Monday, October 08, 2007

No more crates

The dog crates are folded up in the guest bathroom (aka storage closet). For years, they were fixtures, pieces of furniture that always had to be considered when rearranging a room or starting the next phase of a remodeling project. My husband would say, "Let's extend the upstairs loft and make it a real second story." And I would say, "Sure, but what about the dog crates? I suppose we could put them in the dining room..." But no more.

No, no, the dogs are still here. They used to stay in the crates, separated, when we went to work. Felanie had a soft mesh crate that was really just for show (in fact, I left the top flap open and she never bothered to jump out), a way of reassuring Dozer that he wasn't the only one required to stay put. Dozer had a solid, thick wire crate; he was a Houdini, but the metal was stronger than he was.

But one day my husband commented, "Dozer hasn't chewed a windowsill or power cord since he was a puppy. The dogs have never been in a fight, not in all seven years, not so much as a grumble exchanged between them. Felanie is the laziest old lady in the world, and Dozer follows her every move (when he's not following yours). We've never caught the dogs on the sofa at any point in time; I don't think they even realize that it's physically possible to touch the couch. Why are we crating them again?"

So we're giving it a trial run. The dogs are both loose during the day. Let me be clear, this is NOT something I recommend for everyone with multiple dogs, especially multiple pit bulls. Especially with younger pit bulls in a less stable pack, this could easily lead to disaster--a bloody fight, and no one home to stop it. But both of my dogs are old (Fel is nine, Dozer is seven) and their ranks in the "pack" are completely stable. Felanie is a senior dog and is totally uninterested in any sort of physical roughness, and I know that Dozer, though he himself is rather rambunctious and uninhibited, has always shown great concern for the well-being of Felanie. He respects her immensely; he may be the "chief," but she's the village elder.

Yes, it's still a risk, but it's a small one, and one I'm willing to take. Dozer and Felanie both seem happier about it, and I have to say, it's cut their barking (through the front window, at strangers walking by) down to almost nothing. It's as if they now realize that people walk past all day long, and gee, it's really not a big deal after all. So far, it seems that they spend the whole day sleeping in the dining room, waiting for us to come home. We haven't found any chewed windowsills, underwear with mysterious holes (another of Dozer's old favorites), food missing from the counter tops, dishes shattered on the floor, or dog fur on the couch. So far. Five months and counting.

To be honest, I expect the kitchen garbage to be the first victim of this experiment, it being so enticingly smelly, nose level, and easily tipped. Then I suppose we'll have to rethink the crate thing again.

4 comments:

forsythia said...

Hi,

I LOVE your blog, because I LOVE pit bulls. When our daughter lived in Baltimore, somebody brought a stray puppy into the office and asked if anyone was interested in taking him home. She was and she did. She didn't know what she had. She thought she had a small dog---perhaps a Jack Russell terrier---but one weekend, when he was visiting us, he inhaled a suet cake laced with red pepper (to discourage squirrels) without shedding a tear. My husband concluded that he was starving and fed him all he would eat that weekend. He grew up to be a pitbull or pitbull mix. We're not sure. Now my daughter and her new husband live in Prince George's County, Maryland. Enough said. We all feel a little like we are living in Nazi Germany. He's about 8 years old now and a total sweetie pie. He shares his parents with another big dog and two cats. Yes, he has that wierd switch in his brain that can get flipped if another dog growls at him first. But he has never started a fight. Our beagle has learned that it's best to keep his opinions to himself. They get along fine. Through you I have found Pit Bull Rescue Center and am having all kinds of fun shopping.

BTW, I lol-ed when I read in one of your older posts that a certain website was for full of glitz that it looked as if a crow had set it up.

Forsythia

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I'm sorry to bother you in this format, but I am a shelter volunteer and I was very impressed by your website (Happy Pit Bull).

I just wanted to let you know that the owner of your listing for a PA pit bull rescue ("It's A RottnPity!) has been exposed as a horder who has had her dogs confiscated because she kept them in sickening conditions. She hasn't been allowed to "rescue" from area shelters for at least a year now.

I found your story particularly inspiring because I also used to think pit bulls were just aggressive dogs that I would never like, until I started volunteering at the shelter in Philadelphia, PA (PhillyPAWS.org) The large majority of our dogs are pit bulls, and they have quickly become my favorite breed.

Would you please add us (www.PhillyPAWS.org) to your site as a PA rescue, and also remove the other? (Please research the situation if you'd like, it was upsetting for everyone in the Philly community when the truth was discovered.)

Again, I greatly admire everything you do, and if I can do anything to help, please e-mail me at Eyeseelyn@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

~Aislin

happypitbull said...

Aislin,

Thank you for letting me know about the hoarder. This is, of course, why I always warn people to do research a rescue group just as they would a breeder, a shelter, or any other source from which they plan to get a pet. It's important to support people who are doing right, and expose people who are doing wrong.

And of course, I still haven't gotten that omniscient, omnipresent thing down, so I rely heavily on site visitors to keep my information accurate! I will definitely flag your message in my mailbox so I can make this change when I update the website. Thanks again!

happypitbull said...

Forsythia,

I really would like to say a big THANK YOU to you and anyone else who uses my site as a portal to online shopping for pitty merchandise. The tiny bit of revenue I get when you go through my site to buy stuff is enough for my sites to break even (they cost as much to support as I make off them).

I want everyone to know that the links to online stores aren't carelessly posted. I have hand picked every link and every site carefully, making sure their philosophies (rescue, fight the stereotype, fight BSL) are in line with those of Happy Pit Bull. I won't compromise the values of Happy Pit Bull and Stop BSL for the sake of money. I don't do this for the money - I do it for pit bulls.

Thanks again for supporting Happy Pit Bull!