07 July 2010

the optimistic way of saying it

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Harley is a special case. A psycho. Or was when he first came to live here, well out of puppyhood and OUT of control. He stands about a foot tall and a foot and a half wide... maybe two feet long. He's a VERY well-fed specimen. And ALL terriers don't give a damn what you think or want until you force their attention. They really ARE as loving as advertised, but not on your terms. And the part about a fence? Give me a BREAK. The fence that will stop a Cairn is electric. I you don't put one of those electric-eye pain collars—those gizzies with which you make an invisible perimeter and something on the dog's collar gives them a beep when they get too near and a blast that sends them yelping into the air when they try to cross it—on them until they find out the hard way the limits of their kingdom, you are supremely likely to have roadkill for a pet very soon.

Do I sound harsh? Heartless? You don't know how many of them get carried off by the Wicked Witch to the pound, run over by cars and trucks, eaten by coyote packs or beaten to within an inch of their lives by their frustrated beyond the point of of self-control owners. Harley was known by the whole of Little Valley, which is pretty big, as The Escape Artist when he first moved in.

The part about the garden doesn't have to be true, but usually is, because people cannot bring themselves to be stern with such cute little dogs. Harley has a sandbox and one little corner of the garden he sort of trashes, but mostly he leaves it alone. He has a huge yard to run around in... and does, despite his bulk and ridiculously short legs. Cairn terriers belong out on the range, amid the cairns. They have more energy than ten people and they can dig to China in half an hour. They are amazingly wonderful little creatures, but your life—and the dog's life—will be hell if you can't figure out the obedience thing RIGHT away. They just want to know where they fit in the pack. If you don't oblige them in this need, they assume the worst... that they are in charge.

Harley loves Greenies and ice cubes... and antelope bones he's ripped fresh from his imaginary kill. The deer just stare at him like he's missing a cog. He is.


1 comment:

  1. Digger dogs:

    I once had a beagle and a blue tick hound. I lived out in the country and had been gone for the day at work. The dogs had long leads that were attached to pulleys on cables between the house and the windmill so they could run some, yet not run off.

    Coming up the driveway I found it odd that they weren't out to greet me as usual. Then suddenly, up out of the ground, came the beagle and then the blue tick. They had dug a huge cavern under the sidewalk which led up to the house. It was big enough form me and both dogs to fit in.

    A friend of mine had an Australian Shepherd that would always dig out under his wooden board fence. He finally had to bury a 4 foot wide wire fence laid flat all around the perimeter of his yard to stop it.


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