Back in October, when we welcomed a baby bird dog into our lives, my wife and I loaded up the kids and drove to Grand Lake Stream, where we met our little bundle of joy for the first time.
Teddy the Wonder Dog didn’t disappoint: He was wide-eyed and snuggle-able, and loved everyone.
During our short visit, there was one curious moment, however.
Sitting in a bowl of water on a nearby counter, we noticed fragments of a $20 bill soaking. This, we learned, was a reclamation effort. One of the pups in the litter had eaten it, and it had been … um … recovered. The hope (which was already obviously futile) was that enough of the bill would be salvageable so that it could be returned to its previous owner.
“Which puppy did that?” I asked Jeff McEvoy, the owner of Weatherby’s, who was selling Teddy to us.
McEvoy told us that he wasn’t entirely sure. Then he cast an eye at Teddy, whom we were taking turns carrying around, and grinned. “Could have been him.”
At that moment, I realized that parents — even dog-parents — share a common (and unfortunate) trait: We all have a hard time believing that our little darlings can do any wrong.
Nope, we thought. Couldn’t be our Teddy. He would never …
Over the following months, we have learned a lot about our little English cocker spaniel.
He’s still wide-eyed and snuggle-able, and still loves everyone. He’s also a speedy little fellow, and loves to run laps around on the lawn. He’s a tightrope walker who prances along the back of the couch, often peering over our shoulders. And he has shown some interest in birds (which, of course, is a preferable trait for a bird dog in training).
He’s also clearly in cahoots with the cat.
Vinnie the Claw — our sometimes mild-mannered kitty — immediately took Teddy under his wing, it seems. Their daily wrestling matches began right away, as Vinnie started toughening up his little brother. So, too, did their joint recon missions.
Vinnie can jump, you see. And Teddy? Well, he’s a low-rider, and his mischief is limited to carrying around objects he finds closer to the ground.
That’s where Vinnie comes in.
Vinnie has always been a collector of various things he thinks are interesting. Cat toys? No thanks. There’s a lot more cool stuff for a high jumping cat who loves exploring the kitchen counters. One day, we found an avocado (with Vinnie teeth-marks) in our bedroom. Another time, Vinnie brought us an entire bulb of garlic.
And often, it seemed, he’d simply knock things onto the floor so his little buddy Teddy could play with it.
That, I hope, is what happened yesterday. I fear, however, that Teddy might be able to leap much higher than we’ve given him credit for.
While preparing dinner, I looked on the floor and saw a $10 bill. It had been chewed … half-eaten, actually.
And like parents everywhere — even dog-parents — I tried to rationalize what I saw.
Maybe he’s sending us a message. The kids have been singing songs from “Hamilton” for weeks. Maybe Teddy doesn’t like musical theater, so he decided to take a bite out of the only picture he could find of Alexander Hamilton.
Maybe the cat did it.
Maybe the kids did it.
Or, maybe we gave the little money-eater too much credit from the beginning.
I suspect the final conclusion is the correct one (in part because I know for a fact that Teddy loves musical theater). Teddy has an appetite for money.
And as my wife points out, Teddy also ate her Visa card earlier this year, proving that he does, in fact, accept both cash and credit.
Last night, I posted a photo to Facebook, and told the story from Grand Lake Stream … the one about the day we first met Teddy. It didn’t take long for McEvoy to send along a message.
“Where is the other half?” he asked.
McEvoy, of course, knew exactly where the other half of the bill was. Then he asked another question.
“Are you going to try to recover it?”
Not a chance.
After sharing this story with friends, I have learned that I’m not alone. Our pets eat some weird stuff. A few weeks back, in fact, a man told me that his hefty lab had eaten 57 sandwiches (along with the plastic wrappers) that he’d made for an event. This pooch ate everything in sight (except tuna).
So tell us: What’s the oddest thing your dog, cat or parakeet has decided to eat? If the replies are funny enough, you may find them in a future column or blog.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke