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Friday, April 12, 2013

Waiting for the rain

Penny is definitely the smarter of our two dogs.  Chloe is all heart but, sadly, not much on brains.  From the time Penny was young, when she would wrap herself around a tree on her tie-out, I could tell her to “go around the tree,” pointing the direction with a sweep of my arm and she would run counter to her original wind and free herself.  A pretty good trick if I do say so myself. 

Chloe, however will wind herself around the tree, and as I do with Penny, I will instruct her to “go around the tree.”  This interaction only serves to excite her.  She is so happy that I am giving her any attention at all just at a time when she is feeling trapped and forgotten that she begins to jump and smile and wag her tail. 

The more I try to command her, the more excited she gets.  Oh, yes, she has run around the tree as I have instructed her, but invariably, it will be in the same direction she went when she became stuck to begin with.  Eventually, I give up and tramp out in the rain to unwind and “rescue” her.  Oh, did I forget to mention that this is a rainy day trick?  I can’t recall a single time she has performed this one when it was not raining outside. 

As I approach, she will give excited little yelps and I can almost hear the trumpets in her head as her brain plays, “here she comes to save the day!”  Once I am close enough to help her, she becomes so grateful that she jumps up to hug and thank me, wiping her muddy paws all over my clothes.

Other favorite tricks of theirs that I enjoy are the Two Dog Tangle, the Unstaking of the Tie-out, the Tie-out Chew Through, and the Snapping of the Chain.  There is nothing fun about tying out dogs in the yard.  The escape methods vary, but dogs are pretty ingenious when they really want to “self walk.” 

Then there is the safety issue.  Chewing on a twisted steel tie-out can’t be good for the teeth and gums.  Watching a dog lunge on her chain as the mailman stops by is tortuous for me to see.  I can only imagine the damage being done to the trachea and spine.  Additionally, who knows where they go and what they do when they are gone?  I once retrieved them running down the main road with twenty foot cables and twisty, muddy stakes dragging along behind them. On one of Penny’s escapes, she returned about an hour after she left, soaking wet and reeking of chlorine.  Obviously, whichever neighbor’s pool she was in wasn’t home or I am sure they would have called to give me an earful, considering our phone number is on her dog tag. 

But all of that is about to change.  Yesterday, my husband installed deer fence around the perimeter of our backyard.  Because our back yard butts up to the woods and I would like to have a vegetable garden this year, a deer fence is a must have.  Better than keeping the deer out, however, is keeping the dogs in.  While I realize that fences can be jumped, dug under and chewed through, I am not sure my dogs are that ambitious.  Until they prove me wrong, I am enjoying opening the door, letting them out, going on about my business and then finding them on the deck waiting for me when I return. 

I can’t wait until it rains!