The Strudwick File is more like a Strudwick Saga this week. Didn’t think things could get any crazier? Well, here it goes…
To say that Strudwick has been naughty the first 18 months of his life is like saying that Trump is a little controversial. My husband Doug — who wasn’t exactly dying for a second dog — has gently asked more than once: “Would he be happier with another family?” Even I have had my moments of sheer exasperation, but this dog is so sweet and cute and loving. It’s too late. I love him. I look at that square red face and those big brown eyes and I can’t stay mad — he doesn’t mean to misbehave; it’s my fault for not training him better (though God knows I’ve tried). He’s part of our family now, for better or worse.
As he’s gotten a little older, that balance has started to change. We’re having more “for betters.” I actually remarked to Doug recently that Strudwick wasn’t being completely awful every day. The level of destruction was changing. The moments of “STRUD NO!!!” were diminishing. Doug said, “Now that you’re putting his bad behavior in your American News Minute, he’s going to be the perfect angel. Classic Strudwick!”
Could it be happening? Strudwick the… good boy?
All of this is what led to last Friday’s decision to give him just a tiny bit more freedom; to let him roam free in the kitchen/family room (which are enclosed) while I was on the air upstairs. Just for two hours. I made sure no food was on the counters, nothing tempting to get him in trouble. He’d exercised and had his sister Thunder and toys and a bone to play with.
I’m good, right? Am I good?
Abby went down during the show and here was the scene:
That’s Strud eating my favorite spatula. The mess on the floor in front of him is the packaging his invisible fence batteries arrived in. He had completely destroyed it. But where were the batteries? Had he eaten them too? Uh oh – that’s poison control-level stuff (I have them on speed dial). That’s emergency trip to the vet-level stuff (also on speed dial). Abby dug and searched and parsed through the cardboard mess and there – immersed in the remaining stuffing – she found them. Two batteries!
We had done it. We’d found Strudwick’s limit on what he will eat. Last year he ate a box of pink highlighters. How did he not stop at the first one? Who tastes that and says, “I’ll keep going!” Not to mention the box of printer cartridges he ate over the summer. But batteries are his no-go. You can see in the picture that he considered it, but sulfuric acid and alkaline were a bridge too far I guess. If only they made a spray out of that for Thunder’s ears, our furniture, our counters, our sprinkler system…
Abby promptly let Strudwick out the back door into the backyard only to see him moments later when she opened the front door to retrieve our lunch order from DoorDash, which Strud had also discovered and was seconds away from devouring. You may remember he already ate one of these a few weeks ago. This time, no such luck. Abby was too fast. She’s becoming his arch nemesis.
Later that evening, Doug and I were relaxing in the family room after a pizza dinner with the kids. We eat in the dining room where Strud is obviously not allowed. We generally keep the doors that separate the family room from the living/dining area closed so he can’t roam, but if we are physically present in the family room we open them and block the passageway with two chairs (he can jump over them but won’t if we are there).
It’s nice to have the doors open — it lets in more light. Well, apparently we need to stay alert under this system because without us even seeing it Houdini went over those chairs and out of the family room. Next thing I knew, I could hear the jingle of his dog tags from the neighboring room — horror of horrors — the DINING ROOM where the leftover pizza was. Just like last week!
I ran into the dining room, remembering that we had about six or seven slices left, only to see him devour the very last piece of crust. Sausage and dots of sauce were all over our rug and chairs and not a single slice of pizza remained.
I put him outside and began to clean the dining room – throwing away the greasy, saliva-covered boxes and pouring club soda on the red-dotted rug – only to hear him now incessantly barking outside. Obviously he was unhappy to be separated from the remaining sausage bits.
I wanted to ignore him but he was bothering the entire neighborhood so I let him back in the kitchen/family room area (doors now closed) and returned to my clean-up in the dining room – completely forgetting that the kids and I had been gluing candy corns on a pumpkin for Halloween on the kitchen table.
Omg!! The jingle!
Horrified, I ran back to the kitchen, only to find Strudwick on top of the kitchen table going to town on that pumpkin, licking up the glue and candy corn like it was filet mignon (see the damage above). “STRUD NOOOOO!! OFF!!!” I yelled. He did not budge, but I forced him off, rescued the helpless pumpkin, and put Strud in his crate. That’s when his terrible I-ate-seven-slices-of-pizza gas began. I looked at Doug. “He really is such a troublemaker,” he said. “Yes,” I replied, “and so lucky to have that face.”
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