This picture reminds me of Patty, our German Shepard. Lady Patricia of Bala! She was the only dog we ever had who came with papers. Too bad she didn't use them. There are a lot of Patty stories I've yet to write. But this one happened one day when Nina had to leave Patty alone in the house while she (Nina) ran some errands. You see, Patty didn't like being left alone. She let us know this very clearly by destroying the house whenever we left her alone. And we tried everything - giving her toys, leaving the television on, but nothing worked. She always found something forbidden to chew up. The only thing that seemed to work were raw hide bones. They were more expensive than we felt were necessary to keep a dog out of trouble, but they were less expensive than the things Patty was destroying, so... you do the math. We bought the bones in different sizes to help control the cost. Smaller ones cost less than bigger ones, but the bigger ones lasted longer. We had it down to a science. The small size was the 20 minute bone. This was good for a quick run to the library. Large bones were good for an hour, but they cost so much that we had to use them sparingly. Eventually, however, even this device failed. The last time Nina left the house, she knew she'd be gone for an hour. Being cost conscious, Nina had one foot out the door before she tossed in a large bone. As if she had just tossed a hand grenade, Nina took off for the market hoping to return before the bomb blew. Unfortunately, the bone rolled under a large, stuffed living room chair. Patty, being well trained to this routine, knew she was entitled to a bone while being left alone. So, she fetched. When Nina came home, she found the chair had been knocked over and completely unstuffed while Patty was chewing contentedly on what was left of her bone. But that story was just a preface - so you'd understand why Nina was at her wit's end when she banished Patty to the basement the next time she left the house. We knew we had to Pattitize any room you left this dog in, and we hadn't arranged things in the basement, so trouble was bound to happen. When I came home from work, Nina told me to take a look at what Patty had done and clean it up. "It's a wonder she's not dead." Just like this cartoon of the dog eating and passing the balloon, Patty had eaten acrylic paints that we were storing for Nina's mom. She had chewed through the lead tubes and eaten the paint. Then, she shat them out in Technicolor. I didn't know whether to clean it up or frame it. Return to our Our Stories. Copyright Yale Schwartz, 2001