“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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.