THE BLOG
12/11/2012 04:14 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2013

The Allure of the Wood

My 8 month old Portuguese Water Dog loves WOOD!!! Lots and lots of WOOD!!! He doesn't care how big, small, rough, smooth wet, brittle, treated it is... he just can't get enough WOOD!!

When he was just a pup, our walks would be very frustrating because his nose was so low to the ground, that absolutely everything would go in his mouth. Rocks, paper, grass, mud, sticks... it really didn't matter. However, as pup started getting older, his tastes became more refined. Sure, he still likes to kick back with the occasional used Kleenex, but his real passion lies in wood. Twigs, branches, tree bark, etc... as long as it once belonged to the tree family, he's in!!

Every lunchtime walk starts out the same. I put the leash on him, up goes the garage door, pup waits for me to lead the way!! He's an angel. Right up until that first pee four seconds later!! Once he's been properly relieved, he begins his never ending quest for that perfect twig.

At any given time, I look down and he's got a small branch in his mouth. He chews on it until it's almost gone, spits it out and continues the hunt. The next branch might be much larger. He loves dragging humongous branches, with all sorts of off-shoots, and all the leaves still in place, down the street!! Most times, the branches are larger than he is, but that only makes it more fun!! Many times, I'll be walking him, when all of a sudden, I'll feel a whip like sensation across my shins. I'll look down in pain, only to see him carrying a skinny twig, about 4 feet long, happily in his mouth whipping everyone on either side of him (Mostly me..of course). Getting the wood out of his mouth is never an easy task. The stronger I pull, he more he resists. The more he resists, the more excited he gets. The more excited he gets, the harder it is to pull the wood out of his mouth. Actually, I've found that the only thing that works to get him to drop the stick, is to entice him with another stick!!! My 14 year old thinks I'm nuts. He's sure pup will choke on the wood someday. I'm not so sure, however. The appeal for more and more fresh wood is enough to keep him alive forever!!

Last week, during one of our walks, I let him onto a lawn to relieve himself. He grabbed what I thought was a skinny twig. I was wrong!! Turns out the people who lived in that house must have been winterizing their front yard... chopping down bushes, covering plants, etc... My pup came back with a 4 foot rose bush twig!!! I knew I couldn't pry it out of his mouth because he would swallow, or get hurt by all of the thorns. Let me tell you, he was not going to let go!!! I tried everything I could think of. I tried to be authoritarian... make him drop the twig. Hah!!! That wasn't gonna happen. I tried to gently pry his mouth open, trying hard not to stick him with any-more thorns...fat chance of pup letting go!!! I tried to entice him with more wood, but pup was really happy with this new flavour and sensation in his mouth so that wasn't gonna happen either. Then, in desperation, I thought of the only thing I could. I started running with him... we ran really fast, we ran for over three blocks!!! My rationale was that if he started panting, he would eventually let go of the bush!! What a sight we were... me, holding onto a leash, running like the wind... my 8 month old pup, tail wagging, running beside me... a rose bush branch firmly embedded in his mouth, whipping my legs, and the thorns tearing into my pants!!! Needless to say, this plan did not work!!

Finally, after all that exercise, pup sat down and in the time it takes to blink your eye... I had taken the branch and flung it across the street.

I'm OK with wood as long as it's outside of the house, but today, as I was dusting my living room antique coffee table, I noticed a corner had quite a few teeth-marks in it. I wondered if that wonderful antique table was made from rosewood :(

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