Column: Spring in Excelsior and canine kleptomania

Natalie Webster
Natalie Webster

By Natalie Webster
Guest Columnist

It’s that time of year when we start to see our neighbors again. Winter hibernation has ended, yard work, gardening and outdoor fun have started. Every spring it’s like a reunion and I love it.

The true sign of spring is when Tommy’s Tonka Trolley opens for the season. At that point you know there is no turning back, only forward marching into summer. It’s the return of bare legs and unfortunately, Crocs.

The kids are out on their scooters, playing football in the neighbor’s yard, and we are all fishing for crappie. We grill year-round but this time of year almost daily if we can help it. I think we single handedly keep the meat department at Kowalski’s in Excelsior in business.

Last fall we expanded our family and added a giant schnauzer named Odin. This month he’s 7 months old and growing like a horse. He’s already close to 50 pounds and only halfway grown.

Odin loves people and animals. He is very friendly but sometimes doesn’t realize how big and strong he is, which is why we watch him closely around small animals and toddlers.

To Odin everyone is a potential friend. He loves meeting other dogs and people on the trail and even cries when they walk away. He likes to cuddle and is never far from one of his humans. In fact, as I write this he is laying on my foot under my desk.


Odin is as perfect a dog for us as a dog can be, there is just one thing that concerns me. It is also something that has been a source of embarrassment. Odin appears to be a thief.

While most dogs take your slippers, gloves, or shoes and chew them up, our Odin steals these items and hordes them in parts of the house. I just found a stash with two hats, a sock and a sleep mask, which he accumulated just this morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that he doesn’t destroy them. It’s just odd.

Sometimes we have him at our store J. Novachis on Water St. We share a connecting door with Amore & Fede. When the door has been left open, Odin dashes over to Amore & Fede, goes straight to their dog’s Zoie’s bed and steals her stuffed rabbit. After he steals the rabbit he runs it back to our store and tries to hide it.

We have new neighbors at home. Yesterday, Odin saw a door open at their house. He took off into the house and escaped with a pair of their socks in his mouth. There is nothing like prying your new neighbor’s socks out of your dog’s slobbery mouth and handing them back to break the ice.

The other day I came home and Odin was wearing a pair of my underwear over his head, not sure how he even managed that. I checked one of his stash sites and sure enough, he had a fork, socks and a flute in his pile.

Again, he doesn’t chew up any of these things. He just puts them in piles in hiding spots around the house or our store like some kind of kleptomaniac hoarder. When I confront him about these stolen items he looks at me like I’m the crazy one.

Overall he is an incredible dog and addition to our family. We are all perfectly imperfect. This is probably Odin’s way of flying his freak flag, or maybe he is protecting our belongings from something. I have no idea.

Just know that if you meet Odin around Excelsior and go to pet him then find your wallet is missing, know we will make sure it is returned.

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