July 12, 2006

Herky Again

Continued from here...

The hike was, as expected, exhausting for both man and beast. Matchbox handled the pack with ease, which seemed to confirm our suspicions about some Husky in his background. Jeffrey tired at times, and seemed to stiffen up in his back legs, but he loved the trail, and he was brave enough to scurry down a hillside with me to check out a waterfall. I actually went down to the waterfall without any dogs at first, but I had been down or a couple minutes when Ensie told me to call Matchbox. I did and he came scurrying down the side. I grabbed his leash and went to lead him farther down the creek, but he was already heading back up. He wasn’t there to join me; he was there to rescue me. Jeffrey though, was a born explorer. We finished the Lake Quinault loop, and decided to head home and hit the showers. On the way home we made reservations at Primo Grill, our favorite restaurant.

The Missus and I had the Herky issue to check on upon our return. We told ourselves that he might have been taken by animal control, but we were fooling ourselves –and the in-laws- I’d locked the gate. We knew he’d be there. We just didn’t know what to do about it. Privately we made the decision to at least introduce him to Jeffrey –on neutral ground- to see what would happen.

We got home, put away our dogs and threw our packs on the kitchen table. Ensie went to check up on the big lug while I kept an eye on our puppies. This was not hard. Matchbox plopped down on the couch while Jeffrey dragged himself to his bed and fell asleep. I looked out the window that faces the backyard, and I saw my lovely wife with a look of pure panic on her face. She caught my eye and began waiving frantically. Huh… it sounded like she was yelling something about digging.

Oh, hell.

I ran out to the backyard, wondering if this was why Herky was roaming free. I peeled around the corner and jumped of the deck to find my wife with a most curious look. She seemed to be completely flabbergasted.

She looks at me, “I thought he was digging underneath the fence.”


This is what he did.
Gnosis Under House 3.gif

This would be a 70-pound dog wedged under our house. That vent he’s poking his head out is maybe 18 inches long and 8 inches high. There are six of them. They are the ONLY ways under our house. There is no cellar or basement. The space between the foundation and the floor of our house is about a foot.

Ensie told me that when she saw him out the window he got really, really excited. When she came out the back door she heard a noise about halfway between a scratch and a thump. She saw him digging. She ran to stop him. She wasn’t successful. Apparently, he really wanted to be inside with us. Herky saw the vent, punched through the chicken wire cover and found himself very stuck.

Of course we went inside to get a camera.

Now, after we’d gone from stunned to amused, we realized that getting him out would be a bit of a chore. We called him and he tried. We gave him cookies and he tried again. No luck. Ensie noticed that part of the chicken wire was still there and gauging him in the chest, so I ripped it off as best I could. We were debating the fire department and wondering if we would have to rip holes in our floor. He got down there; he must be able to get back up. We realized he was getting one leg through the hole, and then getting his shoulders caught trying to move the other. We tried laying cookies out for him, but he ignored them. He only tried to get out when we would pet him. If anything he was too excited. Ensie calmed him down, and kept his shoulders flat while I pulled him out.

Just in case it happens to you.

When we came home from dinner we had a decision to make. We loved Herky; there was no getting around that. We had to figure out if the rest of the household (mostly Jeffrey) would tolerate him, and how he was around cats. We’re up to four of those, remember. There was the other issue too. We couldn’t just keep him. Neither Ensie nor I could live with ourselves if we just kept him and didn’t make any attempt to find his owner.

But we really, really didn’t want to find them. We decided to try three things: check our area for signs, check local pet stores for “lost dog” notices, and take him to the vet to see if he was chipped. At this point Herky was a bit contradictory. He had clipped nails and immaculately clean teeth, yet he had very rough fur like he’d spent a lot of time in the sun and he very little –if any- obedience training. That and not having a collar…

Any of that was meaningless if Jeffrey didn’t like him. We had modest hopes: Herky was very easy-going and completely submissive despite his size and Jeffrey has mellowed over the years. We decided to head to neutral ground in front of the vacant lot on the corner. I took Jeffrey around the block on command. He was so exhausted he barely noticed. Ensie and Herky waited for us. Jeffrey got a little barky, did the dominant thing and Herky was very good and very submissive. He just wanted to play.

Miracle of miracles, so did Jeffrey. They rolled around in the grass for nearly a half-hour. Jeffrey hadn’t played like this since he was a puppy. We moved to the backyard. Jeffrey and Herky raced around (well, as much as Jeffrey’s creaky legs would race) and continued to play. We introduced Matchbox. He was a bit more defensive and made it clear he would stay the #2 dog. After another 20 minutes or so Ensie and I brought all three dogs inside the house. Jeffrey and Matchbox both made a point to inform Herky it was okay to be in the house, but he was NOT ALLOWED on either the dog beds or the people bed. Other than that, continued mellow.

The cats were… not thrilled with this. Merlin, the longest tenured furry pet in our house, was disdainful, as he always is with more pets joining the family. Moby was nervous. He seems to be slowing recently. We know he’s at least 7 or so, and he might be much older. Clyde was curious, and Percy –ever the fearless one – vainly attempted to catch Herky’s wagging tail. Herk (by this time I was going for that or Hercules) was a bit more interested in Percy or Clyde than maybe we would like, but he calmed down and seemed much more intent on getting our attention than the cats.

We had 3 major obstacles to keeping Herky. He had passed the Jeffery Test and the Cat Test. The third was the Not Finding His Family Test.

Posted by Frinklin at July 12, 2006 07:13 PM | TrackBack

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Posted by: Keyshawn Friday at June 21, 2007 11:45 PM

You`ll be glad to watch this.


Posted by: louise at July 12, 2007 05:12 AM
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