Midway through my shower, I saw his big head poke through the shower curtain and his mouth clamp down on the hot water faucet. "Okay, now he's going to scald me," I thought right before telling him to go away. Telling him to go away was my second mistake.
I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, wrapped a towel around it, dried off as quickly as possible, and walked into my bedroom to get dressed. This is what I saw there:
What looked like an explosion in a cotton candy factory had been Butch's bed only minutes earlier. I didn't have time to deal with it right then because I was on my way to take Kadi to the vet, so I got dressed, put Levi in his crate, and left the house. I was pretty upset; this was Butch's favorite bed. When I got back home, I discovered that Butch didn't seem to mind the damage as much as I did.
It was late afternoon before I could face cleaning up that mess. With Levi hovering nearby and watching every move I made, I fussed at him the entire time I filled two kitchen-sized trash bags. I grabbed another bag of trash from the kitchen and hauled all three of them outside to the garbage can. When I got back in the house, Levi was missing. I found him back in my bedroom with this:
That was all just yesterday. Earlier in the week, wielding a shovel for the first time in, oh, probably twenty years, I filled five large holes Levi had dug in the yard. That little hole he dug the first week he was here? That was nothing. He's a much better digger now:
In fact, he's such a good digger that it took him only about fifteen minutes to redig two of the five holes a few hours after I'd filled them.
Here's some of his other handiwork:
Another one of the four dog beds he has destroyed so far.
A chenille throw that had been folded and draped
on top of a decorative trunk in the corner of my living room.
The first of three books he's chewed. There would have been many others
in this condition if I hadn't caught him while he was running
with them. He actually pulls them off the bookshelves.
The biggest item he has damaged so far is the futon mattress. Its black, faux leather cover was an early casualty, an easy target because it already had minor damage from the other dogs' toenails. Levi ripped it to shreds. He also bit through it--and through the original green microfiber cover and the mattress underneath. He pulled stuffing out of the corner of the mattress. I threw the black cover away, sewed up the green cover, and thought it would be okay. An hour later he had torn part of the zipper out of the green cover. I repaired it again, and this time I covered the whole mattress with an ugly, heavy-duty, clear plastic tarp. So far that's still intact.
I've already told you about the many, many stuffed toys Levi has disemboweled. The only other items that come immediately to mind are the umpteen pens and markers he has snagged off tabletops and countertops. That boy loves the taste of ink.
Now, I realize that this is typical puppy behavior, and I also realize that the fault is mainly mine for not watching him as closely as I should have been. I have consistently failed to comprehend that he has long ago scoped out the house, noted the location of all the items of interest, and needs only a minute away from me to set his plans in motion.
Levi is good about minding when I tell him "no," but the "no" doesn't stick for too long. He's scheduled for obedience training next week. He's already good at "sit," "shake," and "down." I'm hoping the training will focus on teaching him what not to do as well as on teaching commands to do something.
When Levi isn't in barbarian mode, he's sweet, lovable, smart and very, very funny. That's why I haven't killed him. I forgave him for all of yesterday's transgressions when he climbed up on the sofa last night, pushed as close to me as he possibly could, licked my chin, then lay down beside me with his head in my lap. He's just a baby, after all. A great, big baby. With a whole lot of teeth.
But he will grow out of this.