with havelinas, friendship with a coyote, a killed skunk on an overnight bug trip, rattlers pulled by the tail, one retrieved gila monster that needed sutures (well, tissue glue for a bad skin tear) but survived… and lots of retrieved paloverde beetles that are not quite fit for the collection anymore, oh and all of the dogs went on a june bug diet as pups, but wouldn’t touch them a year later. Two nights ago they had surrounded a rattler under the patio table, and I had a snake stick but no container, so the rattler had to wait on the table out of reach from the dogs until my husband came with a bin. we definitely need to brush up on that snake training.

    • I haven’t trained my dogs to avoid rattlesnakes. Cotton can’t ever be off the leash (she’ll start running and never come back), and we tend not to take her anywhere that will have rattlers with her on the leash. She’s also a walking dust mop, so I can only imagine the things that would come home in her fur if I ever took her out in the desert. Monkey and the desert are just not a good mix. He’d get one little spine in his paw and probably make me carry his 70 pound butt all the way back to the car! Just doesn’t seem worth the effort of training them to avoid snakes when they’re rarely in areas where they would encounter them. I would definitely do it if I lived in your area though.

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