By Katie Walsh
My house is a crime scene. And not just any crime scene -- there’s a serial killer on the loose.
A serial cotton killer, that is. At nighttime, when I’m least expecting it, I’ll stumble upon it: Various pieces of cotton, wet and shredded to bits. The victims of some sharp canine incisors. Stealthily stolen away from laundry baskets under cover of darkness, because we turn the upstairs hallway light off when we’re hanging out downstairs.
Someone in this house is eating my dirty clothes and dumping the remains in the upstairs hallway. And I’m determined to figure out the perpetrator.
Welcome to DOGGIE CSI.
This week’s episode: The Cotton Clothes Killer.
Let’s first discuss the possible “perps”:
SUSPECT 1: Ren
CRIMINAL HISTORY: Prolific destroyer of plush toys. Also chewed through a computer cord once.
POSSIBLE ALIBI: She’s a good girl.
SUSPECT 2: Ginger
CRIMINAL HISTORY: Moderate leash aggression. Loud barker. Digs holes in the backyard.
POSSIBLE ALIBI: She’s also a good girl.
SUSPECT 3: Ryan
CRIMINAL HISTORY: Does not change the toilet paper roll EVER. Steals pillows in the middle of the night.
POSSIBLE ALIBI: We lived together for two years before we adopted Ren and Ginger, and he never ate my clothes.
I’ve watched enough crime dramas to know it’s always the husband or the boyfriend. However, in initial questioning, Ryan gave me a look that can only be described as “considering divorce,” so I think I’ll scrap him from the list.
That leaves us with Ren and Ginger as our primary suspects, which means we should move on to discussing the “vics” and the possible motive.
According to some research I’ve conducted, there are several possible reasons why dogs chew clothes:
1. On the dangerous/scary end, it could be a sign of something called “pica,” which is a drive to eat non-food items. If your dog is habitually eating clothes, blankets, etc., they could suffer some deadly problems, including choking, intestinal blockages and even poisoning depending on the material they’ve ingested.
Luckily for me, my puppy perp isn’t actually ingesting the clothes. Neither Ren nor Ginger has displayed signs of intestinal distress, which is a good thing. (However, if your dog does ingest something they shouldn’t, take him or her to the emergency vet immediately!)
So, the canine criminal is just chewing clothes up and spitting them out, which brings me to my next possible motive:
2. Boredom. Many dogs destroy things when they’re bored. I’ve also seen research that suggests that puppies destroy things for the same reason human kids do -- to get your attention.
In the case of the Canine Cotton Killer, I don’t think she’s in the business of shredding because she’s bored. These pups get pretty long walks every single day, and they have literally a million toys that we play with, including toys that dole out treats.
The perp is also exclusively eating dirty clothes, which suggests one final possible motive:
3. The dog just wants to be close to me. Apparently, dogs tend to eat their owner’s dirty clothes because they’ve been marked with the owner’s scent, and that’s enticing to a little pooch. So, the perp is chewing my clothes likely because she just loves me so much, and anything with my scent is determined to be a prized possession.
AWWW, I LOVE YOU TOO, BABY. But you’re gonna need to stop eating my clothes. This isn’t Game of Thrones -- you don’t have to kill something in order to show your allegiance to me. (Also: Where were you back when we had mice?!?) I can’t afford to keep making trips to Target to replace my ripped apart items.
So, it was time to set a trap. I placed laundry baskets in three different rooms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the perpetrator…
CAUGHT YOU RED-HANDED, REN!!!
Yes, a criminal mastermind in the arts of chewing, Ren just couldn’t ignore the allure of the dirty laundry basket. From here on out, I will be dropping all of my clothes straight into the washing machine so she can’t reach them.
And for her sentence for this heinous crime?
A lifetime of snuggling with Mama. What can I say -- I can’t stay mad! A few trips to Target for new clothes never hurt anyone.
Just don’t start on the shoes, girl, or we’ll have to have a talk.