The Dog Ate My Retainer, and Other Tales of Canine Masticatory Woe
Last night I went to bed late. Wanna know why? Wait for it … Because my 13-year-old son couldn’t find his retainer. He’d had it barely a week. One week. And now, it was gone. Whoooosh … into the ether.
Well, not quite. Indeed, the law of conservation of energy states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. And so it was with this new breed of flimsy (but oh-so-teenagerly-attractive) retainer. It was right there, quivering in all its clear plastic glory at the end of the flashlight’s beam underneath a bush in the side yard.
Of course, it had been mangled, as so many other things in this household have been mangled. I haven’t had a young puppy in this household for years, and yet not a month — nay, a week! — goes by that something significant doesn’t get chewed.
My dogs are young, to be sure. But they are also just plain masticatorily motivated. Given that this drive is coupled with ample opportunity (I repeat: a 13-year-old lives in my home), is it any wonder I lose out to the dogs so often?
I mean, it’s not as if they don’t have stuff to chew on. (They do! And lots!) Rather, it’s that they prefer to chew on things that bear the hospital’s scent, our scent … or, more likely, that of our food. And in the house of a foodie, I daresay everything smells like food. 24/7.
Luckily, while these dogs may chew, they do not swallow. Not unless it’s paper. (Slumdog has a thing for paper. For example, a $20 bill was consumed just a couple of months ago.) And not swallowing means that I miss out on the most harrowing side effects of this kind of behavior: GI obstruction.
But still … did it have to be the retainer?
Last week it was the cover of a book chewed all around the cover’s edges. (Is it any wonder I’ve almost completely switched over to e-readers?)
The week before, it was one of my Sterilite food containers.
The week before that was probably the week they got into the recycling and left shards of aluminum foil all over the house. (I’m still finding tiny pieces here and there.)
At least there’s one thing I can say: As a human I’ve gotten better at keeping my stuff away from them. It’s been at least a year since a pair of glasses has gotten nibbled. And it’s been at least a month or two since I lost a shoe. Thank God for small favors.
But it’s only a matter of time. Where there’s a willingness there’s a way…
How about your dogs (and cats?) do they still chew … and destroy?
Dr. Patty Khuly