Twigs, Sticks, & Limbs: Some of Ollie’s Favorite Things

Two weeks ago I told you about chewing with my baby teeth. One thing I neglected to mention was how, when James and I were outside, I still loved to chew on things. My favorite was anything made of wood. Now James and Ron have four Adirondack chairs made of delicious cedar. So what do you think happened?

James would gather up ten to twenty twigs, usually from sugar maple trees, and every time I went after a leg of one of the chairs, he’d put the woody limb between me and said chair leg. I have to admit that it was as if he was giving me a drug. That’s right. I became addicted to chewing on sweet, sugar maple twigs.

(Ollie having graduated to sticks.)

At first it was merely twigs. When I began snapping them in half and quarters and eights, James quickly gathered sticks. Now sticks are somewhat larger twigs. They have a nice heft to them, unlike the twigs that are light as paper. In other words, there’s more material to them. They feel better in the mouth, on the tongue, pressing against the teeth.

I outgrew sticks during my fifth month of life. Suffice it to say, my mouth and teeth enlarged and developed strength. Sticks simply didn’t cut it any longer. My addiction grew more pronounced, so I needed substantial timber. This is when I began chewing on tree limbs. Of course, it was the ones that were dead and fell to the ground. Believe me when I say bigger is better.

(Ollie using an almost limb as a cigar.)

Of course, I was yet to reach even half my full size or potential. It’s my belief that since I was going after tree limbs when still a puppy, James was worried about every piece of wood in the house. I have to admit that it only takes the smell of wood to drive me crazy. My saliva glans gush at the slightest scent. Wood is my opiate.

Which begs the question: are poems James’ opiate? It seems like he’s writing them night and day. Their topics are about various things, but the ones I like when he reads them out loud are the ones about me. Here’s the one he wrote about my chewing wood. I hope you like it as much as I do.


at twelve and one-half pounds
tiny twigs were found to be of relevance
even though in your sweet petite mouth
they seemed so immense

fascinating you for multiple hours
shreds of shoots were torn for their flavor
almost as quickly as they were found
as if rice paper attacked by multiple razors

there was a subtle fear that
you might ingest one or more pieces
but that was quickly put to rest when
the slivers became releases

as your weight increased
your attention graduated to sticks
to accommodate your enlarged jaws
on these you were now transfixed

with your teeth still baby sharp
they tore into the switches with ease
as they moved deeper to assault the molars
on your tender gums putting a squeeze

relaxing on the lawn
as one-by-one the stems you would decimate
we passed many an hour pleasantly
as if we had something to celebrate

the weight you carry
is approaching fifty pounds
in your twenty-second week
now five months have come round

your interest progressed
to timber the size of a branch
that fell from a tree we came across
while walking the ranch

the dimensions of the wood are quite wide
with segments you find of significance
so you drag the hefty limb longingly back
as I ogle at its magnificence

it keeps you busy
for the better part of an hour
as you gnaw at the meaningful parts
with the goal being to devour

with adult teeth popping through
your chewing has taken on a new style
you no longer use them as before
but give your molars a stimulating trial

it makes me wonder
if tomorrow you’ll begin
going after the trees
as if their bark were skin

it is the shade you love
much more than the sun
so you’ll never mow down
the canopy trees even for fun

it is the simple things
the unassuming elements
that satisfy us
giving the greatest contentment

whether it’s twigs sticks or limbs
that make for you a joy
I hope you know it’s you for me
for you are my sweet boy

Oh, I do love this poem. James is the one who is sweet. (Score! A treat fell into my mouth.) But it’s true. Not only that, but I love the shade when we are outside. Especially when I was young. Half of the hair on my body was black back then. It absorbed the sun’s rays, making me hot. Even now my hair is a blue-merle color where it isn’t white.

As for chewing, we canines communicate with our mouths, similar to humans. Only we use out mouths not only to bark, but also to bite. Ninety-nine percent of the biting we do is in jest. It’s how we play with one another besides the running and chasing we do. Never fear that one percent, for it’s only done for protection. So long as we are treated well and provided with vast quantities of treats, we will never bite in that manner. (Yes, several more treats have found my mouth. See how much fun James is.)

Which reminds me. When we received the first snowfall of my first year, I discovered a whole new form of fun. Come back and visit with me and find out what I mean.

By the way, James has nothing to fear. I’m not going to chop down a tree with my chewing.

Before I go, I wanted to say I hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Baby Teeth: Why Puppies Chew

If you know anything about puppies, or babies for that matter, we like to chew on things. We’ll put anything, and I do mean anything, in our mouths. Philosophers have queried why this is the case for centuries. Well, I’m here to spill the kibble as to why we’ll put pebbles (Yes, I’ve worked my way back to those.) or sticks (Coming to a screen near you soon.) or dirty, filthy shoes – even our own stinking toes – in our most prominent orifice and gnaw away. Drum roll please…. It feels good. That’s right – so simple. Good is good.

(Ollie content in the autumn partial shade.)

Who would ever think that wood, plastic, rubber, rope, paper, and stones, leather, metal, glass, tissues, and cloth were so delicious? Well, if you must know, I think so. The tastiest of all is skin. You got it. With my baby sharp teeth I would bite and bite and bite on James’ hand. After all, he put it in my mouth repeatedly. Truth be told, I’d bite it until he screamed, “Ouch!” That told me it was time to bite more gently. Now that was a fun game we played. Like I said, it felt good to gnaw down on his hand. Good is good.

Of course, that game became stale after I was in my twenties – weeks that is. We didn’t play it as often by that time. However, by then I was going after everything in sight. The molding on the bottom of the walls, chair legs, window sills, name it and I thought the circus was in town.

James also came to town as my shadow. Well, he was always my shadow, following me everywhere I went. He wouldn’t cut me any slack. I did manage to get some good chewing in on several items before he brought out the sour apple spray. Boy is that stuff yucky – blah. Gross. Next thing I knew, James was spraying it on things I would be moseying up to. He thought I was going to start in on whatever it was – and he was right. He sure is smart. (A treat! I love James. Another treat!)

One day while I was whiling away the time gnawing on my gray elephant I called Ellie something stabbed my throat. I thought it was piece of Ellie’s trunk or her eye, but it was one of my teeth. I gagged and coughed it up from halfway down my throat. It shot across the room and landed beside James’ shoes. (I do love chewing on his shoes.) Anyway, after James picked it up and taped it to a piece of paper, dang if another tooth from the other side of my mouth didn’t do the same thing.

Version 2
(The molar on which Ollie gagged – slightly out of focus.)

Both of these molars were taped to the same piece of paper and filed away for safekeeping. Only James can’t seem to find them now. Perhaps they are too safely kept. Oh, well, it’s fine with me, but it’s been driving James crazy while I’ve been dictating this to him. (He has to do the typing since my paws are too large for the keyboard.) He wanted to take a better picture than the one he found. Suffice it to say, I’m glad I chucked both of them up as they might have done some serious damage to my stomach if I swallowed them.

All of this reminds me that James wrote a poem about my teeth. Here it is for your reading pleasure:


stones and grit cross your lips
causing me to fret
they’ll damage your choppers
my solace is these are still your baby teeth
sharper than a shave
cutting through wood rubber
cloth and skin

from a spray bottle
comes the flavor of sour apple
materializing on surfaces
such as the baseboard
you selectively chew
leading you to gnaw incessantly
on playthings made of rubber and cloth
for now

your front row of piercing bottom daggers
mysteriously disappears as if overnight
yet no tooth fairy makes off with them
to this I can attest
and soon they are permanently replaced
by still larger fangs replicating
their previous incisors prior action
like vampire talons
these dagger like teeth
tear the skin of my fingers
while giving you treats

the orange and red rubber rooster
whose squeak you so admire
is the first of your favorite playthings
to die a gruesome death
next to expire your navy-blue shark
out rips the inside of the mouth
then the stuffing tears out
the green gator you love so much
becomes your ensuing unfortunate victim
even though you are ever so gentle
as you sweetly sever its feet

then comes the night of surprises
when at twenty-one weeks
while tossing and chewing your gray elephant
you unexpectedly cough up a molar
still it is one of your infant teeth
a blade that created extensive damage
to many an object of derision
mostly those made of wood
a second cough you deliver
produces yet a second spectacular molar
mementoes to be cherished
like baby shoes in copper

you’ll grow to use your blades
pulling apart rope toys
swallowing those pieces of twine
as your tines rip and tear
and still more teeth will disappear
with each day as you age
to be gaps in your mouth
you’ll never miss for
steadily pushing in are the adult variety
finalizing at around eight months
thirty-five weeks of grazing grinding
before your teeth will be the grown-up assortment

I repeat silent prayers
that you’ll get to your eighth month swiftly
which I know you will
far too quickly
and I know or should
that your chewing won’t stop there
you’re a lifetime nibbler
which is only fair
so I’ll start to brush them
each morning and night
which you’ll let me do
surprisingly being quite nice

the only thing I’d change
if it were in my power
would be to lengthen the lifespan
during which you’d utilize these teeth
for I know it won’t be long enough

Isn’t that sweet? It chokes me up every time I reread the last part of this poem. To think, I was also choked up when I almost swallowed those two molars. Believe me, their edges were super sharp from where they pulled away from my gums.

Besides, I plan on being around for quite some time. Yes, and I’ll be chewing and nibbling on anything left on the floor. That’s right. Clothing, papers, pens, anything that’s found its way to the floor is fair game. Just sayin’. Should you come and visit Skygate Farm, you’ll know what I mean should you ever leave anything on the floor.

Which reminds me. In two weeks I’ll tell you about the sticks I once chewed. Well, I’ll still chew on wood from trees. Come back and visit with me and you’ll find out what I mean. We’d like to see you then.

Speaking of like, we hope you like reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated