Does she chew?

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - CHUCK THOMP­SON

The other day I ran into an old friend who had been read­ing about our new dog River and her many ad­ven­tures in The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard.

Af­ter a long, ami­able chat, she asked, “Does she chew?”

I wanted to an­swer, “Does Sid­ney Crosby skate?” but re­sisted the temp­ta­tion.

The an­swer is yes, she chews... among other habits. We spend a fair amount of time dash­ing hither and yon res­cu­ing var­i­ous items from her jaws. Ac­tu­ally, she is tech­ni­cally more of a gum­mer than a chewer. She spends a lot of time hid­ing un­der var­i­ous pieces of fur­ni­ture, brown nose peek­ing out, but far enough back that I can’t catch her as she gums what­ever she has man­aged to steal.

She may never flush a grouse, re­trieve a duck, or fetch a Wood­cock, but she is deadly on toi­let pa­per or Kleenex. She could find ei­ther one hid­den in a bank vault.

But all this pales com­pared to what she man­aged to pull off the other day. In fair­ness, I may be some­what to blame, but only some­what.

When the weather is pleas­ant, I like to sit out in the back sun­room and read the pa­per. That’s not ex­actly ex­cit­ing news, but a plea­sure nonethe­less. Gen­tle, warm breezes waft through the screened (crit­i­cal) win­dows, giv­ing a sense of con­tent­ment and peace. It could only be bet­ter in a ham­mock, but black flies make that a hope­less dream. The prob­lem is, this com­bi­na­tion of­ten leads to a nap in one of the soft, cozy chairs.

So it hap­pened the other day as I sat con­tently in the heat wave that had en­gulfed most of the coun­try. I was read­ing the pa­per when I felt my eye­lids get­ting heavy. I rea­soned there was no bet­ter time for a lit­tle nap. And I like to nap sit­ting up so that I don’t sleep too deeply, or for too long a time. Give me ten min­utes and I give you a new man. Well-re­cy­cled, at least.

So, I thought, why not? I took off my glasses and laid them on the ta­ble next to me and kind of slouched down in the chair as the warm breeze swept over me. It has been my rou­tine for years and there was no rea­son to think any­thing out of the or­di­nary would oc­cur. Wrong. River was ly­ing du­ti­fully at my feet, scratch­ing and sniff­ing like all good dogs do. There was seem­ingly noth­ing to be con­cerned about. I slept ten min­utes tops, but when I woke, I could see the dog’s tail stick­ing out from un­der the cof­fee ta­ble. It was the other end I was more in­ter­ested in. There was a lot of smack, chomp, chew and slob­ber go­ing on. The ob­ject of her at­ten­tion soon re­vealed it­self. Dur­ing my brief nap, Miss River had sneaked up (what else could I call it?) and slinked off with my al­most new glasses. By the time I got her front end out in sight, the glasses were goners: lens scratched be­yond re­pair, frames chewed, all parts de­stroyed. She didn’t even have the de­cency to look guilty.

This les­son will prob­a­bly cost me around five hun­dred dol­lars. Hope­fully, one of us will soon get it right.

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