Turkey Tracks: Wood-Chewing Dog

Turkey Tracks:  February 14, 2019

Wood-Chewing Dog

Happy Valentine’s Day to ALL.

We can use more love in the world.  Always.


It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that my No No Penny dog is waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, alongside Miss Reynolds Georgia.

When I came back from a recent weekend trip on a Sunday afternoon, Penny was experiencing a bad episode of her syndrome.  She was paralyzed, in a lot of pain, and miserable.  She had just had enough suffering.  I had had enough of watching her suffer.  So I wrapped her up and carried her in my arms to the emergency vet.  They agreed, that at 16 years (sometime this year) and as sick as she was, that it was time.  They thanked me for not letting her suffer anymore.

AC had been nurse-maiding her for some time.  He took her outside, followed her around, and brought her back inside and loved on her a lot.

So when she disappeared, he really missed her.  I had been keeping him separate from her when I left for any length of time, so when I disappeared for several days, I think he got really scared.  He chewed up the bottom of my pine kitchen desk while I was gone.  It is really bad.  Friend Linda taped it up and barricaded it, but once a dog starts chewing something like that desk, s/he keeps on chewing.  Despite bitter apple spray and more barricading and LOTS of chew toys to include a bong stuffed with peanut butter and frozen, he took apart the protective pieces and chewed some more both last Friday and Saturday when I left him in the kitchen for a few hours alone.

This picture does not begin to show the shredding that took place.  I’m still amazed he could do such damage.  Friend Karen Martin thinks it could be repaired with some wood compounds.  I’ll deal with that later.  It is not an expensive piece—it just works really well in this spot.  And it may live out its life with a slightly better tape repair.  Who knows.  I don’t.

After Saturday, I gave up.  Something had to be done.  He knew it was bad when I came home.  He apologized all over the place.  I’ve never had a dog that chewed furniture.  I’m hearing that it is fairly common however.  But…  I headed out to buy a LARGE crate.  I am not a fan of dog crates, preferring Peter Loeb’s methods in SMARTER THAN YOU THINK.  But there isn’t a place in my kitchen to set up the confinement strategy Loeb uses.  And I am about 5 months to late for that stragegy.  I stuffed the cage with one of the VERY plush dog beds.  AC knows exactly what it is and will not go near it, of course.  It will get used tomorrow morning as I will be “out” without him for a few hours.  He mostly goes everywhere with me most of the time.

Having AC is, at times, like having a toddler in the house.  There are LOTS of toys that get played with a lot.  And frequent trips outside.  And visits to the dog park.  We can’t walk in the woods again, yet, but we both are looking forward to getting back out there.  There are sheets of ice EVERYWHERE right now, so I’m not going to risk it.  But I love the energy this little guy has brought into my life.

AC, as I’ve said before now, is very aware of what’s on the TV.  There is a dog show—a series of documentaries that are very sweet—that I have watched from time to time.  AC reacts strongly to seeing dogs on the screen.  He then wants to run outside to check that side of the house to see where the dogs are.  He also objects to other images and runs to the screen and barks at them—until he is called back and soothed.

He’s a very funny little dog, and I’m so happy I have him.  The cage will likely be a temporary thing.  He will be a year old in late March.

Here’s a video of AC and the tv.

Turkey Tracks: Take A Walk in the Woods With Me

Turkey Tracks: October 7 , 2018

Take A Walk in the Woods With Me

I am so lucky here in Maine to have access to gorgeous “wellness” and other woods paths where one can take one’s dogs and walk them off-leash, providing they are well behaved and that any waste is picked up.  Even having to walk a dog on leash is better than village streets and sidewalks.  There is so much more for everyone to see, and a dog like Slaty can really work out his kinks.

Here’s the start of one such trail.

To walk a dog free of a leash, the dog must come when called.  Every time.  Slaty does, thanks to the training method I learned years ago:  Peter Loeb’s SMARTER THAN YOU THINK.

The woods are beginning to show the advent of fall.  The ferns are all turning color now, and some of the trees are as well.

The woods are becoming a fairy land of gold, orange, and red.

While No No Penny and I stick to the path, Slaty is making big circles out to our right or left, running at full bore through the woods, underbrush, and over rocks.  He often finishes a circuit by coming up behind us on the path at full speed.

I can see him up ahead of us, but sometimes I lose him in the dappled shadows of the woods.  “Slaty where are you?” Always makes him pop back on the path so I can see him.

The underbrush can be dense in our woods.

At times he waits for us in the bends of the path.  He always knows exactly where we are.

After some recent rain, the woods are full of brightly colored mushrooms.  Here are pictures of the yellow Amanita muscaria, whose common name is Fly Agaric.  Yes, it is poisonous, but it is so pretty.  As it ages, it turns deep orange near the center.  It often has sort of scaly patches over the cap, remants of a covering (voluval) when it begins to emerge from the soil.  I saw patches of 40 or more in these woods.


Here mushrooms work to degrade a rotting tree.  This particular kind of shelf mushroom is not poisonous, but not really edible.  Some are, though, like the delicious Chicken of the Woods and Oyster mushrooms.

A spur of the path crosses a stream:

This huge old beauty is on the down-hill swing:

And now Slaty comes, even when he’s tired.


This path, with its spur, is about 2 miles.  It’s a joyful gift.

Turkey Tracks: Hitting the Jackpot!

Turkey Tracks:  September 30, 2017

Hitting the Jackpot!


I now have two co-pilots in the car.  I can’t believe how far AC Slater has come in just a month.  He may be the smartest dog I’ve ever had, and No No Penny (Penelope), seen here on the left, is super smart.

He comes EVERY TIME he’s called now—running to me with joy and delight.  He’s learning the boundaries of the radio fence.  (See his pink collar in the picture—it has been through 2 dogs now and used to be red.)  He is learning to walk beside me without a leash to the command “Stay by me.”  He’s learning language really fast.  We had about a week of no potty accidents, then a poo accident yesterday, but at the door to go out—and I caught him in the act—so he knew it was bad, bad.  He was embarrassed and immediately regretful.  He is just 6 months now.  

With the radio collar, I can let him outside as often as he wants.  He is “on the job” with the squirrels and chipmunks.  I had an infestation of these this year, so that’s great.  Hoping no skunk episode.  Or porcupine.  

AC wants to help with anything and everything outside.  If I’m removing a spent plant from a pot, he helps with the pruning by pulling at plant pieces with his mouth.  If I’m digging, he helps.  He follows me everywhere, looking for work connections with me.  I think that spending the night with him in an inn near where I met Casey bonded us.  That was a good move.

I would also note that I train with Peter Loeb’s method, from the book SMARTER THAN YOU THINK.  This method is not punative in any way, but relies on getting a dog to hear your voice no matter what, making you the dog’s “safe place,” and does not use treats to reinforce behavior.  The dog works with you because s/he wants to bond with you and be with you, not because of any punishments for bad behavior.

I love his tremendous energy and his happiness and his sweetness.  I have access to woods/fields walks where he can go unleashed.  We ran across a really sweet man and his dog the other day on one of these trails, and I called out to him that “he doesn’t bite; he’s a new rescue” as AC had run ahead of me.  (When this happens, he always runs back to me as I am his safety place.). The man said:  “well, you hit the Jackpot, didn’t you?”  Hmmmm.   Jackpot may be the new nickname as both of us hit the Jackpot.

On this same walk, we met two women with four small dogs, one a female Jack Russel terrier.  She was the miniature of AC, who was taller than she was.  So, yes, there is a LOT of Jack Russel in him.  They ran in circles around us in sheer joy.

AC runs ahead of us, but waits for the two old ladies (me and No No Penny) to catch up when the path curves and he cannot see us.  He takes circular side trips out into the woods, running full bore, but never loses knowing where we are.  Thus, he gets in the running he needs.  And NNPenny and I are moving faster each day and increasing our distance.  Thus, I have not needed to use the dog park so much—and there are some problems with the other dog park dogs, where there is a lot of humping going on.  That’s a whole other topic.

I love this boy to pieces!  Thank you Casey Carter of Rock City Rescue in Arkansas and foster mother Ashlyn for doing the necessary work to get such a fine dog to me.  I am forever grateful.