Real Life Confessions #129: I am the Worst Dog Owner in the World

I like to think of Shiva as a dog’s dog. As she walks with ears bouncing and tail bumping, I imagine a one-line song running through her head. Her own version of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be” with only one slight substitution.

Imma dog, imma dog – imma imma imma dog
Imma dog, imma dog – imma imma imma dog
Imma dog, imma dog – imma imma imma dog
Imma dog dog dog dog imma imma dog
Imma dog dog dog dog imma imma dog
Imma dog dog dog dog imma imma dog

Just as rhythmic because she’s cool like that. Though perhaps without the drug dealing and the semen.

Everything she does is done with enthusiasm. At least, that is the word I have grown to use. It sounds so much better than “bat-shit insanity” when talking to others at the dog park. If she is given thirty seconds to complete something, she will do it in one. If she is asked to jump up one stair, she’ll throw herself up all ten. It’s just who she is. It used to give me daily heart attacks but eventually one gains perspective. Sometimes I forget that the things she does aren’t normal until I see the look on another dog owner’s face when she randomly vaults off a tree and then performs several cartwheels across the field for no reason whatsoever.

“Oh, you mean dogs aren’t supposed to bounce off the furniture every time they enter the house after a walk? Huh.”

The problem is, this gusto is applied to everything in her life and as entertaining as it is, it also becomes problematic when the vet starts to notice things. And by things I mean, the fact that Shiva’s back teeth are showing a little more wear than they should be. At our last appointment before the move, our wonderful vet raised her eyebrows when she took a look at the tornado’s choppers. I had a feeling I knew what she was going to say. The verdict was predictable, if majorly depressing.

“No more antlers,” she declared. “No more Nylabones, no more bones, period.”

Let me clarify. What she said was no more of these:

004Or these:

005And absolutely no more of these:

AntlerWhat she meant was death, destruction, and an end to all semblance of peace for as long as we all shall live.

Our vet was obviously not aware that a Shiva’s gotta chew. It’s just a certain fact. Engraved in stone. I am almost positive that when the Rosetta Stone was re-discovered by that French soldier there was a small Shiva Stone next to it in the Nile Delta stating “all Shivas must chew.”

Oh sure, she said it would be fine if Shiva continued to chew these:

006Yet, that’s not really fitting Shiva’s definition of the verb, now is it? Kongs are awesome, they are meant for sucking out yummy peanut butter treats. They do not satisfy Shiva’s anxiety gods, or whomever the spirits are who compel her to destroy. It isn’t her fault. I believe that. Chomping hard on a good antler just makes her feel better. Who am I to begrudge her that?

Besides, after several months of stern no-bone restrictions, a former friend has joined our family, one we had thought was gone for good. But today’s, er, “episode” confirms it.

This happened no more than thirty minutes after the toy was purchased. This includes travel and taking the dog out to pee time.

This happened no more than thirty minutes after the toy was purchased. This includes travel and taking the dog out to pee time.

In case you can’t tell, the above photo features a decapitated duck. One of many in our future. That’s right, the world better be ready, as Shiva the Destroyer is back and in prime form. No duck, no elephant, no bear, no fish, no stuffed animal will ever feel safe again.

Sleep with one eye open, Mr. Snake. Your days are numbered.

Sleep with one eye open, Mr. Snake. Your days are numbered.

So what is a responsible pet owner to do? Put her dog before all of the innocent little stuffies, just waiting to have their guts ripped out?

I am not said responsible pet owner. As the title suggests, I am instead the worst dog owner in the world. Rather than adhere to the kind, well-meaning vet’s advice, I’ve decided to give the world a bit of a break. Even though I know it’s wrong, even though I know we may have to pay for canine dentures one day, every once in a while, for a maximum of five minutes at a time, I will give Shiva a bone to chew.

I know. I am going to Canine Hell. But it makes her so happy! How can I deny my puppy one of the few tools that keeps her sanity in check? For all I know, she decapitates stuffed animals for the sheer joy of it. Allowing her to wear down her teeth on a solid bone every once in a while ensures we’ll all live to see another day. It may make me a terrible dog owner but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.

23 thoughts on “Real Life Confessions #129: I am the Worst Dog Owner in the World

  1. The Shiva Stone. Oh that made me laugh! :-)

    I don’t think you are a terrible dog owner. Sometimes we are forced to choose options we dislike because not to do so might lead to something we really dislike. Wishing Shiva happy chewing trails!

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  2. Felix has one cracked molar that I had removed and another that I’ve been warned is precarious. And yet, I throw caution to the wind and allow him to chew away. Sure, it might cost me another dental surgery someday, but I’m prepared for it and OK with the possible expense. I refuse to live in fear!

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  3. I’m sorry but I am on the side of the vet here. I’d seriously rethink your plan to let Shiva have a bone. I’ve heard of dogs who have broken teeth in half on antlers and other hard chews. For a vet to say her teeth are more worn than they should be, means they are. I’m sure you wouldn’t want Shiva to have to have teeth out, or be in pain due to them being worn down to the nerve.

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  4. You are not the worst dog owner! The worst would just keep giving Shiva the antlers, bones, and Nylabones at the same rate she always has.
    Ducky would have this house — and everything in it — shredded to bits if she couldn’t chew on her Nylabones! And her big sisters enjoy a good chew every day, too. The Shiva Stone, huh? I like that!

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  5. You are definitely not the worst dog owner – the value of Shiva’s sanity must also be taken into consideration here! have you tried bully sticks with her? I know … just the thought of them is gross, so I try not to think about it because Buster and Ty LOVE them. I’ve found a new brand called Wild Chewz (they also make antlers, so try not to be tempted). Anyway, the bully sticks come from grass-fed beef, are smoked and dried, and are made in Oregon. For some reason it takes my dogs longer to chew through them than the other bully sticks I’ve bought. Must be something they do in the processing. They wouldn’t hurt Shiva’s teeth and would give her a chance to work out her anxiety with a good chew. Just an idea!

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  6. I think that you know your dog, and if she needs to chew, she needs to chew! Lucky Shiva! Before we got Ike, we were told that he chewed through a door to get to a dog in heat. All his front teeth are mere little stubs. They look painful to me, but the vet says they are okay. And Ike still loves to chew antlers. (I hate that they are so expensive and I have to take them away when they get to be a few inches long so they won’t swallow them. What do you do with those 3 inch antler stubs?) Kelly destroys every stuffie in minutes EXCEPT her Indestructables snake….that one she really can’t destroy.

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  7. Well, I have 3 broken molars and they never hurt me. :)

    Every day of my life, my husband says “I’ve gotta find something to sell to crazy dog people.” I think I’ll get him working on doggy chewing gum. How he’s going to teach dogs to chew without swallowing I don’t know. But that’s the price you pay for getting rich. :)

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  8. I think letting Shiva continue to chew on those things is great! My last dog Shadow wore her teeth down to nubs because she chewed on anything she could get her teeth on. My vet seemed to think most of the wear came from the fact that she liked to chew on the stuffies – the fabric was to blame. Not sure how true that was – but dogs are pretty limited in things they can do and actually enjoy doing. Instead of coloring, or drawing or painting or knitting – they chew. Who are we to deprive them of that? And especially for a dog like Shiva – she would really miss that!! :)

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  9. Have you tried giant rope toys? The kind that are folded in half with a big knot in the middle and a knot at each end and look like they could be used with a T-Rex are about the only chew toys that lasts more than a few minutes. They’re usually $8-$12, but HomeGoods or HomeSense often has them for $3-$6.
    Every time I buy them the cashier makes a comment that my dogs must be huge. I’ve learned to just nod and agree, they don’t care that little 50lb Duke destroyed an Extreme Kong in 5 minutes.

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  10. It could well be that those benign looking stuffies are really evil creatures waiting to suck out your soul through your nostrils while you sleep and Shiva recognizes their intent and disarms them by ripping their innards to pieces.

    At least that is my dogs’ story and they are sticking to it.

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  11. Oh, my. I’m not sure what we would do if these were Ruby’s doctor’s orders! While her chew drive may subside as she gets older (she is only around a year right now), it is at present a very necessary part of her day! She has a veritable cornucopia of gnaw-ptions.

    I think your idea of limited chew-time is a good one. Have you tried the Himalayan Dog Chews? Ruby loves them, and while they are still hard, the edible pieces break off frequently and they aren’t on the same scale of bones and antlers.

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  12. I would probably do the exact same thing. Rita loves her antlers and bones so much, I’d hate to have to try to keep her away from there FOREVER.

    Rita has that same snake thingy. (Although we call it an eel.) Our last dog was a major destroyer of toys – I would buy her old stuffed animals at yard sales, which you can usually find for 25c – to destroy to her heart’s content.

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  13. There’s something to be said about the balance between behavioral health and physical health, especially with dogs who have known fears and anxieties. Unless the vet’s providing some realistic and proactive substitutions to help the anxiety that don’t involve the bones, I can’t say I entirely blame you for giving into the chew!

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  14. Imma a bee rocking like this, what?

    Lol, that was the song that we always listened to on the ride to a dog show, you know to try and pump the dogs up :)

    You are NOT the worst dog owner, by far! Limiting the time that Shiva gets to chew on those things is responsible, taking away something that she loves is hard, this way she gets to still have it and cut down on how fast her teeth may or may not wear down.

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  15. I am so sorry. This absolutely sucks. We don’t have a Shiva, but we have multiple dogs that when bored…

    Basically, I understand the desire to have a little help keeping our fur kids occupied and these things are heaven. When I read “Nylabones” I thought “nooooooo.” We had to pass on the antlers and we have to take care when it comes to raw bones (only Knuckle bones for our pack), because of the hardness. But Nylabones have been my saving grace.

    And when my boyfriend isn’t around, bully sticks. He hates them, but I love love love them. I just wish they lasted longer. I can deal with the smell if I can get 30 minutes of peace :)

    Keep us posted if you find an alternative.

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