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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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The Chew Flip Flip-Out

I own a pit bull. At least, she looks like a pit bull. My wife and I adopted her from the pound, so there’s no way to say for certain. The pooch is smallish — forty pounds or so — but she’s got the square head, the powerful jaws, and the stocky stance of a pit.

She’s also a big goofy dork.

She loves people, gets along with (most) other dogs, and is far more enthusiastic and good-natured than the vast majority of dogs I’ve encountered. Or people, for that matter. Including me. If I wagged my tail as much as my mutt does, I’d have three slipped discs and need an asscheek transplant by now. I don’t have that kind of energy.

I like to say that my dog wouldn’t hurt a fly — unless the fly happened to be made out of Snausages, or some other tasty meat-like material. Given the events that transpired last night, it seems I need to append ‘or rawhide chew toys’ to the end of that line.

Chew Flips

Chew Flips

The specimens to the right are known as ‘chew flips’. They’re made from rawhide, which as I understand it is made from layers of skin stripped from some unfortunate animal or other. Which animal? I try not to think too hard about that. Pigs? Horses? James Gandolfini? I don’t really need the details.

The important bit to know is that somebody peels these bits off some beastie, cleans them, shaves them, sterilizes them to some minimal degree of safety, and — in most cases — bastes them in a concoction meant to taste like peanut butter. Or beef juices. Or chicken gravy. Or cat innards. Different bastes for different tastes, I suppose.

From what I’ve seen in my mutt, this last step is wholly unnecessary. She goes nuts for these chew flips, and subtleties in the various flavors be damned. You could dip one in a fresh puddle of yak whiz, simmer it in sulfur sauce, bury it in a compost pile, and she’d still gnaw off her own paw to get at the thing. Whatever animal they make these ‘chew flips’ from must be smuggling dognip under its skin. Powerful stuff.

We give the dog one or two of these treats a day — partly because we love her, and partly because she often deserves a tasty reward. But mostly because we’re afraid if we hold out, she’ll bite off our faces while we’re sleeping. She is a pit bull, after all. Bitch can’t be looking soft in front of the rest of the pack, now.

Many mornings, I’ll feed the mutt a chew flip while I’m getting ready for work. I figure it’s a nice way to start the pooch’s day — plus, it keeps her from staring at my shameful nakedness when I get out of the shower. And it’s a great way to say ‘Thank you for not eating my face off during the night!

(Some people would just send a card. I prefer the personal touch. Call me old-fashioned.)

Yesterday morning, that’s exactly what went down. Only in this case, the chew flip was rather large, and I was rushing out the door to make a meeting at the office. So when I left, the chew flip was still in play, and only half-eaten. This happens sometimes; I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until I got home.

“She goes nuts for these chew flips, and subtleties in the various flavors be damned. You could dip one in a fresh puddle of yak whiz, simmer it in sulfur sauce, bury it in a compost pile, and she’d still gnaw off her own paw to get at the thing.”

I arrived back to the cozy confines of my house after a long day of work to find bits of foam strewn in the entryway. I froze, trying to remember whether I’d remembered to hide the kitchen trash can before I left. The dog will sometimes smell some tasty decomposing bit of food or other in the can and carry it through the house in triumph. It’s not enough to simply eat what you find rotting in the garbage; apparently, you have to do a few victory laps through the living room first. I love my dog, but she’s not exactly the perkiest pair of nipples in the porno, if you get my drift.

At any rate, I was sure I’d put the trash away that morning. Also, I couldn’t remember discarding any foam or foam-containing products recently, so I ventured further into the house, afraid at what might be waiting. In the foyer, I found the dog. From her darting eyes and nervous, apologetic wag, I knew she was guilty of something. My suspicions were confirmed when, upon seeing me, she jetted up the stairs and made herself scarce. That’s a bad sign. A very bad sign. She wreaks all sorts of havoc with seemingly no conscience whatsoever. If she knows she’s been bad already? Good lord. Get me a hazmat suit and a sturdy shovel — this isn’t going to be pretty.

And it wasn’t.

In the living room, I saw the couch. Or rather, the remains of the couch. Strips of green fabric were littered across the room, and chunks of foam ripped from the guts of the beast were everywhere. The frame of the couch, usually backed against a wall, was pushed at a sixty-degree angle into the center of the room, where it had gotten tangled with the carpet and wedged tight. When I finally extricated the crippled legs of the sofa from the rug and lifted it to assess the damage, I saw it. Sitting under the center of the couch, lonely and pristine, was the flat, pale form of the half-eaten rawhide chew flip from that morning.

The dog had lost it under the furniture, and gone positively poochy postal trying to get it out. Which she couldn’t, once she’d jammed the couch against the rug and the wall. Evidently, that’s when she decided to dig her way through the couch to get at the treat. And with a couple more hours of work, she just might have made it. You couldn’t drive a truck through the hole she made in that couch, but you could pedal a tricycle into it for certain. That thing was shredded.

So, I learned three lessons last night. First, I learned the dog does have some kind of rudimentary conscience. If she’s really screwed up, she can wrap that pea brain of hers around the consequences before the shit hits the fan, and get the hell out of Dodge early. In this case, I was so stunned by the spectacle, I didn’t really even punish her. I didn’t lay a finger on her, I didn’t yell at her — hell, would you? The bitch just demolished a whole couch made of wood and metal and tear-resistant fabric. What chance does my tender flabby skin have against those claws and teeth? None, that’s what. I’m not about to piss her off.

(On the other hand, I also didn’t let her get at the chew flip she wanted, either. Considering she just went through eight hours of hell trying desperately to reach her treat, which she then saw me retrieve and discard, I’d say that’s pretty punishing right there. That’s like driving across three states to your favorite ice cream shop, only to find out it closed ten minutes before you arrived. Harsh.)

The second thing I learned is that the dog really loves those chew flips. I knew she liked them — but I had no idea she liked them liked them. I mean, I like beer and sports and sex. Especially together, all at the same time. I’d like that a lot.

But am I willing to eat through a couch to get at it? Meh. That’s an awful lot of trouble. I’d probably watch some TV or something instead.

Finally, of course, I learned that we need a new fricking couch. Or a new dog, and quite possibly both. Either way, I’m never leaving a live, undetonated chew flip alone with that mutt in the house again. It’s obviously a recipe for disaster, disarray, and divan deconstruction. And now I’ll take extra care to make sure one of those damned things never ends up under me. The last thing I need is to have my cushions ripped apart and my foam spilled all over the floor. Owie.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “The Chew Flip Flip-Out”

  1. Lori Hahn says:

    Charlie, This is my biggest fear every single day when I leave for work. Each night, I walk into the house and look immediately at my brand new couch and so far, have heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Your reality is my nightmare!

  2. kerry says:

    i have the same fear, only instead of a dog, it’s my kids. i mean, i’m not worried they’ll eat the couch, although my youngest pretends to eat pretty much anything, but they do have a penchant for destruction and they’ve already cut holes in mostof our furniture. with steak knives. that my oldest climbed onto the counter and got while i was in the bathroom. they scare me.

  3. sharon says:

    When my boyfriend gets home from work, or any time he enters the house, my dog harasses him for chew flips. Tonight Cody (the Great Dane mix positions his body in such a way that you cannot move anywhere throughout the house without being nosed in the crotch, pawed on the leg and likewise bodily blocked until he gets his treat) was so unrelenting that he head-butted Mark in the crotch and then stepped on his broken toe.

    Mark was, needless to say, not happy. I had to hold in my laughter and try to be sympathetic to his pain and the frustration of not being able to do anything when he walks in the door.

    So while my boyfriend was in the shower, I googled ‘chew flip’ (because we’ve run out of the good kind and I can’t find a store that sells them around here so I thought I could buy bulk online. The 3rd link was to “The Chew Flip Flip-Out.” Oh my gosh, as I read it out loud, I could barely speak because I was laughing so hard, nor could I see through the tears in my eyes. Glorious story, absolutely hilarious.

    You’re a fabulous writer and story-teller. I don’t usually keep up with much reading on the internet but I’m looking forward to much more laughing and crying at wherethehellwasi,com. Odes.

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