Our first Christmas together my now husband Ryan gave me a sofa. It is a large purple thing, perfect for sitting or sleeping and I had been lusting after it for some time. We lovingly christened it "couchtopia." For four years we lounged and cuddled and watched TV on our wonderful furniture island. Then last October we found a dopey looking dog at the pound, brought her home and named her Sally. And the couch became one big chew toy.
I knew the couch was a potential scratching post. With three cats I knew that battlefield well and was armed with sticky tape strips and a spray bottle full of "bad cat" water. But I had no idea that a dog would actually attempt to EAT a couch.
At first she seemed to have no interest in our beloved sofa except to enjoy sitting on it and cocooning with me and Ryan. Of course, this was in the early days when Ryan and I stupidly left things like shoes, books, remote controls, purses, artwork and telephones just laying about for her general consumption. As the weeks progressed and I began thinking like a dog, scouring the house for any potential chew toys, her choices became fewer and fewer. But there was one thing I couldn't pick up and put on a higher shelf -- the couch.
The first attack happened in early December. We returned one Saturday night to find a couch cushion on the floor, torn open and disemboweled. After minutes of screaming and crying and threatening to never let Sally back into the house, let alone on the couch, I found that if I re-stuffed the cushion and flipped it over, no one would possibly notice the damage. I went out the next day and bought bottles of bitter apple spray -- "guaranteed to keep dogs from chewing" the label said -- and saturated every inch of couchtopia with it. It turns out Sally is a bitter apple kind of dog. What I thought would be a deterrent became a favorite seasoning. It was like the icing on the couch.
Over the next few weeks Sally attacked the couch cushions again and again. I tried covering them with a blanket -- to no avail. I tried pouring cayenne pepper on the filling -- nothing doing. Finally, I pulled the coffee table up to the edge of the couch, hoping if she couldn't get the cushions off Sally would give up. So, she chewed on the arms. I armed myself with thick black thread and tea tree oil. Sewing, and then smearing at least once a week. Sally started smelling like a hippie.
Then, about a month ago, a miracle occurred. Sally had to have minor surgery to have a growth removed. As part of her recovery she was given a large white plastic collar to keep her from chewing on her stitches. It also gave us lots of laughs as we watched her accidentally scoop up snow in the backyard, or bump into walls with the edge of her collar. But the best thing of all -- she couldn't chew on the couch. The collar had made it impossible for her to grab hold. And she didn't seem to mind it. She could still eat, drink and do everything else -- she just couldn't chew. So, after the stitches were out, we kept the collar, putting it on her every time we left her alone with the furniture. I thanked my lucky stars and started looking for upholstery repair companies.
And then, last week I came home in the afternoon to find Sally, in her collar, gleefully bounding around the living room, a piece of purple fabric in her mouth.
The battle goes on.