Houdini and Houseguests

It’s normally pretty busy around here, but this weekend the dogs drove us to a new normal. In addition to Edith who was recovering from her spay operation (and still insisting that someone please throw this ball for me!),

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our own darling Gracie (who maxed out on her putting-up-with-guest-dogs limit),

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three puppies (one of which turned out to be a Houdini of sorts and another of which developed exploding diarrhea for about 36 hours),

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we had houseguests who brought their own adorable muppet dog (at my invitation, cause, you know, there’s no such thing as too many dogs….).

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The initial arrival of Chewie (short for Chewbacca), brought a full chorus of welcomes (or warnings) from all five of our canine residents. Gracie was surprisingly more friendly to Chewie than she’s been to the three rascals in the puppy room. (Although, she has stopped snarling at the puppies and now simply pretends they don’t exist, avoiding the room altogether.) Edith was thrilled to welcome five more humans, cozying up to each of them in turn. She now has five more fans. The only evidence of any increased stress for Edith was that she upped her intake of stuffed pumpkins, obliterating five of them while our guests were here. The puppies LOVED Chewie, but he found their enthusiasm a little too much as he is a grown up one-year-old and all.

Lucky for us, everybody who lives here is pretty much immune to the noise and chaos and our friends are easy guests, so it worked. They weren’t the least bit fazed when I told them we’d put a new jumbo pack of earplugs in the guest bath for their use. Sure, sleep was at a premium and I’m not certain anyone (except perhaps my college age son who was home for the weekend and didn’t get out of bed until 3pmish on Saturday) got a restful night’s sleep.

Hershey, aka Houdini, only escaped once during the weekend and that was out of the puppy pen in the yard and witnessed by several people who made no attempt to stop him and found his antics entertaining. I tried, unsuccessfully, to capture a repeat performance on video, but he was on to me and stayed innocently in the pen. We’re all thinking Hershey’s got some squirrel in his pedigree.

Earlier in the week, Hershey was the first puppy (of 36 puppy guests to date) to jump the puppy room fence. I caught him easily (as my company is what motivated him to jump the fence in the first place) and Nick helped me replace the indoor fence with one of the taller fences we use for the outside pen. I put the puppies back in, admonishing them to behave, and walked around the corner to talk with my daughter who had just arrived home. As we were talking I felt a furry presence beside my leg and looked down to see Hershey smiling up at me. He’d lasted maybe two minutes in the pen. URGH.

Nick hauled out our tallest fence. It’s four feet tall and I don’t use it often because it’s a little warped from the time I fell over it. (Don’t ask, but know that no puppies were injured in the debacle, just my pride.) We secured the fence with extra zipties to make up for its bendiness and height and it kept Hershey inside the rest of the day.

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That night we went to see Addie perform in Peter and the Starcatcher, laughing ourselves silly at the funny show and me coming home teary from seeing our daughter shine in her element.

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Addie as Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher. Fun, fun, fun show (and a great book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pierson).

Opening the door, we found Hershey happily lounging on the padded bench across from the pen, watching his brothers still trapped inside the pen. Sighing, I did the only thing you can do with an escapee puppy. I gave him a cuddle, while Nick turned his engineering prowess on the ante that Hershey had just upped.

In no time, Nick had built a contraption that reminded me of the blockades my dad erected to keep the squirrels off the bird feeder in my childhood home. That did the trick and with the exception of the solitary up-and-over escape of the outdoor pen, we kept Houdini in the box the rest of the weekend.

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It’s Tuesday now, and Houdini, I mean Hershey, left last night. I warned his excited and hopefully prepared adopters about his talents, but they are young and seemed more amused than worried. Thankfully, the poopy puppy is all better, but it looks like we’ll have two puppy guests hanging around for Thanksgiving. I’m sure that’ll keep it interesting.

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Next week on Giving Tuesday (one week from today!), Razoo, the host for my Edith’s Heart fundraiser is waiving their fees which means donations go 100% towards helping OPH save more heartworm positive dogs. To make it worth your while, I’ll be offering a special gift incentive for donors! Watch for a post on Monday and more information about the gift on the Another Good Dog facebook group.

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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