My mother has a ring-around-the-room problem, where, inevitably, everything she’s reading or working on ends up on the floor around her bed. When I question this system, I am often told that everything is where it is meant to be. The problem with this system became clear, even to Mom, when Butterfly found a quilting magazine on the floor and destroyed it.
Butterfly loves to chew paper. She doesn’t chew soft papers, like tissues or paper towels, the way Cricket does. Butterfly chews harder paper that takes real effort to rip through; she likes coupons, and recipes, magazines, and textbooks, crossword puzzles, and pretty much anything close enough for her paws to reach.
Paper chewing is satisfying. She can hear the tearing and crumpling sounds, and she can smell that humans have been near the paper, and she can taste the material the paper was made from, and all of it keeps her engaged.
She has made attempts to chew the furniture, but her teeth just aren’t strong enough to make a dent.
Butterfly has been watching Grandma learn how to quilt.
Butterfly sees Grandma playing with scraps of fabric, and I believe she has been inspired to create her own works of art. She takes what used to be boring pieces of whole paper, and tears them with her teeth and paws until they are all different shapes and sizes, and then she scatters them across the floor in a pleasing design.
The act of scattering the ripped paper seems just as important as the ripping itself. She doesn’t want to organize the paper into a neat pile; she wants to cover the floor with it.
I would love to be able to help Butterfly preserve her art work. We could spread a huge piece of mural paper down on the floor and provide all kinds of materials for her to work with: magazines and catalogs and newspapers and crossword puzzles. And, when she finishes a mural, we can put it up on the wall so that every time she passes by, she can sniff it and say, hey, I made that!
My only concern is that she would pull the murals down and try to redo them, like any other artist, never satisfied with her finished work.
Hahaha, that’s probably true! In the book When Elephants Weep, Masson describes how elephants draw pictures and then destroy them. Maybe that’s why they destroy them!
Perfectionism is a universal disease. Though Butterfly’s idea of perfect is somewhat different than mine.
Perhaps more creative ;).
Oh man, that is the most heartbreaking book ever! I can’t imagine how traumatized I would have been had I first read it as a child. Though, I read Black Beauty when I was very young and survived that ordeal…
I barely survived Black Beauty.
I hear you… that was my first experience with weeping while reading a book. Misty of Chincoteague was another horribly stressful experience followed closely by Sounder and Where the Red Fern Grows. Weirdly enough, those were the only books I ever remember re-reading as a child, maybe because they caused such intense emotional reactions?
I’m the exact same way. Even as an adult, reading Shiloh.
Butterfly might become famous and end up in MOMA or the National Gallery of Art alongside the Dadaist Jean Arp and his “Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance.” 🙂
I think we’ll have to start our own art gallery, for Grandma’s quilts and photography, and Butterfly’s paper art. Cricket and I will have to put our heads together to make this happen.
I’ve done that for a while. Forest products are very nutritional and a complete food group themselves. I’ve done that and it was mostly cook books. You can’t tell the taste of a book by its cover.
I knew there was a reason why I keep my cookbooks on a high shelf…
I love this… keep it up!!
Don’t worry, Butterfly has no plans to give up her artwork. She has a vision!
You are too funny! I love the “Pop-up book, by Butterfly” best. BTW Grandma is doing a great job learning to quilt.
Grandma LOVES to quilt. She gets interrupted by Cricket, often, but she persists. Butterfly likes to sit a few feet away from the sewing machine and stare with awe.
She was just trying to make a collage to go with grandma’s quilts… 😉
She does love her grandma!
What an artist. I was particularly impressed by the Pop-Up book
Butterfly is an undiscovered talent. She’s been working with the postcard medium recently, but her great love is the magazine. What she wants to work with next, though, is the hard cover textbook.
So creative Butterfly – paper cutting with very small teeth – a new art form:)
I went to the Michael’s craft store last and saw the scrap booking tool “Cricut.” Butterfly must have known all along, her sister, Cricket, is a born crafter too!
I see a trend here that is a little un nerving my dad, (now in his 80’s) does the same but it is happening in each room, papers are filed on floors or desks or tables to be sorted – later. Back to Butterfly you can’t give out to her she was being inventive and busy.
My mom has had this ring-around-the-room disorder for as long as I’ve known her. She passed it on to my brother, but I didn’t catch that particular gene. Sometimes these things skip a generation and go straight to the granddogs.
An excellent way to start the day: a good laugh and Butterfly’s art. I think you should frame it and hang next to Grandma’s beautiful quilts!
I’m afraid if I hang Butterfly’s work on the wall, she will teach herself how to jump and climb until she can get up there and do her editing. I’m trying to convince my mom to hang up more of her work; hopefully she’ll start to listen to me now.
ANY scrap of paper left on the floor, my last dog (God rest his soul) would IMMEDIATELY run and urinate on it.. He was that well “paper-trained”.
I had to, like your Mom, rethink my “file organizing”.
PS.. Nice quilts.
Thank God we were never able to paper train Butterfly; her artwork would have taken a much different turn.
I love the free impressionist content of Butterfly’s artwork. My dog does a similar thing to our mail given half a chance and waits with eager anticipation for the cardboard roll from the toilet roll so that she can sculpt it with her teeth…
These dogs, they have such an eye, and persistence too.
very creative, you can use it for papermache projects :o)
Some of Butterfly’s work is already similar to papermache, because of the saliva additives. Very long lasting adhesive.
Artwork, what a tremendous idea!! Once she begins her mural I can see her completed work rivaling that of perhaps a Christo. 😉
We left the walls in the hallway white for her, so whenever she’s ready…
Butterfly is an original. She will cling to that artistic bent, I’m sure.
Right now, she would like to make art with shredded chicken. She’s pouting over the chicken soup, but she will get back to her paper dreams as soon as dinner is over.
You see through to the doggy side ,.all the lway to the ” Human nature of male dogs”.
I know she’s not a male , but I have to stick with my silly theme,
Keep it up.
Thank you! I think Butterfly has been whispering in my ear overnight, telling me what to write about her. But every time I wake up, she’s fast asleep and snoring. Hmm.
This is charming, Rachel. Your empathy with cricket is so touching and her work most interesting!
I had a foxhound who would take the dog bowls from the eating area and arrange them in different ways. When we were not looking, he would also remove plates and bowls and do the same thing. Some dogs are called to create I think–just like people. Great post!
Ooh, that sounds like fun! I may have to start doing bowl stacking art myself. Butterfly could come along and drop kibble into each bowl until it becomes a kibble fountain.
I like that Pop up never would have thought of that 🙂 You so see it through the doggies eye’s . Great post! x
It is great that you have an artist. My Sophie is a construction, or destruction, worker. She tears apart toys, and has even take a few bites out of the wall. Sigh. I love cats. 🙂
The wall?! That is impressive. I had a dog who ate a couch, or most of it anyway. She was a black lab mix and found the couch only slightly more tempting than the dining room table.
That’s funny. We had another lab mix who ate the arm off of a leather sofa. Yeah, I’m still a cat person. Go figure.
Haha, this is hilarious. I love Butterfly’s pop-up book. Will it be available on Amazon soon? I’ll pre-order! 🙂
Next up, we work on content. I think Cricket will have to step up her creative efforts now.
There’s nothing like a little sibling rivalry to spur one’s creative juices. 😉
I’m really liking her attention to detail: The combination of shredded to whole parts really shows her grasp of perspective!
Butterfly is ALL about perspective.
Mambo loves chewing on paper too!! His Christmas present is getting to revel in all that wrapping paper all over the ground. He loves it!!
Butterfly watched a video of puppies chewing on wrapping paper, and I could see stars in her eyes. She has plans.
Your pups are too cute Rachel! Even when they are naughty! Thank you for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. I noticed on your about page you are writing memoir. Just curious as to why the switch from fiction? I have been considering memoir too.
Thank you! I still write fiction, I’m just branching out. I tried writing children’s stories as my escape from novels, but it didn’t feel like much of an escape. I can’t manage long memoir pieces, or short fiction, it’s odd.
Oh! I wish I could send you a picture of my current issue of “House Beautiful” magazine! Louie chewed it, and now how will I know the secrets to making my house beautiful??
But Louie just showed you! Pop up books are the latest craze in home design.
Ooooh, right! Mine is more of a pop-up mess.
I stopped buying dog toys when I realized my dogs were much happier tearing apart paper and cardboard. Now I collect all the boxes coming my way and give to them, sometimes with a treat inside. Keeps them entertained for hours (and way cheaper than all the toys!). Very cute puppies you have
Thank you! I think Butterfly would be overwhelmed by a cardboard box, even Cricket would nudge it a few times and then crawl back under the couch. Now, wrapping paper, or bubble wrap, those would go over very well around here.
Lucky for me, Summer is not a paper chewer….now a counter surfer, yes. Leave anything up there and she is interested – edible or not!
Thanks for the like on my blog!
Cricket would LOVE to counter surf. Once she figures out what ladders are for, I’ll be in trouble.
What a fun post! Thanks for a good chuckle with my cup of tea!
Thank you! My mom likes to put chocolate in her tea, I’ll have to tell her about your variation.
Pearl’s favourite toy is an armchair – she loves pulling the stuffing out and distributing it around the house.
I love your Grandma’s egret!
Cricket used to destuff toys and spread the fluff around the apartment, until she choked on the fluff a few too many times.
Wow, you are one creative family! I love Butterfly’s 3-d creations and Grandma’s quilts. Have you tried giving Butterfly some yarn? She might be a knitter…..
I have a picture somewhere of Butterfly chewing on a hank of yarn, but it never really progressed form there. Cricket used to be fascinated with knitting. She’d sit on my lap and drop hair and spit in every blanket.
Millie and Pearl both love unravelling a ball of wool and remaking it into a masterpiece of tangled chaos!
Cricket used to be great at that. She knew just how much spit to add to the mix to make the yarn stay in it’s new shape.
Cricket sounds like a cutie – and a ball of energy. Her endeavours remind me a bit of my little ones. Isn’t it nice to have the liveliness? 🙂
The girls give me so much energy, especially first thing in the morning, when I don’t want it.
🙂 Haha! Same with my two little ones!
Sounds familiar! I usually have to pick up by hand, because it’s pieces of sticks, shredded toilet paper, or stuffing from a toy. I like to shop at Goodwill for stuffed animals, but I only buy the ones with no plastic eyes.
Thank God we’ve never had toys with plastic eyes. Cricket would have treated those like candy.
That wouldn’t be good. Zack, our last Golden, used to rip the squeaker out of his stuffed animal toys.
Cricket tried to do that, but she’s never been able to get to the chewy center.
This was a fun first visit to your site.. I liked the ‘pop up book by Butterfly’ picture and caption and “like any other artist, never satisfied with her work.” 🙂
Thanks so much!
You are entirely welcome. ❤
LOL! I loved this post! Reminds me of my dog Posey, who loved to devour books. Her favorite was Reverence for Life by A. Schweitzer…good thing, too.
Butterfly especially loves those quilting magazines, and blank yellow college lined paper, and a little taste of supermarket coupon can never go wrong.
love and peace >3