History Repeats Itself (sort of)

The Zaxby’s Incident

Labor Day weekend, 2010. Seven years before Rocky left for the Bridge, there was … The Zaxby’s Incident.

College football season kicked off that Thursday night. And, like any college football fan, I decided to celebrate with wings and beer while I sat down in front of the TV. When the night was over, I placed the 10 wing bones back in the box, slipped the box back into the Zaxby’s bag and then placed the whole package inside my tall kitchen trash basket.

Wing bones and beer go well together

The next day was Friday, Sept. 3 (seven years to the day later is when Rocky would leave for the Bridge). At no point during the day did Rocky show any interest in the trash basket and its hidden treasure of wing bones. The thought that they could tempt him never crossed my mind (yes, I was foolish).

That evening, I headed out for dinner. I was gone a scant 45 minutes. But that was more than enough time for Rocky.

When I walked in the front door, there he was with the goofiest grin on his face. He looked like a child who had discovered his Christmas presents a week early.

I had no idea what he had gotten into, until I walked into the kitchen. There was the trash can, laid out on the floor like a Mike Tyson opponent. The trash bag pulled about a foot out of the basket; the Zaxby’s bag about a foot out of the trash bag; the open box about a foot away from the Zaxby’s bag.

There wasn’t so much as a fragment of bone to be found anywhere.

If you own a dog, you know a chicken bone is bad news. But how bad is 10? Frantically, I Googled. First issue is the dog can choke on the bone. OK, we avoided that one. Second issue is the chewed up bone fragments can become tiny daggers inside the dog’s digestive system. Yeah, that’s not good.

Rocky’s vet was already closed for the long holiday weekend. So I placed a call to the emergency vet. I explained to the operator what happened and pleaded for advice.

“I can’t advise you on whether you should bring your dog in or not,” she said. “You have to make that decision.”

Decision made: Into the car we went to head across town.

An hour, a couple of stomach X-rays and $90 later we learned that Rocky had chewed those bones so well they posted little threat to his digestive tract. Still, we played it safe and he ate Metamucil and bread the rest of the holiday weekend. Other than a little diarrhea, he suffered no ill effects. Still, he never would reveal whether the Metamucil/bread diet was worth his Friday night wing fest.

The Tenders Incident

We now fast forward seven years, six months and four days later. I rarely go to Zaxby’s anymore. Tenders, a local joint, has better wings. They also have grilled chicken tenders, a healthier option for me.

After feeding Baxter his Salmon flavored kibble, I headed to the Tenders drive-thru for my regular seven grilled tenders, side of bread and sweet tea.

He may look innocent here, but don’t be fooled.

I returned home with my feast and began eating. Two tenders in, I needed to take a quick bathroom break. So I put the box with the remaining five tenders up on the kitchen counter, close to the wall.

Ten minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom to find a piece of mail laying in front of the bathroom door. Conspicuously, it had a couple of Baxter-sized teeth marks. Strange, since I was sure I had left the mail laying on the kitchen counter.

I continued my trek toward the kitchen. As I made my to the hallway, I spied a yellowish styrofoam box laying upside down on the hallway floor. The box looked remarkably similar to the one that held my tenders. Coincidence? I picked it up. Empty.

As I continued, I saw the remains of a styrofoam cup laying past the hallway on the dining room floor. Ice cubes were scattered around the pieces of styrofoam.

I made my way into the kitchen. Spilled tea had pooled on the floor. The box that held my tenders? Gone. The cup that held my tea? Gone.

I marched into the living room. There was Baxter, laying in his favorite spot on the couch. His look wasn’t one of a kid at Christmas, but rather one that had just handed me a report card full of Fs.


He leapt off the couch and cringed toward the back door, tail firmly between his legs (literally).

Fortunately, the tenders were boneless. No trip to the emergency vet necessary. No punishment by Metamucil and bread. But I’d been had again. And this time it cost me my dinner.


It’s been six months …

Today is March 3. Twelve months ago today Rocky had recovered from his amputation and was resting after having his first round of chemo a few days earlier. I was full of hope. Eleven months ago today was April 3, a Monday. Rocky was doing great and I was contemplating physical therapy for him. Ten months ago today was May 3, a Wednesday. And Rocky got groomed for the second time post-amputation. Nine months ago today … you get the point.

Well, today is March 3. Six months since Sept. 3. And six months since Rocky went to the Bridge. It feels like it was just 10 minutes ago his back leg went out on him. Yet, somehow, it also feels like 10 years ago. Time can be just as illogical as cancer.

A lot has changed. There’s a new dog patrolling Rocky’s back yard now. And Baxter isn’t as forgiving about squirrels and rabbits invading as Rocky was. But a lot has remained unchanged. The love for my dog being chief among those things.