ABlogAbout Dexter: The Bad Elf

Once upon a time, there was a hungry, hungry elf (not to be confused with a Hungry, Hungry Hippo, though the similarity does exist). He was a kind-hearted elf, and all the other elves loved him. But he was hungry…. Oh, he was hungry.


‘Twas the day after Christmas
And family was here
They came from afar
To spread Christmas cheer

They went up to the mountain
To see their first snow
In a caravan with locals
Who were all in the know

A good time was had
By all ten of my kin
Until all at once, “splat!”
Hubby fell in a spin

It was clear he was injured
We could tell by his yelp
It was clear by his yelling
He needed some help

Trouble was, only two
Could drive in this weather
So Hubby and Wifey
Drove a caravan together

It was tense, we were worried
But we drove down quite slow
We dropped Hubby at hospital
By the twilight’s first glow

I raced home with the kids
To get them back on time
Then raced back to the ER
Where Hubby sat waiting in line

As I left I called out
To the group left behind
“Lock up when you leave!”
Then put thought out of mind.

Our trip to the doc
Was mercifully quick
The diagnosis was clear
… it was a broken arm, I mean really broken badly and WOW was he in pain. But thankfully they drugged him before sending him home.

Meanwhile back at home
The dogs were concerned
All their decent behavior
Became completely unlearned

There aren’t any reindeer
In our story tonight
Just a moose-sized canine
With jaws made of might

Also his sister, who was not even a little bit innocent in this whole story.

He was scared, that’s for sure
He knew something was wrong
He retreated to find comfort
Where his love was most strong

Food. Glorious, yummy food.

Only one thing could help
Only one thing would do
It was food that he needed
Needed food did our Boo

Problem was, there was nothing
Close at hand he could chew
But he knew there was food
In the freezer, did Boo

I came home with my man
He was drugged, we were beat
All at once I could see
Boo’d had something to eat

The door to the freezer
Was swinging wide open
It was surely the kids
I told myself, hopin’

“Who the hell left the freezer open?”
I texted to daughter
“Say what?” She replied
Like an innocent otter

I looked back at my pack
My mind filling with dread
If it’s not her I’m doomed
If it’s Dexter, he’s dead

So watch what you say
When you think there’s no way
That your dog is that smart
Or that bad, let’s just say

Because one day you’ll find
Your dog, cute as an elf
Is a cunning canine
In a class by himself


Well, it’s not really a holiday classic. But bad poetry aside, here’s the full story:

It was Christmas. Hubby’s entire family was visiting from Puerto Rico. This was a wonderful gift, as my mother had passed away the previous June and I was longing for a little more family around the house. The family time was wonderful. Having a group that big, we had a pile of presents and stockings for each family member. I love to stuff stockings. I don’t know why, but it’s more fun to me than buying gifts. We had found all kinds of candy and little trinkets and toys to put in each of the 10 stockings hung on the fireplace.

First sign of disaster: Dexter ate all of the chocolate coins. You know the ones – they come in plastic netting? I believe they are actually for Hanukkah, but I could be wrong. He ate them, nets and all! The poop report on that one was a doozy. Plus, all that chocolate!  We were worried of course, and kept a close eye on his health. He was unfazed by the ingestion of these items. Seriously people, if we took him to the emergency vet every time he ate weird or non-food items….

But, back to Christmas with the family. One day we decided to drive up and show them the snow on the mountain. This was a huge endeavor – two cars, piles and piles of snow gear. Inner tubing, drinking hot chocolate. It was like a Christmas Special or something. We had a really great time. But as we say in our family, “It’s never a party until someone breaks an arm.”

Hubby had fallen during a snowball fight with our niece, and it was clear he had been hurt very badly. Trouble was that no one besides he and I were able to drive in the snow, and we absolutely had to travel in two cars. So Hubby, trouper that he is, drove himself down the mountain and over to the hospital.

It was a crazy day. There was some chaos, a lot of concern, and some stress. By the evening, all of us were pretty tense. Dogs pick up on that, you know. So I ran home to drop the kids off, feed and potty the dogs, grab some stuff and race back to the hospital. The kids began gathering their stuff so they could head back to their mom’s house. These short moments in the house were tinged with the scent of sweat and worry. The dogs knew something was wrong, and their concern showed as well.

Off I went to the hospital to pick Hubby up. I hugged the kids goodbye and left them there to finish up and lock the house on their way out.

Two hours later, Hubby and I came home. Hubby was heavily medicated and generally babbling. Arm in a cast, armed (har har) with more drugs, he was anxious to get home and go to bed. What an exhausting day!

…… uhm….. who the hell left the freezer open?

10835219_10153130746638939_8378394520594966635_oThe destruction was almost incomprehensible. Most of the food in the freezer had been eaten. Raw chicken and fish. A whole bag of frozen broccoli. An entire Marionberry pie. The list goes on and on. Across the floor lay the remains of the packaging and I think a bit of puke. Both dogs looked ill. Dexter knew he was in trouble and of course he also had diarrhea that he’d been holding on to. So as was usual, I yelled “Get the f@*% out!” and he ran outside. Time out for you buddy!

Just a quick detour here – Dexter was always well aware that what he was doing was wrong. He was smart enough (usually) to know that I’d be angry. If we came home and he was standing at the back door, it was clear he had done something. It might sometimes take some searching but we would always find something or other that he’d done wrong.

So he had “Time Outs.” Out you go, buddy. He wasn’t much of an outdoor door dog, so this seemed like a good plan. Plus it gave us time to clean up. Unfortunately for us, he was absolutely adorable in time out. He’d stand at the bottom of the steps and would NOT come in on his own, even if you left the door wide open.  You had to go tell him “okay” before he’d come back. This was good behavior, but it wasn’t something we taught him at all. He just threw himself out one day, and then he didn’t come back forever. We looked out the door and there he was, looking very sorry and wanting very much to come back in. It was ridiculously cute, and very hard to stay angry with him for long.

You would think after this debacle, the dogs would have learned their lesson about the freezer. They were so sick! But no, all it did was teach them that it was easy to open the freezer. And so, just DAYS LATER, on New Year’s Eve, THIS happened:

I mean, SERIOUSLY?? Something had to be done.

Remember those bungee cords? This is where they came in handy. We devised a way to lock the refrigerator by wrapping the handles with bungee cords. But that was not enough. We needed to add to the security, because bungee cords stretch and he was a very strong dog with a lot of determination. So we topped it off by leaning a ladder against the door. It was a brilliant, low-cost solution to our problem. But it only worked if you actually remembered to do it. So, we put signs up in the house.

Lock the Fridge
Close the Doors

After Christmas 2012, we decorated our front door with a beautiful handmade sign that said, “Lock the Fridge and Doors.”

Another fine decorating choice in the House of Dexter.

2012-12-28 16.32.24
Fridge Lock step one: bungee cords on the door. Step two (not pictured): lean the four foot step ladder up against the doors. “I Love My Lab.”





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