Milly, the liver and white springer spaniel who lives at my house, turns 5 years old this week, and you’d think she’d have outgrown all her puppyness by now.
You’d be wrong.
Even at her age – she’s well past adolescence in dog years – Milly still has more energy than a room full of kindergartners. I’m not kidding when I tell you it takes a good 15 minutes after I get home for her to relax. She runs up the hall, to the door, around the coffee table, into the dining room and back down the hall.
She jumps on me. She jumps on the bed. She jumps on anyone who happens to be in the house with me. They are called springers for a reason.
She literally shakes with excitement when I tell her she has to sit and be still so I can put the leash on her for our daily walks. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get it on her.
This isn’t a complaint. I knew what I was getting when I got a second springer spaniel. My first, Glory, was the same bundle of energy when she was 5, too.
In all honesty, it’s nice having¬ someone who’s excited to see me every afternoon.
For most of her life, Milly was the most destructive creature on the face of the earth. Glory wasn’t much of a chewer. Milly, on the other hand, would anything she can get in her mouth.
Not long after I got her, she chewed on my tennis shoes, a loafer, a coaster, a page of coupons I got in the mail from Kroger, two different remote controls, my phone charging cable, a baseball cap, the channel-lineup card from my new cable provider, a ballpoint pen and a (full!) bottle of water.
My friends complain I didn’t properly puppy proofed the house. But that’s not true. She’s just gotten more resourceful. And, for a while, I thought she was getting better about chewing. After all, it had been many months before she had gotten a hold of something she shouldn’t have.
Still, she’s sneaky. A few weeks ago, I did laundry. As I was folding socks, the age-old problem occurred: I was missing a sock. So I looked in the washing machine. Not there. I looked in the dryer. Not there, either. It also wasn’t in the closet where the clothes hamper had been. I gave up looking for it.
An hour later, I found it. Milly was chewing on it under the coffee table.
A few mornings ago, I woke up to find the bed covered in tiny, chewed pieces of brown cardboard. It was in so many pieces that I’m not totally sure what it was. But my best guess is that she pulled an empty toilet paper roll out of the trashcan in the bathroom.
I no longer buy her any of those plush, stuffed toys. It takes her less than 48 hours to de-plush and de-stuff them.
I’m seriously considering hiring her out to the NSA as a paper shredder. She works cheap and, believe me, she’s more effective than the most expensive shredding machine you can buy. Plus, she’d have the benefit of serving her country.
I hope she has a happy birthday. I’m considering getting her a Dairy Queen ice cream cone. She can chew on that all she wants.