February 17, 2015

The one where Joey chewed up the couch

Joey was neutered yesterday, and his surgery went well. I had no idea it would take so long to heal from the surgery, but the vet said no running or jumping for 10 days (walking on a leash is fine). I assumed he'd be good to go in a couple of days, but I guess not. When he got home yesterday, he was pretty lethargic--acting almost like he'd taken a Valium or something. It was nice having him so calm and relaxed!

Today, though, it was like he was a pent up ball of energy. We didn't go for a walk yesterday, because of his surgery, so it was like he was storing up all that energy and let it out this morning. I walked him for a couple of miles (in 4 degrees fahrenheit!).

Oh! I almost forgot to write about this... on Sunday evening, we had quite the disaster. Joey has been really well-behaved, for the most part. I was expecting it to be much harder to train him, but he's done great. But Sunday, he showed another side of his personality.

When we got home from church, we walked into the house and it looked like a bomb had gone off in the living room. Joey had gotten into the kitchen garbage, and there was trash everywhere--coffee grounds, paper towels, food wrappers, etc. He'd chewed up my favorite winter coat (the orange one) and one of the kids' pillows. He pulled cinnamon-sugar off the counter (a large packet that came with a box of pretzels) and chewed that open, so it was everywhere. And he'd eaten an entire loaf of bread! (Thank God I'd "dog-proofed" before I left for church; I closed all the bedroom doors and the pantry door. I can't imagine what would have happened if he had access to the pantry.)

I was stunned. Other than my coat and the kids' pillow, though, there wasn't anything important that he'd chewed. We decided that we'll have to crate him while we're all out of the house. The funny thing is, I'd given him a bully stick when we left... and he'd only chewed half of it while we were gone! I found the other half as we were cleaning up.

We cleaned the whole mess up, and everything was fine. That evening, I was feeling bad for Estelle, so Jerry and I brought her in our bedroom and we closed the door so Joey couldn't come in and scare her. We were lying on the bed, chatting, and then we heard the kids yelling from the living room, "OH NO! MAMA! Come out here, quick!"

I ran into the living room, and saw that Joey had chewed up the corner of our leather couch! He was only alone in the living room for about five minutes. I was so bummed--it was very noticeably shredded into 3 large pieces that dangled. I wish I'd taken a pic right away, but I got out my sewing stuff, and decided to try to stitch it together.

It wasn't very fun to stitch, because pushing the needle through leather wasn't easy. TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER, I had finally finished sewing it back together. It looked much better, but it was still pretty obvious that something had happened. This is the before and after (the first pic was after I'd sewed the seam on the right--I didn't get an actual before pic):

I was happy that I was able to salvage it somewhat. Then, because it was already ruined, I decided I might as well try coloring the light spots with a brown sharpie to see if it would make it less noticeable. It worked! I was really proud of the repair job I did ;)

So, needless to say, we learned a harsh lesson on Sunday--Joey hates to be left alone! We're going to start obedience classes soon, so hopefully that will help.

Today, I went to the rec center and did a deep water run. I was excited to listen to Dean's episode on the Half Size Me podcast while I was in the pool. I did a steady run today, rather than intervals, but I tried to keep my cadence at 180 "steps" per minute so it wasn't too easy.

Dean did an awesome job during his interview, and I loved listening to it! The time went by really quickly, and before I knew it, I'd been pool running for an hour. I love that I can use the pool running to catch up on podcasts.

Yesterday, out of habit, and without really thinking about it, I was backing out of the driveway when I realized I forgot something in the house, so I ran from the car to the house to get it. I ran. And I didn't even realize it until I'd gotten to the house, because there was no pain! That was really encouraging, so I decided to try the "ultimate test" (the surefire way to know if it's still injured)--hopping up and down on one foot (of the leg with the stress fracture, obviously). I've been trying it about once a week (just one or two hops), to see if it's still painful.

So I hopped on one foot, fully expecting it to feel like it had the week before, but there was no pain. Not even a little bit! I hopped a few more times, and nothing. That is super encouraging to me right now! I'm going to give it about a week, just to be sure, but then I'll go to the rec center and try running slowly on the indoor track. Maybe I'll start with just one lap (1/12 of a mile) and see what happens. If there is still no pain, then I'll slowly progress to hopefully get my mileage back up.

I still don't think I'll be ready to do the Shamrock 15K next month, but there is still time to be ready for the Indy Mini the first weekend in May. I'm not going to aim for a time goal, because I want to take it really easy during training, but I'll just be really happy if I can run it :)


  1. That is fabulous about your ankle!!! Not so fab about Joey's naughty behavior, which I can assure you is typical labrador shenanigans. :P

  2. Congrats on your healing ankle! Fingers crossed it just keeps getting stronger!

  3. So glad your ankle is feeling better! You might see about doing some training for separation anxiety for Joey when you do obedience classes. A lot of pets who were abandoned by families (for all the reasons) tend to have even a mild case of it. Sometimes it will go away on its own. Sometimes they need help knowing that "yes I will come back!".

  4. Hooray about your ankle! Boo about Joey! He's having anxiety when you leave and crating is a really good idea. It will become his safe place and everyone will be happy.

  5. I had a dog that ate a recliner armchair. It is all about the separation anxiety. Obedience classes won't fix that, because he's not being disobedient. He's freaking out because he thinks he's been left alone foreeeeever and nobody loooooves him any more! Crating is probably the best bet until he's more secure with you. Being left at the vet likely stirred him up a bit. Not that you had a choice, but rescue dogs can be a bit emotionally wobbly.

    And at the risk of being cyber-slapped, can I urge you to get another ankle X-ray before you start running? It's great that you're feeling better, but feelings can be deceiving and the last thing you need is to re-fracture the bone. Good luck!

    Karen in Sydney

  6. As a vet, the top thing I recommend for new dogs is crate training. The crate becomes the dog's safe place- he gets his meals in there, he gets treats in there- so he is either supervised in the house or he is in the crate (no wandering around on his own). It is way worth the crate cost and the few days of sad Joey over a foreign object removal surgery from eatting something he should not have.

  7. Amazing job repairing the couch!!!!

  8. My dog loved her crate. She'd always go in there when she was tired or when she wanted alone time from the cats. We kept her favorite toys in there. After a couple years, we phased it out. But it was essential through the puppy chewing stage. So don't look at it like a punishment, but a way to keep him safe.

  9. Our adoption coordinator says that when dogs are first adopted they are often on their best behavior the first few days they are home with you because they are trying to figure out the routine and the lay of the land. This was true of our greyhound, she's mostly good as gold, but is super pushy about begging for food and stealing food off of plates. She didn't exhibit any of this the first week we had her! I should have known something was up because our adoption lady kept asking me how Molly was doing around food! For the Shamrock, you could change distances. I changed from the half to the 8k because I've had some injury/illness stuff and wasn't trained up for a half. I'd rather do the 8k and have fun than a half and be injured or miserable! There is the 5k too but that thing is insanely crowded!

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  11. New "Runs For Cookies" fan here! You have received some great advice with Joey and your ankle. Best wishes on your running comeback! Sometime I will have to tell you how many parallels we have with a few being same height, same current weight, Sparker and runner. My highest weight ever was 170 so with that, I cannot even begin to even imagine what you went through...although I may have a pretty good idea. YOU are amazing!!!

  12. Oh no! Sounds like he gets nervous without you. :( Our pup chewed our couch while we were away (and two sets of bedsheets!), too. It was a phase he grew out of. However, we found it was mostly that he needed to chew *something*. If we caught him nibbling on a couch or a pillow while we were home, we taught him "Trade!" and gave him a toy to chew on instead. So at least that worked while we were around.

    But chewing up on everything else instead of the bully stick while you were gone means he is nervous when you are gone! Poor guy. He wuvs his family. ;-)

  13. I'm glad crating is an option for you. I'm not at all surprised though; this is very typical rescue behavior once they are used to the environment but still holding on to the anxieties from being abandoned. It will get better with time. But if he is good in the crate, it is the easiest solution. Nice couch fix and yay on the fracture progress!

  14. I love your title! I just finished all 10 seasons of Friends on Netflix. (Having a new baby in the house =lots of TV time during feedings!) Fantastic patch job on the couch! I think I would have cried!!

  15. Hey Katie!

    I rescued a black border collie/lab cross 5 years ago. My dog sounds a lot like Joey and had a few 'panic attacks' in the first few months when she was left home alone. What worked for us was to keep her in a set area of the house -- in our case, it was the developed basement. We would put all her things (food, water, toys, bed, etc.) down there and then, in the furnace room, we would turn on a talk radio station and close the door. Midnight seemed to be comforted by the voices on the radio and the basement became her comfort zone. To this day, when she is scared, she runs to the basement. Maybe try leaving a radio on for Joey when you go out and see if that helps to calm him?

  16. Great fix on the couch! I love the title of this post, too! I was worried about something like that happening, but was hoping for the best for you guys! Our lab seemed happy to be in his crate when we were leaving the house...before that, we didn't know what we might come home to! One day he got into a full box of Kix cereal, that had been on top of our microwave, then we could only figure he got out the broom and dustpan, to try to clean up his cereal mess. After chewing up the broom and dustpan, he decided to get the dish soap out of the kitchen cupboard, and bring that into the living room to 'clean up' a little more. Later that night, we were woken up by our poor dog spinning in circles (in our bedroom) with Dawn diarrhea :(

  17. I'm so sorry about your couch! You did an amazing repair job though! AMAZING! It looks so good! And honestly it cracked me up- my beagle is totally insane and has done a number on just about all of my belongings. He's ruined all of our blinds and a lot of the chairrail moldings and his favorite thing to do (before I blocked off all the windows in the house with furniture) is climb up in the windows and howl as loud as he possibly can for hours until I come home. Yeah, so that's great for my relationships with the neighbors.

    My racing buddy and I finally just decided on doing the 8k at Shamrock. We've been going back and forth and back and forth about it and we feel like we can do that without killing ourselves, so we are excited!!!! We do have a friend I met at a race in Vancouver WA last year who is going to do the 15k though!

    Last thing, I really wanted to make a point to comment today because I wanted to ask if you had watched this documentary before. I'm sure the answer is DUH, YES OF COURSE YOU HAVE, but just in case you hadn't, I wanted to recommend it! It's oldish, 2008, Spirit of the Marathon? It profiles runners from the Chicago Marathon, including Deena Kastor, who I think won it that year, and who also came back from a running injury. They show her using an aqua treadmill in it, and while I have seen this movie at least 20 times ( I used to play it when I was getting ready for races to get me pumped up) I was watching it again today before another treadmill test (knocked another 30+ seconds off my time! what the heck!) and I couldn't remember you ever mentioning it. It's what got me into running when it first came out and whenever I need a boost of confidence I love watching it because I really feel like it demonstrates anyone of any age or fitness level CAN do this. (particularly the 75 year old guy they profile).

    If you haven't seen it, it's free on Hulu right now. And if you have, I wondered if you were a fan!

  18. PS: The fact you called this post, "The one where..." cracked me up. LOL

  19. you really are an inspiration, I am also hoping to start running

  20. Loved the title of this one! And you did a fantastic job on the couch!


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