Adventures in dog fostering, chapter #7642

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I have a new little foster dog staying with me. The manager of my shelter called me last week and wanted to know if I would give her my opinion; she had been returned to the shelter twice and the manager was puzzled, because she seemed great!

Long story short, I think she is great. I think the two failed placements were not the right fit for her, that’s all. And I like her so much, I have a home in mind for her. But the family I’m thinking of will have to leave her home alone for chunks of time, and because I was working around the clock all last week, I haven’t yet had a chance to see how she does when left alone for more than 20 minutes at a time.

I shipped the April issue to the printer on Monday morning and decided that the little dog’s “home alone” tests would start that day. I left the dog in my detached little office building by herself, with a frozen Kong toy that was stuffed with canned food and her dry food scattered around on the floor of the office. I went into the house to eat breakfast, take a shower, and answer some emails. From the house, I would be able to hear if she started barking or causing a fuss.

Adventures in dog fostering, chapter #7642
What it looked like when the crate fell, PERFECTLY blocking the door from opening. (There are *very strong* rigid bars in there!) Note that the door is as open as it could be with the fallen crate in that position. I had to aim my “hook” for the strap that snaps the collapsed crate together for portability.

About an hour later, I came back out to the office. As I approached the door I could see her through the glass door, sitting calmly – good job, little dog! I went to open the door and – hey, why won’t the door open? It seemed to be jammed, somehow!

Adventures in dog fostering, chapter #7642
Folded-up soft-sided crate, leaning against file cabinet on right.

I cupped my hands to the glass and looked more closely through the window. Oh crap! When I left the office, there had been a folding, soft crate leaned up against a file cabinet, across from the door, and it had fallen toward the door – been pushed over, more likely, by a dog pushing a food-stuffed Kong around the office. Unfortunately, now it was lying flat on the ground between the door and the file cabinet, where it fit perfect to very effectively block the door from opening. Ay yi yi! What a fix we were in! There are three little windows in my office, and all of them are locked. Breaking a window  was the only alternative to solving this puzzle to open the door.

Adventures in dog fostering, chapter #7642
Red and green intact tomato “cages,” and pieces of a third cage that I cut up in order to McGyver a tool that would slip through the 1/4-inch slit that I could open the door, and fish for the strap on the side of the fallen crate.The first loop I cut off the cage was too short; I needed the biggest hoop.

Fortunately, the door could open about a quarter of an inch. It took me about a half-hour to find something on my property that I could use to slip through the tiny slit between the door and the frame, hook onto some part of the folding crate, and pull the crate up. It had to be very slender, at least a couple feet long, flexible enough to bend around the door, and strong enough to lift the large crate. A wire coat hanger was not strong enough, nothing plastic was skinny or flexible enough. I kept walking around the properly, looking for something.

Ultimately, I used bolt cutters to cut up a round wire tomato cage, the bottom loop of which met all the requirements: strong, slender, long, and flexible. Then I sat in front of the door, fishing with my wire, trying to catch a strap on the crate. The little dog sat on the flattened crate on the other side of the door, watching me and the movement of the wire intently.

Finally I hooked a strap! I had to bang on the door – “Back! Get back!” – to get the dog to get off the crate, so I could lift the end of the crate enough to push open the door and free the little dog. Hurray! I spent only an hour trying to free her from her hour-long isolation test.

I’ll try again tomorrow, but you can bet that I’ll dog-proof the office a little more thoroughly this time.

23 COMMENTS

    • I had never heard of a Podenco, but I googled the breed and you’re right it sure looks like one! They are from Spain and very rare to find them anywhere outside that country. Very smart and active as they are used for hunting. Need lots of space to roam. If that’s the type of dog here, could be why it was returned to the shelter, poor thing just needs a job! All other characteristics, sounds like a great dog

    • I sent her DNA test on Monday. I can’t wait to find out! But, I will warn our readers: In this area, I can almost guarantee you that she’s going to be some combination of Australian Cattle Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Chihuahua. lol

      • Well, I don’t entirely trust these DNA tests, some of the ones I have done the results seemed off …I even had one redone by hand after talking to the vet…and her conclusion changed, maybe fifty percent was correct, the other fifty percent she corrected the possible breed. The other two I had done were somewhat correct.
        Remarkable ears though !….cattle dog?
        They are who they are…and maybe behavior proclivities shine the most light on the breed…even though they are all individuals.

  1. Same kind of thing happened to us once. We had shut our cats in the bathroom while visiting family. One of the cats was a very agile curious little guy who managed to open the waist-high drop down hinged door into the dirty clothes hamper cabinet which was right behind the door into the bathroom. With that hamper door open, the door to the bathroom would not open. I can’t remember how we got it handled but I do remember it was my blind brother-in-law who got the door open!

  2. Necessity is the Mother of Invention. (If Frank were still around, wonder what kind of song he’d come up with for this)
    Those are some pretty fine ears! What a beauty.

    Well done, both of you

  3. haha! I have a story about a living barrier to opening a door! At the time we had 5 large dogs living with us. We had two of our own, keeping a friend’s dog for the weekend and were raising two guide dog adolescents. Evidently, while I was gone, they had gone into the bathroom looking for me and when they tried to look behind the door (you know, in case I was hiding) it closed. They then decided they would lie down and wait and in filling the entire bathroom with dog bodies, one of them leaned against the door and it clicked closed trapping them all in the tiny room. When I came inside from my short trip to the barn the house was silent. No five bodies wriggling at the door as usual. I called and called as I walked through the house and not one of them made a peep. I think they knew they shouldn’t be in there. I finally noticed the bathroom door was closed, and it never was. Needless to say it took me quite awhile to talk them into moving away from the door so I could open it! We had quite a reunion afterwards!

  4. I have a rescue dog…it turns out Merlin is a pure bred Bison Frishe. Some idiot left him by the side of the road sitting on a red pillow. I am blessed to have him. I can’t imagine how anyone could do that and I am so grateful that it happened. If it is YOU, thank you. I am happy to have him

  5. Thank you for sharing this story–funny now, but probably not at the moment! My husband and I have fostered scores of dogs, puppies, and kittens over the past 12 years and it is inevitable that some unexpected things happen–like the time kittens unwound a roll of toilet paper all over the bathroom floor! Good thinking with the tomato cage wire, and what a patient pup your foster is!

  6. Very cute dog. Love the ears. Ramses had ears like that.

    As I recall one of them, Caesar, Ramses or maybe even Diana pawPrints as a puppy, was so enthusiastic to go for a car ride they locked themselves in the car. Put them in, put stuff in the back seat and before I could open the driver’s door back up they were standing on the door standing on the lock. Must have been Caesar as I had a different car then. and I couldn’t get the door unlocked as he kept standing back on the lock. Eventually I got him to move and unlocked the car again. Lucky me I had the keys as I had already locked the house with the second set of keys inside.

  7. Just love your stories. Your writing is so good, I am always right there with you! Thank you for all you do for so many dogs (and people)!
    Jan from Folsom

  8. A few years back, one of our greyhounds locked us out of the house. Somehow he managed to flip the lock on the storm door and stood there looking out through the glass door, happily wagging his tail. We ended up pretty much ruining the door handle to get back in the house. His name was Easy, but after that day, he was affectionately known as “Problem Child”.

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