Thursday, January 31, 2013

Katie, the Home Wrecker - Girl Interrupted

Author's Note:  This post first appeared on my craft blog, The Seaside Rose Cottage, on June 21, 2010.

Katie (short for On Golden Pond's Katherine Hepburn) is our newest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. An adorable, almost 10 months old Blenheim, Katie is quite the character.  Her facial expressions tell you exactly what's on her mind and she has attitude with a Capital A. Usually she's loving and playful, smart and cuddly, and she's always finding new and interesting ways to get into mischief.  But she does not like having her "fun" interrupted.

For almost a month now, it seems like every time I turn around, I am finding Katie with a nail or a screw in her mouth.  It's been driving me crazy because we are very careful with little things a dog could swallow.  If she did manage to swallow one, it would be a medical nightmare.

Typically I will hear something going "clink clink" on the wood floor and I'll look down to find Katie playing with a big nail or a short rusty screw.  In the past three weeks I've taken away at least 3 screws and almost a dozen nails. I have gone crazy trying to figure out where she is getting them.

At first I thought that someone must have spilled some in the workshop and that she was somehow getting in there and scavenging. That part of the house is generally off limits to the dogs and the workshop door is not left open so that was a stretch to begin with.  And these were not new nails and screws - in fact, they all appeared used.... as in, old....  with painted or rusted or tarnished tops.  But I couldn't come up with another reasonable, alternate explanation so to be sure, I checked the workshop half a dozen times. For the record, there are no nails or screws lying around there at all, nothing on the floor she could have gotten into, even if she could have morphed her way through the door.

This morning, while I was cooking my husband's breakfast, I heard the familiar "clink clink" again on the wood floor right next to me.  Lo and behold, there was Katie playing with another short rusty screw. I took it away from her, again totally puzzled as to where she'd found it. She was clearly unhappy with me and scowled her indignation.  I saw that same expression many times on my teenagers' faces. Yikes. Wait till she starts asking to borrow the car keys and I say "no". I can imagine the look I'm going to get.

After breakfast, I went out to clear the last of the breakfast dishes off the table on the deck and there was Katie, on her belly, wiggling and twisting with her snout locked in what appeared to be a kiss with the outside wall of the house where the trim boards overlap the exterior clapboards.  It took a minute for my brain to process what I was seeing – at first, I thought she was having a seizure – and then I did a double take when I realized that she was actually pulling a nail from the cement fiber clapboard siding. 

These nails are flush with the siding and the trim boards, so don't ask me how she was getting her little teeth under the lip of them, but there she was, twisting and pulling, twisting and pulling, until she finally eased the nail out.

I quickly snatched it from her and when I told her "No, no, no!" she gave me a baleful look and then took her sweet time coming inside.  I told her she can't play outside alone anymore if she's going to dismantle the house. And dismantling the house she was; she had removed at least one nail from the lower section of each of the trim boards.  

Checking a little more carefully, I discovered where she is getting all the screws.  She had been raiding hardware from around the frames that support the many sets of sliders we have.  I had not been able to figure out why the kitchen slider kept jamming and wouldn't slide open and close easily.  

These are top of the line Pella doors that always slid smoothly in their tracks, but lately they had been sticking and jamming and it had been a struggle to get them to slide back and forth across the track.  The problem, however, was that the frame and track were loose!   In fact, the frames and tracks were loose on all three sets of sliders that opened onto the deck.  She had dutifully removed virtually every screw that was within her reach around the bottoms and sides of each set of doors.  Since we rarely open the doors from the living – dining room, we had not realized where all the screws were coming from until that morning.

 What a character Katie is!  She gives new meaning to the term "home wrecker".  (Cute though, isn't she.) 

Top photograph:  Unhappy when she can't have her way, she scowls.  

Bottom photograph:   The dogs are not allowed to beg at the dining room table and are expected to nap quietly when the family is eating.  Katie found a way not to beg but still remain under foot by curling up under the table and resting her head on the ornate curved bars that span the table legs.)