Toe Fetish



I’ve had a lot of questions about my dog Wag. He is coming along fine, for a teenager. You remember how 14-year-old boys are, moody, cranky, without direction or purpose, and most of all, incapable of listening. On the plus side, he likes me. Most of the time. And, what’s not to like? I feed him, walk him, shower him with affection. I’m retired! My life is his!


I’m a patient person (I taught high school freshmen and sophomores, for crying out loud), but Wag is now testing my good nature. He has a new habit that is driving me nuts and his knowledge of the English language seems to be quite limited, or at least that’s what he is pretending. (The only two words he needs to know are NO and STOP, but he hasn’t allowed himself to master those yet.)


So back to the infuriating habit: Wag chews his toenails. He doesn’t just lick them or clean them, he chews them. Crunch. Crunch. As soon as I sit down to watch TV or punch in a phone number or sit down to write Wrinkly Bits, he starts grinding. He has multiple chew toys, large, small, in between, all readily available, but he has no interest. Wag concentrates on his toes so hard that I fear he has a toe fetish, which could lead to all kinds of depraved behavior.


I could put something on them, like quinine or petroleum jelly, but my floors would be speckled with whatever substance I applied. I thought of nail polish, but he might be embarrassed at pink toenails when I take him on a walk. I don’t know if this is just a nervous habit or if Wag is gnawing with the sole purpose of driving me crazy.


Boy or beast, 14-year-olds are impossible critters.