Silence is not always golden. Many times, with dogs and small children, silence indicates some sort of scheming or destruction.
Two weeks before Thanksgiving, my free time was spent cleaning the house. We had had friends visiting with their two dogs and adorable son the previous week, leaving the house in a fun, wonderful mess (mostly from the dogs). My parents were coming down for my first Thanksgiving as a wife, and I wanted the house to be somewhat neat. Laundry was in the machines, the floors had been vacuumed, and I was in the process of washing another load of dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher). Sugar had spent the day either following me around or hanging out in the backyard while I vacuumed. A few times, she relocated the bathmat while I was not paying attention, but she didn’t chew it, so all was well.
I noticed a … silence… in the house. I was nearly done with the dishes and I hadn’t seen Sugar in a while, but with the water off I could hear some faint, occasional squeaking, so I didn’t worry. A few minutes later, dishes drying and counters wiped down, I went to check on the dog. Not in the dining room. Not in the living room. Huh. As I walked down the hall, I noticed the baby gate blocking the door of the guest room was down. Uh Oh. The guest room is also my craft room, with balls of yarn in stacked, open bins and bottles of glue and bits of sewing tools at Sugar’s eye level. We usually keep the door closed, but I had been going in and out, so I blocked it with a baby gate. I rounded the corner to see Sugar in the middle of the floor surrounded by blue bits.
Sugar had taken advantage of the loose baby gate to break into the guest room. Rather than go after the craft supplies (thankfully), she had poked her little head (well, medium-sized head) under the long bedskirt and retrieved a 5 pound (!) exercise ball and a yoga block. I had stuffed both of them under the bed when my friends were in town to keep them out of the way.
The 5 pound (!!) ball suffered multiple punctures and spread sand around the freshly vacuumed floor. The yoga block, which was the source of the faint squeaking and the bright blue bits, was missing a significant chunk from one corner. Fortunately for Sugar’s gastrointestinal wellbeing and my peace of mind, she does not tend to eat what she chews up. She will, however, helpfully retrieve the bits from the garbage can after I’ve cleaned up and place them back on the floor. In a new spot, sometimes even a new room (like the even more recently vacuumed living room floor).
Once I dealt with all of the bits and put the ball on the counter to be repaired, I moved back to our bedroom to work on the laundry. Sugar normally watches me fold and put away, but this time she continued with her mischief. She began to relocate my husband’s shoes from the bedroom to the living room. She had never gone for his shoes before, but he was out of town that week. By the second shoe, I was tired of abandoning my cleaning to retrieve the shoe. I grabbed the shoes, tossed them in the closet, and shut the door. I also stuffed his slippers much further under the bed and pulled the bedskirt down to hide them.
A few folded shirts later, I heard a rustling. Sugar had crawled under the bed. Completely under the bed. She quietly fetched a slipper and left the room. I caught up with her in the living room, where she spat out the slipper for me to take back. Oh, Sugar. I ended up tossing the slippers in the closet, too.
It could have been much worse. The yoga block is still usable, and a little duct tape “fixed” the ball. She didn’t eat any of the pieces, or destroy the bathmat, shoes or slippers. The ball and block have been the only things of ours that she has really damaged. As much as the damage dismayed me, I had to laugh at her creativity. To be honest, when we adopted her, I was prepared for her to “alter” many more of our things, so it’s a pleasant surprise that she has been so good. Since this … incident, she hasn’t seriously damaged anything. Instead, she has started picking random things (gloves, pieces of paper, a bag of treats) and bringing them to me.