OPINION: RUBY: Bye Bye Baby

·4 min read

May 19—I think the Saga of Sophie has about ended. She's 18 months old now, which means—or so I've read—that she'll be "all grown up" in about six months.

I must say she's made impressive progress. We now have few episodes of yelling "Sophie, Stop!" and few upsets over what she's done.

They haven't stopped completely, though. Maybe they're just more complex.

Like the day she accidentally got locked in the garage and I decided to take a nap. I woke to her distant barking. When I went to find her, there she was, peeking through the hole she'd chewed through the basement door.

Now I have to be fair—that hole started years ago when my daughter's dog tried unsuccessfully to chew her way out of the garage.

Sophie just finished the job, actually getting all the way through and scattering wood shards all over the place. Of course my son had to replace the door.

Then there was the morning she "locked" me in the bathroom when I was getting ready for school. A clever trick.

My bedroom and TV room doors are in the same corner. She managed to open the TV room door just enough that when I opened the bathroom door, the handles caught, leaving a space about 3" wide.

Of course I panicked. However, being resourceful, I tried to get the doorknob off. With tweezers, because of course there isn't a screwdriver in the medicine cabinet. I should say, "wasn't."

In case you're wondering, tweezers don't do the same job.

So, I'm not due at school for about three hours, and my phone isn't with me, so I can't call out or receive a call.

I'm now having visions of the fire department breaking into my house.

But of course the panic finally subsides, and I realize that because I can just barely stick my hand through the small crack, I can shove the TV room door closed. Yeah, I know . . .

She still has some of her regular puppy habits. One evening I walked into my shadowy bedroom and noticed something strewn across the floor. I thought we'd had an accident and started to fuss, but when I turned on the light, I discovered it was just another chewed-up cleaning sponge.

I try to deter her from sponges and erasers and pens, but she'll still get them if she can.

One day she finally managed to chew one of my gel pens through to the ink. Of course, I found this out when she came trotting up to me with blue paws. Her belly sported blue streaks, too. As did the doggy cave, where I found the pen.

I managed to get the spots off of the carpet before they set, but the doggy cave is permanently decorated. It took about two weeks for the marks to fade off of Sophie.

It's a wonder she hasn't poisoned or choked herself on some of the stuff she chews.

I read an article this morning on things you can buy to improve your dog's behavior "with almost no effort." A few items looked promising.

But the soft indoor ball that won't damage your furniture? It's labeled "durable," but I know from experience that Sophie can chew up such toys in about 20 minutes.

Or the wishbone-shaped durable chew toy? That probably is durable, but it's made of plastic, and from the photos I checked in buyer reviews, it ends up having sharp edges to cut your puppy's mouth. To say nothing of ingesting shards of plastic. And if those chewies are too hard, they can break a tooth.

Makes me wonder about the credentials of the "experts" recommending them.

Maybe I'll just sit back and relax. Like Sophie. She spends more time now just lying around. She and Burdie spend more time sharing their space than tussling with each other—though she'll still try to boot Burdie off the bed at night.

I guess we'll just wait and see what the next six months bring. But as I said, the Saga of Sophie seems to be morphing into the tale of a normal, family-friendly Beagle.

I wonder if I'll miss the excitement?