20 Things the Dog Ate

1. ANCIENT SQUASHED DRIED ROUND FLAT SHARD OF BEAVER
Sweet mother of the mewling baby Jesus! You wouldn’t think a creature that likes to watch Peter O’Toole movies would be such an omnivorous gobbling machine, but he has eaten everything from wasps to the back half of a raccoon. And let us not ignore the beaver. Speculation is that beaver was washed up onto road when the overflowing lake blew its dam, was squashed by a truck, and then got flattened ten thousand times more, and then summer dried it out hard and flat as a manhole cover, and the dog somehow pried it up, leaving only beaver oil on the road, and ate it. Sure, he barfed later. Wouldn’t you?

2. YOUNG SPARROW
I kid you not. Sparrow falls from nest in the pine by the fence, flutters down ungainly to unmerciful earth, dog leaps off porch like large hairy mutant arrow, gawps bird, in half an instant. Man on porch roars drop it! Dog emits bird with a choking coughing sound, as if disgusted by a misplaced apostrophe. Bird staggers for a moment and then flutters awkwardly up to fence post. I wouldn’t have believed this if I had not seen it with my own holy eyeballs. Wonder how fledgling bird explained that adventure to mom.

3. CRAYONS
I don’t even want to think about this ever again. Crayola. The big box—sixty-four crayons, all colors. Sure, he barfed later. Sure he did. Wouldn’t you?

4. YELLOW JACKET WASPS
Every summer. Even though he gets stung again and again in the nether reaches of his mouth and throat and jumps up whirling around in such a manner that we laugh so hard we have to pee. He cannot resist snapping them out of the air as if they were bright bits of candy, and then making high plaintive sounds like a country singer on laughing gas. I have to pee.

5. JELLYFISH ON THE SHORE OF THE VAST AND IMPACIFIC PACIFIC
Why would you ever do such a thing? What could possibly look less appetizing than an oozing quivering deceased jellyfish? Yet he does. Sure, he barfs.

6. TO 19. SOME NONORGANIC HIGHLIGHTS
Pencil nubs. Lacrosse balls. The cricket ball a friend sent me from Australia. Pennies. Postcards. Sports sections. Bathrobe belts. Kindling sticks. Kazoos. Most of a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Most of a cell-phone charger. Pen caps. Toothbrushes. One of two tiny sneakers that belonged to a child one month old, although to be fair it wasn’t like the kid was actually using the sneakers.

20. AN ENTIRE RED SQUIRREL, CALLED A CHICKAREE IN THESE PARTS
I think the squirrel was suicidal. If you were a squirrel the size of a banana, and you could evade a dog with the athletic gifts and predatory instinct of Michael Jordan, would you venture down to the grass for any reason whatsoever, knowing that the dog could change you from present to past tense in less than a second? Would you? Me neither. But the squirrel did. The skull appeared magically in the grass two days later. The dog declined to eat the skull a second time, probably for religious reasons, or maybe because he knew he would barf. Wouldn’t you?

What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section, below, and read more Enumeration entries at orionmagazine.org/enumeration.

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon. He is the author of nine books of essays, nonfiction, and “proems.” His most recent book is Mink River, winner of ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for Editor’s Choice –Fiction (2010).

Comments

  1. My male collie, under the influence of drugs (steroids) ate an entire loaf of bread and half a pack of hamburger rolls in one sitting. We withheld water for eight hours thinking he would swell up if we didn’t. (He didn’t barf.) This same dog, on the same drug, stole a box of large dog biscuits and hid them behind a bookcase, eating at will. (Again, he didn’t barf.) I don’t think anyone is going to beat the record of Brian Doyle’s dog.

  2. An assortment of Fimo. He did not barf, but I did find out in what order he ate the colors.

  3. My current dog ate a man’s athletic sock, and pooped it out whole and complete! Then he did it again with another sock!
    A former dog, now deceased, ate anything he could get his mouth around, including a pound of chocolate spelling out “NOEL”
    (stomach pumped), a gel plastic
    freezer pack(didn’t get sick),
    an entire chicken (cooked), gum, vitamins and anything he could find in women’s purses, more chocolate from a guest’s suitcase,
    etc. etc.!

  4. My sister’s samoyed, Sonya, got out of the yard while she was at work. Her next-door neighbor saw the dog wandering around and put her back in the yard. By the time my sister got home, Sonya was wheezing terribly so she rushed her to the vet. He said she must have eaten a lot of something, and that she should give her Mazola oil to loosen her bowels.

    She loved the Mazola and lapped it all up. Nothing happened until a few hours later when my sister heard odd clicking sounds on the kitchen floor. Sonya was having one bowel movement after another of birdseed. My sister found out later that Sonya had gotten into another neighbor’s garage and ate a bag of birdseed, probably at least five pounds’ worth.

    She doesn’t remember what the Mazola cost, but it was cheap and effective medicine.

  5. I had to do a double take the other day when I saw a couple of fluorescent yellow objects in my dog’s otherwise drab scat. Hmmm, that’s where my earplugs went – still whole and intact (and yes, I opted for a new pair).

  6. Our dearly departed chocolate Lab, Fudge ate Brillo pads, bars of soap, Roach Motels, a good deal of a leather sofa, a 48″ sneaker lace which I had to pull, whole, out of his butt; his and his mate’s poop; a one-pound Hershey’s Kiss, foil and all (we found the foil for several days in his poop); woodwork and drywall; several pairs of eyeglasses; several remote controls; and the piece-de-resistance was when he stuck his nose under our skinny 7-year-old son’s knee as he sat on the toilet and flipped him off the seat so he could stick his head in the bowl to get the poop my son had just made!

  7. I look out back and my six month old golden, Ruby, is running around in terror, being pursued …by a floating turd. It takes me several minutes to catch her, and even longer to wrestle her to the ground and to slowly and gently pull 18 inches of mint green dental floss out of her ass.

  8. This was so funny!! I tore out the article & mailed it to my son who is in Pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid Oklahoma. I thought he needed a good gut buster. Thank you! I could not have written him a funnier letter. Ruby

  9. Once upon a time there was a much loved Doberman who ate a roll of first class postage stamps. We gave the roll a quick rinse when it appeared in the yard and returned the roll to the post office in a sandwich bag.The bag was weighed and the post office
    refunded the purchase price based on the weight.
    Who says the post office is inefficient!

    We miss her something awful…

  10. Dear Lovely Miss Chelsea — an English Setter consisting of a loving heart and a nose that never sleeps. Surfed a bookcase, spilled the paper clips and thought they might have a unique taste. Chewed them til they were all “sprung.” Had all 14 removed by extracting them from her stomach one by one. Their sharpness meant stomach and gut holes for sure — all at a fine surgery price ! polly hart

  11. Much-missed Max, a Boerboel cross Ridgeback, knocked an almost-empty bottle of Marmite off a shelf and swallowed a couple of pieces. I know this because he came proudly to show me the piece of thick glass he had in his mouth, tail wagging up a storm. To his consternation, I removed the piece and went to collect the rest and fit it all together. That’s when I realised half the bottle was missing. Down Max’s hatch. The vet told me to feed lots of bread and rice and watch him closely for 72 hours. He loved the starches, but thought I was a bit weird for waking him up every hour to check his gums (if they went pale, it would mean internal bleeding).
    Prior to this, he chewed up my binoculars, but he only swallowed a few crunchy bits…

  12. Our first black lab, Shiny, was a notorious gobbler of things both edible and inedible. We only had him for one day before he ate my son’s glasses. He loved crayons and would eat them any time they were left within reach. He never threw them up, but in spring the kids were digging in the backyard and were so excited to find these small, colored pebbles. . . And Shiny was responsible for the creation of the world’s largest collection of headless Barbies.

    He was a very smart dog and was trained to respond to various signals. For example, the ringing of the telephone signaled the perfect time to jump up and grab the pizza on the kitchen counter.

    Shiny also loved baked goods – like the two dozen bakery brownies bought for a party, the corner of the birthday cake that I had painstakingly decorated, and the middle of the cranberry walnut pie that had been a complete bitch to bake.

    But we loved him anyway, and he was a great companion to my children.

  13. I brought home a street dog from New Delhi, one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. Loki doesn’t eat that much but he drags things outside through the doggie door. Whatever will fit. The blender. Rugs. Dishes. Shoes and clothing. Scissors. My tool box with the tools in a trail out to the yard. My Kindle. CDs. I think he’s trying to recreate the garbage dump where he was born. O, and he can’t control his bowels or bladder either. Seriously. He just squirts or poops whenever he feels like it.

  14. just wondering what kind of dog mr. doyle has. funny article. thanks.

  15. Harvey, our 9 month old is a crazy guy! He found a small toad in the back yard and flattened it. He would toss it up in into the air, roll in it and such. He also really likes golf balls! He kicks them around with his paw or nose. One time I thought he swallowed one so I rushed him to the vet but luckily, it was not the case. Now he is into expensive shoes, wasps, bees, weeds, my organic tomatoes, and glass from a stepping stone! UGH!!! What a crazy guy he is.

  16. Christmas ornaments & a pair of large, silk, very expensive, French, men’s underwear. His vet thought he had the largest tumor ever, but one that couldn’t be palpated. I don’t think I need to go into the details of how we found out what he’d eaten!

  17. Our beloved Springer Spaniel, Pete, has eaten all manner goodies including razors, dental floss containers, socks, toothpaste tubes, tampons, and a federal tax return check. Some of his more extravagant culinary capers include ingesting a pound of expensive gourmet dark chocolate truffles, two pounds of country ham (which arrived packed in plastic wrap, foil, bubble wrap, tape, and double boxed), a two pound bag of brown sugar, many partial loaves of bread and freshly made sandwiches, and a pan of brownies (This dog has incredible reach and would be totally out of hand if he had opposable thumbs!). The biggest disaster was the consumption of a dozen rising yeasty dinner rolls on Christmas day. He puffed up like a dirigible and had to be walked all around the neighborhood to try to get things out of his system. He finally deposited most of the dough in front of the Christmas tree and was then quite fine enough to aim for the turkey later. The dog has a constitution of iron.

  18. Lady, a border collie mixed with ? ( no one is sure) has eaten over past 8 years: at least 6 1/2 rabbits, a tube of red oil paint, crayons, a pound of uncooked rice, a set of tefillen ( phylacteries), a few small birds that had hit the windows and died in the garden, and several unidentifiables from the road. Never barfed any of it, back up. Most interesting “by-products” were the rice balls, it seemed to have cooked on the way out and exited as perfectly formed capsule shapes that stuck together

  19. Our Humane Society Samoyed surrender ate our sofa in the first month of our young relationship and covered our other elderly collie with the contents of our featherbed shortly thereafter. He passed a zipper of unknown origin later on; perhaps we are also short one pillow slip cover. We are preparing to buy stock in New Balance to recoup a fraction of our running shoe losses… he seems to know which shoes we wear when he goes out for a walk. Perhaps the GDP of canine products consumed could be calculated as a benefit to the economy?

  20. My late, great Rhodesian ridgeback ate a lovely Bernhardt loveseat down to the frame (in installments, of course), a very old Indian basket, a Victorian beribboned straw hat (had to climb to get it), half a loaf of bread (had to climb to get it), innumerable sticks (I had to extract one that went down sideways with only a streetlight for illumination) and I can’t remember what else. He tried to eat vintage plastic Easter toys, ceramic figures, fossils, a bentwood rocking chair and a chunk of what I think was asbestos rock from the fireplace. At least he didn’t eat the glass when he broke two front windows. He also had a taste for broccoli, which had unpleasant olfactory aftereffects. Amazingly, he NEVER destroyed any of my ex’s stuff, just mine.

  21. One each of all the most expensive favorite pairs of shoes I’ve owned. The prettiest of my bifocals. Gourmet items: sheepskin car seat covers & rugs. All bedding including mattresses – these dogs really love my flavor! How about a prized Manny Farber geometric abstraction today worth $50K? The doors. They really wanted out!

  22. Mickey Mouse (That is, a little statuette of Mickey.) We found him, one hand waving free, in the 8-hour-later download.

  23. My son brought home a boxer/bulldog mix. Over a year, he consumed:
    1. A young apple tree.
    2. A young fig tree.
    3. A pair of prescription reading glasses
    4. A treasured pair of leather moccasins
    5. A pair of new running shoes
    6. A pair of non-prescription reading glasses
    7. Numerous baseball caps, too numerous to mention
    8. Numerous socks,too numerous to mention
    9. Bark stripped from mature trees
    10. While not consumed in their entirety, the living room coffee table edges were gnawed off, as were the legs of the dining room table.

    Only half of Brian’s list but this guy’s still young…

  24. Carson, until her death at 15 years, ate anything. During a mid-life crisis she decided that a two meter extension cord, a one meter x 2.5 cm braided nylon rope, various sized nuts and bolts, and a few pebbles/stones of various sizes from my shop would make a fine snack. Needless to say we suspected something was wrong when she stopped eating and was a little lethargic. So off to the Vet we went where, after her surgery, I explained to Carson that this was her first and last emergency room visit…the next time she would be on her own. There never was a “next time.”

  25. Wow! Based on what this tell me that animals are somewhat funny. Like when a dog a crayons, you have to admit it was pretty funny. But in order to keep your dog healthy you have to make sure your dog is out of reach of toxic med. But I felt bad for the dogs and what they ate. This is just a reminder so eating things that are not for dogs won’t be so fatal. hopefully all dogs live.

  26. This is hilarious and I am horrified at American dogs eating French underwear. Could they not find American underwear? And for the reader who wants to know what sort of dog Mr Doyle is talking about, he is talking about an Ibezan hound, a Spanish hunting dog who survived being abandoned in the deep woods, which may be why he eats as he does. He looks like a coyote on steroids or a gaunt wolf or a small horse with serious ears.

  27. An entire bag of Reese’s Miniatures. He actually got them out of the wrappers — the foil wrapper AND the little cup. And after that magic trick, he barfed it all up spectacularly in the living room.

  28. My female Alaskan Malamute is so good around food…if there are people in the room with her.
    Turn your back for one second, and beware.
    A few months ago, my mother was unwrapping a rotisserie chicken out on the kitchen counter while we were chatting. She left the kitchen to use the bathroom, and the phone started ringing, so I ran upstairs to get it. Three minutes later, I came back down and the entire chicken was GONE. Bones, meat…she even licked the plastic container clean.
    And she was 100% fine afterwards…no issues!

  29. Sylvie, the canine featured in the photo accompanying Brian’s essay, nearly devoured my copy of “Moral, Believing Animals” by Christian Smith. I believe this qualifies her as an immoral (possibly amoral), unbelieving animal. Our nearby copy of Mr. Doyle’s “Mink River” was miraculously spared.

    PS: Meanwhile (and months before this issue of Orion came out), my wife was across the street teaching the art of the “list essay” to Oregon Extension college students. Her example author, one Brian Doyle.

  30. Our shepherd-hound mix, Bowie, swallowed two tennis balls – whole. This happened before my eyes and with zero chewing. The willful look on Bowie’s face seemed to say: ‘Heck no, I’m not gonna drop these! In fact, quite the opposite. Watch what I can do.” Laproscopic surgery yielded only one of the pair, the other required full abdominal surgery since it never would have passed naturally.

  31. Our dog, Brownie, now deceased but who lived to see 19, was fond of eating any kind of bug–flying or crawling. One day, she found some bees or wasps (some type of stinging insect) swirling around a few small apples on the ground under a tree in our back yard. You can guess what happened next, only upon swallowing the darn things, her throat proceeded to swell as they continued to sting her on the way down. It’s a good thing my husband and son were home that day. (I was at work.) Brownie came trotting back into the house right away, apparently. I guess my husband did a double-take when he saw her, then (1) called the vet to apprise him of the situation and that he was bringing Brownie in immediately, (2) yelled for my son who was playing with the children in the yard next door, and (2) took my son along with Brownie for treatment at the vet’s right away. My husband was playing it safe, because he was afraid her throat would swell up on her, and he didn’t want to risk her death from suffocation. He told me her snout and neck were growing huge lumps! When I arrived home some five hours later, she was still rather “lumpy.” She did look funny, but I was so grateful. We loved our little Chihuahua-Dachshund rescue dog.
    Joplin, the Husky-Basenji rescue who lives with me now (it’s just the two of us), doesn’t chew anything up except under two or three circumstances. Most of this only started a few years ago when she developed a deep separation anxiety. (She really is devoted to me, but it is a two-way street.) First, she will chew and dig through drywall, molding, flooring, plastic crates, carpeting, etc. if I leave her alone in the house. She has destroyed one door knob thoroughly. One time, she escaped from a metal crate and bent it out of shape and pulled it into two pieces. (It had to be trashed.) I will never understand how she did this Houdini act without injuring herself severely, but she damaged one of my walls in so doing. In fact, she has done so much damage to my house overall, it remains a mystery to me why she hasn’t broken a tooth or cut herself badly at some point. Second, she will chew any soft toy (pet or child toy–she doesn’t discriminate) left within reach when children or other pets are around. I have to watch her when we visit the neighbors’ houses for sure! Third, when she is alone with me, she destroys things when she wants to get her point across, or at least that seems to be the case. An example: she hates it when I strip the bed to wash the sheets, and she will pace and pace until I get the bed remade. Well, one day, she dug a hole in the mattress pad and pulled out some of the padding before I could get the bed remade! She also hates it when I have the TV on, and I have to close the closet door in my bedroom so she won’t dig on the carpet in there if I am watching TV. How’s that for a DIVA? Other than that, she is a very, very loving dog with babies, children and other animals and pets of all sizes. When we are on walks, she pulls me to greet everyone in the neighborhood. I have never had a more social dog. I wouldn’t trade her for a million dollars!

  32. Oh, and you wouldn’t believe the number of brightly-colored toys that have come out Joplin’s rear end. I keep waiting for the time I will have to rush her to the vet, but so far everything has come out okay in the end.

  33. We had a 7-pound apricot poodle who used to sneak off with my wife’s panties. Every now and then we’d catch him obsessively chewing on them, but for the most part he did it in secret and my wife figured she was just having a hard time keeping track of them. Then one day when we did a big spring cleaning, we found his private stash of about 10 panties in the far recesses of a closet.

  34. Okay – so the lab ate two barbie dolls and a troll doll. Found it several days later when a pile of poop had eyes looking up at me.

  35. o my gawd i laughed so hard at that i think i sprained my eyeball

  36. Many years ago we watched in astonishment as our Irish Setter, Molly, kept leaping up into our small apple tree. She was picking apples and eating them!

  37. well I guess I can add to the humor about how canines tend to eat everything on the planet but one time I dropped a maple syrup peanut butter nuetella sandwich and I watched the dog struggle like 30 mins. with all that stuck to his mouth

  38. Hilarious Article! Just reading about dogs in general reminds me of my small jack Russell. Even if he does eat strange things, and not only barfs but has the unfortunate ability to have diarrhea. Dog Diarrhea? Not pleasant my friend, not pleasant. My Dog’s name is chavo and he is five years old and still acts like a newborn puppy. Eating everything that is edible within reach. I’m sometimes having a snack in my hand and when Im not looking chavo comes from thin air and eats everything in my hand then runs away.

  39. To start with my pit bull is deathly afraid of lightning and thunder storms and early this spring there was a really bad one and my niece went to get something out of our fridge and my dog shoved her out of the way to climb in and hide in there. Thankfully there was nothing on the bottom shelf when my it climbed in. I had to laughed so hard when I found out.

    My two dogs be ever left alone in the house. we normally leave the door open so they can get in and out of the weather but not anymore. We went to town one day ad we were only gone just over an hour. In that time the dragged out the following to the yard and destroyed every bit; two oatmeal bags, a jar of peanut butter, three bags of rice, my dad’s candy, two awful smelly fly traps, loafs of bread, cookies, and many different cereals. So from then on they stay out with the door closed.

  40. The November/December 2013 issue of Orion.

    Chip, a feral rescue (and so named because we found her when she was about 2 months old with a potato chip bag stuck on her head) is now 6 months old and in prime chewing mode. Nothing is safe and I should have known better than to leave the new issue of Orion on the coffee table. I left her alone for just a few minutes and when I returned she had shredded about half of the issue into glorious little multi-colored wet-with-saliva bits. I was so very not happy, but how can you be angry with a prancing 6-month old German Shepherd/Collie mix so clearly intoxicated by my favorite periodical?

  41. When I was really young my dad used to have a Saint Bernard. Well one day I was eating skittles and not really paying attention. She was begging so I told her, “No, you’re not getting my skittles.” Anyway, seconds later I look away and she nudges the bag, and all the skittles fall to the floor. My parents were laughing and she ate them all. I miss that dog a lot…

  42. A:one thing this dog is awesome if this dog can eat all this stuff and not die that is cool.

    C: the dog ate a squerl and a jelly fish and a raccoon and a beaver

    E:i read this article because i have 4 dogs and i wonted to know if mine were anything like the one in the article

  43. I just have to add to this string of comments. Our dog, Duffy, a border collie/german shepherd/black lab mix (which translates to “I can catch it, I can kill it, I can eat it) ingested two 5cm long dressmaker pins, the type with the plastic knobs. They went through him until the bottom of his stomach where they lodged crosswise, being pushed deeper with each contraction. A thousand bucks later, he’s home with tubes and drains, stitches and shunts. My wife, who is a nurse and revels in all things medical, was in Alberta visiting her mother, which left me who quails at the sight of needles and is totally ineffective in taking medication on a prescribed basis, responsible for the post-op care of my beloved hound. It is a wonder he survived, but he did.
    A couple of years later, a neighbour cleans a deer and puts the guts into a pail which fills with rainwater and freezes solid. Duffy, on a prowl, finds it, somehow pulls out the icy mass and eats all the offal and comes home round as a bowling ball. During the night, he explodes with violent diarrhea spraying the floor and walls and furniture of the porch room where he sleeps. I find it the next morning about a half hour before the pastor is coming for coffee.
    Unk Harry
    Merville, Vanc. Island, BC, Canada

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