Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

Last fall, I wrote that just as I had given up hope of ever finding my lost hearing aid, a visitor felt a pinch on her butt and discovered the errant aid nestled in the cushion of one of my kitchen chairs.

A couple of weeks ago, I returned home after running several errands, and my right hearing aid – which is approximately the size and shape of a small daddy long legs – was missing.

I took the “Little Boy Blue” approach – “Leave them alone, and they will come home” – but this time it didn’t work, and I was debating whether to limp along with the left one or get a replacement. The problem with replacing one aid is that, for continuity’s sake, you can’t upgrade one without upgrading the other. The upgrades cost the same as the old models, leaving you on the horns of a dilemma.

I was sitting on those horns when, a week later, I couldn’t find my left hearing aid. I knew I had left it on my dresser, not in its little case, and feared that I had knocked it onto the floor.

To shorten the search story, suffice it to say that I found the mangled remains of the left hearing aid in one of the dog beds. Fortunately, I also found the little battery intact in another quadrant of the bed. (Battery warning: keep away from pets.)

There were three canine suspects: my dachshunds Nicky and Freddie, who are now 6 and sit around like tired old warthogs, and Ricky, whose owner lives in my back shed. My friend Hilary’s dog Huckleberry, who is interested in nothing but barking and meat, was not on the premises on the day of the crime.

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Ricky, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, looks like a cross between a gazelle and a Chihuahua – some say a bat. He is an absolutely darling rescue dog, chock full of energy, springing about the house and yard in leaps and bounds, kissing the dachshunds – ignoring their lifted lips – as if to say, “Hi, everybody! It’s me, Ricky, and I’m so glad to be alive! Don’t you love me?”

But like most of us, Ricky has baggage. He had been abandoned at a tender age and suffers from separation anxiety and a determination never to face starvation again. If you drop anything on the floor that remotely resembles food, he will pounce upon it. If you’re cutting up raw chicken, don’t turn your back. Everybody loves Ricky, but, left alone, he has to go into his crate.

There were no witnesses, but Ricky was the assumed perpetrator of the alleged hearing-aid caper. I have a long history of destruction by pets. My bloodhound Tok once ate an entire couch. The remains of a partial plate with two bottom teeth were found mangled in the bed of my dachshund Peter Mouse on the morning I was leaving on a train trip to California.

Various cats have shredded and peed upon irreplaceable treasures. One of the cats used to pee on the electric stove burners, sending us – gagging – out of the house. My sweet dog James ate the baby that was tucked into the hood of an Eskimo doll from Noorvik, Alaska.

Shortly after the discovery of the demolished hearing aid, we found a dead bird in the yard. Whodunit? I think it was Nicky, who killed a mouse when he was just a 2-month-old baby – the tail hanging out of his mouth told the tale – but there’s not enough evidence to bring him to trial for the dead bird.

And if we went to trial, what difference would it make? You love them; you take your chances.