by Lori Amato
This past November I was privileged to find a wonderful, two year old, red brindle female greyhound to add to our family pack. I christened her Feather. Little did we realize that she would live up to her name in more ways than one. The first week we were home with her she appeared to be a rather benign, calm, easy going dog who did not get very upset when we left the house for short periods of time. She was having some problems with housebreaking so when we had to go back to work the following Monday we made provisions for my father to come up and walk her in the morning, my husband Frank to walk her at lunch time, my father back on duty at 3:00 p.m. for another walk, and we would arrive home at 4:15 p.m. and take it from there.
We left for work on Monday when the first call came from my mother. She jokingly referred to the call as the morning “Feather Report.” She heard Feather upstairs yowling at around 7:30 a.m. She then said she heard, THUMP, BANG, THUMP. My mother came upstairs to the apartment and found that Feather had managed to bounce the crate across the kitchen floor and it was headed into the living room. Mind you, this would not have been so amazing other than the fact FEATHER was still in the crate! To this day we can not figure out how she did it. My mother said she did not appreciate all the noise of the crate banging on the floor at such an early hour so we had better figure out another way to confine Feather. We had an ex-pen which is an 8 panel metal gadget. The panels are made from heavy crate-like metal that are 45 inches high and about 24 inches wide. It is like a doggie play pen. This thing weighed a ton (approximately 45 lb.) and we had raised another of our greyhounds, Tauren, in it from puppyhood to young adulthood. We found it to be just as good, if not better, for a dog that needs to be confined while being house broken. There was no way she could move this thing, right? Wrong. Everything was fine when we left Tuesday morning but around 10:30 a.m. after the first walk by my father, my mother heard KABOOM coming from the apartment again. She came upstairs to find Feather on top of the kitchen stove with the burners on the floor and the ex-pen up against it. She was wagging her tail and looking quite happy about the whole thing. This is just what the Lazetera household needs – a “flying greyhound.” Well, I realized that the ex-pen needed a top so I ordered one through a catalog company but it was not supposed to come in till the following Friday. We jerry-rigged a temporary top to get us by from parts of Feather’s crate. This thing really weighed a lot now. We tied the crate panels on top of the pen with leashes, leash clasps etc. There was no way she could get our or move it. Wrong. Wednesday’s “Feather Report” had Feather and the ex-pen up against the refrigerator, the freezer door open, the top still on the pen but Feather greeting my mother at the front door.
This dog is a Houdini. She only weighed about 54 lb. so where she got the strength to do these amazing maneuvers I did not have a clue. The Thursday “Feather Report” was kind of different as we decided to put Feather in the bedroom with a baby gate at the doorway to confine her but 1 hour after we left for work she ate through the baby gate. Mom told me I should change her name to Woody. The Friday “Feather Report” found Feather back in her crate again. She promptly banged the crate across the floor and got out of the crate even after my mother reinforced the door with leash clasps. We got a call from the catalog company telling us that due to a delivery problem we would not receive the ex-pen top until Tuesday of the following week. What was I to do?
Over the weekend I got so annoyed about the fact that Feather kept escaping that I went to the local hardware store and brought the exercise pen with me. I set the pen up at the store with me inside it. Not smart. Got out and reset it up and told the man at the hardware store I was not going to be like most people who go to the hardware store. They bring only part of their problem with them and always end up having to return to the store at least 5 or 6 times until they have all of the right parts to get the job done. So here is the whole problem and help me make this darn thing escape proof. The hardware man sold me about a dozen bungee cords in various sizes to hold the makeshift ex-pen top on, special clamps to hold the loose side of the ex-pen together (ex-pens have to be folded and one side is loose but attaches to the other panel with hooks), a moving mat (non skid) to keep her from moving the ex-pen across the floor. $36 later I was ready to keep the little monster confined for the few hours she needed to be on Monday. I can remember my phone call to Ellie Goldstein Sunday night. “I have her now!!!,” I said with fiendish glee, “This dog is whupped this time.”
Well, when I called for the Monday morning “Feather Report” Mom assured me that everything was fine. No noise, Feather was quite content in the ex-pen where she had a Buster Cube, a natural bone with kibble and peanut butter and various toys. I actually was able to relax and not worry until I came home. Well I came home at 4:00 p.m. to 3 loose greyhounds. How could this have happened? Feather had BENT the metal on one whole side of the ex-pen and had gotten out. The whole ex-pen looked so tired and defeated I almost cried. The moving mat was crumpled up in one corner of the pen, the bungee cords were hanging hither and yon all over like spaghetti without sauce. And the special clamps were still clamped but the metal around them was bent and misshapen. And my beautiful red-brindle, Uri Geller, was standing there wagging her tail at me., “Feather, I give up. , But you need to be confined a little longer. You are not HOUSEBROKEN just yet,” I said.
I decided to reason with her, “Okay Feather here is the deal. Maybe you want to be with the other dogs. So let’s compromise. I will put you in the bedroom with the baby gate up with one of the dogs to keep you company. How would you feel about that?” She gave me a greyhound grin and turned away from me. She ran off to flirt and have fun with Tauren. I spent about a half hour cleaning up her destruction. The next day I did just what I said I was going to do. I put Feather in the bedroom with Sultan and another baby gate barricading the door. Frank painted the gate with Louisiana Hot Sauce. She did not try to chew through the gate and was quite content to stay with Sultan for the entire work day sans her potty walks. Problem solved.
We did not need a morning “Feather Report” any longer.
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