The old grey whiskered Labrador, Conrad, viewed his new house mate, one year old terrier Jasper with mild interest from the corner of his eye as he rested his old bones and lay flat out on the living room carpet. Their owner had just left the abode and he heard her car rattle to life outside and begin to roll down the gravel driveway.
After some difficulty Jasper had clawed his way up onto the new couch, across the microsuede cushion and stood with his front feet on the back of the soft furnishing. He feverishly barked at the vehicle as it disappeared and leapt from one side of the couch to the other to gain a better view.
This routine was repeated every morning. And Conrad, weary from the incessant noise, slowly pulled his arthritic self to his feet and padded into the kitchen to have a drink of water. Unfortunately, Jasper had been there before him and most of the water was splashed over the vinyl floor. The stainless-steel water bowl was tipped on its side. The feed bowls where the two dogs had argued over breakfast earlier had rolled into the living room and little bits of remaining kibbles were scattered on the floor. Conrad sauntered over to eat them.
Jasper turned around to see his older roommate’s plan and jumped off the couch to help in the clean-up, and narrowly missed the lamp on the glass side table. For several minutes the dogs argued over the meagre food supply on the carpet. Jasper hanging off the other dog’s neck and attempting to bite his buddy with his baby gnashers. Conrad impatiently snapped at the younger dog in frustration. It was time to put the young rascal in his place. Jasper yelped as he felt the quick sting of teeth bite down on his floppy ear.
Suitably chastised Jasper ran off to hide under the couch. He had grown a few inches taller and was fatter than a few weeks before, and the underneath of the new couch was not as spacious in its cave-like quality as the previous one. Undeterred he pushed himself beneath it, where he quickly became stuck. Conrad meantime had disappeared up the stairs for some peace and quiet. His young companion still had difficulty navigating the staircase so it was the one way he could avoid the endless taunting from playful Jasper.
After several minutes struggle, Jasper managed to turn himself sideways under the couch. Thanks to his antics some black fabric hung from the ceiling of his cave, so he chewed it to see what it was about. As he did so it started to rip further, and with great satisfaction he pulled on it more aggressively. He found himself free from his pinned position as the fabric teared even further and exposed the belly of the beast above him. Delighted he backed out of his cave with the fabric still in his mouth. After much pulling and biting, he managed to detach a large piece of material which he promptly sat down to chew.
Half an hour later Jasper was not feeling so good. He had ingested bits of the fabric and gagged as he tried to regurgitate that which did not sit well in his tummy.
After some effort as he paced around the living room, he managed to evacuate the content of his stomach that included both bits of fabric and the morning breakfast he had bolted down earlier. He felt much better. He trotted across the room to the kitchen without regard for avoiding the mini piles of detritus he had strewn across the carpet. Consequently, the kitchen floor was soon decorated with his paw prints floor painting.
Bored with no Conrad to rag on, Jasper nosed about the kitchen cabinets and under the table. An errant bit of onion, a garlic clove wrapper that had fallen on the floor by the garbage bin attracted his attention. Further investigation revealed a few other tasty bits behind the bin as he pushed it around the floor with his nose. As he reached behind it and pushed forward, the bin toppled over and lo and behold, a bevy of interesting contents spilled forth as its lid flipped open.
A few more hours of play with the contents elapsed before Jasper realized the mistake of his adventures. His digestive system in uproar, he felt the need to pee. So, like the good dog he was he headed to the pee pad his owner had left by the back door to discharge the contents of his full bladder.
Satisfied with his success peeing on the lovely smelling pee pad, he adventured around the kitchen to see what else he could find. He was distracted by a knock at the door. Jasper ran to the door barking his loudest, a bit afraid of the noise without his buddy Conrad’s presence.
Conrad was asleep upstairs on his owner’s bed. He heard the disturbance downstairs and lifted his head to listen. But the knocking stopped so he yawned and went back to some shut eye.
Life was very tiring these days for Conrad. He knew it would be hours before his owner returned and he would be able to get out and do his business. It was becoming harder and harder for him to hold it in for such long hours, and fistulas had developed making his bathroom duties even harder to accomplish.
As with many Labradors, his kidneys were not handling the aging process well, and he had frequent urges to pee that had to go unaddressed. His owner had limited his access to water at one point, to try and save the unfortunate accidents that occasionally happened despite his best efforts to hold it.
Meantime downstairs Jasper, frustrated by not being able to see the visitor through the door, had leapt up on the couch again to look out the window. The man climbed into his large brown truck and drove off. Jasper continued to bark. He hoped the visitor would return.
As the young dog looked through the window, he spied a lady walking a large German Shepherd on the narrow path in front of the house. This set of raucous noise from Jasper, and the big dog startled and looked toward the house as it heard it. Then it too began barking and dragged its owner over the front lawn, the long leash extending quickly. Soon its handler was forced to let go of the leash as she was in danger of falling over, and the large plastic reel bounced along behind the bounding German Shepherd as it came right up to the front window. It plowed across the garden full of flowers, the leash ripped through the peony plants that dropped their fragile petals as the dog carved his route to visit Jasper.
For a split-second Jasper thought the big dog was coming in the room and leapt around in a crazy manner. He jumped down from the couch in a panic and knocked over the large lamp on the side table and ran back and forth from living room to kitchen.
The big dog’s owner retrieved their beast and after some admonishment from the human to the canine, the two retreated back over the lawn.
Conrad lifted his head again to listen to this new level of barking noise. He slowly raised his old limbs to stand and then cautiously jumped down off the bed and headed down to the hallway. It had been hard to get on the bed, but it was the only space he could find to lie down that gave relief from the pain of his arthritis.
Jasper meantime fraught with panic, had pooped in several places around the house downstairs. Conrad carefully picked his way around the mess as he discovered the latest calamity that Jasper had caused.
A few hours later Jasper had calmed down from all the excitement although still felt stressed. Luckily, he had discovered a box of children’s toys and he had found chewing on them made him feel decidedly better.
He especially liked the ones that made a squeak or noise, and was determined as all terriers are, to fix that noise once and for all. Killer instinct had kicked in and Jasper had successfully bitten into a large ball that had deflated and after more work given up its contents of a large plastic object.
Conrad looked around the room with mild interest. He sniffed at a few objects most of which he was familiar with, but his interest was piqued by a long-haired doll he hadn’t seen before. As soon as Jasper saw Conrad pick up the doll to carry it carefully in his mouth to a corner where he could investigate it further, he attacked the older dog’s new toy and hung off the doll’s hair as Conrad attempted to lift it higher and out of reach. Soon both dogs were rolling around on the dirty floor pulling the doll between them in a tug of war. Conrad won. Jasper skulked off eventually in defeat. Both dogs’ coats not as clean as they began.
The owner returned home an hour later than usual due to demands of the day at work that had gone awry. Conrad dashed through the door to relieve himself delighted that his owner had finally appeared. Jasper quickly followed him. He scuttled past his owner and did not regard her commands (that soon became cries) for him to go to her. Instead, he scampered off across the front lawn remembering the large dog and keen to see where it had disappeared.
It was another half an hour before the owner managed to catch Jasper. She noted the wound on his ear and the damage to the flower garden. She wondered what had happened to cause her kind old Lab to bite the smaller dog and was also upset that her beautiful blooming array of peonies so carefully tended by her were in disarray.
Once back at the house she saw the state of her home. Utter dismay lit her face, followed by a look of anger, followed by a look of disbelief. She had left the dogs alone many times before and while little accidents had happened nothing as major as the mess she encountered had ever occurred.
The owner sought advice of a dog trainer on how she should manage two dogs and handle the canine behavior issues and looked online for suggestions. Crating the dogs was a common suggestion but she just couldn’t bring herself to confine her old dog to a small box for long periods where he could not move about at all, and she felt crating just the young dog would be unfair.
Another suggestion was she should purchase a two-dog kennel where the canines could comfortably be housed with an inside/outside option, their own space and a securely fenced covered run.
To her amazement purchasing the kennel was simple. After a brief chat with a prefab kennel building company staffer to answer questions that followed her finding just what she wanted on their website, a to-the-penny quote was in her hand and delivery was set for the following week. On their advice she had purchased a kennel with features she knew both her dogs would love.
For the older dog the ability to come and go inside and out would relieve his anxiety and physical stress at having to hold his pee and poop for long periods when she wasn’t home. The ill-advised method of withholding free access to water for Conrad would be avoided.
As each box could be built to different sizes, she had selected a kennel that offered just that, based on advice from the company staffer as to what size would be best for each dog to be the most comfortable. Too small and it would be restrictive and too large, and the animal would not feel secure.
There would no longer be arguments about food or water supplies and there would be no spillage of either, as each box had stainless steel bowls secured to the interior kennel box door that were simple to remove for washing and filling. She could also now ensure the older dog had his special diet food and that the younger one could be fed the puppy chow he needed.
Conrad would no longer be harassed all day by the antics of the young Jasper, and there would be plenty of companionship without fights and arguments.
The two-dog kennel was tall enough that she could easily stand inside and had a small wire mesh door that she could keep closed when the main door was open to prevent any canine escapes. There was even a lobby space for the dog food and perhaps a small sink later if she wanted to add it.
The floors were not too smooth to cause a problem for Conrad getting up and down or slipping but were smooth enough for easy care. The drains were neatly set at the back of the boxes and protected with stainless steel, so that clean-up was easy, and the dogs were not lying over drains.
For Conrad, there was enough room to add a raised dog bed in his box where he could comfortably rest his weary joints without the pressure points caused by hard floors with the added bonus Jasper would not be able to access it to destroy it.
For Jasper, he would similarly have the freedom he needed from interference from the other dog but would be able to go in and out as he liked to the secure covered pen outside that was decked with durable Trex boards. The owner planned to place the kennel in the back garden away from the road and passers-by, where the dogs would be free from interaction with visitors that might set them off barking.
A few weeks later, the kennel all safely in place and ready for immediate use with a hassle-free delivery by a strange ‘mule’ like machine that easily navigated the route to the back garden, the two dogs contentedly lay on their respective decks facing the house. The owner was late home again, but it didn’t matter. Life was calm and happy now.
There had been a vet visit necessary for Jasper following his ingestion of questionable object and upset tummy for several days from the incidents that fateful day, but thankfully the foreign object discovered by X-ray has passed through the dog without the need for surgery as the vet had suggested it would.
The owner found cleaning the kennel easy to accomplish, and much easier than cleaning up the messes in the house. Everything was so well designed. And now she didn’t drive extra fast trying to get home or turn down offers to socialize with colleagues after work on occasions.
It was a win-win decision for everyone. And the owner knew she would enjoy utilizing the kennel for many years to come. It had already been useful to house the dogs when her sister and toddlers came to visit, and their over-excitement threatened to derail the holiday celebrations. In fact, it almost seemed as if the dogs preferred to forgo the crowded house on such occasions.
What is ‘all in your dog’s day?’