The Dog Owner’s Manual

When you pick up your dog from the shelter (because you rescued yours, right?) they give you the owner’s manual (they don’t, but they should, I have a rough draft for them) and it says only a few things.

  1. Love this dog.
  2. Love it a lot.
  3. Stop acting like a hero and let it sleep in your bed already.
  4. Give this dog food, water and exercise.
  5. DO NOT give this dog chocolate, anti-freeze or chicken bones.

This manual makes it seem simple enough. Number five is a crucial bit, since these items can really be dangerous for dogs. The world is a gauntlet if you really start focusing on avoiding these items. Falcor did survive the chocolate-Easter-bunny incident of 2006 (not enough cocoa in those things to kill him, apparently), but I wouldn’t want to go through that again. Anti-freeze REALLY could be stricken from the list if the dumbos over at the anti-freeze factor could add some kind of bitter agent to the brew so the stuff doesn’t taste like sweet nectar anymore. And chicken bones should be easy enough to keep out of their little jaws, right?


If you have a dog and you spend any time at all walking it around the wider world, you will notice that environs are literally STREWN with chicken bones. At first I just thought my dogs had some really special but annoying ability to find chicken bones anywhere we went. But conversations with other dog owners revealed that in fact ALL street savvy dogs seem to have this ability. Which leads me to believe that it isn’t that the dogs are magnets for the bones, but simply that the bones are abundant on the ground. But why?

Why, for the love of god why, are people discarding chicken bones so willy nilly around the neighborhood? Don’t they know my dog is going to scoop that thing up and scarf it down and have it’s intestines punctured?! And while it’s alarming that there are really THAT many chicken bones being eaten around town, the real question is WHY is it impossible to eat them calmly near a garbage receptacle?

Numbers one and two are well covered in our house, these dogs are loved to a some-may-say creepy degree, and we are now teaching the baby to carry on our legacy of canine obsession. Number three is obviously a non-issue for us since day two of owning our first dog, and someday if I am really lucky we might even have a king sized bed so we all fit. Number four is covered, two squares a day, fresh water flowing freely, walks, runs and hikes to keep them huffing and puffing a bit.

And the most crucial element, number five, keeping them alive, is my utmost concern. You, with the chicken bones dangling from your lips, for the love of dogs, help me out.

One thought on “The Dog Owner’s Manual

  1. Can I add ‘onions’ to the list? In no way should dogs eat onions, cooked or otherwise – they are like poison to them.
    I also agree on allowing dogs on furniture now, if they can respect who is boss. Vegemite Dog is much happier now that he has a special place to sit and watch telly with us!

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