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Hindering Houdini: How to Prevent Dog Escapes From Your Yard

Anyone who owns a dog knows that dogs love to run and play.  Perhaps a geriatric dog would rather lounge in the sun and warm his aching bones, but most dogs want and need exercise.  Walking on a leash with Master is seldom enough so, unless a dog park is nearby, a play yard is required.  If planning a play yard, preventing dog escapes is a critical aspect to consider.

Why Your Dog Escapes

Most dogs are protective.  Some are natural hunters.  Therefore dogs will want to drive away perceived threats like other dogs, school bus monsters, delivery service trucks, and cars with loud exhaust systems.  Some will chase prey: cats, squirrels, bunny rabbits, and birds.  Others are gregarious and want to play with passers-by.  Some have an adventurous spirit and occasionally get the wander-lust.

Blondie Bear looking fit specializing in dog escapesOur “Houdini dog”: Blondie Bear, fell into these last two categories.  She likes to make friends, but also has (or had) a strong wander-lust.  She’s a big girl: 90 pounds, but powerful and surprisingly agile for her size.  She posed quite a challenge in preventing dog escapes, until I learned a few tricks.  Tricks on preventing dog escapes that I will now share with you.


Some dog owners opt for the simplicity of putting their dog on a chain or vinyl coated steel cable that is attached to something solid.  As a permanent solution to dog escapes, this is a terrible idea.  Many communities are passing ordinances making it illegal to tether a dog for more than a very short time (like an hour).  No one wants to see a dog living his live on the end of a six foot chain staked to the ground.  This is abuse and can result in criminal prosecution.

Using a run wire to preven dog escapesIf no other solution is available, using a cable & trolley run to extend a dog’s range while keeping him secured is better than a simple tether, but still presents problems especially in the area of potential injury to the dog. Continue reading Hindering Houdini: How to Prevent Dog Escapes From Your Yard

When Christians Die

The pastor of the church my wife and I attend passed away this afternoon.  This possibility was a prime topic of discussion at this morning’s services.  There were many teary eyes.  But as we contemplate the death of a Christian brother or sister, are tears appropriate?

Why Do We Grieve?

no more deathGrief is a natural reaction anytime someone close to us passes away.  We grieve mostly because we miss that person.  Depending on the relationship between us, that feeling of loss can have devastating results in our life — if we let it.

Generally speaking, we grieve because *we* feel loss; making the feelings self-centered.  There are a myriad of circumstances that make that statement less fitting: Continue reading When Christians Die

Worming Large Dogs At Low Cost

One of my Fosters, Ricky, has been producing bloody diarrhea since Thursday.  I took him to the vet today.  It was complicated, but the simple version is he has Hookworms.   He’s now on an antidiarrheal, antibiotics, and a wormer.  And because hookworms are quite contagious, I’ll be worming ALL seven of the dogs for the next three days just to be safe.  There are two standard medications for this: Panacur and Safe-guard.

wormingPanacur comes as a liquid (suspension) or pills.  A liter of Panacur liquid costs around $130.00 and is available only through vet supply outlets. I have also used Panacur paste for equines, but this is difficult to get the proper dose measured out for dogs.  The dispenser is graduated in increments of 250 pounds up to 1000 pounds.  Setting up the dispenser for an 80 pound dog is educated-guesswork.  A 30 pound dog is hopeless.

wormingThe pills in boxes of three and in sizes for 10 pounds, 20 pounds, and 40 pounds.  If your dog is bigger than 40 pounds, you combine boxes to get close to the right weight.  Most places that sell pet medications have the pills and they run $7.00 to $15.00 per box.  I figured I’d need 16 boxes to give seven dogs of various sizes three doses each. Continue reading Worming Large Dogs At Low Cost

Jasper on Sharing and Slyness

Cochise tells the tale

In our house we learn to share. If we get a new hoofie, we take turns at it (because if we each get one we still want the one someone else has). Blondie has a brand new hoofie. Jasper wants the brand new hoofie. What will Jasper do?

Jasper decided to go play ball instead.

Later Jasper got his turn. Blondie found something else to amuse herself with.

He chewed the hoofie for a long while. Then decided to go back to playing ball. He dropped the hoofie in HairyFace’s lap and said, “Watch that for me.” then bounded off down the hall.
Blondie asked, “That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?”
“I don’t know … no one has tried that before.”
“I don’t think that’s how it works. We share.”
“You’re right, Blondie, here.”
Blondie took the hoofie back to her lounging spot and resumed chewing.
When Jasper got tired of playing ball he tried to bribe Blondie into giving him the hoofie again.
“Wanna trade Blondie? I’ll let you play with my Redball.” …

Jasper was not happy about Blondie’s refusal.

To ease tensions, HairyFace put a dab of peanut butter in the Kong and gave that to Jasper. That made him happy.
But pretty soon Blondie offered a trade of her own.
“You want the hoofie, Jasper? I’ll trade you this hoofie for that kong.”
Jasper smiled slyly,”Ohhkaaayyyy … here.”
Although the peanut butter was gone, the scent was still there, Blondie still enjoyed licking it. Both were happy.

Movie Review: Them!

Them!This week’s Classic Sci-Fi Movie selection was another great example of the 1950’s creature features, except this one stands head & shoulder above its brethren.  Movies like Beginning of the End, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster prove entertaining  in a “so bad they’re good” fashion.  But, despite its Saturday Matinee style title, Them! delivers a crisp and witty script, high quality performances from the actors and some decent special effects – considering that this film was made in 1954. Continue reading Movie Review: Them!

The Saddest Realization

Child_DefiantThe saddest words any parent can hear is their child saying, “I don’t need you.”

The saddest realization any parent can experience is that the child is right.

Where were you when they wanted a lap to sit in and be read to?  Where were you when he wanted you to attend his softball games, when she had a recital, when they had some personal crises and needed your guidance?  At work?  Or saying, “We’ll talk tomorrow, I’m too tired tonight.”

And now that you have come to the point where you want to be adviser, mentor, confidant… they have no need of you. For so long they have fended for themselves they do not need, or want, your input.

You are, after all, just the breadwinner.

Cochise on Rainy Days and Feet Cleaning

As I explained above, I don’t like rainy days. I especially dislike thunderstorms, but even drizzly, gray days like today are a serious bummer for all of us. I don’t like getting my feet wiped with a towel, but at least I’m cooperative. When Doug says, “Give me a foot” I lift a foreleg so he can wipe it off with a towel. Then he asks for the other foreleg, and I give it to him. I make him lift the hind feet, but I try not to fight him: he’s going to win anyway.

Blondie has a different technique: she struggles. She fusses and refuses to cooperate and it can take quite a while to get her cleaned up. Especially since she likes to tromp through the mud. I avoid mud, stay to the grassy areas: my feet may get wet but I rarely get muddy.

Lancelot has a style all his own. When Doug picks up Lance’s first foot, he just flops over on his side, saying, “Here they are, all four of them, do what you will. I’m just happy to be able to come inside.” He’s a funny one, Lance is.

Play Yard Fence Project

Piney Mountain Foster Care is a fancy name that Marie and I have adopted for the efforts we make to help save dogs. All of our funding comes from our own pockets. The shelter or rescue the dog comes from provides needed medications, we buy the pens, dog houses, crates, bedding, dishes, treats, and toys. We also erected fencing to provide a contained space for training and play.

The Current Play Yard

play yardOur current foster play yard is the space that also serves as the driveway to my workshop loading dock and lumber yard. It serves the purpose of giving the foster dogs some space to run and play. A place to work at training that cannot be done in their 10 x 10 pens. We installed Critter Fence along The Ridge to keep them in this space and that serves the purpose – as long as they’re not too determined in finding a way out. It can be thwarted! I amended the original wooden fence and gate across the driveway to give it enough height to keep the leaper/climbers in.

play yardThere is some grass, but it’s mostly gravel and slope. They don’t seem to mind: they’re just happy to get out of their pens and run a bit. A 10×10 covered pen with a dog house is better than they’re used to, but even that gets confining if you have to stay there.

play yardIt does get mucky out here when it rains, so I built a boardwalk to keep all of us out of the muddiest part.

Currently we have two pens. As I sell off the lumber piles, we’d like to add more pens, but that would eat into the play space. So we have a plan… Continue reading Play Yard Fence Project