Thursday, 25 March 2010

Jasper's Obessions

For anyone who has not met the head of our humble household, Jasper appears to be a normal, well behaved dog. He frequently turns heads, especially since moving to Canada, and several times we have heard people muttering 'cute puppy' etc as they pass him.

We obviously adore him. He sleeps on the bed (when it suits him), he dictates when we go out, he invariably gets treats from our meals.
He is spoilt.
He is also obsessive, verging on neurotic.

In England, this was usually most apparent when at Mum and Dad's house. Jasper has a fondness for squeaky toys. Well, that is if you translate fondness as an inbuilt passion for ripping apart anything that squeaks as quickly and viciously as possible. In previous years my family have purchased toys of various varieties for him at Christmas. One year they bought him a penguin, which Jasper duly demolished in record time, but then rather than ignoring it as soon as he had killed the squeak, he kept gnawing. Eventually we took it off him and 'hid' it on the mantelpiece. For the last 5+ years whenever we have visited, Jasper has spent some of the time sat staring at the spot where it was placed, sometimes whimpering quietly to himself. (For several years he also tried to find the hamster that ran round the room in an exercise ball, which he still believes is hiding behind the sofa).

Since emigrating, Jasper has had a couple of encounters with squeaky toys. One blue bone (now sans squeak) is still here, and he pounces on it for a few minutes a couple of times a week. However, he has now transferred his attentions to household items, and there seems to be very little connection between his obsessions.

First it was Paul's hockey kneepads. Whether it is the aroma of sweaty sportsman, or some fetish for white cotton I don't know, but given the opportunity Jasper trots off with a kneepad in his jaws to snuggle up with (and chew, affectionately).

Last week he fixated on a bunch of helium balloons I was sent for my birthday. He sat staring at them from across the room, with his back legs quivering with nervous tension. Eventually I had to hide them in a cupboard so he could get some rest.

Today the bizarreness level reached new heights. My present from Mum and Dad arrived and Jasper quickly became alert to a parcel (he loves wrapping paper). We thought he had smelt the chocolate within, which would have been understandable. When I tidied later though, he chased me round the house - completely fixated on my brand new oven gloves. Beautiful though they are (thankyou mum and dad), this is very strange behaviour in a canine. The boy needs help. Any pet psychiatrists out there?

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