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March 22, 2012

Blog: Karilyn Bentley: TALES FROM THE CRATE

Do you have a pet? I know you do. I’ve seen them on Facebook, brown eyes shining at you as they silently beg you to stop writing and pay them attention, much in the same way the chocolate candy and coffee machine do.

Pull up a chair. This blog is for you.

Have you ever read my bio and wondered about my two partially psycho dogs? Let me introduce you to my two: Jaws, the oldest, a beautiful female mutt of indeterminate origin, probably German Shepherd mix, and Hell Hound who is two years younger, a black Lab/Bloodhound mix.

We got Jaws when she was approximately one year old from a rescue group at our local pet store. We thought her presence might perk up our old Golden, who had a limb removal the year before. When we brought Jaws into the house, she saw Tripod and immediately thought, gee, looky here, a playmate. Like all good playful dogs, she walked up to Tripod, and bonked him across the head, trying to start a game. Tripod just fell over, being a tripod and all. Jaws looked at him, looked at me, her eyes popped wide as if to say, what the heck just happened? It went downhill from there. We bought her on a Sunday; so on Monday we left for work and left her in the house. We’d been assured by the rescue company that she does great inside.

Warning to future dog owners: do NOT buy a dog on a Sunday and then leave it by itself on Monday. Just saying.

I came home from work and found the blinds on our wall of French door windows had been torn up. Clearly, Jaws wanted to see outside. So the next day I raised the blinds. Came home from work and she had eaten the wooden slats right down to the glass panes. Unacceptable.

I went out, bought a crate, and stuck her in it the next day. She was not pleased. She shredded the bedding. Next day: no bedding. She ate the plastic in the bottom of the crate. Next day: She ate the carpet under the crate. The Hubster cut an area of carpet around the crate and stuck crate on concrete. Next day: She ate 7 feet of carpet, dragging the crate forward.

Here’s some math: 1 large dog + bedding + 7 feet of carpet = explosive diarrhea. Not pretty.

I forgot to mention she howls at the same frequency as the alarm for breaking glass. This didn’t go over well with the alarm company or the local police department.

Other than her separation anxiety, we really like Jaws.

Solution to problem: installed a dog door. No more problems. At least not until Tripod passed on.

Cost of dog: $125. Cost of damage to house = $5000. Having her follow me from room to room like I’m the best thing in the world = priceless.

Hell Hound’s issues are on a whole other level. We got him when Tripod went to his eternal reward since Jaws could not handle being the only dog in the house. When he was a puppy, his doghouse burned down, killing half the litter and burning his right hip. He had skin grafts and still has a big bare spot on his back. His first owners moved and gave him up when he was eight months old. He spent the next eight months in a kennel until the rescue group got him, and then, he spent eight more months in a dog crate.

Needless to say, calling him a little wild barely scratched the surface. His legs looked normal, but apparently had been replaced with pogo sticks. Couch in his way? Not a problem. He just leapt over it like Superman. Person on other side of six foot fence? No problem. Pogo-sticks-for-legs means he jumps and can see over the fence. I bet you’ve never walked by a fence and had a 75-pound, barking, snarling and saliva-dangling-from-its-jaws, dog head clear the top.

We managed to get the pogo stick act calmed down, and then, he started growling at all our visitors. Then, he started biting them. Then, he started being stuck in a room alone when people came over. Took him to dog trainers, one of which suggested we put him down. We refused.

 About this time a friend got me hooked on The Dog Whisperer (  

I started using those techniques and HH calmed down. He still operates under the misguided belief the entire neighborhood belongs to him, and heaven forbid, another dog walk in it. I’ve lost track of all the yardmen, etc. who have called and requested Hell Hound be locked in a crate when they come over. For some odd reason, they have issue with HH leaping at the windows while growling, snarling, barking and salivating. Rather embarrassing, but at the same time I feel safe.  

Cost of dog: $125. Cost of training = $2000. Having dog greet me at the door ecstatically every time I come home from work = priceless.

What are some of your favorite pet stories? I love hearing about them as much as I like writing about my pets.

Thank you for stopping by today!


Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi! Thanks for letting me talk on my favorite furry friends! Hell Hound is featured in my novella, Werewolves in London, coming out in June. I changed the breed, but kept some of his antics.

I need a chuckle this morning, so let me hear about your pet stories!

Liese said...

I took my dog to a new groomer yesterday, requesting a trim. She proceeded to give him a buzz cut. Instead of my fluffy pooch, I have a short-haired fox (seriously, he looks like a fox!). Won't be using that groomer again.

Pamela Stone said...

We had a 7 lb black Pomeranean that had multiple stars by her name at the veteranarian. Every time a dog bit or tried to bite, they were rewarded with a gold Star. Bear was leading the pack. But at home she was sweet as could be. Both my sons were in the military back then and they came home for Christmas. She had almost a month of playmates. The boys, their wives, me off work. Great. Well, until the boys left and my hubby and I returned to work. First day. All her toys had been tossed down the stairs and scattered. The lining in my only pair of expensive dress pumps, shredded. All the trashcans she could reach, dumped and shredded.

Did I mention that we obtained said dog at a garage sale? A nice young family wanted our trampoline, but did not have the money, but they had a tiny puppy that they'd gotten for stud service. We traded. They took the huge trampoline out of our way and we got a tiny puppy that could sit in my hand. Then she developed a skin issue. She pulled all the hair out that she could reach, which made her look like a tiny lion as she couldn't reach the hair around her neck. After trying everything imaginable, we ended up with a dog dermatologist who put her on steroids for the last 3 years of her life. I'm afraid to try to figure up what that cost me.

But we love them.

Elizabeth Essex said...

I'm in awe of your patience! I'm incredibly spoiled because I have the best dog in the world—Tilly the Wonderdog. She's an Australian Shepherd (which is actually an American breed), and she's been a sweet, interested, smart, obedient angel since day one. I guess some dogs are just born that way, and I was lucky enough to snatch her up when I found her.

And kudos for putting HH in your book. I've never tried to write a part for Tilly—readers would never believe any animal was that good. :)

Good luck with your adorable hounds! Cheers!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Liese,
Sorry about the groomer's cut. I've watched them work at the local pet store and they do tend to cut too short. At least the hair will grow back. I'm hoping! :)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Pamela,
Wow! It's amazing how such a small dog could do that much damage. Thankfully HH doesn't bite at the vet or kennel. We get rave reviews on him there, but he's a holy terror at home. :) That's a hoot about getting the dog at the garage sale. I haven't heard of that before. :)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Liz,
Wow! An obedient dog from the get-go?? I'm really impressed. My Golden was actually a really good dog (i.e. Tripod in the story), but I got him when he was 5 and he'd been abused so he had some really weird antics. He was much better behaved than the two I have now. Although Jaws settled down when she was 4 and has been a sweetie since then. Still waiting for HH, I've heard it's the Lab in him. :)

Stacy Green said...

LOL. We have three dogs, a Golden Retriever and two mini - doxies. They're worse than kids. The Golden is the best dog in the world, and the doxies are sweet, but at ages 7 and 8, they're still holy terrors. The male barks at everything (and I mean everything), and the female is the queen of the house. And our male doxie, Sammy, is a chewer, and even though we tried to be vigilant, had stomach surgery last year and cost us a fortune.

Sigh. The stuff we do for our pets!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

I have the best little doggie terrorists in the world! Champ and Jones are malti-poos. Jones is taller and gray, and Champ is short and white. They are inseparable. Sweet, love EVERYONE, love their squeaky cat, and have the best time going on a walk and for a ride in my Jeep. :)

Kathy Ivan said...

Karilyn reading about your doggies makes me miss mine. The last three we had were all black labs and each was special in its own way.

Katey was a handful at the vet's office though. Not a vocal dog at all, she always knew when we were going to the vet somehow and from the moment we pulled into the parking lot until we pulled out again she would doing this howling whine the entire time. Nonstop. Over and over and over.

The vet finally came out from treating other patients and asked us to keep her outside the office until it was her turn, becuase she was upsetting all the other animals there. This happened every single time she went.

She also had really bad skin allergies and was allergic to grass. So everywhere on her body that touched the grass (especially when she had to go outside and use the potty), she lost all of her fur. I had to give her daily allergy shots for years. But I still wouldn't have traded her for the world.

We lost our last baby almost a year ago and now I think I'm ready to get another one.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Stacy,
Thank you for stopping by! I love Goldies! They are good dogs. Sorry to hear about Sammy's surgery. I'm lucky mine haven't had anything get stuck. Pretty amazing when you think of what all they've consumed! :)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Vicki,
Your dogs are adorable! They were very happy to see me the last time I was over there. :) Absolutely adorable!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kathy,
I'm so sorry about your loss. Losing a family pet is like losing a family member. So many retrievers have allergy problems. But yours is the first I've heard that was allergic to grass that bad. Are you planning on getting another Lab?

Alisha said...

Wow! And I thought my kids tore up my house! I had a sweet golden for 12 years. He was wonderful except during thunderstorms..ugh! He was terrified and would climb into the bath tub and shiver like crazy! He also tore up all our carpet when he was a puppy...that was before I left him in the crate when I was at Been there! I can't wait to see Vicki's sweet puppies on Saturday!! Oh and I have a sweet siamese mix..he is soooooooo pretty with the longest hair...his name is Frankie..named after Sinatra for his beautiful blue eyes! Well, this cat is just crazy! One day I got out of the shower and immediately started brushing my teeth, leaning over the sink....Frankie was meowing and wanted in the bathroom so I let him in. Big mistake! Mind you..I'm still naked! Well...he decided to jump on top of my back while I was bent over the sink..and I was all slippery with lotion on my wet skin!!! He fell and then grabbed on with all four claws! Needless to say, I never brush my teeth in the buff now but he still jumps on my I wear a thick terry cloth!

Cynthia D'Alba said...

Wow Karilyn! You are a dog saint!

I have two dogs..border collie and flat coated retriever. Sweethearts but the retriever is very unpredictable around other dogs. Maybe wonderful. Maybe she'll rip the dog's throat out. You just never know.

The border collie--who is not yet two, has decided to be a lap dog. This is the past couple of days. Not sure what's going on in her mind.

But I loved your stories.

Unknown said...

What a hoot! They are just like children, aren't they? We have a black pug and she has certainly claimed her place in our house these past 13 years. In fact, she is my constant companion and critique partner not to mention has a delightful sense of humor. I can see her little mind working out new ways to tease us. Hasn't destroyed anything tho. Not sure how I'd react to that, lol.

Great post and thanks for the smile. Love dogs.

Patricia said...

Okay, what dog goes to the Petco groomers and while we're at the counter signing in they come around to him and he's barking his head off? Forgot to tell you he is COMPLETELY harmless but because he weighs almost 100 pounds and has large teeth and is a chocolate lab and looks aggressive, they said they wouldn't give him a bath and clip his toe nails. So we were rejected by Petco. Went then to the vets and they gladly did a nail trim for, like, almost $30. And when we had to shave the side of his head due to a hot spot, we had to actually drug him hours ahead of time and he was totally drunk when the vet arrived and we STILL had to (3 of us) hold him down while the vet buzz-cut under his ear. But, he's my baby and I cannot live without him.

Sasha Summers said...

OMG Karilyn, You love your pups! My yellow lab is very tame. She thinks she's a lap dog, which doesn't really work, but she's pretty perfect. My cats, on the other hand... we won't even go there!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Alisha,
Ouch! I bet that hurt when Frankie jumped on you. Yikes! Don't blame you for investing in a thick robe. :) No more cat claws. I'm so allergic to cats that I had one do that to me, but I was clothed. He scratched through the denim and my leg swelled up. Had to take a ton of benadryl. :( I'm glad you were okay!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Cynthia,
Thank you for stopping by! Unpredictable dogs are great, eh? :) Not sure what is going on with the border collie. I've had dogs crawl into my lap when they need to be comforted or they are trying to comfort me.

Glad you enjoyed the stories!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Karen,
Thank you for stopping by! Pugs are cute! We have friends that had a couple and they were pretty smart dogs. Very lovable.

Dogs crack me up trying to figure out what they are thinking! :)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Sasha,
When I was a kid we had a golden. As a puppy we used to hold her in our laps and read to her. When she was full grown, she still liked to attempt to crawl into your lap and be read to. It was pretty funny!

Okay, I want to hear about the crazy cats. Do tell!

Phyllis said...

Thanks for such a fun read, Karilyn.
I've have toy poodles for 34 years. My first was a runt silver toy that weighed a whopping 6 pounds and his name was Little Bit. He was my pride and joy for 18 years. When he passed I really, really grieved. I followed him with a red toy poodle name Cinnamon and he was the total opposite. He fought me most of his life in our battle of who would me the alpha under my roof. My third dog was one my mother wanted from the shelter. A little white dog with one apricot spot on her back. We named her Peaches n’ Cream and I inherited her. I lost Cinnamon in 2006 at 16 years and Peaches in 2010 at 14 years.
I miss them, but Hubby and I travel more and find it easier to not have any pets. Ye,t maybe someday I’ll have a little Yorkie…;-)

Diane Kelly said...

They're adorable! My dog Reggie ate one of my houseplants this morning. I think it was her way of celebrating "National Puppy Day." : )

Anonymous said...

If we had a contest, I think mine would win the "BRATTIEST TERROR" hands down!

Picture this scene: Christmas Eve. A friend decides I need a puppy. Wont take no for an answer. Thus, Baby Evy (short for Christmas EVE) comes into my life. Cute, adorable, sweet (good actress!) little Brussels Griffon. Someone should have had the decency to warn me that her REAL name was BRAT.

She proceeds to tear through the house like its her own personal chewing ground and anything mine is HERS. I lost alot of favorite (some UNread!) books to the little terror that first week. Shoes. Throw rugs. Puppy training pads (!!). Pillows. An expensive lead-crystal vase (another story entirely!).

THEN! Little Miss HYPER decides that even though she is less than a foot tall and still a puppy ---she CAN jump off the back of the sofa, miss the sofa cushions completely, and land on the floor. TWO broke bones later Im adding up the expense since Christmas Eve: $3,000.

But guess what? BIG GRIN: I love her and wouldnt trade a moment of it all!!

PUPPY HUGS, Kari Thomas,

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Phyllis,
It's sad when our pets pass from our lives. They leave a gap, but I do understand how traveling and life can make it difficult to get another one. Thank you for sharing!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Diane,
Sorry to hear about your plant! I hope it wasn't a poisonous one. The only plant my dogs have ever chewed was a lemon tree Hubster bought me for Valentine's Day. They even ate the lemons! Good luck with the puppy!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kari,
Thank you for stopping by! Wow, you do have a cute little brat! I'm sorry to hear about the broken bones. I hope they've healed by now. Let's hope she doesn't try to fly again.

Puppy hugs to you too!

Jodi said...

Okay, thanks for the late invite, Karilyn. After a lifetime of raising show Dobermans, I lost the love of my life, Hawk, and decided that was it...I would always be comparing the next Dobie to this magnificent, uber-intelligent, loyal best friend that I lost far too early.
As for my current furry babies, Chocolat (think the movie), I was on my way into town, busy street, and there, marching up the middle of the middle median was this big black dog, not a care in the world, cars were honking, swerving, etc. I tried not to stop, I really did... Well, when she gleefully jumped in my car, she announced, "Hi. I choose you!"
In my backyard, amongst my three other rescues from a 110lb bull mastiff to a 25lb Doxie, she said, "Listen up. I am now the alpha and don't anyone forget it!"
I swear she doesnt' have a mean bone in her body, but that's because she is absolutely fearless. The oldest now, but when she's on a chase, she gives a little snap a any of the others who try to race in front of her...after all, she is the Alpha.
More about the others another time.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Jodi,
Thank you for stopping by! I'm sorry about the loss of your Dobie, but am glad you rescued the alpha. Do come back and tell us about your other furry friends. I look forward to hearing their stories!