Thursday, October 3, 2013

Scrappy Has a Secret

Now that the evenings are cooling down, we like to open the windows and doors to let the cool air in for a few minutes before the sun rises.  The timing of that correlates with the time period between when I wake up and while I am outside feeding the horses.  The problem is that each time I go outside, Scrappy starts barking for me to come back.  I usually don't hear it, because the windows and doors are closed, but with them being open now, the whole neighborhood can hear it.

I grumbled openly when my neighbor took over a month off from work and let his dogs be outside all day where they stood at the fence and barked at me from sun up to sundown, not giving me a moment of peace and quiet when I was at the barn.  So, now I can't be a hypocrite and let my dog bark through the screen door first thing in the morning.  Usually, I forget about Scrappy's separation anxiety and just head for the barn.  The dog knows I can't shut him up from a distance, so he intentionally waits until I am at the barn before he barks.  I either have to take the time to run all the way back to the house to shake my finger at him, or I have to scream at the top of my lungs for him to be quiet and hope he hears it in his mostly deaf state.  Obviously, me yelling does not help, because any neighbor who was not already irritated by the barking is now awake and irritated by me yelling.

So, I decided to lock him in another room where he can bark to his heart's content, but no one can hear him.  This morning I put him in my office since it had glass panes he can look out of.  I didn't want him to feel too isolated.  I can't take him to the barn with me, because he'll get injured by a horse if he gets under their feet, and there's no place to tie him close to, but not in the barn with the horses.  He can't run around off leash because of all the venomous animals, hawks and coyotes.  He's about the size of a wild hare, and a hawk could carry him off in its talons.

I went out to the barn and began feeding the horses mostly in silence.  My neighbor's dogs spotted me from their kennel and woofed it up a bit.  The dogs they have had for years are pretty good about not barking continuously at me, but they got two new dogs that are very vocal and territorial.  However, barking from the far side of their property inside a kennel is tolerable compared to having them right at the fence barking at me.  Those barks send jolts through my body and get my adrenaline pumping.

It was taking forever to feed the horses, because the new bale I cut open instantly fell apart.  What's the point in slicing the bales if you pack them so loose that it's like opening a bag of potato chips and having them all fly up into the air and land on the ground?  I was multi-tasking between shoving armloads of alfalfa into troughs, scooping up what fell on the floor, shaking out what fell down my bra and got stuck to my hair while trying to side step the world's largest pee puddle, when it hit me just how hot it already was and I told myself I had to clean the stalls and paddock now before the sun rises and it gets even hotter.

Just when I was about to reach for the manure fork, I heard Scrappy barking at the screen door.  How is this possible?  I locked him in my office.  While walking back to the house, I considered if there was a way Midge could have helped him get out.  Not possible.  The outside of the door has a knob that is so stiff I can barely turn it, and it is way up high.  Then it hit me that Scrappy could have broken through a glass pane on the door.  I started running back to the house and as I approached Scrappy, he seemed fine.  There were no cuts on him.  I got in the house and found the office door wide open.

I shut it and pulled to see if the latch was loose or faulty, but it was solid.  I could not get it open by pulling, which means Scrappy couldn't get it open by pushing.  Then I noticed that while the outside of the door has a knob, the inside has a handle.  He would have had to be able to jump three feet high, but he could have jumped up and knocked the handle enough to release the latch.

He was known as an escape artist at the animal shelter where I got him.  The animal control officer told me that one day she was letting him keep her company behind the counter when she had to go do something somewhere else.  Someone walked in the front door and didn't close it all the way, and Scrappy jumped up onto this counter that is about four feet high, jumped down, and ran out the door.  She found him hours later way up in the mountains trotting beside a hiker.  That was three years ago.  At the estimated age of 13 to 15 years old, I didn't think he had it in him anymore to jump that high, but that's the only theory that makes sense.  Either that or a ghost let him out, or he has some secret magical powers.  I guess only Scrappy will know for sure.

1 comment:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like Scrappy might be old but he's still agile enough to jump his way out of lock up! They are amazing the way they can escape.