How delicious does that look? Delicious enough to entice Dionne to gnaw on the green thing for hour after satisfying hour? We shall see. 
The green thing is a Goughnut, and currently one of the only two approved items for CCI puppies to chew on. We bought it about a year ago, along with a Goughnut stick. The tab for the two exceeded $40, but Steve and I reluctantly coughed up the money because CCI had announced that heavy-duty Galileo bones (made by Nylabone) were no longer acceptable because of the high incidence of cracked puppy teeth that appeared to be resulting from chewing on them. All our dogs had chewed on Galileo bones, and we had never suffered a dental disaster. But knowing that even one would exceed the cost of many, many Goughnuts, we complied. 
The problem is that Dionne has no interest in tubular or stick-shaped Goughnuts. Neither one of us has ever seen her pick either one up, let alone chew on it, entranced. She does like Kongs (the only officially approved chewing toy) when we stuff peanut butter or cream cheese into the center of them. But we like to reserve that treat for when we’re leaving her alone in the kennel for several hours. 
Frustrated, I finally wrote Becca, the Southwest region’s puppy program director. Are deer antlers okay? I queried.  (Deer antlers are also shockingly expensive, but Steve recently found a slightly less expensive online source for them, and many people swear by them.) 
Alas, Becca has replied, “Unfortunately no, deer antlers are not ok.  Our National Vet has not approved any sort of animal body part as they often carry bacteria and no one regulates what chemicals they’re treated with.  I know they’re really popular right now.  

Some people have had good luck with soaking a Goughnut in broth to make it more tempting.  We do tell people that for less strong chewers it’s ok to use Nylabones for very short amounts of time – but since it sounds like she’s a strong chewer, she’d be at a much higher risk of fracturing a tooth so it probably wouldn’t be a good idea….  You can also try finding some different shapes of Kong products so you have some to use outside of the crate as well.”
I’m skeptical, but I’m giving it the old college try.  (The brown stuff is beef broth.) The only question: how long does a Goughnut have to soak in beef broth to cross the threshold into deliciousness? 



Yesterday I should have spent the entire day at my desk, nose to the grindstone. But one of the pleasures of being self-employed is the ability to ignore the shoulds once in a while. And when the lure is an invitation to a puppy party in the exquisite backyard of Kathy Alameda, that’s irresistible.

Kathy is raising Ella; in fact, she picked her up from the Oceanside facility on the very day I got Dionne. Ella has stayed with us once, for a couple of days, and we’ve been invited to play once before.  This time two other pups in training and an older dog also took part in the frolic.

The dogs were pretty much active nonstop, from as soon as we released them from their leashes to the moment 75 minutes later, when I collected Dionne to head back home. At first, for a long time, they zoomed around in a pack, going about 50 miles an hour. Not once did I hear any growling or barking.

Dionne refused to swim, despite the incredibly seductive pool, though she got wet enough just hanging out on the ledge with the rest of the crew. Still, she was ecstatic. It was pretty contagious.