Like most dangerous things, it started with an innocent and simple suggestion.
“You don’t have to worry about your dog chewing your shoes or choking on a chicken bone… we use these hard chews,” my sister-in-law said. “They are made from cheese.”
Of course they are. She grew up in Wisconsin.
But I had no idea that the love of cheese could spread from Eau Claire all the way to the Himalayas. For fuck’s sake, she was recommending “Yak cheese.”
What makes Yak cheese “harder” than cheese from cows or goats, will always remain a mystery to me. Apparently, Yak cheese is the only way to go. At least that’s what the websites that sell this shit say. But I’m not going to waste the brain cells to find out.
Day one our little chiweenie, Carol Fucking Baskins, had no idea what to do with Yak cheese. She trotted through the house “crying” while trying to find a corner of the couch or a chair in which to “bury” them. She couldn’t bury the cheese on our hard surfaces. She just cried and tried to hide it until we took them away.
Day two we tried again. She began to chew. Soon she was laying on my legs and slamming the square side of the cheese into my shin bone and holding it between her front paws like a vice. God damn it dog, my shins are not anvils. I have the bruises to prove it.
By the end of the first week, she was piling up cheese chews in various stages. Soon, she took to filing down one side into a crooked yet sharp “blade.”
Like any child with their toys, she spread them randomly around the house and only picked them up on a whim.
Every time I wake up in the dark of night to take a piss, I get shanked by a cheese chew strewn into the two places my feet must go to make it to the bathroom. Fuck.
Need to get off the coach and get a drink? Watch your step. There’s probably a least one shank lying in wait.
Soon these little blades found their ways only into the footpaths in all the high traffic areas. Never tucked into a corner or left in an out of the way safe location. They magically “fall” into the footprints on the carpet or work their way into the grout lines on only the most popular tiles.
“Where are your chews, Carol?” She doesn’t have to look far — they will be wherever my feet need to be next.
Over time, she shaves them into various sizes. But always with one rectangular side, and one curved and crooked blade. Is this how early man figured out how to make arrowheads and spears? Steal the dogs bone, duct tape it to a long stick and any Neanderthal could start killing woodland creatures with these damn things.
We are just starting our second year with this “puppy”. We picked her out near the start of this pandemic. If I’m lucky she will be leaving shanks around the house until I’m well into my 70’s. Maybe that will keep me from falling a breaking a hip?
So shank you very much Carol Baskins — at least you have given me a sharp reminder to watch my step.