Sorry, He’s Still a Dog

Warning: not for younger, more sensitive, or easily grossed-out readers

Despite the damp and chill, Oakley needed a walk yesterday morning. I lured him off the sofa and out the door with a bite-sized bisky. We went to the forest preserve with a paved trail since any place else would have been a mosh pit after the rains of the last couple of days.

We came to the area near the first stand of restored prairie. I saw something pink and slimy on the ground, but before I could divert Oakley, he wrapped his jaws around it. I had to squeeze his mouth open and dig it out of his throat with two fingers before he swallowed it.  Most of it, anyway. Not the last time I will have to make a dog spit something out, and it wasn’t the first.

While yesterday’s incident almost made me lose my breakfast, the worst was a couple of springs ago at the same forest preserve. A bird had met his fate beneath the wheels of a car on the paved road. His remains sat there for two days, sun-aged, tire-tenderized. I kept Oakley away from it on the first and second days. And finally on the third day, Oakley gave me a calculating sidelong glance as we approached it. Before I could tug him in the other direction, he swallowed it. Whole. Feathers and all. In one gulp. And looked at me to see if I were impressed.

I was too busy launching the histrionics concerning potential damage while trying not to lose my lunch, breakfast, and the previous day’s dinner.

Luckily, no adverse effects came about. The incident passed as nature intended, feathers and all.

Despite Oakley’s otherwise elegant and refined tastes (i.e. he won’t touch chunk-style canned tuna, but will happy dance for solid pack or grilled tuna steak), he still is a dog.

Even Orion was not immune to the call of the wild. The day he nailed a baby bunny, I had to make him spit it out and clean up what was left of it, chanting “he’s a dog; he can’t help it” to myself.

Dogs are related to coyotes and wolves and, well, they eat stuff they find lying around based on instincts. The best a guardian can do is keep a sharp eye out for these delicacies, and remember that no matter how refined the preferences, no matter how they find the best part of the sofa or how well they tolerate clothes, you are still dealing with a dog.

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