Dog Chews #4: From Stinky to Scratchy

Dog Chews 4, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Dog Chews 4, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

Sorry if you’re tired of dog chew posts…only two more to go after this and then back to more savory subjects. The only one of the above chews that met with any success was the hideously smelly “low odor” braided bully stick at the top. After chewing for a while the braided sections separated and I saved the other two pieces for later. But even with the door open and the air cleaner blowing freshly filtered air on me, the smell was disgusting.

My son recommended antlers for a long-lasting chew but his dog, a Pit mix is a heartier chewer and gives the antlers a good workout. (They also gave her teeth a good workout–she just had to have a cracked tooth removed for several hundred dollars.) Millie couldn’t make a dent in the very hard deer antler. She quickly scraped the marrow (?) out of the split-lengthwise (very expensive) elk antler and then had no interest in it after that first hour of chewing. 

The last bit at the bottom is a white rawhide chew called “Digest-Eeze,”  to be more digestible than plain rawhide, though still no more nutritious than eating your shoes or wallet would be (and these dogs chews are definitely eating my wallet!!!)

Millie was mildly interested in the rawhide; she chewed it for a few minutes and then buried it in the yard. When I gave her one in the house she buried it between the sofa cushions. She dug the one in the yard up a couple weeks later and chewed it enthusiastically. Maybe she thinks they need to ripen before eating? 

Dog Chews #3: Old School

Dog Chews 3, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Dog Chews 3, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

These two dog chew toys, the NylaBone and Kong, have been around for a long time. The NylaBone is made of plastic and shaped like a cartoon version of a dog bone. It has no flavor or scent, but must be attractive to some dogs since the company still makes them.

Millie gave it a half-hearted chew, leaving a few teeth marks, and then abandoned it. They’re not recommended by most experts since bits of indigestible plastic break off and get swallowed. (Nylabone’s website says that they are non-edible and should only be given to puppies with baby teeth, never to dogs with adult teeth, which I didn’t know when I bought it).

It’s not that Millie is opposed to chewing up plastic stuff though.Yesterday she completely shredded one plastic planter pot and buried another in the yard. At least she doesn’t chew up remote controls, hats and shoes like my son’s dog did in her early years.

The Kong is made of rubber and is meant to provide doggie entertainment and mental stimulation. You stuff the hole in the middle with kibble mixed with Kong cheese whiz spray or peanut butter. The pet store actually sells jars of peanut butter for dogs. Since I don’t eat peanut butter myself, I bought a jar of the dog butter (I’m a sucker, I know!). Millie made a lackluster effort to dig out a little of the kibble-peanut butter mix but didn’t show any interest in chewing on the Kong itself.

A couple days ago she gently and lovingly chewed all the plastic buttons off of my favorite fleece pajama top that I left on my bed. Since she always chews the eyes and ears off of stuffed animals I give her I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Exploring Dog Chew Technology #2

Dog Chews 2, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Dog Chews 2, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

Continuing the exploration of what products will keep Millie busy so that I can have uninterrupted studio time. Sketching them is good practice in seeing and drawing interesting shapes and textures. The green in the background was a green plastic bag they were sitting on that I didn’t feel like taking the time to focus on drawing.

A frozen marrow bone in a package from the pet store or natural food store keeps her going for less than an hour and is noisy (probably bad for her teeth), messy (leaves a slightly pink-stained, greasy mess on the towel I put in her dog bed) and not very nutritious (mostly fat in the marrow). But it doesn’t smell.

The Piggy Twist lasted less than an hour, didn’t smell or leave a mess. The problem with bully sticks (aside from the fact they’re made from bull penises and smell hideous) is that you’re supposed to take them away when they get smallish so they don’t try to swallow that last inch or two whole, which is a waste since those things cost per pound more than prime rib.

Dog Chew Toy Technology: It’s a Brave New World

Dog Chews 1, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Dog Chews 1, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

It’s a brave new world out there when it comes to doggie chew toys; much different than when I last had a dog a couple of decades ago. My 7-month old puppy loves to chew and it keeps her busy when I’m painting so I’ve been exploring (and drawing) the many new kinds of dog chew toys.

My previous dogs chewed rawhide (now known to not be good for dogs) or bones leftover from making soup (also not good, can splinter), and when naughty chewed the occasional shoe, pillow, kids homework, or dirty clothes (one chewed the arm off my mother’s sofa). Chewing for dogs is like reading a good book for us.

Two of Millie’s favorites so far are in the sketch above: a circular Bully Treat and an ostrich leg purchased from an upscale pet boutique Millie dragged me into when we walked by. The roasted ostrich bone is light and has a texture like honeycomb; it’s all digestible and doesn’t splinter, but it’s huge and while not cheap, for its size it’s not that expensive.

If you don’t know what Bully Treats or Bully Sticks (aka Pizzles) are, prepare to be grossed out. A Bully Stick is a bull penis that has been stretched, twisted or even braided and then roasted. They are 100% protein, entirely digestible (unlike rawhide), take a fairly long time to chew and won’t break dogs’ teeth like bones can.

They’re pretty smelly (even the “low odor” ones), but don’t leave a mess (except the one Millie buried in the backyard for a couple of weeks to let it ripen). It was unbelievably gross. I confiscated it immediately  and now only give them to her when I can be sure she won’t bury it outdoors.





What the Wasp Wants

What the Wasp Wants, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in (wasp in the flower)

What the Wasp Wants, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

This wasp just wanted nectar from the flower. My friend Barbara just spent big bucks getting rid of hundreds of wasps that built nests in her attic and were invading her house. We don’t know what they wanted. This is the last of the leftover sketches from our endless summer, now being called California’s worst drought in 500 years.

Meanwhile, I’m still spending time previously used for sketching out hiking with my pup (but from now on I’m going to start carrying my sketching gear on our hikes and stop halfway to sketch). Thinking a morning 4-6 mile hike would tire her out, I’ve been painting in the studio in the afternoons while she attempts to re-landscape the yard. She’s a perfect angel in the house, but when we’re in the studio (that opens onto the backyard) she goes wild, digging up and chewing on random junk from under the trees and bushes that circle the yard, despite her comfy bed in the studio, fully stocked with chew toys.

Today I caught her chewing on an old broken hose nozzle, a piece of plastic pipe, various twigs and pieces of plants, and a stinky chew toy she’d previously buried. Then we play chase while I try to swap her for something healthier. That gives me an idea for some sketching tomorrow–all her toys and chewie things, many which are quite weird.

Christmas Goose and a White Pelican

Canadian Goose, Knox Miller Park, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Canadian Goose, Knox Miller Park, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

After an extraordinary autumn and early winter, with many things other than art going on in my life, I’ve gotten way behind on posting. This goose isn’t really a Christmas goose, it’s a summer goose, as are the rest of these sketches from Knox Miller park.

Knox Miller Park Clouds, watercolor, 5x7 in

Knox Miller Park Clouds, watercolor, 5×7 in

Knox Miller Park in Pt. Richmond is so pretty, with a lagoon of sorts, grassy meadows and the bay and mountains of Marin in the distance. The birds were all sketched from photos, the little landscape above was the only sketch I managed to do on site, after arriving late and feeling poorly that day.

Knox Miller Goose, ink and watercolor 5x7 in

Knox Miller Goose, ink and watercolor 5×7 in

Silly goose. My first attempt at drawing him from a photo.

White Pelican, Knox Miller Park, ink, watercolor and gouache, 5x7 in

White Pelican, Knox Miller Park, ink, watercolor and gouache, 5×7 in

I struggled and struggled trying to draw and paint this unusual white pelican from a blurry photo. I ended up adding some gouache to get back some white, which never really works well.

Jack London Square: Sketchcrawl 41

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor,  10x7 in

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor, 10×7 in

Despite the transit strike, intrepid Urban Sketchers braved the traffic for Sketchcrawl 41 at Jack London Square.  We enjoyed fantastic sunny, warm weather, blues bands and a classic car show.

I started by sketching (above) Jack London’s sod-roofed cabin above (moved to Oakland from the Klondike where it was discovered), Heinolds’ Last Stand (where Jack London started writing The Sea Wolf and Call of the Wild), and the bronze statue of a wolf.

1936 Auburn Supercharged, Jack London Car Show, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

1936 Auburn Supercharged, Jack London Car Show, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

The classic car show was the best I’ve ever seen, with cars from Model A’s to Camaros and everything in between,  spread out along the waterfront for blocks. This one had hydraulics that let it sit right on the ground when parked and then pop up for driving. It was hard to choose which one to sketch until I spotted a bench in the shade, right in front of this one.

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