When our 2-year-old dog sits still, he’s often mistaken for an oversized stuffed animal.
He’s a white-and-brown “Goldendoodle,” a golden retriever and poodle mix with soft, curly hair. He’s 30 pounds of the fluffiest, friendliest puppy you could ever meet.
He loves to play. He loves to cuddle. He loves to be loved.
He’s also a serial killer.
There’s a litany of victims in his wake: Helen, Lenny, Mr. Fox. There are so many more that didn’t even live long enough to get a name.
He loves to destroy stuffed dog toys. For reasons I don’t completely understand, my wife loves to find him stuffed dog toys with squeakers inside them for him to destroy.
He’s otherwise a pretty good boy. Despite his love of fluffy things, he leaves our children’s toys alone.
He also does well with certain brands of balls and bones we’ve discovered are tough enough for him. Stuffed dog toys are his kryptonite, though.
Many mornings, I’ll wake up to let our dogs out and feed them. Then I’ll start picking up the pieces of fabric and fluff strewn about the floor from whatever poor stuffed lizard, cow or fox no longer resembles itself.
I know what you’re saying: Stop buying the dog stuffed toys. I know this because I’ve said it myself to my wife, over and over.
There’s something super-cute about the dog’s immediate reaction to a new toy, though. It’s like man’s best friend made a new best friend. He’s so excited. He’s so playful. He’s so happy.
Then he starts ripping limbs off it.
That’s how we ended up with Helen. Helen started off as a cow that squeaked. She was advertised as “indestructible” for a large dog.
What can I say? Our dog likes a challenge. He ripped her ears, eyes and mouth off her within half an hour. One of our girls joked that made it like Helen Keller, and the name stuck.
Since then, Helen’s lost all of her stuffing. She’s now a flat piece of tough fabric that our dog likes to carry around in his mouth, luring you into a game of tug-of-war.
My wife sent a photo of the carnage to the company. They kindly sent us another toy, a squirrel they claimed was more appropriate for a destructive dog. Five minutes after opening it, it was missing a leg, and we gave the rest of an otherwise quality toy to my sister-in-law’s dog, who respects the integrity of the toy in ways our dog could not.
I don’t like how destructive our dog is. Lenny met the same fate as Helen, the once-proud lizard now reduced to a flat piece of fabric. The only thing left of Mr. Fox is the pink squeaking ball that was inside him.
I don’t condone my wife’s continued purchases of toys we know will end up destroyed throughout our home. She’s enabling his serial killer tendencies. She aids and abets our budding killer.
I also understand that you love who you love, even if he has gnarly habits. It’s hard to stay mad at such a fluffy little monster.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.