I never thought I would have an opinion so strong as I do now. But by the time you get to the end of this two-part blog, you may have an O’Pinyon of your own.

As many of you know, I love dogs. In fact, my life was filled for 18.5 years with my pup, Dotti. When she was a young pup, she was very mischievous and I often came home to surprises – and I’m talking about her chewing surprises, not the other “pile o surprise.” From coming home to a room filled with white remnants of a pillow with her sitting in the middle, wagging her tail innocently, to my coat pocket being ripped to shreds as she chewed her way through my credit cards, driver’s license in search for the tasty chapstick at the bottom of my coat pocket, Dotti loved to chew. 

She was attracted to a wide-variety of objects and I quickly learned that when the little voice in my head would say, “Oh, she wouldn’t go after that…” I was wrong, oh so wrong. She chewed up the cover of my dictionary, plastic kitchen cups, plastic handle of a screw driver, wood trim, carpeting, corners of the bed, corner of a door, and yes, even underwear. Anything that was not nailed down, and even things that were nailed down, were fair game. Tipping over the kitchen garbage can was one of her favorite past times. She chewed everything and anything while I was not at home. And when I was at home, she obediently chewed the raw hide bones I gave her.

I will never forget the time when we were entertaining company in the kitchen and Dotti devoured a plate full of salami and cheese intended for our guests in the living room. Or, when she convinced my brother’s dog, Buddy, to jump up on the counter and knock the Thanksgiving turkey onto the floor, leaving turkey remnants on her furry little head. And a few weeks later, while my brother was doing me a favor, watching Dotti while I was out of town, she had gone after the frozen pizza waiting to be put into the oven for dinner. Dotti was the brains, while Buddy was the brawn in the operation. 

Then, there was the time she was sick and I had to put her on prednisone. Combine her chewing and food craving issues, what do you get? A dog that destroyed a box of Puffs because the “extra lotion” facial tissues smelled like food. I thought she would eat me out of house and home, literally. 

After I purchased my first home in south Minneapolis, I quickly discovered she was an exceptional escape artist from my backyard. Even though the yard was all fenced off, I would come home and there she was in the neighbor’s fenced-in back yard. After placing large rocks where she squeezed through, she managed to find a low spot in the fence and started digging her way out. I ended up digging a trench on that side of my yard, filling it with cement so she could no longer tunnel her way under the fence. Problem solved, until I came home to find her in the other neighbor’s fenced-in yard… What a funny little hound dog she was, following every smell in the air, but she was mine and I loved her even with her crazy little issues. 

Eventually, I enrolled in a dog class for her, and quickly discovered the class was for me. Wow, the amazing things I learned about Dotti from that class. For one, her chewing issue was mostly because she wanted to go with me, be with me and not be left behind. By sitting calmly for about 10 minutes, then getting up and quietly leaving the house, her chewing stopped (except for the occasional garbage dive, which I solved by getting one of those tall metal garbage cans that opens when you step on the lever and the lid goes up). There was a solution for most of her issues, but I just had to learn what the underlying issue was. Who knew a dog class would change my behavior to help my little Dot. 

Even though she had her issues, she was a great little dog and I have many more stories about what a great little dog she was, such as how she loved to ride in my Jeep with the top down, swim, play catch, rub against every piece of the couch after a bath and especially enjoyed being around me where ever I was. She wasn’t just a pet; she was part of my family. And, right up to the end, whenever she heard me pull up to the house, there she sat waiting to greet me with her wagging tail and toenails tapping on the floor with excitement. My love toward Dotti, and dogs in general, has never been jarred.

That is until my vacation this past summer to the southwest. 

Tune in next week to read the rest of the story and the beginning of the Wallner Photography FaceBook “Clicks for Canines” during the month of February 2012. 

In the meantime, here are a two pictures of Dotti, who lived to be 18.5 years old. She was a great little dog.