chocolate lab

Nutmeg Loses My Gourd

Nutmeg chews a gourd under the dining room table

It’s hard not to laugh when your puppy chews on something as useless as a decorative gourd. On the other hand, I have given Nutmeg many mixed messages as I often laugh while scolding her for misbehavior.

Nutmeg is the chewiest dog I’ve known. Chances are I’d have said that about every puppy we’ve raised, but being the current dog, Nutmeg holds the award.

I keep winter squash on the floor of the dining room from harvest until I use it up — sometimes as long as six months. Last spring, when Nutmeg joined our family, there were still butternut squashes, neck pumpkins, and decorative gourds on the floor, and it didn’t occur to me this was a problem until I noticed bite marks in one of the neck pumpkins.

It wasn’t long before I was down on my stomach capturing Nutmeg’s mischief in motion. 18 months later, Nutmeg doesn’t chew quite so inappropriately, but that’s only because my family has collectively told her “no” more than 300,000 times. She would eat glass if she had the chance.

Actually, she has eaten glass, and I’m apprehensive about how she’ll treat the Christmas tree after we decorate it next weekend. Do you have pets that treat your tree poorly?



Wordless Wednesday: Guarda Un Po. Cosa C’e?

Nutmeg! Look a little. What's there?

Nutmeg! Look a little. What’s there?



I Hate Tick Season

Nutmeg relaxes on the sofa

Nutmeg wasn’t allowed on the furniture for three or four months. The kids and I would hold her on our laps so that “technically” she wasn’t on the furniture. Of course she didn’t distinguish between our laps and furniture, and eventually my wife gave up: Nutmeg goes wherever, and is quite content about it.

My wife has always drawn a hard line with the dogs: they’re not allowed on the furniture—and Nutmeg’s two most recent predecessors kept off. But the kids and I are lap dog enthusiasts, so a few months into Nutmeg’s “training,” my wife lifted the furniture not allowed rule.

This morning, my wife was Skyping with our son, Callum, who is away at college. I sat on the sofa to listen. Nutmeg took this to mean it was time to play. She jumped on the sofa and smacked me a few dozen times with her big-blue-binky. I gently deflected her each time.

Spoiler Alert: Icky Bug-Thing Photo Below “the Fold”

When she relented, she dropped her binky on my lap and sat quietly for a few minutes. Then she leaned away from me until she fell onto her back; a maneuver I’ve never seen a dog do on purpose. She landed flat on her spine with all four legs sticking up in the classic doggie “scratch my belly” position and then lay still looking adorable.

I leaned in to scratch, and ugh! In the middle of Nutmeg’s pink but hairy belly there was a tick. This was the second tick I had found on her in about ten days. I gently pulled it free and disposed of it, and we got on with our lives.

Tick on Nutmeg

Does “spoiler alert” mean that looking at this photo could spoil your appetite? That’s the tick I pulled off of Nutmeg’s stomach this morning—photographed before I removed it.

Nutmeg seems to be a tick magnet. In the 18 months she’s lived with us, I’ve already lost count of how many ticks I’ve pulled off of her. She had Lyme disease earlier this year which, of course, comes from tick bites, and we haven’t had her follow-up doctor’s visit to gauge the success of her treatment. I hope she doesn’t get re-infected now that tick season is peaking.

I can say with conviction: Not removing ticks from dogs is something I miss about city life. I could not have said that when I lived in the city because at the time I didn’t know what I wasn’t missing. Ugh.