Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Case of the Disappearing Leash

Just when you think you know your puppy and let your guard down, he or she will do something you thought not possible. This can shock you back to the reality of puppy raising. The puppy's act can be a Good Surprise or.....a Bad Surprise.

Such was the case today, when Dorian chewed thru my favorite leather leash in the back seat while we were driving to town. Dorian turned 1 year-old this month. I thought he had left the "chewing leash" phase behind about 100 light years ago. Well, OK, at least 6 months ago. But there was the soggy, sodden area just below the end loop chewed almost clean thru.

Dorian's leather leash where it was repaired and restitched just below the leash loop after he almost chewed thru it. The shoe repairman fixed it the same day.

"Well," I think, "things could be worse!" I recall the time about a year ago when CeCe, my previous guide pup-in-training did not merely chew the leash, she ate it! Incredibly it happened while I was sitting in a restaurant booth with the leash's loop end under my leg. This would have been embarrassing enough except that several other dog-savvy people were present and we had just finished commenting on how "good and quiet" CeCe was under the table, and how mature her behavior was becoming. Finishing my coffee, I rose and tugged on the leash handle. To my surprise there was no weight or resistance. Dangling from my hand was only the tiniest strip of leather still attached to the loop!

I called CeCe out from under the dark cave of the table. Attached to CeCe's collar was the clip and a short 6" piece of leather leash. That piece plus my loop end accounted for about 1 foot. But where was the other 3 feet? Surely under the table somewhere? Yet after a hard search there was no accounting for the rest of the leash. dawned slowly...unless it was inside CeCe.

Leaving the coffee shop, I called my vet, who suggested I give CeCe a dose of hydrogen peroxide. Since I was stuck in town, I went to a nearby pharmacy, bought a bottle and oral syringe, and gave her a dose. In an grassy lot we started walking around and waiting. Sure enough, within 15 minutes, up came her breakfast, along with some white foam and many small pieces of leather. What a huge relief to know the disappearing leash had been recovered! Case closed!

Conclusive evidence in the Case of the Missing Leash:  To the bottom left is a pile of CeCe's barely digested breakfast mixed with foam from the hydrogen peroxide. Notice it is tinged pink from the leather dye. In the upper right corner is the sorted-out pieces of the leather leash. There must be at least 20 pieces, they are uniformly about 1" long and very slimy.

To this day it amazes me the level of stealth CeCe displayed (did not display?) under that table. She pulled off the disappearing leash job inches away from me, the leash-holder, and all those dog people. The joke was on us! In fact every so often, my dog friends still recall that incident. We laugh and shake our heads. So does the waitress at the coffee shop. 

CeCe in the spring of 2012, doing her favorite thing, retrieving her Wubba.

CeCe poses in front of a service dog memorial at the Virginia Tech Veterinary Teaching Hospital in spring, 2012. The sign reads "Ready To Serve." Shortly after this picture was taken, she went back to Southeastern Guide Dogs to finish her training.

She was career-changed in fall, 2012 and now lives with a family in Long Island, New York. CeCe was a challenging puppy to raise but remains my very, very special girl.

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