Gypsy: An Old Valve Handle

Gypsy has a new problem to solve – it’s an old valve handle, and so far this weathered handle has her stumped, and she has not been able to open our house door.

Gypsy's latest challenge: an old valve handle from Red's Trading Post in The Dalles.
Gypsy’s latest challenge: an old valve handle from Red’s Trading Post in The Dalles.

 

But, she still opens other doors. We took Gypsy with us for a R.V. trip along the Oregon Coast this past week, and on the way home we stopped In Grants Pass, Oregon to see some friends.

 

While we were in the kitchen one morning making coffee, the front door swung abruptly open, and in pranced Gypsy. Jim, my friend’s husband, asked, “Did she just let herself in?”

 

“Yep,” I answered, “She did.”

 

An ordinary round door handle is pretty simple for Gypsy.

Sher and Gypsy under the towering old growth at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park Oregon Coast.
Sher and Gypsy under the towering old growth at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park Oregon Coast.
Bullard's Beach State Park Oregon Coast. Gypsy on her sleeping bag dreaming about new ways to open doors while Bruce plays fiddle tunes in front of the fire.
Bullard’s Beach State Park Oregon Coast. Gypsy on her sleeping bag dreaming about new ways to open doors while Bruce plays fiddle tunes in front of the fire.

Outwitting the Pudelpointer

Gypsy (the clever culprit) an eleven month old Pudelpointer.
Gypsy (the clever culprit) an eleven month old Pudelpointer.

“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of” – Ogden Nash

So far, we have not been able to outwit the Pudelpointer puppy.

When Gypsy decides she is tired of exploring her three-acre fenced yard, nothing short of a locked door seems to stop her from getting inside the house.

It begins here....
It begins here….

For three months Bruce has tried a variety of unsuccessful solutions addressing Gypsy’s amazing ability to open all four exterior doors. He’s built a cage to cover the door handle, attached bungee straps to make the door difficult to open, and he even installed a new doorknob style, but Gypsy has overcome every obstacle and continues to open the doors.

The cage over the door handle. It took Gypsy a week to perfect getting around this challenge.
The cage over the door handle. It took Gypsy a week to perfect getting around this challenge.
The single bungee method, but the tension was not strong enough and Gypsy could open the door.
The single bungee method, but the tension was not strong enough and Gypsy could open the door.
The double bungee works quite well except it is difficult for non-body builders to open, so it stops most of us --including Gypsy.
The double bungee works quite well except it is difficult for non-body builders to open, so it stops most of us –including Gypsy.
Bruce first tried adjusting the handle placement to a vertical position, but Gypsy can still open the door.
Bruce first tried adjusting the handle placement to a vertical position, but Gypsy can still open the door.

The problem with some of these designs, such as the double bungee cord, is that children and older people simply don’t have the strength to open the door. And, I have to use two hands, which often means setting down whatever I am carrying. And even with both hands, it takes many moments to slowly press down the handle and move open the door while the handle is pushing against my hands to go right back up again.

As Bruce produces a solution, Gypsy creates a new problem, and, so, when I return from town these days, I never know what sort of door handle awaits me.

Bruce's most recent solution - a different type of doorknob.
Bruce’s most recent solution – a different type of doorknob.
The glass door knob lasted two days before she removed the knob. She could not get into the house but neither could we.
The glass door knob lasted two days before she removed the knob. She could not get into the house but neither could we.

And, it’s not just exterior door handles that grab Gypsy’s attention. In the past week she has successfully opened a catch latch on a swinging gate between the mudroom and the main house. Now Bruce may need to change the gate latch.

Though it’s clear the eleven-month old puppy is better at solving problems than we are, Bruce and I are not giving up; the quest for a Gypsy-proof door handle and now a gate latch continues.

Bruce built three of these lovely gates to provide a farm-feel barrier between  the mudroom and the main house.
Bruce built three of these lovely gates to provide a farm-feel barrier between the mudroom and the main house.
Recently Gypsy has lifted this latch with her mouth and pulled back on the door with her leg and entered the main house.
Recently Gypsy has lifted this latch with her mouth or foot and pulled back on the door with her leg and entered the main house.

Gypsy: Everything and Everyone is Me!

Prelude:

Gypsy weighs 22 pounds, but is still small enough to attract the attention of two great horned owls. Last night Bruce walked up to the pump house with Gypsy. The sun had just set, and the owls were perched above the pump house when he and Gypsy arrived. Bruce was working on the electrical box when Gypsy left him and went running down the road back to our farmhouse. She was wearing a long check cord, but Bruce failed to catch her. And, she was in an ignoring mood, so she did not heed his voice. He called me from his cell phone, and I was in the bedroom. I went to the phone, but Gypsy had pushed the phone off the dresser, and, so the phone was under the bed. I couldn’t reach the phone. I could hear the owls outside the bedroom window, but I had no idea Gypsy might be in danger. Apparently the owls flew over Gypsy as she ran and followed her down to the farmhouse. They were now settled on an electric pole not far from our front door.

 

Bruce called me again, and I went out to the kitchen to get the phone. Once I heard his story, I put the phone down and ran to the front door. Gypsy was standing on the welcome mat looking up at me. What a relief.

Gypsy goes from ten weeks old and being Camper Girl to ....
Gypsy goes from ten weeks old and being Camper Girl to ….

 

...to being fourteen weeks old and ready to drive.
…to being fourteen weeks old and ready to drive.

 

Main Point:

Gypsy still thinks everyone is just like her. By this I mean she doesn’t recognize other creatures such as donkeys and cats as being any different from her. She acts as though the donkeys and the cat want to play in the same way she does. Also, she thinks the donkeys and the cat are chew toys. Her motto: Make ‘em squeak! The problem is the cat doesn’t like being pounced on and bitten, and nor do the donkeys.

 

She loves the donkeys, and each time she sees them her butt wiggles, and her tail begins to wag furiously back and forth. I sigh, because I know she has no idea what she is getting into. And, when I take her over to the donkeys she tries to jump up on them and bite them to get them to play like when she roughhouses with Skookum and Ouzel. The donkeys try and dodge her. They appear to know the nutty puppy means them no harm, but still they can’t relax around her. And I am sure we are always moments away from “the kick.”

 

Of course one kick from a donkey would wake her up, but I can’t take the risk of the donkey really injuring her, as much as I think a warning kick would be of benefit, so I have to wait until she gets more coordinated (to get out of the way) and more mature before allowing her around the donkeys without being on a lead.

"We are the same ...right?"
“We are the same …right?”
Gypsy meets the miniature donkeys Chippo and Ziggy. At fourteen weeks old the leash is pretty much required when Gypsy is around the donkeys.
Gypsy meets the miniature donkeys Chippo and Ziggy. At fourteen weeks old the leash is pretty much required when Gypsy is around the donkeys.
Yee-haw I'm ridin' a donkey! How many pudelpointers get to this!
Yee-haw I’m ridin’ a donkey! How many pudelpointers get to this!

 

Next week we leave for twenty days of bird hunting and traveling in the R.V. with all three dogs. Have I lost my mind?

 

But, first we’ll attend the Schwartz annual Duck Camp near Toppenish, Washington. It’ll be Gypsy’s first Duck Camp, and she’ll meet a variety of waterfowl hunting dogs and about twenty of their people.

 

Gypsy won’t be able to hunt much this year, but she’ll be exposed to wild game, and she will see Skookum and Ouzel hunt. There’s nothing like experience with wild birds to bring a young bird dog along. By the time she gets back home in November maybe she’ll be mature enough to treat the donkeys and the cat with a bit more respect.

Bruce and my best friend from childhood, Merri Carol, enjoy a quiet moment on the deck showing off how much Gypsy has grown.
Bruce and my best friend from childhood, Merri Carol, enjoy a quiet moment on the deck showing off how much Gypsy has grown.