Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Pepper Predicament - Part 1: Pepper, Destroyer of Kitchens

So to help you go through this the same way we did, I have to start with the Wednesday before everything went down.

Hubby and I went to the zoo for Sunset Zoofari (something our zoo does in the summer where the zoo closes like normal at 5 but reopens from 6-9). When we go places, we tend to leave Maxine in the living room and Pepper in the kitchen. See, Pepper is an old man and has some separation anxiety. Put those together and you tend to come home to a lot of piss and shit. Literally. So while Maxine is free to roam the (carpeted) living room, Pepper is confined to the (linoleum) kitchen. We close the bedroom and bathroom doors, leave out a few pee pads, give him toys and treats to curb some of his chewing, and we have a nice bed in there for him to rest on. 

So on this particular Wednesday, to help Pepper's separation anxiety (and partly due to laziness), we kept BOTH the pups in the kitchen. We thought Pepper might feel better if Maxine was there to hang out with. Well, that and they hadn't finished eating yet, so rather than waiting or forcing Maxine to go without the rest of her dinner, we just put the baby gate up and left. When we got home, we realized this may have been a mistake:

You know you love the '70s floor.
Yes, we came home to a disaster zone. The garbage and recycling were both tipped over (a first in the almost 6 months we've had Pepper). The floor was littered with boxes, paper, coffee grounds, food containers, you name it. An old shoe was used as a chew toy (not a huge deal, but still). Pepper (and possibly Maxine, who knows?) had peed everywhere (both on and off the pads) and took what I call a walking dump (where he takes a shit but can't squeeze everything out in one go, so he keeps trying and in the process ends up wandering a bit, leaving little dollops of crap all over the place). Since Pepper is a tiny little thing (17 pounds) and not always the most active dog in the world, we figured this was a collaboration of sorts. There was, after all, a motivational component to this: a bone from the pork Hubby had made the weekend before was in the trash, along with remnants of aluminum foil that no doubt smelled (and probably tasted) like tasty, forbidden meat. Oi.

The following Monday we went to dinner with a friend. This time we returned to our normally scheduled programming and left Pepper in the kitchen and Maxine in the living room. When we got home, we expected to clean up the standard P&S package that Pepper so thoughtfully leaves for us on a regular basis. Instead, we came home to an almost identical scene. This time the recycling bin stayed upright, but the garbage was down, there was P&S everywhere (including the bed, which we have now just thrown away), it was gross. It took awhile to come to terms with the fact that this little dog (who even on his hind lefts isn't as tall as the bin) had created such chaos. Then we realized there had been beef trimmings in the trash. If there is one thing in this world that motivates Pepper, it's food. And apparently he simply could not resist the temptation any longer. We gave him the opportunity, and he ran with it. Totally our bad.

Going forward, we decided to put the trash can in the bathroom (with the door closed, of course). That decision was not a hard one to make (although I'm still pulling for just getting a bigger, heavier trash can, because one of these times we WILL forget to move it, I just know it), and it has been working pretty well for us. Problem solved, right?

Come on, you know better than that.

To be continued...

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