As I type this week’s column I have four precious pups sleeping at my feet. Two are my 30-pound Cockapoos, Lola and Charlie, and the other two are my friend’s dogs who each weigh at least twice that. One of them is a Labradoodle named Sierra that I dog-sit often, the fourth is a Portuguese Water Dog who has been staying with us for the last two weeks while her family is on vacation.
Kahli is her name and she is, as my Papa would have called her, a furry little rascal. To be fair, the other three fit that description as well, but this one’s mischievous in a different way than I’m accustomed to.
I can’t say I wasn’t warned though.
“Give her these,” my friend Kari had said, handing me a bag of assorted items before leaving on her trip. “She always has to have something hanging out of her mouth.”
Kari was right about that. But her pooch’s oral fixation extended well beyond the bag of dog toys and goodies she supplied me with. In fact, Kahli grew tired of what was in that bag right away and searched high and low in her new surroundings for more interesting things to sniff, mangle and relocate to our back yard.
Out there I discovered the chewed-up comb, toothbrush, bottle caps, Tupperware lids, Christmas ornaments, markers, underpants and socks that she’d taken from the house.
Thankfully I didn’t find any empty jars of peanut butter, boxes of cereal or bags of potato chips like those I’ve found from my dogs in years past. I certainly didn’t want her getting sick or blowing her healthy diet, but controlling what she ate wasn’t always easy.
Near the end of her stay with us she found a Barbie doll on the patio and brought it in the house. I didn’t discover her newfound plaything right away. By the time I came into the kitchen and heard the familiar clacking sound of Kahli’s teeth breaking something apart it was way too late to save it.
Out of her mouth dangled “Cheerleader Barbie” and over 30 of her chewed up body parts were strewn down the hallway like a plastic crumb trail.
Fortunately Kahli seemed far more interested in dismantling the figurine than ingesting it, but I worried she might swallow one of the small pieces so I immediately tried to get it away from her. Of course this was exactly what she was hoping for: a high-speed chase.
Like so many times in the past two weeks I ran around the house chasing after her, calling for her to stop. And like so many times she would pause briefly to look back at me, gleefully wagging her tail before running some more and eventually escaping out the doggy door that was almost too small for her to squeeze through.
On this particular occasion I managed to get outside fast enough to see her hide her toy – previously known as my daughter’s toy – in the snow. I went to the spot she’d dropped it, plunged my hand into the fluffy white stuff and rescued Barbie’s legs.
I then went about collecting the rest of her remains. With the exception of one arm, which is still missing in action, I found everything including the blonde smiling head back in the house.
Kahli only had two days left with us at that point, but I wasn’t taking any chances and got her some high quality dental chew bones. They didn’t provoke any chases from us, but they still seemed to keep her happily busy.
Once the snow melts I expect we’ll uncover some more mutilated treasures to remind us of our adventures with Kahli the klepto. Until next time, she and her antics will be missed around here.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com