by Kassandra Lamb
I haven’t been on social media much lately. I haven’t gotten much writing done either. We’ve had quite a bit of drama at our house the last few weeks, related to dogs.
First, our totally lovable, ten-year-old Alaskan Husky/Shepherd mix died. Rather suddenly–she was only sick for three days. I’ve never had a dog go that quickly. It was a shock, as well as very sad.
And the timing couldn’t have been worse. My husband was leaving the next day for Paris–just five days after the terrorist attacks there–to present at a conference.
I’m thinking, “Oh goody, I get to stay home, all alone, and grieve and worry.”
So even though I knew it was too soon, I went to the animal shelter to check out the adoptable dogs. It was definitely too soon. I was too heart-sore to feel anything for even the cutest of them.
The adoption coordinator suggested I foster a young dog who was waiting for heartworm treatment. Perfect solution! I’d have a dog companion while hubs was away, but I hadn’t committed to loving the little guy until death do us part.
Well, he turned out to be a handful and a half. He definitely kept me too busy to worry for the two weeks hubs was overseas.
Wednesday I took him back to the shelter for his treatment to begin, and while I was there I made the mistake of popping over to the kennels to see the new arrivals. Guess what, not too heart-sore anymore! (Although I’m still grieving my sweet Amelia).
This guy seemed perfect. He was two years old–so not such a rambunctious puppy–and absolutely gorgeous, with a shiny, copper-colored coat. The right size (medium), with short hair (not so many hair balls gathering in the corners–Yay!), and a calm, friendly disposition.
He’s got just one teensy, weensy flaw.
He’s an escape artist!
We now have two pet gates, one above the other, blocking him from going into the rooms with the antiques (until we’re sure he won’t chew or pee on them). The first gate we put up, just one layer deep, he jumped repeatedly.
But he didn’t quite clear it, so things would go flying on the other side as he landed all skiddleywampus.
The first morning after we brought him home, hubs put him out to do his business in our big backyard, with its six-foot high, solid wood privacy fence. When hubs went out ten minutes later to bring him back in, the dog was gone!
The mutt was two doors down, checking out a neighbor’s garage. Turns out he’d dug a hole under the fence, in less than ten minutes!!
So now he’s on a tether to do his business, while I strive to make the fence dig-proof. I have now spent three days of my life and several hundred dollars on this effort, and I’m not done yet. I had to cut all our bushes back away from the fence first, so I could work in there to lay down wire mesh two feet out from the bottom of the fence, then cover it with heavy, paving stones. As an added deterrent, I’m sprinkling everything with cayenne pepper.
My vet suggested I just try the cayenne pepper around the fence line first. Ha! She does not know this dog.
While I was outside working today, I had him on his tether so he could watch me. He has separation anxiety from being abandoned, so he’s not happy unless I’m in sight. (What he doesn’t get is that his owners didn’t abandon him. I suspect they just stopped tracking him down when he got out of their fence for the umpteenth time and ran off!)
So while we’re out there, he figured out how to get out of his harness. He goes to the end of the tether, faces the post it’s tied to, ducks his head and pulls back as hard as he can. The strap around his middle (that hooks snugly BEHIND his legs) pulls forward over his head, and he steps out of it.
I watched him do it–TWICE, with two different harnesses.
I came in tonight, when it was finally too dark to work any longer, and hubs said, “Why are you doing this? Is it worth it?”
My immediate answer was “Good question!” (BTW, hubs would be helping, but he’s in the end of semester crunch with his classes.)
But then my inquisitive little psychologist’s brain got to chewing on that question. Why was I going to such great lengths for this dog?
The answer, for me at least, is that dogs are the world’s best companions. They will hang out with you, offering total unconditional love, asking only that you feed them, pet them and play with them occasionally. They are the definition of “loyal friend.” (They’re actually pretty loyal even if you don’t pet or play that often, say when you are in the throes of a writing jag because your muse has gone into overdrive. 😀 )
The bottom line is if I send this loving, otherwise great dog back to the shelter, he will end up dead. If we can’t contain him with a six-foot fence (did I mention he’s also a jumper?) then who can? He’ll either end up euthanized as unadoptable or he’ll be road kill.
Not acceptable for such a wonderful fur baby.
So say a little prayer that wire plus stones plus cayenne pepper keeps him contained. I’ll keep you posted.
BTW, I had named him Cody, but he really doesn’t answer to it yet. I’m considering changing his name to Houdini.
How about you?
Are you an animal person? Do you have fur babies you’d go out of the way to keep safe?
Oh, one of our authors, Vinnie Hansen, has a giveaway going on for her book, Death with Dessert, that is about to be re-released under the misterio press imprint. I’ve read this book and it is GREAT!! So hop on over to Goodreads and check it out. Hope you win a copy!
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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