Dog eat ... anything

Dog eat ... anything

Note: This column was originally published in the Aug. 29 News-Gazette.

I’ve got a title for a new book: “Murphy finds a bone.”

Or more accurately, “Murphy finds a (fill in the blank).”

It’s the rare dog walk where we arrive back home without some new treasure.

Most of my neighbors have probably heard me groan and mutter, “What did you find now?”

Murphy is not discriminating.

There’s the tempting food debris, of course. Cheeseburger wrappers. Styrofoam cups with traces of slushies. Someone’s leftover pizza. Discarded bones.

But not everything is food-related. He’ll snag acorns, buckeyes, Kleenex, mittens, garden mulch, even rocks (until he figures out what they are).

It usually happens when I make the mistake of chatting with a neighbor or glancing at my phone.

I looked up recently to find he had plucked a discarded sandwich out of the weeds. At least I think it was — all I saw protruding from his mouth was a white, bread-like substance. With ants on it.

I yelled “No!” but before I could try to grab it out of his mouth he had gulped it down. I wasn’t sure how old the sandwich was, but the presence of the ants was not a good omen.

Later that evening, let’s just say he wasn’t feeling too well. There are consequences to not being a picky eater.

Keep in mind this dog weighs in at just over 13 pounds. He is not large. So a poor culinary decision usually means trouble.

His favorite finds, by far, are bones. Early on in his life with us he found one on a walk that was particularly sharp, so we tried to get it away from him. Not gonna happen. His grip is tenacious.

So I put on some work gloves and literally pried it out of his mouth, but not without a fight. Lesson learned.

He’s easier to control now, but nothing makes him happier than finding a bone on the street.

Which begs the question: who is leaving all these bones on the street? Do people just eat their buffalo wings or rib tips and then toss them out the window? Or is there a network of dogs carrying them around and dropping them in random yards for a buddy to find?

Still, Murphy has nothing on my sister’s old dog Bucky.

Years ago, her three daughters were out playing in the backyard with their friends when my sister suddenly heard high-pitched screaming.

She looked out the window and saw Bucky, the friendliest black Lab mutt you’ll ever meet, walking out of the woods and carrying something.

“What is that?” she thought, peering closer.

That’s when she saw the ears flapping from whatever he was holding in his mouth.

It was a deer head.

Yes, Bucky had taken it upon himself to drag home what the hunter had left behind. Now that’s a bone.

I believe my sister may have screamed as well.

This was the same dog who brought home a sizable chunk of the neighbor’s vegetable garden after running through it with his leash and a metal stake he had pulled out of ground. And he once ate through a screen door.

But I digress.

Murphy has captured his share of wildlife, including several crocuses (which he likes to eat for some disgusting reason). And my son looked down at the end of one walk to find a dead bird’s wing sticking out of his mouth.

He doesn’t miss much in the house, either. My son left the room briefly one night last week and returned to find Murphy calmly lapping up the second half of a chocolate jamocha shake. The dog had climbed up on a chair, lifted the cup off the table and carried it to the floor without spilling a drop. He looked up like, “What?”

Chocolate isn’t exactly healthy for dogs, so we watched him nervously over the next few hours. When he started to throw up (we all know the signs), he ran to the door so my son could let him outside. Good doggie.

I guess that’s progress.

At least it wasn’t a deer head.


Julie Wurth blogs about kids and families and covers the University of Illinois for The News-Gazette. Leave a comment below, or contact her at 351-5226, or

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):Pets


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