Our dog Scuttle. Also answers to Lucky

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Soour vet says he swallowed a rock.

He is Scuttle, our 9-month-old pup, lab mixed with coonhound mixed with geologist. On Monday morning, at exactly 3:33 a.m. bedside clock time, his agitated digestive tract gave us a rude wake-up call.

It called back eight times after that.

To the vet. After tests and X-rays, it was determined that he ingested a medium-sized rock. We held out faint hope for smooth passage. No dice. Surgery instead. He's doing swell.

So how much of our net worth will be chewed up this time by our darling little menace? Ill soon know. Who does this dog think I am, Warren Buffett? A Linn County supervisor?

Scuttle could easily be a spokesbeast for pet health insurance; forget ducks and geckos.

Hes been to the emergency vet twice in just the last few months.

In December, he tore a hole in his leg jumping over the garden fence, just a few days after he was neutered. Tough week, buddy. So Scuttle wore a festive cone through the holidays. Made a fine snowplow.

In January, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, he stuck his muzzle into my daughter Ellas coat pocket, snatched, and then devoured, nearly a whole package of sugar-free gum. My wife, who once hosted a pet show on public radio, knew that sugar-free gum often contains xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Emergency II! He emerged unscathed.

Next time, well drive just a little farther, to the airport, and put him on a plane.

Kidding, as far as you know.

In between stitches and induced vomiting and X-rays, Scuttle also has a few behavioral issues. He bites and hes jumpy and grabby and aggravating-y.

We called in professional help. Our trainer told my wife and I that were basically lousy pack leaders, and Scuttle senses a leadership vacuum. Naturally, hes trying to take over. Its some sort of coup de dog, apparently, right under my nose. Mans best friend.

Now, to show were in charge, the trainer says we should growl at him when he does something wrong, give him a firm command and offer praise if he follows orders. So I spend a lot of time these days growling. I sound more like an angry sheep. Awkward is the crown worn by a pack leader. Abdication is looking attractive.

So why, then, did I worry so darn much about the furry little economic downturn when he was under the knife this week? Well, the kids love him dearly. That has to be it.

Or, the growling has driven me insane.


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