Monday, April 03, 2006


"...an abnormal craving or appetite for nonfood substances...."

Actually, pica is considered a serious eating disorder. Most everything I have found online refers to human beings. Certainly, having a child with such a problem is not the least bit funny. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/pica.html

But, I do not have a child with this disorder. I have a Golden Retriever with this problem. When dogs are little puppies, they will eat anything and you have to be careful but Apolo is four years old and he hasn't changed his eating habits one bit.

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"Don't you try to get my snack away from me!"

It all started when he was a baby. Our son was going to prom as a Junior at Kamiak High School and he invited the couples and their parents to our house for photos. Naturally, I had snacks available for the kids and the parents. Apolo was only about two months old and before we could catch him, he grabbed a shrimp on a three inch long yellow plastic skewer and swallowed the entire thing. I freaked and called an emergency vet line because the skewer was pointed and about as long as Apolo's little fuzzy tummy. They told me the only way to remove it was emergency surgery. Also, they said, puppies are remarkably resilient and we should perhaps just watch him and watch his bowel movements to verify its expulsion.

I worried throughout the entire photo session and frankly did not enjoy myself. Apolo was as perky as ever and seemed to be perfectly fine as he was the next day and the next. It was a mystery to me what happened to the yellow stick because I could not imagine it going through the tiny curves of his intestinal system. Lo and behold, two weeks later, it appeared in the back yard fully intact. I was so happy it was bright yellow.

Two days ago, I was cleaning up the back yard and what did I find but a dime. Apolo must have picked it up from underneath the recliner part of the couch where Dave sits. He loses his change there all of the time. And Apolo ate it. We live our lives around trying to keep Apolo from eating nonfood items four years after the plastic toothpick.

Just yesterday we took a sock out of his mouth that he was chewing and swallowing. He stole it out of the laundry room. We cannot drop part of the newspaper on the floor; he is always there ready to pounce, run off, and he rips, shreds, and then devours. If we are suffering from the sniffles and have a tissue in our pockets, he sneaks up from behind while we are sitting, pushes his nose in the pocket and takes off with the used kleenex swallowing before we even realize our pocket has been picked.

Apolo's favorite for whatever reason is Windex soaked paper towels that I have used to wipe off the table or counter tops. I try to be frugal with my paper use, so I'll leave my bluish paper towels near the sink to be used again. Apolo has an uncanny way of snatching them off of the counter and eating them. These do get stuck mid way when he is doing his business and this can be terribly inconvenient for him and for me. And it goes on and on. We live our lives trying to keep Apolo from eating nonfood items.

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"Yummy, yummy, yummy."

Apolo's additional top ten nonfood items which led to the diagnosis of "pica"!

1. TV remotes
2. Order cards that fall out of magazines.
3. Plastic grocery sacks
4. Cat feces
5. Styrafoam packing peanuts
6. Wrapping paper
7. Sea shells
8. Tennis ball coverings
9. Kaley's favorite pink and white patent leather shoes
10. Cedar bark chips

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"I'm gonna eat the WHOLE thing--the whole wrapping paper tube!"

He hasn't seemed to have outgrown any of this and in fact last night he ate orange peel which won't hurt him--but it can't taste very good. My kids say I am nuts to be so interested in what comes out of the other end of him.

But I'm telling you, it is fascinating. Oh, and I did not keep the dime!