I’ve read two different posts in the past few months about people forced to clean out, declutter, and reorganize due to mice. (Read them here and here.) While we have done our time with mice, our current “reorganization situation” involves a slightly different problem. It involves a dog who’s learned how to open the pantry.
When we got Kina, I was thrilled that she was smart, but not too smart. We’d had fourteen years with a dog who was too smart, and frankly, it’s exhausting. Kina seemed to be just the right mix of friendly and bright; well-behaved and smart enough to train, but not so smart that she was out-smarting the training.
Then came the night we came home from church to discover….what was that on the living room floor? I truly didn’t know until I got right up on it: a bag of coconut, pulled from my basket of ingredients for making various granola bar goodies. She clearly didn’t care for it, but that didn’t change the face that she’d opened the pantry to get it.
Once she’d learned she could do it, it was all over. Every time I’d come home from dropping the kids off at school, I’d find something else. The tub of oatmeal. The container of flax seeds. The box of cinnamon squares cereal. It was funny and frustrating all at the same time. How on earth was I going to completely reorganize the pantry to keep everything out of her reach? I truly couldn’t think of how to rearrange things to where nothing would be touchable; it’s not that big of a pantry. She was even nudging the canned food off the shelves, which obviously didn’t do much but dent the cans, but still…..
Then one Thursday morning my mom and I returned to the house after running errands to discover a box of raisin bran completely obliterated. She ate the cardboard, too, she’d liked it so much. For those who don’t know, raisins can be toxic to dogs, and that is how we ended up at the doggie ER (yes, there really are such things), essentially having her stomach pumped. (“We’ll give her a shot to make her throw up, and once her stomach is empty, we’ll give her another shot to calm it back down; then we’ll feed her charcoal to keep any of the toxins from being absorbed…..”)
As my husband put it, “the dog just ate and barfed our entire Christmas budget.”
After I left her at the emergency clinic, I drove to Home Depot and got magnet closures for the pantry. Forget cleaning and reorganizing. We just need the stupid thing to stay closed.
Update: Yes, true to her cast-iron-stomach Lab roots, the dog is totally fine. My favorite part of the story involved a trip to our regular vet for the final blood work to check on her kidney functions. When the vet tech got her to the back, the phone rang; so she put her in a room and closed the door so she could take the call. The dog–yep–opened the door and came running back out to me in the lobby, leash dangling behind her, and threw her front paws in my lap: “Quick, Mom! Now’s our chance to make a break for it!!”
Yeah. “Not too smart” my eye….