AJ (final excerpt)

We decided that AJ would have to be kenneled when neither of us was home.  We didn’t like it, but outside of stripping the house bare of all objects, we didn’t know what else to do.  We read that AJ was probably suffering from separation anxiety and that he probably did all of the damage in the first 10 minutes that we were gone, small consolation, but we were at a loss at how to stop the destruction.  So we brought in the large kennel from the garage.  We put in a blanket to make AJ comfortable and gave him toys and rawhide chews to chew on.  Guess what, he didn’t touch the rawhide chews or the toys; no he chewed the blanket to shreds.  We found out that the whole time we were gone, he barked almost nonstop.  The neighbors told us.

We thought we had the immediate problem solved, but once again we were wrong.  You’d think we start getting used to always being wrong.  I came home from work one afternoon and there was AJ sitting at the door waiting for me.  I slowly walked into the front room thinking maybe this was a clone or something; surely AJ was still in the kennel, because I put him in there myself and was sure that I had secured the door.  The kennel door was standing open wide and after close inspection I could see that spring loaded pin was bent.  Somehow he got the door opened, maybe he put all of his weight on the door, I don’t know, maybe it was just a fluke.  Surprisingly he hadn’t done any damage, probably didn’t have enough time.  Same thing the next time we left and put him in the kennel, I come home and there AJ is waiting for me at the door.  So far no damage, maybe he was cured.  After a couple of weeks of no devastation, I dragged the kennel back to the garage.

AJ is just too smart for his own good.  He knew the kennel was gone and there were new trials for us.  He switched tactics on us.  He started going through the kitchen trash.  He would drag the bag out of the can and bring it to the front room and leave us all kinds of things to clean up.  Wet coffee grinds in the carpet, along with wrappers and such.  Mitch actually put an eyebolt in the wall and used bungee cords to secure the trashcan to the wall. Me, I would have just changed trashcans and put a smaller one under the sink, but knowing AJ, he probably would just open the cabinet door.  When dumpster diving didn’t work, AJ decided the countertops held great appeal.  I had set a frozen loaf of bread in the sink drainer to thaw; he found it and ate the whole loaf, wrapper and all.  He knocked the dog biscuit decanter off the counter and onto the floor pushing it around the kitchen until he ate all of the dog biscuits.  This dog was really trying my patience.

We came up with a solution that so far has worked.  When we have to leave the dogs home alone, we close and secure the bi-fold doors separating the two sides of the house, the front room and our bedroom from the dining room and kitchen.  We would also turn on the radio in the bedroom and give both dogs a rawhide chew.  So far this has worked, I think the only reason it has worked so far, is that AJ hasn’t figured out how to remove the rubber bands that keep the doors closed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about AJ.  He just turned 10 years old and I don’t know who’s more devoted to whom, him to me or me to him.  I love him more each day.  Of course, he still has all of his faults, but when I look into those soft adoring eyes, I feel such peace and calm wash over me.  And I know without a doubt that I would walk through fire for him as he would for me.

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