DNA test for Tassie

Written by Bob on October 7th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I’ve read about a DNA test for dogs that can determine their pedigree. I’m thinking of ordering one for Tassie. But I’m afraid of the results.

A little Golden Retriever, definitely. Some Springer Spaniel, no doubt.

Beaver? Quite possibly. Woodchuck, maybe that too.

I’m not kidding. The way Tassie chews wood, she must have some beaver and woodchuck pulsating through her veins.

When I adopted Tassie from an animal shelter three months a go, she behaved beautifully. Everyone who met her praised her well-mannered ways and gentle disposition.

When we walk in the park, children run up to us asking to pet the pretty golden dog with the brown spots on her nose. She loves their attention. Loves their soft pats on her head and strokes on her nose.

My chest swelled with pride on my perfect find. I was happy. Tassie was happy. And even my wife Nan admitted that she was a good dog.

Sit, stay, go, come, heel, walk and run. Tassie follows those commands like a well-trained show dog.

But I’ve also discovered that she’s a con artist with a “dark” side.

About a month a go after pulling into my driveway, my neighbor April knocked on my door. Tassie stood sheepishly at her side wagging her tail.

“She was running loose in my yard,” April said. “I brought her back to your backyard and saw that she had chewed through your gate and got out.”

I was flabbergasted.

But sure enough, my gentle and docile Tassie had chewed through our wooden gate. With her powerful teeth and jaws, she had gnawed and chomped out a half-moon shape opening at the bottom. Just enough room for her to crawl under.

Wood splinters were scattered everywhere. The bottom of the gate was shredded.

I’ll fix you, I thought. So I double reinforced the gate with one-inch thick boards on each side. Tassie trotted up, sniffed the wood, and then turned and walked away disinterested in my fine carpentry.

We’re back to normal; just a brief crime spree that’s over and done with. Or so I thought.

Two weeks a go, April knocks on my door again with Tassie by her side.

“Don’t tell me she got out again and was in your yard,” I said.

“She chewed a hole on the other side of your fence,” April said in a not so neighborly tone.

Sure enough. Tassie, like some crazed beaver had chewed another half-moon shaped opening. Splintered wood lay scattered around the scene of her crime. Her teeth marks, imprinted deep into the wood, were evidence of her guilt.

This I could not blame on a beaver.

There’s only one solution. When I leave, I’ll lock her up in the house. Tassie had behaved perfectly indoors. Miss Manners extraordinaire. No accidents. No puddles. No piles. No jumping on furniture. In fact, she was better house trained than my own kids.

Wrong. One day last week I left home for about three hours. When I returned and opened the front door, the living room looked as if a burglar had ransacked it. A picture was knocked off the wall. Couch pillows were strewn about.

And to my horror, she had chewed and ripped down the Venetian blinds. Nan’s custom-ordered Venetian blinds.

When I say ripped, I mean she tore them to shreds. I searched through the rest of the house afraid of what I would find. I checked my camera bags. She had spared them – probably realizing I would have hauled her sorry butt back to the animal shelter without a second thought. But in our bedroom she turned loose her wrath.

The custom blinds and curtains lay scattered about mangled and destroyed.

I was dumbfounded. Shocked by her violence. All this carnage from my gentle, docile Tassie, now lying peacefully on her bed in her corner of the living room looking up at me with her big brown, adorable eyes.

“What am I going to do with you?” I said. “You want to go back to the pound? You just wait until Nan gets home.”

I cleaned up the rooms, but I couldn’t do anything about the blinds and curtains. They were ruined. Shredded by a dog with the teeth and jaws of a beaver or woodchuck.

We have installed new blinds and curtains at a cost that brings tears to my eyes. And like prison guards, we watch Tassie’s every move, vigilant for any sign of a chewing frenzy.

DNA test? I’m afraid of the results.


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5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bev Davidson says:

    I found out the same with Tippi, our precious little dog from the pound. The dogs have anxiety attacks when left alone. My only alternative was to put her in a kennel when we leave. We even had to put her in the kennel when we were outside snowblowing the driveway, if not there would be something chewed up. I have never had to kennel a dog before but now I am really glad we do, there is never a worry when we are gone. It took about a week before she liked her kennel. Now when we go we just say “we will be right back” and Tippi runs for the kennel. If I ever got another dog after Tippi is gone, the kennel would be their home when we are away. Try it, she will be back being the best dog and you will have no more worries when away or fences to repair.


  2. John Otto says:

    Hi Bob,
    If she was mine, she’d be gone. I know you wouldn’t do that so maybe try some chicken wire about 2 feet high around the base of your fence. You could spray paint it before installing so it would blend into the fence and not look too bad.

  3. Bob says:

    Hi Bev, the “old dog” me has fooled Tassie. I’ve trained her to believe that being chained under our patio (warm, comfortable, with her bed, and a grassy area) is a reward. When I leave, I run to the door with a dog biscuit and say, “Tassie! Who wants a treat?” I open the door and she runs to her chain waiting for me. Then when I return home, I pet her, tell her what a good dog she is and brush her, and give her another treat. It seems to work.

  4. Bob says:

    Hi John, see my reply to Bev. It seems to work.

  5. Bev Davidson says:

    Hi Bob,
    Just checking in on Tassie. Your animal lover fans (especially me) probably want to hear how it’s going with her.


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