I don’t know what is about me and decorating, but sometimes my love for tablescapes and holiday decorating bites me in the ass. There’s no polite way of saying it. Listeners may recall the year that I had a dinner party for neighbors moving to California. I created this amazing Food Network-inspired tablescape that included twigs and berries picked from my yard.

The result was my first and only case of poison oak. It was so bad I was prescribed steroids for weeks which turned me into a whole new kind of crazy. A kind of crazy my husband and children had never seen before (and believe me, it was not pretty).

So I stopped picking twigs and berries out of my yard. Instead, I buy faux twigs and berries at the craft store! Genius, right? All the holiday ambiance with none of the risk to my (or others’) health.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2012. I put the berries pictured here in a vase on the floor in the corner of my dining room where I was serving Thanksgiving dinner. This vase already had brown twigs in it and the berries made it look SO. MUCH. BETTER!

How festive, I thought, before going about my business of making stuffing, roasting a turkey and burning the graham cracker pie crust.

Around this same time, we decided our dog Casey had matured enough to be trusted outside of her crate when we were not home. Or, in the case of my husband, home, but upstairs working for hours every day.

You see where this is going don’t you? Dog out of crate. Irresistible-looking berries at dog eye-level.  I haven’t even mentioned the Nerf football the boys left in the yard to be chewed to pieces.

If you listen to this week’s podcast you will hear how this all turned out. These berries may have been the single most expensive decorating decision I ever made. Right about now you are probably asking yourself: When is Erin going to just give up the damn decorating and holiday tablescapes, throw down a table cloth and call it a day?

Or worse, you are thinking: what stupid dog owner puts faux berries in a floor vase so her dog can eat them?

In my defense, the doctor says the berries (I think Casey gnawed off about 40 of them) might have passed normally on their own. But when greeted by Nerf ball stuffing already in her gut, they combined to make a nasty tangle that wreaked havoc on her stomach.

So with our Christmas fund now depleted, and the dog crate back out of the attic, we’ve all learned a very expensive lesson. Trouble is, I doubt even having her stomach cut open will keep Casey from her continued interest in tasting anything and everything she possibly can.

Right now my husband is trying to Casey-proof the yard by replacing the wood stakes the snow plow company put around the driveway. Because yes, that showed up in the dog X-ray, too. It’s amazing what one can pick out of a pile of dog bile.







10 Responses to Most expensive decorating decision ever

  1. Amanda says:

    Poor Casey! And poor Erin! Having a dog must be like having a perpetual toddler… I hope all ends well. Looking forward to hearing the podcast and your telling of the story.

  2. Kristin says:

    I really hope the boys are handling this ok. Speaking from experience, the worry about a pet is harder, when one of the kiddos is naturally anxious. Thoughts are with you….

  3. ali rae says:

    So sorry to hear about Casey’s emergency surgery. We had a similar episode happen with our dog Hubble over a piece of a broken tennis ball he ate at a dog park when we had our backs turned which got stuck in his small intestine. Definitely unexpected and expensive! Sorry your family had to go through that, but glad Casey’s doing well!

  4. Erica says:

    Erin, I totally understand what you are going through. Our lab who is 10 years still, STILL, eats socks, crayons, toys. We still have baby gates up. Ugh… he then throws up. Yeah… not so much fun. Hope Casey will be ok.

  5. Susan says:

    My brother’s family has that breed of dog. Needed an operation because it ate a rock. A large rock. Good luck!

  6. Wendi says:

    My two mastiffs love to chew stuff up…. Try coming home to a brand new living room set that is chewed up beyond recognition, this was a couch and a love seat! There was no fixing it, my husband had to load it in a truck and take it to the dump.

    Thank God my dogs have never needed surgery! One of them actually ate a capital magnet letter A off the fridge and it passed right through! Another one ate $22 in cash off my counter, I found it 3 days later! I washed the money and took my boys out to lunch! LOL

    Good luck… Having pets is like having babies!

  7. Amy says:

    And this is why I love my cat. ;)

  8. Erin – so sorry about your pup! Our yellow lab was acting funny not too long ago and I was so afraid that she had eaten something very bad that would require an expensive vet visit (are there inexpensive vet visits?) To help you feel better, check out http://www.dogshaming.com/ There you will find good company – plus it made me laugh so much I was crying :-)

  9. Jessica says:

    Yep, Labs eat stuff. Sometimes they never really grow out of it. But Casey still isn’t very old, so she may stop chewing some day! Baby gates are your friend. Get the kind that mount with pressure but have the walk through gate. Gate off rooms that you want to put pretty decorations in! Gate off your Christmas tree. Keep bedroom doors closed when she’s loose in the house. Management works wonders. My Labs have stopped chewing, but they are 12 and 13 years old! And now we have two younger dogs as well, so we still have gates and crates. Just part of life with dogs!

  10. Geraldine says:

    Too funny! We’re in the same boat but I have a surreptitious and constant eater as well. I should have started a blog “S__t my dog ate”. This will force your neat-freak tendencies in overdrive as the whole family will learn, “If you don’t want Casey to eat it, then put it away.”