Friday, August 04, 2006

Dogs will be dogs

Hound dog mauls Elvis's teddy bear

Wookey Hole Caves is a popular vacation spot in England that was attracting a lot of kids to see its 1,000 teddy bear display. It contained numerous valuable teddy bears including Elvis’ bear Mabel that is worth $75,000. The display was so valuable that the insurance company insisted upon having the display guarded with dogs. If you think you can see what is coming next, you are probably right and smarter than those at the insurance company. Barney the guard dog was let loose in the display and made a beeline for Mabel. After almost decapitating Mabel, Barney went on a 20 minute rampage and ripped apart dozens of other teddy bears. Barney is going to be retired to a farm where he can chase chickens.

Being the owner of a dog, I sympathize with the owner of Barney the guard dog. My dog Nike throws the occasional fit and does some damage. I’ve already posted a story about her destroying my brother’s fence and a couple of other things. If there is one thing that she has destroyed more than any other, it would be stuffed animals. I gave her a plush stuffed bear to help with her separation anxiety. What you do is place the bear in your bed so that it becomes saturated with your smell, that way when you are gone the dog has a toy that smells like you.

She loves playing with the squeaker inside of them and is generally pretty good about not squeaking them late at night. We will hear the squeaker when Nike is happy, sad excited, bored, she wants attention, or almost any other time that she feels like making noise. Her favorite squeaky toys are the ones that my wife picks out. I usually buy her white bear or grey hedgehog shaped ones. On the other hand my wife prefers to get pink or baby blue toys that are shaped like purses or princess crowns and have the Barbie logo stitched on them.

Because the squeaker is a piece of plastic and floats inside the toy, Nike will eventually try to get the squeaker out. Sometimes she breaks the squeaker before getting it out and she looses interest in the toy. Other times she succeeds in getting the squeaker out. When she is done chewing the squeaker into multiple pieces, she discovers that there is another surprise inside the toy. It’s like opening a box of Cracker Jack for the prize and discovering that there are Cracker Jack inside the box as well. She discovers that there is stuffing inside. Lots of stuffing. Lots and lots and lots of stuffing. And she thinks that the stuffing must come out of the bear. Not just a little, not even a lot of the stuffing must come out, but all of the stuffing must come out.

My wife has a few dolls and stuffed animals that she would like to keep intact. Some are antiques and some just have sentimental value, but they all have some value none the less. We have decided that, when we consider the value of the items and the chance that Nike might want to pull the stuffing out of one, it would be best to keep them out of her reach. It is also why we don’t pay $75,000 for the stuffed toys that we give to Nike.

Given the nature of dogs to try and pull the stuffing out of stuffed animals I am really surprised that someone at the insurance company didn’t pause and think that using a dog in this situation might be a bad idea. It would be like asking the Cookie Monster to guard the cookie jar. Most of us either has had or knows someone that has had a tough time with an insurance company. With the astute thinking that this company showed, it makes all our insurance company struggles make perfect sense.