We’re used to dogs having unusual appetites – horse droppings, small postmen – but a staircase? Yesterday we were forced to take countermeasures and place a chair at the foot of our stairs to prevent our dog (see left) from eating them. We’d tried reasoning with him – telling him that we were a one-staircase family and that if he continued to nibble away at the treads, we’d lose access to the bedroom.
But a dog with the smell of fresh staircase in his nostrils is impervious to reason.
And it’s not just stairs. He eats everything. He’s like a giant Pyrenean vacuum cleaner. Take him for a walk and his mouth glides over the ground, Hoovering up everything it finds. For those gardeners who lament the arrival of aphids and caterpillars in their prize veg plot I say, be thankful you don’t have Pyreneans. They dig holes, they eat roots, they eat leaves, and then, having ripped a path through the prize veg, they lie on top of the carrot bed and squash the seedlings.
Of course, even for the dog in question, there’s a downside to being a true omnivore. Diarrhoea and vomiting. Which is also a pretty major downside for the dog’s owners. When it’s dark and cold and 4:00 am, and you’ve just been woken up for the fourth time that night by a crying puppy, and you have the choice between racing out of bed, shepherding the dog downstairs and getting him out in time, or hoping that it’s a false alarm and that in five minutes time you won’t be staring at a mop and a steaming mound from Hell’s maw…
At first we’d put his diarrhoea and vomiting down to worms or bugs. Then we saw him honk up a large stone. Then we started researching pica – an eating disorder much beloved by dogs. Apparently it’s not uncommon and stones are one of the favourite things for a dog with pica to eat. It’s also one of the most dangerous as the stones can get lodged in the stomach or intestines. But stopping a dog from eating stones when you live in place surrounded by stones, is not easy. You can only watch a dog so far, and all it takes is a second and – gulp – there goes a stone.
Last week Asta was taken ill. He wouldn’t eat – not even a lightly braised postman could tempt him. And he had a temperature and looked sad. So we took him to the vet, plied him with tablets and injections … and waited.
On the second day, a large stone came forth and the people rejoiced. All hail the great god Diarrhoea.
We’ve now ordered a muzzle and placed Asta under house arrest until its arrival. We only hope the stairs will survive until then.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?
Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!
French Fried – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth.