Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hey! Woops..... LOOK OUT!!!!!

I fancy myself to be a person who spends enough time with and energy on my dogs, that they are reasonably pleasant to be around. I love working with animals; have since I was too young to know why. My childhood dog, Rex, knew more tricks than any old circus dog. I've put obedience titles on several of the whippets. Granted, some of our performances were a little Monty Pythonesque. OK, some were downright comedic events, but we also won a few classes along the way.

The one thing I had trouble with since moving to this corner city lot, is the dogs going barking berserk at our picket fence when another dog walks by on the sidewalk. Back at the farm, the dogs were encouraged to sound wild alarms if a dog were outside their fence. We had foals and ducks and a strange dog could be a danger. (This did not stop them from knowing when a friend was in need. Hence we welcomed Loosey the lost coon hound, but back to the story at hand.) So it was terribly confusing for them when their mad screaming at canine passersby here in the city resulted not in praise from me, but dismay.

I tried everything to get them to understand that the sidewalk was neutral territory. Nothing worked. I had to do something, because dogs are always walking by, and the whippets would work themselves into such a frenzy, that they figured if they couldn't bite the trespasser, they'd just bite what they could: each other. Then in desperation one day I hurled the large, lightweight plastic green watering can which was sitting next to me on the porch, into the air. Not aiming at them, of course, but at the ground behind them, or the fence.

Well, dear readers, magic happened. I never said a word. I kept the large light weight soft plastic green watering can in reach at all times. Interloper on the sidewalk. Mass of whippets swooping. Bark, Bark, Ba-! Large lightweight soft plastic green watering can flies through the air and lands behind mass of swooping barking whippets. Mass of startled quiet whippets turn and look at me. I sit innocently on the porch, minding my own business, humming an absent tune. "La, la, la." Whippets lose interest in attack mode, and instantly decide to play with toys, or come wagging for a butt rub, or roll in worm stink. No more barking, biting frenzy. Magic.

So for the last few years, if a dog and its walker wandered by our sidewalk, the waggle would swarm, then look up at the sky for a plumetting large lightweight soft plastic watering can, and then decide to occupy themselves otherwise. Even though there hadn't been a flying watering can forever. Peace reigned in our little corner of the world.

Arrive Lindy Loo. Lindy Loo is the great-granddaughter of Maria, the original Mouth of the South. Lindy Loo does her great grandmamma proud. I can't remember last summer (really, not a day of it), nor can I tell you for the life of me how Lindy Loo has achieved the age of twenty-one months without having met the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can. She does not limit her alarm sounding to members of her species, but includes children on tricycles, humans of different ethnic backgrounds, mentally creative folks who audibly converse with themselves, and persons who dress inappropriately in her rather dull, conservative opinion of these things. In other words, if it dare to pass by our side walk, Lindy Loo barks her fool head off.

So. Yesterday I was picking up poop in the back when I spied our sweet neighbor Julie walking her darling pair of rescued Chinese Cresteds, Rosie is a powder puff, and Eschon is the naked variety. Bill was reading on the front porch, and the waggle was enjoying the lovely day, lying in the papasan chairs, digging holes in the flower beds, playing tug with toys.

"ALARM!!!" cried Lindy Loo. "Interlopers on our sidewalk," she screamed at the top of her lungs!

Well, I dropped the pooper scooper thingies (thank all that is good) and grabbed the trusty old large lightweight soft plastic green watering can as I ran across the breezeway. I jumped down the steps into the yard and let her fly!

Now, herein lies the problem, dear readers. When we play Frisbee or even tennis ball in our yard, the dogs get to chase and capture the thing about two out of every seven throws. The other times I have to go through the gate, into the street, retrieve whatever I threw, and toss it back into the yard. Aim is not my forte.

I watched, first in eager anticipation of Lindy Loo's shock, then in fascination, followed quickly by concern, which rapidly morphed into abject panic. The large lightweight soft plastic green watering can arched gracefully through the upper atmospheres, flew way up over the fence, and was re-entering Earth's orbit directly over Julie and the unsuspecting Chinese Cresteds' dainty little heads.


Bill had left his quiet spot on the porch to hush Lindy Loo, and he was across the fence from Julie.

"What the...?" He instinctively ducked and covered, having been a child of the fifties, as the UFO hurled itself Earthward.

Of course at that very moment, our good friends Lee and Dee arrived from the other direction. Lee on her marvellous three-wheeler bike with the flag sticking up the back and the great big baskets for carrying anything, and Dee walking beside. They looked up in the sky and said, "Well!"

And the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can landed with a clunk in the street right in front of Lee's marvellous three-wheeler bike. Julie, the cresteds, and Lindy Loo were oblivious of their near death experience. Bill was laughing hysterically at me. Well, so were Lee and Dee. I was wilting with relief that I hadn't scared dear, sweet, gentle Rosie out of her powder puff little mind. Lindy Loo was still barking her head off at the cresteds.

Julie went on her fortunate way. Lee and Dee joined us on the porch for a glass of wine and to continue laughing at me. Lindy Loo scanned the horizon for her next victim. I kept the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can handy, but Bill discouraged any further attempts at behavior modification.

He wanted to make sure our liability policy was up to date.

Hug your hounds

(Click here to return to Whippet World)


  1. OMG Patience!! I am in hysterics just thinking about that!

  2. Dear Whippet Servant:
    Muzzer says she is glad someone else does stuff like that. She has not been allowed to throw things since she hit Unca Steve with the noisy can thing at the dinner table one thanksgiving. May we suggest a water pistol as an alternative? She recommends the pink one from Target that resembles a small Uzi and holds lots of water.

    kisses to all

  3. We sure wish you could hear our mom laughing her fool head off here, Patience! We could see your story in full living color! You write so well!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  4. Cutest ... and funniest ... story ever!

    Post a photo of the neighbor Cresteds sometime! We have a pair neighbor Cresteds as well (both naked), and they bark their fool heads off at us as we walk by. Such fascinating little creatures. I love em.

  5. Having dear Lindy Loo's sister Simmer, like minded and mouthed, I can sympathize and laugh out loud!!
    Glad no one innocent got hurt!!

  6. Oh, Patience, too too funny!!

    Of course, as I'm reading your tale of the light weight green plastic watering can, I'm thinking, how can I use this to keep my barkalots from barking their wirey heads off from inside at any perceived or real intrusion into their self-proclaimed space outside: not just other dogs walking, but people talking, neighbor's car, the legendary trash man, FEDEX, UPS, you name it. I work from home and I've "trained" my clients, colleagues, and others to appreciate they've reached the right number when they hear the sound of the barking dogs!!!

    Distraction, I see, is the key -- and I will have to find something I can throw safely. In the meantime, the barkalots started to bark at a noise outside while I was talking to my husband on the phone. I put him on the speaker phone and he did his compelling "NO BARKING!!! NO. JAKE AND HARRY QUIET!!! NO BARKING ON FRIDAY!!! And guess what, they quieted down and curled up for a snooze!!

    Dogs, gotta love 'em!!!


  7. That was just absolutely hilarious!!! I think we need a green plastic watering can around here too!!!

  8. Back when I lived in the Big City and routinely took my dogs to the dog park, I was constantly apoligizing for "throwing like a girl." Like you, aim was not my forte. Although I tried NOT to throw tennis balls at people, I had this rotten ability to ding them, regardless. Sigh. Perhaps, my aim WAS good and I wanted to hit them....nah. I guess.

  9. The whole 1700 Sounder Train (departing Seattle 4:33 p.m., arriving Everett 5:28 p.m.) wants to know what I'm laughing about. I'm going to have to share! I think that's one of your best funny stories....

  10. This was too funny, Patience...I loved it! I think I'll try the green watering can thing with Miss Maisie...but will try not to chuck it quite so far!:)

  11. So glad I clicked on your site today...... I needed that hysterical belly laugh! Well done!

    Kathy and Star the Wonder Dog

  12. I have a picture on my mind about the episode and sure it was fun!
    Kisses and hugs

  13. I just found your blog and love it. i have a very old dog, he's almost 16...a pug...a smutty pug. he's healthy in every way except for his mind, which is going fast. It's very hard.

    Our golden retriever is just like your pack....our fence is hard to see through but he must alert everyone and bark at everyone who walks by "stay away from my fence"..when we take him for a walk he looks at the crazy dogs barking at him from behind their gate "crazy dogs"...I was encouraged by the tossing of the green object and was ready to try it, until I got to the end....

    I still might have to try it...anything to stop the all day long warning bark!

    huged by pooches.

  14. This might be one of our favorite posts you have made. We could practically see that can flying through the air. We do that thing where we get to barking and start biting each other too, it makes Mom SO SO mad!

  15. Oh got mumsie cryin' again she's laughin' so hard...Oh Miss do you do it? I mean...we ALL have these experiences...well..maybe not the one where you dumped the wine on ur dinner guests and wiped them off with a stinky towel...but somehow you make the mundane transform into the hilarious....we will never look at our fleet of lightweight green watering cans again in the same way...good thing you have the plastic ones and not the old metal could have killed those Chinese crested hounds....

    Barkies, Sweet Patience...

    Oh...if you want a good laugh go to Mango's is on our site and read his most recent Wheelie have to check out the use of the cone and the turkey baster, you being a PACU nursie in a former life!!!! It's hilarious!!!

    Lacie et al

  16. Patience, You'd think I'd know by now, having read your blog for some time, to, um,, let's just say...visit the powder room BEFORE visiting your blog...

    Too funny!
    Jamie & Sunny & Scooter

  17. a ufo! fantastic! barking isn't something the lurches do a lot of thankfully. but they have many other awful habits...

  18. We want to wish your mom a very Happy Mom's Day. Canine Mom's and human Mom's are very special people.. Be sure and give your Mom extra kisses on this very special day!!

    Happy Mom's Day!!
    Gus and Louie

  19. You do have quite the adventures. Did you see Grammie when that UFO thing went flying?

  20. Funny! and until you mentioned it I forgot about the worm stink! Oh that was so gross!!!
    I'm injoying your writing, I recently lost my sweet whippet boy Murphy(14)A good laugh is welcome!


  21. OMG...that is hysterical..thanks for sharing!

  22. Wwe have tears rolling down our faces here we have laughed that hard! Hmmm I shall be looking for lightweight green missiles and chewing them beyond use i think!!

    love, licks and tail-wags..

    Ben xxxx (and a very hysterical Mum) xxx

  23. I got so caught up on the cute dog photo that all other thougths left my brain. :)

  24. Ah yes, we too use object hurling for behavior mod! I once tossed a cordless phone at the screen door in an attempt to redirect a squirrel-crazed Whippet. The plan was to hit the bottom, metal portion of the screen. Faulty aim resulted in the phone sailing right through the top screen part... and landing in the middle of the front yard. Scared the bejesus out of the squirrel. Crazed Whippet was unfazed!

  25. and her Mom said,
    I loved that story! It was a great way to start out the morning. Just goes to show you that some of our best training ideas can go awry in ways we don't even imagine.
    Actually, one of the fondest sounds to me is the whippet woo, woo, woo. Wish I were there to hear your chorus.
    Thanks for the great read!


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