The Star-Herald

Annie’s antics: solving pet perils

There are many perils for inquisitive dogs in our homes, and we don’t even realize it sometimes until disaster strikes.  Hopefully a few situations I have had and probably will continue to have with our dog will help you avoid some problems and dangers.   

First, I must explain that my dog Annie is a rescue boxer who joined us about two years ago.  Joe and I had decided that Henry, our beloved 9-year old boxer who had passed away from cancer, would be our last dog so that we would have more freedom to travel and not have to worry about a pet. We went two years without a pet, and I was terribly lonesome, and then I got a call that there was a rescued boxer that needed a home.  It didn’t take me long to go get her. It was love at first sight, and she won Joe over the first night we had her. She jumped on his lap, settled in and stayed there for two hours.  

I was warned that her training was limited; including house breaking, but that is another story.  

The first indication that we had a dog with a problem was when she surfed the kitchen countertop.  If anything was left on the countertop she took it, and she was very sly about it. The second time we left her alone for a few minutes, she ate an entire loaf of bread.  Butter is another item she will steal whenever she gets the chance. Now the bread is kept in the microwave, and butter is refrigerated immediately after using it.  

Some items to be aware of that are dangerous and can even be fatal, and need to be kept out of the reach of dogs, are artificial sweeteners, cooked bones and fats, avocados, onions, garlic, salty snacks, grapes, chocolate, alcohol, medicines and cleaning products.

Household garbage is another one of Annie’s favorite things to get into.  She very quickly learned how to open the door where the garbage is kept. Just a few weeks ago, we forgot to take care of the garbage and put it in a place she couldn’t get to.  When we got home we found garbage everywhere. The next day we had one sick dog. After a trip to the vet, two medications, a special diet, we had a sad-looking dog that was pretty miserable for a week.  

Garbage is very dangerous for a dog.   Now, whenever we leave the house, the garbage is put into another room with a closed door.  She doesn’t know how to open that door yet.

Apparently in Annie’s previous home, she drank from the flush.  The very cold water is hard for her to resist. We are very careful now to ensure the flush cover is down.  One needs to be very sure to close it if cleaning material is in the flush. To help break her of the habit, we have been putting ice cubes in her water, as that is what she prefers.

She’s not spoiled or anything.

Annie is quite the escape artist.  Our back door had a handicapped doorknob, and that is the door she goes out to her fenced-in area.  In just a day or two she had mastered the door handle and loved going out whenever she wanted to. The only bad part was that she couldn’t close the door.  Joe to the rescue; he bought a regular door handle and replaced her favorite one. For a while she just sat by the door and looked sad. Again, that could have been a real peril if there had been no fence, 

We keep our windows closed and locked unless we are home.  Last fall we came home one day, and Annie was sitting on the deck in the fenced-in area.  She looked quite sheepish, but Joe and I decided we must have left the back door ajar and she went out and enjoyed herself.  A few hours later I went upstairs to our bedroom. The window was open as I had left it, but the screen was in shreds. She had torn it apart and jumped out of the second-story window.  I could see the bush she landed in had quite a hole in it, but it had broken her fall. Luckily she is very agile and seemed quite fine. Apparently after her fall she did a little visiting in the neighborhood, and then somehow managed to squeeze herself under the gate and sat waiting for us.

These are some of the household perils we have dealt with, but we love Annie dearly.   She can be very stubborn, but also so loving, devoted and quite smart. We just have to try to stay one step ahead of her.    

Please visit us at the Central Aroostook Humane Society to meet our beautiful dogs and cats who are waiting for a home.  I am sure most of them are not as bad-acting as Annie.  

Remember to be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter.

Carolyn Cheney is a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.


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