Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Dachshund Who (Almost) Stole Christmas

Godiva’s favorite thing in the whole wide world is to take stuff that she is not allowed to have, and get chased around the house until she has to give it up.  She likes that better than chewing human hands.  She likes that better than eating bird poop or mesquite pods. She even likes that better than yummies.  Now, I know that we are not supposed to chase her and pry the stolen object from her mouth – we are supposed to provide an alternative, wait for her to drop the stolen goods, and praise the daylight out of her – but since she also likes to chew, she is just as happy chewing the stolen item as she is chewing our approved alternative.  Her favorite things to steal are socks, slippers, shoes, blankets, dryer sheets, and towels.  Any laundry really will do.

(Side Note: One Sunday Godiva was a little tired or under the weather.  I had my laundry on a pile on the bed and was putting stuff away.  Godiva slowly climbed the stairs to the bed, walked over to the laundry pile, dug around, found a sock, and began very slowly pulling it out.  All the while she was looking at me like, “Daddy, look, I’m stealing your sock.  Please stop me, because I don’t have the energy to run around with it.  But if you are going to leave a pile of laundry within reach, I have to do what I have to do.”  She repeated this three times until I had everything put away.)

So, it was with great trepidation that Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I brought out the Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving.  We have had our bouts with Couper and Christmas decorations in the past.  We have two footless gingerbread men ornaments to remind us.  With Godiva’s energy and passion for mischief, we were sure that we would be rescuing her from under a fallen tree at some point.

Since penning Godiva in the kitchen for the month of December was not an option, though it was discussed, we had to have a plan.  We decided to spray her with the water bottle if she even went near the tree.  That seemed to work.  She is at the point now that whenever she wanders that way, a stern, “Godiva! No!”, causes her to scurry away.  So far we have no ornaments lost and the tree skirt is right where it is supposed to be.

We were less attentive to other Christmas items, and Godiva has taken full advantage.  We have a tall thin glass table that backs up to one of our sofas.  During the year, we have a few picture frames on it (yes, with pictures in them, possibly of people we know or relatives, not just the picture included with the frame – I don’t really know).  Since this faces out to our front door, it is a great place to put Christmas decorations.  Couper/Godiva’s Mommy put a set of eight hand-sized stuffed bears on the table sitting against the back of the sofa.  Seemed like a good place for them.  Godiva sure liked it.  Anytime she got more than three seconds unattended in the living room, she jumped on the sofa, stood on her hind legs to peer over the sofa, picked out a bear (any bear is fine with her), jumped down off the sofa, and was off to the races.  One day, knowing that she was going to attempt this upon letting her out to the living room, I stood in front of the table, looking stern, arms crossed, as a deterrent.  She hopped up in front of me and grabbed a bear before I could say anything.  She is that quick (and/or I am that slow).  And stealing is only half the fun.  Catching her is a challenge if Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I can double team her, and almost impossible alone.  I try to recruit Couper, but unless she has stolen one of his toys, he isn’t interested.

And the bears are only part of it.  She takes stuff from the coffee table and will hop up on any chair if there is something worth taking.  We have a cabinet a few feet behind our other sofa, where we have many other decorations and stuffed animals. Godiva climbs to the back of that sofa and stretches as far off the back as she can as she plots how she can make the three foot jump to get to those treasures.  Thankfully, she has yet to figure out how to do that.  December is less than half over though.

So after a few weeks, we gave up and moved the bears to higher ground (the table she was plotting leaping onto – maybe not our best idea, she had the taste of bear and wanted more).  We also made sure to have our spray bottle handy to try to deter any other mischief. 

It took us until right before Christmas to brave putting presents under the tree (procrastination in shopping and wrapping helped as well).  Gift bag tissues would be enough to make Godiva forget all about little stuffed bears.  She never really got the chance.  At that point, we were able to keep her penned in the kitchen or heavily guarded near the living room.  Couper blew his one chance for freedom when he ripped apart gift bag tissue when left alone – the penalty: three days of close company with his little sister.

December is almost over now, and we will soon be putting away the decorations.  For the puppies, it can’t happen soon enough.  They will finally get another 11 months of freedom.  Godiva will have to settle for stealing socks instead of bears.

Belated Merry Christmas from the Poop!