“Bad dog” caught in the act: Top 5 guilty moments

In 2014, our dog Syba elevated her “Bad Dog” status in five memorable ways and I was compelled to document this new level of badness. 

Read on to see our “bad dog” caught in the act top 5 guilty moments.


bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Not to be confused with “Bad Dog” caught in the act circa 2005 (“Newly empty trash bag; see attached.”) #Ross


bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Or bad dog caught in the act circa 2007 (“The unfortunate trash lid incident” or “One way”). A somber moment.


She’s old and still Bad. Top five reasons Syba was a “Bad Dog” last year. And why she didn’t care.

Having an old dog is great. They don’t bother you with wanting to learn new tricks. They don’t jump up on you due to their arthritic back legs. Heck, they can’t even see you half the time. But among the pitfalls of senior dog companionship, there is one often overlooked reason why you should be shaking in your shoes: Time. They’ve had years to figure out things that were only mysteries before. And so little is new they must invent new tricks. And they are old. They don’t give a damn what you think.

And now: Bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments

Over the past decade, our dog companion Syba has proven repeatedly that she has the capability to get into trouble quite quickly, whether it’s escaping from buses, dumpster-diving, or grabbing seemingly high food off of shelves. She’s particularly likely to do so when we’re not in her company (which is not that often given that one of us has usually worked from home). When we do step away, she almost immediately discovers vulnerable food and drink.  Read on for more on how Syba was caught in the act this past year.

5. Taking advantage of weak systems

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Being offered a “legitimate” treat at Ma’s


Syba has mercilessly exploited weakness in unknowing systems, or homes we visited on our trip that are not reinforced with her potential raids in mind. “All dogs are food-focused,” innocents reply when we warn them about her dumpster-diving, cupboard-opening, table-top food-taking ways. “No,” we insist…until it’s too late. (Too late for food.)

On one such visit we heard Mom say, from the kitchen, “What happened to the bagels I took out of the freezer to defrost?” She really was wondering. Poor soul, she had no idea the capabilities of her grand-dog.

Like Sherlock Holmes, or maybe Scooby-Doo, we immediately knew the answer. (All too apparent in the partial remnants of a plastic bag in the living room.)

No bagels for Grandma.


Syba: “The rule is, when the counter is in reach, it’s an offering. A tasty, starchy, delightful offering. Thank you, GrandMom. Though they were a little cold.”

Other “systems” she has exploited on visits include dog-level garbage/recycle drawers (“Really? This thing is on sliders for dog’s sake.”)

4. Breaking previous (unsigned) contracts/agreements

I read something recently that explained a lot about Syba. Huskies are bred to not be picky eaters. (I’m trying to picture how this particular breeding takes place. Feeding them an exclusively garbage diet? Okra?)

This breeding accounts for her sheer indiscrimination in what she considers food. In two recent heists, she broke the barrier between what we considered “non-food” and what she now has dubbed a “treat.”

Discovery #1: Chickpeas = food

In the first discovery, I noticed that the garbanzo beans I was soaking (beans that are soaked because they are hard as rocks), were completely missing from their porcelain soaking bowl.

Garbanzo beans, or "treat"
Uncooked garbanzo beans, aka “treat” (pre-eating)


The next day, I had my answer (and if you’re wondering, no, they do not digest).Passerby must have thought she had a rare form of chubby sphere worm.

So now I know, she will eat anything.  All bets are off and nothing is safe. Flavor/texture not required. In fact, uncooked raw beans can actually harm your buddy, so we were lucky she recycled them. Beware!

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
She is sorry though. (Because her ears are down, and that’s what she does when she feels guilty.)


Discovery #2: Joe

Syba and I also had another unspoken agreement that anything in my coffee cup was off limits. I mean, I honestly never thought about my mug o’ joe next to the computer until one day (or three days – I’m a little slow) I returned home to find the coffee cup slightly tipped on the coaster and the contents gone.

You have to admire that she didn’t drop or break the cup while emptying. It’s only a life of pilfering that can lead to this delicate touch of a thief leaving no (paw) prints.

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Technique developed on the road later used for coffee stealing.

3. Causing sudden need for child lock

As we have decided not to have children (primarily to avoid having to put child locks on all cabinets) we were quite dismayed when this dream too was shattered (might as well have kids now – spoiler alert — we’re now equipped with child locks).

This next Bad Dog story is where her almost 13 years of experience comes in. We thought it was a fluke one day when returning home to find our refrigerator wide open. (“Maybe I didn’t shut it all the way?”).

It's empty, suckas
It’s empty, suckas


Nevertheless, she took advantage of the open door and gone was our pumpkin pie (glass pie dish on floor, intact – again, she’s very delicate), and many other items – she’d even taken out the drawer crispers! (Come on, the drawer crispers?)

Gone. (vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake)
Gone (vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake in its better days)

In a possibly Darwinian moment (for us), we left the fridge unattended again, and came home to find the door wide open once more (“Bad dog!”), our Tofutti cream cheese mid-floor (unopened – still working on plastic lid removal – there is always 2015), and several missing items we’ll never see again (at least not in their original form).

Apparently she does have an eating limit because she only ate ½ of the tub of Earth Balance margarine (non-hydrogenated and non-GMO, at least). Or we got home in time.

As an extra “touch,” she left two kitchen cabinet doors open with nothing removed.

This was all completed while she adorned her dog cone following surgery for ear hematoma (which in addition to a tool for opening doors she uses as a weapon against our knees).

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Glory be! She can even drive while Coned.


And thus, we concluded, Syba finally mastered the last holdout of safekeeping for our sustenance, the refrigerator.

Rob first solved our fridge issue by tying an enormous strap around its entirety and latching it like it’s got nuclear waste inside or dead bodies or something you will never want to open or see again. But really we’re just going out for a couple of hours.

She watched carefully as we locked it
She watched carefully as we locked it, taking mental notes

Though it worked, it was a bit cumbersome to strap and unstrap. Ergo, Rob installed a heavy-duty child lock, sturdy enough even to keep out Doris Lessing’s Fifth Child.  

As long as we remember to use it, the child/dog lock will give us back our food sanctuary.

However, our empty Tupperware are never safe.

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Because she can: Tupperware carefully transported from kitchen cupboards to living room floor while we were absent. She carefully placed each lid to the side of its respective container (even the peanut can).


2. Contributing to our starvation*

On tour, we make sure to have plenty of sustenance after playing shows. One night (morning) we returned to our camper van at 1 am, starving and tired, and reached into our cooler, hidden under pillows that keep Syba comfy to lay on (doubly serve to protect our meals inside.)

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Resting up hours before the heist

Yet there is nothing inside save the ravaged to-go containers, and both our meals (vegan steak and eggs) are completely obliterated (except the lettuce leaves, wilted and strewn on the van floor).

Syba’s defense: “My captors were performing. What was I supposed to do, ‘Lay down’? As I was yet unable to master the ‘glove’ compartment (treat treasure box) I saved them a slice of cake.”

1. Innocent statue attack

Our #1 bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments was sort of a throwback to puppy-hood. Perhaps the canine equivalent of buying a sports car in middle age?

Up until this time, I thought that inedible inanimate objects were long safe from my Senior dog. Certainly things that provided the equivalent chewing experience to gravel would be her last target. However, this assumption was shattered one evening (literally) when I came home to find my Greek statue (actually, an old, old statue with years in the family) fallen and crumbled to pieces on my floor.

bad dog caught in the act top 5 guilty moments
Shattered. (Note guilty dog in lower left corner pretending to smell carpet)

Thanks to superglue and a friend’s dog who, while visiting, found the statue’s kneecap days later, she is now complete again, admittedly more authentic and ancient looking with her new Frankenssembly. 

Ah rescued kneecap! Our version of the Christmas Story leg lamp, glued back together (thanks Rob).


In all fairness,she didn’t eat the statue (as she may have when a wee one). She just thought it was food because I had stupidly wrapped its lower half in possibly good-smelling holiday wrapping paper to make it  festive like a present. Perhaps a bad decorating decision, and paid for dearly.

*Speaking of starvation: A casual reader may deduce that our dog needs more food.  However, she has been about five pounds overweight most of her almost 13 years, and always had a drawer-opening, trash-pillaging appetite. Poor upbringing? Possibly! Bred to eat just about anything? Most certainly.

Love wins?

They say that in nature, parents of new babies of any species  experience a hormonal shift to ensure they care for their offspring (and don’t destroy their needy babes).  Though it can’t quite be explained by hormones, there is a reason that, despite the statues, sandwiches, and reinforcements, we still retain and welcome this member of our family into our home.   Of course, it’s her home too.

Maybe it's the Cone kisses?
Could it be the Cone kisses?

And would it be the same without this crazy and loveable dog?

What were your dog’s top Bad Dog caught in the act guilty moments of 2014? Share below.