This series, The Absolute Worst Thing My Dog Ever Ate, is made possible by Ollie, which delivers freshly made food with healthy, human-grade ingredients tailored to your dog’s unique nutritional needs (basically, the absolute best thing your dog will ever eat).
I remember tripping as I walked into the house that night. I remember because of all the weird “ingestion” episodes we have had, that night was especially memorable. She has eaten rotting Iguana carcasses, live frogs, cat poop. She once ate the crotch of a $180 pair of pants. She’s been caught on the dining room table with all four feet in the mashed potato casserole dish (Literally, she was standing in the dish.) Once, she ate an entire pound of Lindt chocolate truffles. That sent us to the animal emergency room; nearly $2,000 dollars later she’s still kicking! And, of course, there was my brother’s engagement party, where the dog devoured half of the painstakingly home-baked cookies my mother had prepared, to be chastised by horror-laden shrieks of, “How dare she? How dare she?” It’s all been very dramatic, but somehow this occasion sticks out in my mind. Perhaps it is the most endearing.
It was about midnight and I couldn’t wait to get out of my heels. I was greeted by only one dog. My Scottish terrier Hamish met me at the door, tail wagging furiously, eyes expectant. No sign of the other canine, Nessa. Nessarose is my Australian cattle dog of 13 years. She’s always been the first to greet me at the door. In fact, usually she shoves poor Hamish out of the way so he can’t get close enough for a pat and a scratch until she has properly rubbed her scent all over me with the top of her head.
But on this night, no Nessa. I called her name. Odd. Nothing. Somehow I just knew something was wrong. That rising panicky feeling in my chest, hammering, telling me something had happened. I went out into the yard — had I left her outside? Was she trapped under a piece of furniture?
Hamish jumped on the sofa, cowering, as my cries of “Nnnneeesssssaaaa,” and my whistles became increasingly panicked. Right at the moment I was picking up my phone to dial the police (Yes, I was going to issue an amber alert and report my dog missing), it dawned on me. At the time, I was the caretaker of an old country house. I lived mainly in the in-law suite on one side. I usually kept the doors to the other wing of the house closed and latched; the washing machine and dryer were located in that wing, and the main kitchen. So sometimes, I would forget to latch doors, and just pull them shut. Old house, old doors, nothing quite held itself closed without a latch. It dawned on me that somehow my dog was probably in the other wing of the house.
And so she was. Sitting patiently behind the one latched door in the house, where she couldn’t push it open. Eyes bright, ears up, tail thumping. I opened the door and Nessa tore around the first floor of my suite, exuberant to be rescued. I knew I had to walk through the other wing now, and check what she might have gotten into. Sure enough, she had pushed open one of the bedroom doors on the second floor to cross into the other wing. Once there, she had descended the main staircase to the kitchen, and the laundry room. Seems she had forgotten how to get back.
On the floor of the laundry room, I had left a clothes basket brimming with delicious treats straight out of the dryer. (A quick disclaimer here: Nessarose has voraciously devoured my dirty panties since her puppyhood. They seem to be like delicious after dinner mints to her. She usually has one or two a week if I forget to hide the clothes hamper and leave her alone in the house. But only the dirty panties, got it?) On this special occasion, Nessa had gone through the entire laundry basket of clean, fresh clothes, and eaten a piece out of every pair of clean panties she could find.
Oh, Nessarose. Nothing quite captures the poignancy of your neurotic, cheerful need to ingest, well, everything, quite like this little episode. I love you anyway. She pooped little pieces of varicolored fabric for days. Me, I had to go shopping for new underwear. I’ve learned to always latch the doors.
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