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Dog Versus Rug

November 20, 2018

Posted by D. A. Burns

Dog Versus Rug

NOTE:  The following was emailed to D. A. Burns by a client who has chosen to remain anonymous but has us given his permission to post the letter.

Hello D. A. Burns … you guys just “resurrected” our hallway Oriental rug. When I first brought the rug in, one of the nice young guys at the front counter saw the missing corner and asked “How did that happen?” I told him “It’s a long story”. Well, tonight I have some time to kill so here comes the whole story:

The day we first met baby Rufus at the breeder’s house, he was only four weeks old. He was a fluffy little yellow bundle of a puppy, and he was beautiful. We only got to spend about a half hour with him that day before making the agreement to come back one month later to take him home. We couldn’t wait!

Looking back, though, my wife and I now realize that little Rufus was not quite like his little Labrador brothers and sisters, even at that young age. Every one of his littermates was perfectly happy to lie down in someone’s lap – anyone’s lap - and immediately fall asleep.

But not our little guy – his body was constantly on the move and his mouth was on a mission to get at anything within reach. Buttons, shirt sleeves, purse straps, fingers, even his own tail. I guess we must have thought this was a short-term stage he was going through, and that someday soon he would settle down. Maybe he would already be better behaved by the time we were scheduled to come back four weeks later?

Of course that was not  the case. Things started out well; he didn’t make a peep during the entire two-hour ride home – no squealing or whining! But by the time we carried him through our front door he was wide awake and raring to go. As he bumbled his way into the living room, instead of seeing a couch, an armchair and a coffee table, he saw three giant chew toys. He must have been thinking “I’m gonna like it here!”  

The damage began almost immediately and was not limited to inanimate objects. Sure, the furniture got chewed on, but so did our hands and arms. Rufus’ teeth were razor-sharp, to the point where sometimes our skin started bleeding before we even realized that contact had been made. We went through lots and lots of Band-Aids during those first few weeks. But he was really cute, so we forgave him. However, we worried that other people might be less forgiving if our little monster made their hands bleed.

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A friend mentioned that in order to get Rufus accustomed to being around people we should put him in a shopping cart and stroll him around in one of the big box hardware stores. So I took him there but figured I should let him pee before going inside. On the sidewalk near the entrance he found the new love of his young life: cigarette filters! I don’t know whether it was the color or the smell or the texture that he loved, but he wanted to get each and every one of those little treasures into his stomach. I had to pull several of them out of his mouth.

I had never noticed before just how many cigarette butts litter our city. They were everywhere we went. I took him to a huge grassy play field near where we live. He found many more of them there, and in addition developed a taste for peanut shells and duck droppings, which were also in abundance. And, if any kind of plant at all was nearby he would treat it as food.

By now you might be thinking that we were starving the poor little guy, but I can assure you that he was getting plenty of actual nutritious puppy food every day, more than enough for a normal dog. His preference seemed to be going after things that he was not supposed to chew on, and the more we tried to correct him the more he enjoyed what he was doing. Each time he found a pine cone in our backyard he would scoop it up and run away from us, chewing while he ran. By the age of four months he knew that he was faster and more agile than his two-legged parents, and his goal was to swallow each pine cone before we managed to rein him in. 

In an attempt to deter him, we poured Tabasco on some of the pine cones and left them where he was bound to find them. He soon learned to stay away from anything with that distinct aroma, but found plenty of “clean” sticks and pine cones to eat. At night, confined to his crate, he would sometimes cough up the woody remnants, but by morning he was out looking for more.

Back indoors, Rufus found more chewable objects. When he saw one of us walk away from the TV remote control, he would also walk away as if following us. When the timing was right he would do a U turn and sprint back, snatch up the remote and try to destroy it. If a closet door was left slightly ajar he would come away with a shoe in his mouth. Once he had his “prize” he would use the coffee table as a barricade to keep us at bay, darting left and then right. He got pretty good at his little game. He always “lost” in the end, but when it came to having the most fun he was the clear winner.

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By now Rufus is fully grown at age three, but old habits die hard. He still loves to chew on non-food items. A couple of months ago we made the mistake of leaving him home alone for a couple of hours, during which time he attacked our nice hallway runner and actually ate several square inches from one corner of the rug.

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It is an understatement to say that my wife was not happy! This rug was several decades old but still looked perfect before Rufus attacked it. I was sure there was no way to fix the damage, but I thought what the heck, it’s worth a try, so I Googled “Seattle rug repair” and that’s where I found you, D. A. Burns.

The lady that answered your phone said to bring the rug on in. Well, it wasn’t exactly cheap, but your reweaving experts somehow made that missing rug area reappear. The rug looks like new again! Thank you!

P. S.  I did another Google search and found out that there is a name for Rufus’ behavior: “Pica is a condition in which dogs crave and eat non-food items. Some dogs may only eat one type of object, while others will eat a wide variety.” I guess it was just our luck to get the “wide variety” type of dog.