Yesterday morning, I followed my usual procedure to go out and get the newspaper from the driveway which I always read as I am eating breakfast. Based on the time it takes to eat a Ciabatta roll cut in half to make two slices and then toasted and to drink at least half of a cup of coffee is usually how long it takes to peruse the local newspaper. Sometimes I finish reading before I finish eating which goes to show that there is not a lot of very interesting stuff in the paper, at least for me. I am not a great lover of American sports and the write ups about soccer are few and far between unless one of the National teams is playing. Then I can usually find a couple of paragraphs mostly denoting just how wonderful the teams are or if they lose, the many reasons why they did. The rest of the paper is filled with newsy articles about local goins-on and some world news. There is always an article attacking President Obama either for what he has just done or for him not doing it. Go figure… And then of course there are the flyers inserted to tell me about back-to-school sales or other similar items that I have absolutely no interest in purchasing. All in all, not a very stimulating read early in the morning. The one page that I do peruse very carefully, just in case my name is there, are the obituaries. So far, I have been lucky and have not yet read that I have passed on to that great soccer team in the sky…Gonna hate it when I do.
Anyway, while I was outside I heard cars screeching on Thomas Springs and looked up to see a couple of dogs entering my driveway. Normally, dogs that have broken loose are pretty skittish around other people but that was not the case this time. The biggest dog looked like cross between a Wolfhound and a German Shepherd. He was tall and rangy and had the longest legs I have ever seen on a dog. The other was just a little black dog not much bigger than a big puppy and obviously was very attached to the big dog. My experience of trying to get stray dogs to come to me has not been very successful in the past and they usually either run away or make a big circle around me and go on their way. I am always concerned that they would run back into the traffic. This time however, the big dog spotted me and came galloping towards me with a grin on his face as though we were long-lost buddies. The little guy followed dociley along behind and he even let me make a fuss of him as well. I grabbed the big guys collar and led him through the garage with the little guy following along and opened the door to the house which also opens up into the laundry room. Both dogs darted in and I shut the door. Easiest dog capture I have ever made.
I fixed them a bowl of hard food and some water which they proceeded to empty all over the floor. While they were at it, they also distributed hard food everywhere. I left them in there while I finished breakfast and had time to think about what my next move was going to be. Obviously, they could not really stay in the laundry room which got me thinking about putting them in the old dog run that I have on the side of the house. This is an area where the gate opens into an enclosure that is fenced on two sides with a 6 ft high wood picket fence and on the third garden side, a 4 ft high chain link fence. The house makes up the fourth side. Years ago, it was my dog run when I had four Cocker spaniels and a Maltese and they used to spend the day in there while I was at work. That was more than fifteen years ago. It has not been used much for anything since and I always promised myself that I would do something with it one of these fine days. I’m still working on that…
I hoped they were leash trained as I wanted to move them as simply as possible and luckily for me, both of them were perfect gentlemen on their respective leashes. I led them back through the garage and to the gateway that leads into the dog yard. The both trotted along and went in without any fuss. So I left them to go back and get their food and water having to spend time gathering the hard food back up again and then placed it in their new and hopefully, temporary home.
Two of my dachshunds were very brave as they barked at the two newcomers through the fence. The newcomers barked back and for ten minutes there was this awful racket as they went at each other. A real Mexican standoff. I went back inside after things quieted down and for a few minutes everything was fine to the degree that I got ready to feed my own pack of starving animals.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose with a cacophony of sound as everyone started barking all over again. I rushed outside only to see that the big dog, whose name I had discovered was Guthrie, at least that is what it said on his dog tag, had jumped the fence and was loose in the yard. I got everyone quieted down and they all kind of formed a truce at least temporarily. Seeing that none of the dogs wanted to go to war, I opened the gate and let the little black one out. This set off another round of barking until they got used to looking at each other. All four of them spent the next 15 minutes tearing around the yard exploring every square inch of it. Well, the new dogs explored the yard and my dogs explored the new dogs. Guthrie tried to get into one of the 80 gallon tubs that I use to start the water plants but this one had lilies growing in it. I hollered and he backed off only to try the one next to it which also had plants in it. So I hollered again and he slunk off and then the both of them decided that the ponds looked tempting and tried to push their way through the wire fences that surround the ponds. I have to report that the electric doggie shockers worked perfectly as they both leaped back in doggy surprise. That kept them out of the ponds.
In the meantime, I had got out my trusty drill/screwdriver and gathered up some new fence pickets that I happened to have lying around and went to work on raising the chain link fence to where Guthrie could no longer jump out. It was kind of very haphazard patch job but I hoped it would do the trick. At the same time, I walked around inside the run and discovered that the only place they could dig out was by the front entrance gate where they had first entered the run. The only reason I knew it to be a weak point was because they already had a hole about 6 inches deep which the little guy could have squeezed through. So, back outside the gate to place a couple of big rocks to block their escape route under it.
Feeling good about my efforts, I led Guthrie back in with the little guy following and shut them in for the night. I heard them barking occasionally in the night and my own dogs answered which made for a pretty broken nights sleep.
The next morning, I wandered over to the window and could see that they were both still in the run and went into the bathroom to prepare for the day ahead. Next thing I heard was this outburst of more barking and when I looked out the window and this time the little dog was out and running around the yard. Guthrie was kicking up a fuss as he could not get out. Apparently, the little guy had discovered where the chain link had come unattached from the gate enough for him to squeeze through and he had lost no time in doing just that. His big buddy was way to big to fit through hence the cries and whines for being left behind. I put the little guy back in and blocked up the hole he had found and went back to eat breakfast.
I should mention that I belong to a neighborhood group that stays in touch via a website that allows us to post anything (within reason) on it to share with our neighbors. I had posted a piece the night before about these two lost dogs in the hope that someone would recognize them and provide some information on the real owners but when I had looked in the morning, the one lead that was there did not pan out when I checked it out. I had been wondering what my next course of action if I could not find the owners for as cute as they were, I really did not need anymore dogs having got my original number of eight down to a much more manageable three all by their deaths through old age or illness over the years. By the way, there is a separate story why the eight dogs that still needs to be told.
Richie, my male Dachshund, was acting strange as though he had his nose out of joint over something. He would not come to me or pay any attention when I spoke to him. I guess he was giving me the doggie equivalent of the “cold shoulder” because he thought that his territory, his kingdom, was being invaded by new tenants one of whom was by far bigger and much stronger than him.
There was a ring on the doorbell as I was getting ready to take a bite out of a slice of toast and marmalade and there was the little old lady standing there. She introduced herself and then explained that she was not a member of our little group due to her not using a computer but she had a friend who was and had spotted my article about finding two dogs. As soon as she mentioned Guthrie I just knew that it was everybody’s lucky day. Her for getting her dogs back, mine for not having to worry about what to do next and finally the two dogs for finding their human again. I led her back to the run and it was a great sight to see her reunited with her puppies which she finally leashed up and led back to her car. We spent the next ten minutes as she told me some of their doggy stories much to my amusement.
I was never more relieved or more pleased as she drove away. It’s just great when things have a happy ending.
Oh yes, Richie is back to his normal cheerful self again and the best part is that I still only have three dogs…