Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shirley's Puppy Bumper and Consequences

For every action, we are taught in Physics, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Last week we sold the kid goats. This week I'm swimming in milk that the kids are no longer drinking.

So today I made custard and ice cream. The mint chocolate chip ice cream is wonderful. The butter walnut not so much. As usual, I burned the walnuts. Burnt Walnut ice cream is nowhere near as tasty as unburned butter walnut ice cream. Plus it didn't occur to me that adding a cup of burned walnuts to an already full ice cream maker would make everything ooze out the top. Normally I don't mind messes of that sort because I eat them. But I've now eaten more burnt walnut ice cream than I needed or wanted. I'll have to wait to start on the custard.

But to get on with Shirley's Puppy Bumper... Shirley, our llama and sheep guardian dog, believes she owns the neighborhood and goes through our fences to patrol "her" territory. Unfortunately, she also likes to chase cars while she's out and about. Consequently, I am continually patching the latest hole she has made through our ancient woven wire fences. Sometimes my patches keep her in for a day... or part of a day... before she creates a new hole.

When I run out of fence panel pieces, or enthusiasm for hauling them all over the farm, I weave tree branches and whatever else I can find through the woven wire.

In desperation after a neighbor came to tell us our black dog was on the road again chasing cars and he'd nearly run into her, I searched the web for a solution and found Puppy Bumpers.

"Stuffed pillow collars keep dogs in fences."

They had pictures of cute little foofoo dogs with stuffed pillow collars around their necks. I read the gazillions of testimonials from satisfied owners with neat city picket fences that their little foofoo dog used to go through until they discovered Puppy Bumpers.

I finally found a testimonial about a dog on a ranch. The dog was not so big nor so furry as Shirley and only outdoors, I suspect, occasionally... not day and night with sheep and llamas to protect. Plus I suspect that ranch's woven wire fences were in considerably better shape than ours. But I was ready to try anything. So I ordered the size the ranch dog was wearing: the largest size they had. Thankfully, it fit!

The next time Shirley escaped, I caught her and put the Puppy Bumper on after returning her to the llama/sheep field. And waited to see what would happen. For several days she stayed in. I did not want to leave the collar on her 24/7 so, after praising her effusively, I took the collar off. The next morning, Shirley was out on her neighborhood patrol again. This went on for weeks; as long as she had the Puppy Bumper on, she stayed in. When I relented and took it off, she escaped.

But my semi-solution was not to last. A few days ago, Shirley was outside the fence with her Puppy Bumper still firmly around her neck. Rats! It was back to watching where she managed to push through even with a stuffed pillow around her neck and patching that hole, which I have now done.

My latest plan is to let her out first thing in the morning. Generally, Shirley comes home soon when she leaves in the morning. It's later in the afternoon, bored with no coyotes to bark at during the day, that she takes off to find something else to chase, like a car. When she returns in the morning, I'll put her in and hope she stays. If she doesn't, it's Puppy Bumper time again. Consequences, Shirley, consequences.

For every action, there is a reaction... but not necessarily equal since Shirley seems better able to get out than I am at keeping her in. Of course the ultimate solution is to put up new fences. But that's an expensive project and one we're not ready to tackle. So live with it, Shirley. I am.

And now to find more uses for too much milk...

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