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You may want to teach your dog to recycle, too


As Ollie reminds me, we all should recycle.

You wouldn’t think that dogs are environmentally conscientious. Ollie is a canine. He does his business where he wants, which on a 20-minute walk can mean stopping at least a dozen times to pee. How does he manage to have so much?

Does he save it up or is there some form of olfactory receptor that picks up on another dog’s scent that triggers an instant output?

If there is such a scent, I want to package it. In fact, it could be a best seller for those of us who nightly take our dogs out in hopes they’ll perform so they don’t wake us in the early morning hours, or leave us to discover a spongy carpet in the morning. Those walks seem to take an eternity when you’re ready to call it a night and your good friend at the end of the leash has no interest in lifting a leg.

Ollie may pay attention to where he digs but he can’t be thinking of whether he’s being environmentally friendly. He’s hollowed out a sleeping pit in the midst of our forsythia with no regard to the bulbs planted there or that he’s sprayed dirt in all directions. And he surely isn’t considering the environment when he makes off with flower pots that he joyfully shreds into plastic bits. The lawnmower further pulverizes the plastic remnants, however, that can’t be good for the environment.

But then there’s the cardboard tubes left from rolls of hand towels and toilet paper.

Usually they go straight into the recycling bin.

Not anymore. Ollie has given them new life.

He isn’t the first dog in our family to be fascinated by these tubes. All our canine co-life travelers have had a fascination for these bits of cardboard that have served their purpose and are now worthless other than to be relegated to the recycling bin.

Pepper, Binky and Boggie, our son’s ridgeback that spent several months with us and managed to chew off the edge of a desk and consume, without a single trace, half a boat shoe – it was cleanly cut in half as if dealt a blow by a falling axe – all loved the tube. Actually, a paper towel tube is better than that from the bathroom, but by far the best are those from Christmas wrapping paper.

The attraction is all in the noise.

If you haven’t tried it with your dog – cats might even be interested – meow into the tube. The first time I did it with Ollie, he cocked his head inquisitively, sniffed the end of the tube and then went wild. He howled, which, of course I mimicked using the tube. He went into high gear, spinning in circles and jumping to get the tube that I held just beyond reach.

It wasn’t too long before Ollie retrieved tubes from the recycling container in the kitchen.

He was recycling.

Naturally, the new use for the tubes depended on Carol and me.

We’ll find them at the foot of the bed, sometimes chewed, but never to the point that they can’t be activated. A reverberating growl brings Ollie, eyes wide, ears perked and tail wagging. He’s ready. A few more growls into the tube, or a coy meow and the game is on. He’s jumping, spinning and if really into it, charging up and down stairs. Such joy makes it worth it to run out of Bounty, even TP. There’s hardly a better way to improve one’s state of mind – I mean, environment.


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tubular man. far out.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018