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Published: Sunday, 10/8/2006

Toledo area has its share of bad (but lovable) dogs

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kris Rockman and her dog, Cinder, with just one example of Cinder's handiwork, a torn sofa. Kris Rockman and her dog, Cinder, with just one example of Cinder's handiwork, a torn sofa.
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As a welcome gift on the day she was adopted by the Rockman family back in July, Cinder pooped on the floor, walked through it, and made smelly puppy prints all over the bathroom floor and tub.

And just for good measure, she also ripped apart the garbage can and window blinds with her sharp, tiny teeth.

The 1-year-old schnauzer/cocker spaniel mix has also managed to steal and annihilate shoes, eyeglasses, and a retainer; chew on several chairs and the corner of a mattress, and tear a chunk of material from the family s newly remodeled couch earning her the nickname Money Pit, said owner Kris Rockman.

Macy and Bentley, owned by John Foster Jr. Macy and Bentley, owned by John Foster Jr.
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Though she didn t believe in caging her dogs before she adopted Cinder, Mrs. Rockman said that belief went out the window when the pooch attempted to escape from the bathroom s solitary confinement by slowly digging her way through the drywall.

I really, really enjoy the crate, said the Holland resident. I don t think it s inhumane at all. I think it s inhumane what she s done to me. But she s just so cute.

Wags, Heidi Agerter's Golden Doodle, looks like he's ready for trouble. Wags, Heidi Agerter's Golden Doodle, looks like he's ready for trouble.
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Destructive dogs have been in the spotlight lately because of the popularity of Marley & Me (HarperCollins, $21.95), the New York Times bestseller written by John Grogan about incidents he dealt with over the years involving his slobbering Labrador retriever.

In response to a Sept. 24 Blade article about bad dogs and ways to curb their behavior, it was pretty easy for dozens of area residents to contact us with laundry lists of items their dogs have destroyed, chewed, or eaten, and stunts they pull whenever they get the chance.

Take Charlie, a fox terrier/pekingese mix who has an obsession with clothing and other items associated with Melissa Clarkson s 3-month-old son, Jameson.

Lily, Joe Axe's German shepherd, corners a cat. Lily, Joe Axe's German shepherd, corners a cat.
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Whenever he gets the chance, Mrs. Clarkson, 24, said her nearly 2-year-old dog will snatch her son s toys or pacifier to lick, and steal baby wipes and her son s tiny socks to eat; he inevitably throws them up later.

She said one of Charlie s favorite places is the laundry basket, where he can make off with clean washcloths and underwear. My husband and I are constantly chasing him around, getting things out of his month, the West Toledo resident said.

Sometimes they re not quick enough to stop their dog from gulping down almost any item he can reach, including food from the coffee table, chunks of wood from the floorboards, cabinet corners, paper towels, toilet paper, dog poop, and stuffing from comforters.

To make matters worse, he often forgets he s potty-trained. He pees and poops all over the house, Mrs. Clarkson said. When he gets excited, he pees. If he gets in trouble, he pees. If you yell at him, he ll go and poop in the house. You try to get mad at this dog, but you look at him and you just laugh.

Paulette Carpenter, 50, of Napoleon, Ohio, said she s made countless repairs in the four years she s had Joe the 6-year-old boxer.

Joe cannot be contained in a crate, so he s shut in rooms when his owners need to leave the house. But when he was in the bedroom, he chewed a hole in the drywall big enough to stick his head through. In the laundry room, he clawed through the wooden door. While gated in the kitchen, he tore up some of the flooring and flung the contents of a 28-pound bag of kitty litter all over the floors and counters.

While damage attributed to some dogs can be easily repaired, others can get expensive, as Dave Slosser, 62, of Port Clinton can attest. His mistake was leaving his now 5-year-old yellow lab, Buckeye Magic, alone in the garage with his brand-new BMW.

He found it later with teeth marks on the side rocker panel and in the wheel well. Needless to say, the dog and the car were never in the garage together again, he said, laughing.

Baxter was another dog with a sweet tooth for the expensive cold, har d cash, to be precise.

Owner Dawn Hammer of Maumee said her cocker spaniel, who had to be put to sleep in January because of his allergies, once ate two $50 bills out of her friend s purse. And this was after he had eaten more than $200 in cash from the Hammers.

There were tiny pieces of cash throughout the house, but unfortunately most of the cash was somewhere floating around in Baxter, she said.

Many dogs seem to have just one type of behavior problem that they just can t shake. Some constantly have the urge to run away, others snatch food at every opportunity, and several just have to give in to the thrill of the chase.

Shiloh is a 9-year-old beagle who refuses to be held back by a fence, said owner Ann Miller of Temperance, Mich. Shiloh can find any chink in our fenced yard. He has dug his way out, jumped his way out, climbed his way out, she said.

Linda Smith of West Toledo said her family s dog, Peacenik, known as Nikki, has a stomach of steel and will eat not chew virtually anything. The problem is that he often eats things that are very bad for dogs and aren t even necessarily what you d consider food, she said.

Compounding the issue is that Nikki, a nearly 3-year-old border collie/lab mix, can open cupboard doors and reach every kitchen surface except the top of the refrigerator.

Among the tasty items Nikki thought would be a good idea to devour: a Christmas poinsettia, half a pound of coffee beans (causing him to bounce off the walls for a full 24 hours), a handful of black licorice, Hershey bars, plastic toys, boots, perfumed soap, and Kleenex.

His poop turns out with colorful sprinkles in it and sometimes even wrapped in brightly colored wash cloths, socks, and other things he has consumed when we weren t looking, she said.

Then there s Lily, a 110-pound German shepherd who has earned the nickname Osama. From dusk until dawn, the 14-month-old dog stalks and terrorizes the four cats she shares a home with. Even though she s been repeatedly disciplined and been through obedience school, Lily just can t control her urge to chase the cats, said owner Joe Axe of Toledo.

Every five minutes there is a horrific battle for life and death at least the cats sound like it, he said. When she does catch them, as they swat at her snout with all their might, she merely tries to lick them. I guess they do not want to be licked by a dog.

Yet there is a light at the end of the tunnel for owners who are at their wits end with their disobedient pooches they almost always grow out of it.

Take Tugger, who is now a well-behaved 6-year-old yellow lab weighing in at more than 100 pounds. But well-behaved would have been the last adjective used to describe Tugger when he was a puppy, said Bev Gerding, 69, of South Toledo.

Like Marley, Tugger also flunked out of obedience school, where he was taken after eating wallpaper off the newly papered kitchen wall, the arms of two antique chairs, an armchair cushion, slices of carpeting, shoes, tissues, and the knob off the turn signal in the car.

He s a real trip, I ll tell you, Mrs. Gerding said. He was a pretty bad little guy and he definitely has a mind of his own.

Tugger also must have some feline in him because it seems he has nine lives he s survived eating glass Christmas ornaments and chewing through a live wire.

Though the list of horror stories for area dog owners goes on and on, there was one common thread linking all these mischievous dogs and their bad behaviors those crazy owners who love them.

I could never, ever get rid of my Charlie, even though he s constantly bad, Mrs. Clarkson said. He s part of the family. He is a crazy dog, but we love him.

Mrs. Gerding said getting rid of Tugger when he was a tiny ball of fur was never an option. He s just like a child, she said. You wouldn t give a child away when he does something wrong, so we just toughed it out.

Contact Erika Ray at: eray@theblade.com or 419-724-6088.



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