Abby and I go for a long walk every morning, weather permitting. She explores and sniffs and barks at other dogs and does the normal doggie things on our walks. But one thing she does in particular is keep a close eye out for things to chew. She will grab scraps of paper or cardboard, sometimes a small piece of wood if she is lucky enough to find one. For some reason she loves to chew on them and eventually eat them. We feed her well, and she gets lots of treats, both doggie and people type, between meals. But she still seems to think anything made of cellulose is a special delicacy.
Since she can't stop and take the time to properly chew on a large piece of cardboard while we are out on our walk, when she finds one she will pick it up and carry it home. Sometimes she will carry something as far as two miles. As soon as we are home, she races off to her doggie bed with her new treasure. I don't let her eat it but I don't have the heart to just take it away from her after all her effort to carry it home. I usually trade her a handful of doggie biscuits for whatever she has.
The other day on our walk she really hit the jackpot. Someone had been pruning trees and Abby found a branch that was almost four feet long. She picked it up and carried it all the way home, which was about a mile from where she found it. Along the way we passed some kids going to school. They looked at Abby and they all laughed. Abby looked totally serious, as if walking around the neighborhood carrying a big branch was the most normal thing in the world for a dog to do.
Abby pulled on the leash all the way home. She was obviously anxious to get back so she could enjoy her special find. Actually, it wasn't the biggest branch she had ever come across. On a hike this past summer, Abby had tried to pull a whole downed tree out of Sawtooth Lake. That hadn't worked but this time she had more success. For all her effort, I gave her extra cookies in trade when we got home. As much of a chow hound as she is, she actually seemed a little reluctant to make the trade.