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.
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.
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.
TWIGS, STICKS & LIMBS
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,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)