27 June 2003

The Freakin' Hilarious Dog Wrangling Story

OK, so today I had a day off from work. Tina and I wanted to bring the bunnies in today, because it was really freakin' hot outside. Logistics to keep in mind: bunnies can't come in contact with dogs, as dogs will eat bunnies. Bunnies can't come in contact with each other, because then we'd have more bunnies. And we're full up, thank you very much.

So when I woke up, I put one bunny in the kids' room. Check. Other bunny downstairs. Check. Both doors closed. Check, check.

Around lunch time, I wanted to go have lunch with Tina and do some shopping. Since Blade (this dog) has a condition that makes him drink and pee a lot, when leaving the house for any length of time, the dogs have to be either outside or downstairs, where the floors aren't carpeted. And the rescue folks from whom we got Blade and Max have a rule against leaving the dogs outside, besides which, as I mentioned, it was really freakin' hot today. So the dogs had to go downstairs. So pet shuffling was in order.

A bit I forgot to mention: this morning, Max grabbed one of Tina's really cool hand-carved wooden scoops (which we use to scoop pet food) and chewed it to bits. I figured this was his way of saying "I require chew toys." OK. So I run out to Safeway and get two big rawhide bones for Max and Blade, and a smaller one for Machig. I bring them home, and Machig's reaction is "Oh boy! A bone!" Max's reaction is "Keep that thing away from me! It's poison! I know it!" Blade's reaction is HA HA HA HA... All your bone are belong to me!. So he grabs both his and Max's bones and hides with them behind the couch.

Flash forward again: it's noon, and I need to get the bunny out of the basement and the dogs into the basement. (If you haven't already noticed, there's striking similarity between a typical day in our house and the classic farmer, fox, goose, and grain logic puzzle.) So I call the dogs and ask them to go outside (into the fenced backyard, I should perhaps mention). They need a pee break before they go into the basement, and I also need them out of the way for bunny-moving. One dog (Machig)--out the door, no problem. Max, as per usual, comes when called, but stops at the back door and looks at me like "Why do you want me to go out there? There are killer squirrels out there, right? This is your way of taking me out of the picture, isn't it?" However, if I actually go outside first and call him, he comes. Two dogs, check.

"Blade!" No luck. Go looking for Blade. He's like Smaug sitting on his hoard. Behind the couch, with HIS two bones, and not going anywhere. Hmm.

So I thinks, "Maybe he's pretty stupid. Maybe he can be lured away from his hoard by the promise of something alse to add to it." So I grab Machig's bone (which she dropped before heading outside) and try to lure him away with it. It's working! But I get too close. Now his hoard consists of three bones. One in his mouth, and two that he's actully laying his great white bulk down on. Like Smaug. And if I reach for any of them, he growls at me. Somebody here was pretty stupid, but it wasn't Blade.

I think about it. "You're not budging away from those bones, no-how, right?" "Grr." OK, if he's not budging, then I can move the bunny without worrying about him, probably. So I do. Bunny's now in the bathroom. Door's closed. Check.

Now I have to get all three dogs downstairs. Machig will be no problem. Max is terrified of the basement, terrified of stairs, and doesn't trust me one wit. And King Snowball over there has no intention of moving.

I decide to try to solve the Blade problem first. I know that, although I fucked it up, the ploy of luring him away from his hoard with another treasure was working. So I grab a slim-jim-type rawhid treat and entice him with it. From a safe distance. It works; here he comes. Toss it down the cellar stairs, and there he goes, lumbering down after it. Close the door. Two to go.

I grab a leash, because I know it's the only effective method of getting Max into the cellar. I let Max and Machig in, hook up Max, and lead/call them to the cellar door. Now there's another problem. Blade has remembered the rest of his loot, and is on the other side of the door letting us know in no uncertain terms that he intends to go retrieve it right now, the moment I open the door.

So I open the door and manage to lead Max down and call Machig down without letting Blade out. But in order to pull it off and get back on the other side of the door myself without losing any pooches, I end up leaving the leash attached to Max's collar--and the phone's ringing. It's Tina. She's hungry. She wants to know when the hell I'm showing up for lunch.

I'll be leaving right away, as soon as I can get into the cellar again, unhook the leash from Max's collar and get out.

But Blade's still waiting on the other side of the door, pining loudly for his bones. And I have no doubt that Max is waiting there as well, since, as I mentioned, he's afraid of the cellar.

Ok, no problem. I grab the bones, and prepare to toss them down the cellar steps. Blade will go after them, I'll grab Max and unhook the leash, all will be well.

I open the door and toss the bones over the dogs' heads. Blade utterly fails to observe this, and makes a break for it. I grab him, but while I'm getting him back in the basement, Max makes good his escape.

I make a big mistake and let out an exclamation of frustration. This only confirms Max's deep suspicion that I'm the Antichrist. He takes off at top speed.

I close the door, with Blade and Machig on the other side of it, and go after Max. After realizing that I can corner him by closing my office door, I catch him. He's just about peeing his pants. I carefully, and with many soothing words, lead him back to the cellar and downstairs. Blade still hasn't realized where his bones are, and tries to escape, but I manage to get all three where I need them, sans leash.

The epilogue is this: this evening, Tina and I made the bunnies a permanent home with lots of room downstairs where it's cool, and on the other side of a hard door from the dogs. So less bunny shuffling should be necessary in the future.

Yeah, we need more dependents. Right.