This post is NOT for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. I warned you.
My dog is a world-class scavenger. I say this with no other dog experience and no credentials whatsoever, except for my two years observing her snatch garbage indiscriminately off whatever surface is within reach, though she seems partial to gutters and the depths of the most manky tangles of weeds. I remember when I was training with her at dog school, and when they were reading the stats on Kiva’s puppyhood, they slipped in this innocuous little biographical nugget: “May scavenge if given the opportunity.”
Kiva had done many things up to that point, including practically knocking me over when she saw another dog, flinging her paws on my shoulders when I got out of bed in the morning, and sprawling out all her doggy parts on the floor during lectures in the hopes of a belly rub. (Complete with groaning.) But scavenging she had not done, and I sent up a fervent little prayer to the dog heavens that I would not have this little habit to deal with when I returned home.
Somehow, under the scrutiny of all her trainers, Kiva kept her head up and her nose to the sky. When we got home, her gaze shifted downward and the ground became magical.
She has had an adventurous summer. She ate a nearly whole bar of soap when I was visiting Seattle. This reappeared as a puddling, white foam on the floor of my dear friend’s condo, where I will probably never be allowed to stay again.
While I was in Madison for the weekend, Kiva ate all her extra food, (which I packed in case for some reason I ran out and discovered that they don’t actually sell dog food in Madison, I guess), and the plastic scoop I use to transfer the food to her bowl. Thankfully, the plastic shards waited until I returned home to reappear on the floor of MY studio, where I’m guessing I would no longer be allowed to live if my building manager had any idea of the unspeakable things that sluice from my dog’s stomach at any given time. (Incidentally, it’s much harder for me to find the damage when I’m alone. If I had any mechanical ability whatsoever, I’d invent a dog vomit sensor that would bring the accessible devices market to its knees. Introducing the dog vomit sensor, no need to get your feet wet ever again, blindies! But I digress.)
This time, I’m visiting my folks in Iowa, and like a hippie weirdo, I brought my own food. (It’s much more polite than demanding my parents buy things like barley and chana dahl.) I carelessly left said food within puppy nose reach, and came back to discover that she had chewed open both the quinoa and lentil bags. Lentils littered the floor, but no quinoa was to be found. Which, I’m just being honest here but if you ask me, is terrifying. The only thing worse than a sly, sneaky scavenger dog is a sly, sneaky scavenger dog that is so bizarrely tidy about it.
Gentle reader, this next part is really gross. There, I double warned you. This morning, all the lentils reappeared, in the grass, in the pouring rain. Whole and perfectly intact.
This is why, when I bring Kiva to people’s houses for the first time, (and sometimes the second and third), I often will leave her on leash or keep her very close to my side. No matter how cute she looks, she is a slick, savvy scavenger deep in her dark, doggy soul. She will bewitch you with smiles and kisses and side flops and then she will shred all the Kleenex and paper towels in your house while you’re busy gushing about how well-behaved she is. Or she will traumatize your cat. Or break your water glasses. Or eat your cat’s food. Actually, I’m surprised ANYBODY still invites me back to their house, and equally not surprised about all the houses I’ve never been invited back to a second time. It’s ok, really.
In conclusion, I hope no one was exceptionally hungry before reading this post.