Dogs certainly bring a tremendous amount of joy to their owners' lives. They can also cause their share of frustration. Sometimes there's not much downtime in between.

The gentleman above is my beagle, Riley. As Riley is going on 4 years old this year, it's nice to finally be able to trust him and allow him some independence, not to have him "locked up" in his kennel when I leave the house. No, the problems arise when I'm actually home with him.

This past weekend, I made the mistake, as I have many times in the past, of leaving the bedroom door cracked open, with my iPod on the bed and the earbuds, don't ask me why, hanging over the side of the bed. If you leave Riley alone too long while he knows you're home, the mischief starts, but he's very quiet about it. If you're not careful, before long he's gotten a hold of the earbuds and chewed the ends off.

Redemption came Monday, during our ice storm in Cedar Rapids. When Riley had to go out to do his business, I was bursting with pride to see how safely he knew to play it when walking out to the walkway in the backyard, with the same adherence to safety coming back in.

The pride was soon replaced by more frustration. Yep, just a day later, another pair of earbuds chewed on. My fault, because I left the same door open again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. He just nibbles and doesn't digest them, so that's not a concern for now.

When he was younger, you might remember my story of leaving a paperback library book out for a split-second, long enough for Riley to chew it apart. That was a $15 lesson learned the hard way. But he's older now. Part of me wonders if I should be concerned about this behavior at his age. It's just something I've gotten used to, cries for attention on his part. In "most" cases, I've become pretty diligent about it, but we all make mistakes. He keeps me on my toes!

I'll always forgive him his transgressions eventually. I mean, how can you stay mad at that face?


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