Friday, March 25, 2011

Midge's Crate Cave

With this being the worst winter in the history of my life, I've been at my wits end with the dynamiting of snow to trigger avalanches on the mountain. Every time I think we are done, another storm comes along, dumps more snow, and the dynamiting begins again. No one has been worse for the wear than my Corgi Midge. The booming turns her into a neurotic nervous wreck.

When she's scared she quivers all over and runs around the house panting in search of electrical outlets. Then she proceeds to rip all the electrical cords out of the walls, putting herself at risk of electrocution, our electrical appliances at risk of being damaged, and the house at risk of being burned down by a wayward spark. We usually shut her into a bathroom, but she claws at the door and barks when she feels she's all alone. The other day she dug a hole in the bathroom carpet in her attempt to get out.

Blogger friends have told me to get a crate for her and cover it with a blanket. I knew that would probably solve the problem, but with me being out of work I'm trying to limit all expenditures to food, college costs for the kids, and medical necessities. I've been looking for work, because my photography business isn't making any money at all, and my book sales are only bringing in about $10 a week. When you read stories about authors who make six-digit incomes a year on ebooks alone, those are authors who have already written 15 or 20 books, and made it to a bestseller list.  If I could write a new 60,000 to 100,000 word novel every week, I'd be in good shape, but that's just not possible, and I'd be doing readers a disservice to rush it. 

Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that one of the reasons why I hesitate to apply for some jobs is because I don't know what to do with Midge. Scrappy can stay indoors all day and behave himself. He just sleeps all day and probably asks to go out to relieve himself once in the morning and twice at night. Midge is such a nervous dog that she has to go outside dozens of times a day, and I can't leave her unsupervised in the house when there is booming on the mountain.

Horses seem like such easy creatures to care for compared to some dogs, because if horses are healthy you can schedule their care around your job. With the dogs, I don't want to be like the annoying neighbors across the road who leave their pack of dogs outside barking all day while they are at work. My previous job wasn't a problem because I worked from home, but telecommuting jobs are few and far between in today's market. I'm going to have to resign myself to driving to and from an office every day.

So, since Midge's mental health problems are preventing me from getting a job, I decided to splurge and buy a crate. I've learned not to consult the cashiers at the feed store regarding what's in stock, because they always just look at a computer where the stock is rarely updated. I can't tell you how many sales they've lost to me over the years because they told me they didn't have something in stock that they did. I've learned to talk to the warehouse manager first. So, I was able to find the crate I needed hidden in the back room, saving me a trip into the city.

We set it up and put a blanket inside it, and before I could even hang a blanket over the outside of it, Scrappy claimed it as his kingdom. I should have known that with him being a rescue, he'd feel at home in small cages. Unfortunately, I had to kick him out to make room for Midge. She's learning to relax in her new crate cave and she can't do damage to the house or hurt herself anymore.

I'm trying to train her to voluntarily go into it when she's scared, and I'll have to rig up some method to keep water in there in such a way that she can't knock over the bowl. The animal shelter has stainless steel bowls that attach to the side of the kennel with brackets, but the dogs still step in the bowls and knock them out of the brackets. It would be cool if I could teach the dogs to drink out of a bottle like guinea pigs do, but they'd have to do a lot of licking to get enough water for their big bodies.  THWEEP!


Linda said...

Glad you got a crate and a little peace of mind and freedom! When I first got my IW puppy last summer, she was so much work I missed out on two months of serious trail riding because I couldn't leave her for that long. :/ It was worth it, and now she's grown up.

Anonymous said...

The petstore here has something called a "spill proof" bowl, that as long as you don't fill it up to high, the water can't be spilled even if it tips over upside down. We have this for our mesh crates that we take to dog shows.

I think it was $8 at petsmart

Jeni said...

I use a double ended clip and a stainless bucket (small) with a handle. Just use the clip to hang the bucket.

I crate my collie when I'm at work because he likes to eat things like TV remote controls, CD cases, etc. very harmful.

Good luck on the crate training!

Dreaming said...

We got a lik-it bottle meant for dogs. Tucker learned to use it quite quickly. It does drip once in a while, but it's not as bad as a spilled bowl...we've lived through that, too!
You might also try taking a plastic bowl and tying it on the side with some wire.
Good luck! Our former dogs loved their crates. Tucker is OK with his, but we don't make him stay in it as much as our other dogs since we are not working.

whirlwinddals said...

Depending how long you leave her in her crate, she may not need a water bowl. I show dogs and travel with them in the van and use a bucket that hangs from a clip. Just be sure not to have a collar on her so she doesn't catch it on the bucket and get tangled. I would put her crate in a dark room with a radio playing and cover her. Hope this helps.

Reddunappy said...

You can use water bottles like that, but the problem is they drip, you dont want her in a wet bed, poor baby.

That spillproof bowl sounds cool! I will have to look for one of those!

I hope things settle down soon!!! I want Spring!!!!!

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm glad you were able to get a crate. It may take her a while to get truly comfortable in there but it will be worth it.

I can't even imagine six figures on ebooks. Guess I should get off my tush and do some serious writing instead of just thinking about it. LOL

fernvalley01 said...

Glad you got the crate! Poor girl to get so upset!What about those water dispensers.The have a dish with a bottle screwed into the top,less water to spill and you could anchor it to the side of the crate like this

Anonymous said...

My youngest dog loves her crate. Even if things are just a little hectic in the house (big cooking project, visitors, etc) she crates herself. She has a little bucket and a snap for water but she spills the water anyway. She also has a little fan for hot weather.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I was thinking of you the other day. I almost adopted a pair of guinea pigs! lol!
But then I remembered that we are planning on getting some biddies soon to raise and sell and I don't want to be overwhelmed with feeding and cleaning cages. Plus we want to travel some this summer and do more letterboxing, and that's next to impossible with piggies at home. They sure are cute, though. And I sure do miss their sounds. :)

We were able to get our crates for free off of Freecycle years ago. Sometimes you can find them on Craigslist for free or cheap, too.

Dobbie sleeps with me at night, but we bring Zuni in at night and she sleeps in her crate in the kitchen nook.

It will be a hue peace of mind with Midge safely in her crate, both for her and you.


Dog Stroller said...

Giving your dog a crate satisfies his natural instinct for seeking safety. Dogs in the wild will seek a cave or hole to hide in.

fernvalley01 said...

took a "me" day and finally read your book! Loved it !!!!

Once Upon an Equine said...

That's very odd and interesting that Midge goes after the electrical outlets and cords when scared. Poor doggy. I'm glad she likes her new crate and I hope it helps with her anxiety.

And good luck with your job hunt.

Once Upon an Equine said...

...and, I just read the "product description" for you new book. Oh...looks good. I may have to break down and buy a Kindle after I recover from my recent, unbudgeted vet bills.

achieve1dream said...

Yay! That's awesome that you got a crate. I'm glad she's getting comfortable in it. I bet it will make your life so much easier. Crate training Jackal as a puppy made it so easy to train him. :)