Our Dog T-Bone

A Heartwarming Story of Life with One Really Nervous Dog

"No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation." -- Fran Lebowitz

It was the day after Thanksgiving and T-Bone and I shared a piece of pumpkin pie. “Man T-Bone!” I recoiled, “You have the breath of a thousand dead Pharaohs! Its no wonder you have a hard time finding a girlfriend…”


RESCUE THE WEDDING SHOESWe figured out what to do with “Bone” when we were at work and the kids were at school so that there would be no more plant destruction (we had tried to kennel him when he was real young but it came to the point where he was either going to destroy the kennel or himself).  In the fall of 1994 we moved into a house just a couple of blocks from where the kids went to school and things went so-so with T-Bone for quite a while.  For a while he was able to roam about the house when we were gone and when the kids were at school – at least some of the time it seemed he laid out on the three season porch and kept watch out the windows, waiting for school to let out.  The kids left for school around 8:00, he was alone until they came home for lunch and then again until about 3:30.  One time, however, he somehow locked himself in our daughter’s bedroom and destroyed her closet door and hamper.  There was more than one bedspread and comforter that found his wrath, and because he got up on the couch and clawed at the cushions we had to set a couple of dining room chairs on that piece of furniture each morning before we left for work (I know, I know....I know exactly what women everywhere who love their living rooms and couches are thinking............................................would Martha Stewart do that?) But when we got home the chairs and sometimes even the cushions would be knocked onto the floor.  And the window sills in the porch showed more than a few teeth marks as a result of his daily vigil of waiting for the kids.


For a time we locked him in the basement but he seemed to be able to bang on the door long enough to jimmy it open.  We eventually had to replace that door because it was in such terrible shape (have you ever seen "Turner and Hooch"?  It wasn't quite that bad, but close).


Let me pause for a moment because many reading this may be wondering to themselves, “WHY ON EARTH DID YOU KEEP THE DOG???” (As I write this and think back over these events I sometimes wonder the same thing).  The bottom line is...we loved him!  And I guess it seemed that we were always willing to try one more solution, we were always willing to buy one more couch (not really).  He would seem to get better, then digress, get better, and then get worse again.


A turning point came on a muggy Friday night in July, 1999 during our oldest daughter’s wedding rehearsal.  We were gone for a few hours and hadn’t realized that some severe thunderstorms rolled through the area while we were in the church.  We came home to a disaster.  Many dogs get hyper and nervous during thunderstorms but for T-Bone those weather events just seemed to magnify his multiple anxieties (we got some of those “thunderstorm pills” for him at one point.  The prescription label clearly read, “Give One Pill One Hour Before Thunderstorm.”  Huh?  Do they come with a barometer and a weather man?)


A couple of doors in our newly remodeled basement were scratched but when we went upstairs to our bedroom it truly looked as if an F3 tornado had gone through that area.  It was a disaster.  The furniture wasn’t destroyed but it seemed that just about everything else was.  Chewed up “Martha Stewart” magazines littered the floor, the contents of my wife’s sewing box was everywhere (how he managed not to swallow some pins and needles I will never know).  He had gotten into the closet and wreaked havoc.  But worst of all it looked like he had destroyed my wife’s brand new light green wedding day shoes (the ones that perfectly matched the mother-of-the-bride dress).  The box was totally annihilated and shredded – it apparently fought valiantly against the “beast” and gave its life so that the shoes could escape.  Because there, in the midst of the rubble, lay the shoes without a mark or scratch on them!  Good thing for the dog – chewing up  a truck seat is one thing (more on this later), but chewing up wedding day shoes brings a dog very very close to doggie heaven.  My theory is that God sent some a couple of rookie angels (perhaps Angels-In-Training) to rescue “the shoes.”


God:  Your mission is to go to the Milky Way Galaxy, the Solar System, Planet Earth, the North American Continent, the United States, and the state of Minnesota.  There in a northern city is a crazed dog that is about to go totally berserk.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to SAVE THE WEDDING SHOES!  Now Go, Go, Go with the Goodness of Cheerios!


Angel in Training One:  Come on, we’re never gonna get there in time!!!  "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"


Angel in Training Two (with a totally baffled look on his face): Like uh dude, ain't you in the wrong story?


Angel in Training Two (somewhere far above planet Earth):  Hurry – he’s almost done chewing up the last Martha Stewart magazine.


Angel in Training One (mystically blasting his way through the walls of our house):  He’s got the box!  Stop Him!  He’s got The Box!!!!


T-Bone:  What was THAT?  I’m nervous enough and now some feathered arm just grabbed those shoes out of my mouth.  Valium, valium, valium, I NEED Valium!


Angel in Training One: The box, he’s chewing up the box!  Can he have the box?  Check the orders!  


Angel in Training Two: Uhmmmm, let’s see, rule 6, chapter 3, subparagraph 2: “said crazy dog T-Bone with multiple anxieties is allowed to destroy the box.”  HE CAN HAVE THE BOX!!!


He was panting so feverishly that it took several hours for him to completely calm down.  We cleaned up the room and the other parts of the house and tried to make things presentable for people coming over the next couple of days.  We were truly at a loss as to what to do with him, but in a few days we thought we had come up with another solution.  Again though, we thought wrong.