It was a quiet afternoon at the front desk of Ashley Hills Pet Center. Ashley was in the reception area working with a client and her German Shepherd puppy, as he guided her in how to be the pack leader and gain her pup’s control. I was sitting at my desk, quietly observing and trying not to be a distraction to the training session. Then, the phone rang.
I answered it, using my quiet voice, “Ashley Hills Pet Center, this is Jennie. How may I help you?”
A man’s voice, sporting a definite middle Georgia twang, introduced himself, and said, “Jennie, do y’all do training over there?”
“Yes, we do,” I answered. “How can I help you?”
“We’re having a problem with our dog. Maybe you’ve heard of something like this,” the voice said, with a hint of hesitation in his voice. I could sense embarrassment in his words. How, I’m not sure. But I soon learned I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
“Tell me about your dog,” I said. “What kind of problem are you having?”
He began to tell me that he and his wife had rescued a dog three months ago – they were told it was a pit bull mix, and probably about seven months old when they got him. “Everything was fine at first,” he said. “But then the dog started chewing up my wife’s car. Ever heard of anything like that?”
“Excuse me?” I asked, not believing what I thought I had just heard. “Did you say that your dog is chewing up your wife’s car?” I tried to put emphasis on the word “car”, just to make sure I had heard him correctly.
“Yes Ma’am. He sure is. He just started it about a week ago. He’s chewed up the wheel wells, and now he’s working on the bumper. He tried to chew the trailer hitch on my truck, too, but he gave up on it, and went back to the car. Can Ashley help? Is there any kind of training for this?”
Needless to say, I was flabbergasted and at a severe loss for words. This conversation didn’t fit the pattern of the run-of-the-mill requests I receive each day for training advice. I looked over my counter at Ashley, busy at work with his training session, knowing that I shouldn’t interrupt him with this unusual question. I also considered that this might be a prank call, but the man’s voice sounded so very plaintive, and he had given me his name when I first answered the call. I decided to take the leap and assume that this was a genuine problem, and that he was at his wit’s end, seeking help for his car-chewing dog.
“I know that puppies will chew leather, furniture, plastic, sometimes rocks, and will tear up bedding and other materials,” I offered, “but I’ve never heard of one that chews on a car. I think we need to ask Ashley about this to see if he has any advice for you.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. That would be a big help,” he drawled in that country speech of his. “My wife is fit to be tied, and is mad as hell.”
By this time, I was fighting a good-sized guffaw at the conversation I was having. I feared the risk of a possible hernia from trying to hold back my laughter, and staying quiet and calm during this conversation. The more he described the damage to the car, the funnier the story got, and I knew this was one for the books. I wanted to help him, but I didn’t have the answer to his problem.
“Sir, I think you really need to talk to Ashley about this,” I said. “Let me get your phone number, and I’ll have him give you a call.”
“Thank you,” he replied. “I’d sure appreciate that. Thank you for your help.”
I wrote down his name and phone number on a post-it note, with a brief description of the puppy and the behavioral problem he was displaying, asking Ashley to give the gentleman a phone call.
I didn’t have a chance to talk to Ashley before I left for the day. I wonder what he thought when he looked at my note regarding the car-eating dog.
I have a feeling we haven’t heard the rest of this story yet. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will only get better.