Growing up in the country, I never really thought much about giving a dog a bone to chew on after a steak dinner. My only concern was having enough bones for all the dogs so there was no fighting involved. Tinker Belle used to chew for hours on a bone and be thoroughly happy. Yesterday, we gave each of our three dogs a steak bone and they loved it and were entertained for hours! This is nothing new, by the way. They routinely get steak bones but they NEVER get chicken or turkey bones. Regardless of the heat, I think they could’ve stayed outside all night chewing, gnawing, and guarding their respective bones.
Today, however, was a different story. Mid-afternoon, I had put them outside so we could run over to Nonnie’s and check on the house and the pool. We had been home about an hour when I made some popcorn and, of course, all three dogs were stationed right under my feet. You can’t just let them sit there with their imploring little eyes staring at you. Well, I can’t, at least for very long. I gave in and tossed each one a single kernel of popcorn. Our Sheltie Stephi and little SoLow gobbled theirs right down but I noticed that Sam, our other Sheltie, left hers on the floor. Ok, something must be drastically wrong for Sam not to inhale food, any food. She not only out-eats the other two dogs, she usually finishes in a third of the time. I swear she has a vacuum hose in her throat! She was guarding the kernel but not even trying to eat it.
When I called her over, she willingly came to me and seemed just fine. The only issue I saw was that she wouldn’t close her mouth. She COULDN’T shut her mouth because a steak bone was lodged at the back of the jaw. She couldn’t get enough leverage to break it with her teeth, nor could she remove it with her tongue. Great! Now I have to stick my hand in her mouth to pull it out! Gross!!! Well, heavens, I couldn’t budge it either. Come to find out, it was stuck between two bottom teeth. Her top jaw could move just fine but the steak bone was glued to those bottom teeth. Now we both had to go to Ed for help.
It was near dinner-time and I think Sam was getting a little antsy. I know I was. How was this dog going to eat if she couldn’t chew? I was already anticipating a trip to the emergency room for pets and a few hundred dollars, just for a stupid steak bone! I had never in my life seen a bone stuck like that in anyone’s mouth, but for it to be in my sweetie’s mouth, now that just hurt. She couldn’t understand and kept wagging her tail, kind of, but she never whimpered, never fussed, never tried to bite anyone. She was handling this better than I was, actually.
Before I even suggested barging off to the ER for dogs, Ed had an idea he wanted to try. When he came back with the pliers, I cringed. I thought of all the things that could go wrong. I could imagine him pulling at least one tooth out, along with that steak bone. I imagined him jerking the bone out but breaking a tooth at the same time. Oh, yes, all of this was going through my mind and more, so I just closed my eyes down to slits. I didn’t want to watch but I couldn’t totally look away.
Ed was very careful and, you know, that steak bone just popped right out. I couldn’t believe it! I let go of Sam and she jumped off the couch, wagging her tail, and just pranced in front of the other two dogs. She had long ago lost that kernel of popcorn she had been guarding, but she got two extra treats at dinner, just for being a good girl. All three dogs are now in the house and all is back to normal.
“Normal” in my house is SoLow chasing Sam in a circle around the couch as fast as SoLow can go and Sam running slow enough that she stays just a little bit ahead of her. Occasionally, SoLow will grab at Sam’s closest foot while they are running. She rarely actually catches it, but this is why dachshunds are called “ankle-biters.” That’s all they can usually reach and that’s just fine with Sam. She loves playing with her best friend.
And, yes, before you ask, they will continue to get steak bones occasionally. We will be a little more vigilant, however, in watching them while they are gnawing on it! And, no, we never found out who snitched Sam’s popcorn.