This is my dog 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:
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?
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
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
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.
Second copy of this book too! Darned dog…
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.