Quiet Desperation

Human-dog relationship offers something to sink teeth into


When my DVD remote was being made, they added beef flavoring to the liquid plastic before it was molded.

That’s the only explanation I can think of. It went missing. I finally located it under the bed. It had a succession of teeth marks that matched Harry’s dental records.

Harry has dozens of other chewable toys that were intended for dogs. They were purchased at pet stores. The remote was not.

The remote still worked, but its grisly appearance was unwelcome.

You can find anything online, and I found an unused replacement that had been picked up at a Santa Clara estate sale.

I put blue tape on the new one. It was supposed to remind me not to leave it bedside.

I like to watch a few minutes of old movies before I meet the arms of Morpheus, and I just leave the remote on the table next to the bed when that time comes.

In the morning, I’m supposed to remember where I left it the night before, but I am not that accountable, and Harry knows it.

Sitting at my computer this a.m., I heard gnawing and looked down.

The little tubular fiend and I were separated for no more than two minutes since leaving the bedroom earlier, but that’s all it took.

It could be worse. I have heard much worse. One reader lost three pairs of expensive shoes, she said.

Belts, others have claimed, slippers, sandals, table legs, seat cushions, gloves, knick knacks, and paddy whacks.

One evening, the Red Avenger approached me with what looked like a stuffed mouse and dropped it at my feet, and smiled at me.

Harry doesn’t own a stuffed mouse. It was the real thing, deceased, and relatively fresh.

I said, “We are not a cat, Harry.”

I explained to him the use of the editorial “we.”

“We” replaces the first person in an editorial, thereby lifting the onus of accountability from one person to the entire editorial board.

My use of it with Harry, however, was intended to blunt my disapproval. With this particular hound, I am not a very tough tactician.

I know better, but he is not, as it were, on a short leash.

However, I don’t want to encourage cat behavior in him. Cats bring their prey to you, and sit aloof in corners and lick their paws all day, and that’s about it.

Harry will be 1 next month, or 7, depending on how you look at it. These are wonderful times with him. In a blink he will be 5, then 10.

He moved here in February, but by all appearances we have been best friends for years, even decades.

If you can take it, watch something called “Owen and Haatchi” on “E:60.” Owen, a boy, has Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, and Haatchi, a dog, is missing a leg and his tail. Haatchi was tied up — intentionally — next to train tracks and a train ran over him. But he survived.

It’s a short documentary, and there’s also a book.

Every time I watch it, I hope that Owen’s parents have prepared him for the one bad day all dog owners face.

Harry’s appetite for things that are not intended for him has cost me less than $100. He’s worth it, and more.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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