Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Furry Friends Who Steal the Show

Hi, friends! Regina Scott here. I was looking back over the last few weeks of posts and smiled at Leann’s story about babysitting Ollie, her son and daughter-in-law’s slobbering dog. Our dog doesn’t slobber. He doesn’t shed either. That was a requirement for getting him. My husband and oldest son are allergic to animal hair, so the only way for us to have a pet is to get one that’s hypoallergenic.

We looked at a number of breeds, like Portugese water dogs (think of Bo, the First Dog), poodles, and some terriers. Irish terriers intrigued my younger son and me because they were called the daredevils of the dog world. That turned out to be the understatement of a lifetime!

Meet Fergus. He’s three-quarters Irish terrior, one-quarter German wire-haired pointer, but he has the terrier coat we needed. The pointer part of him comes out when he looks out the back door. He tends to point at whatever interests him. Unfortunately, one of the things that interests him most is jumping. He can hit four feet straight up from a stand, more than six foot at a run. He was over our six-foot solid-wood fence within hours of coming home. After several such escapes, my husband added three more boards to the top of the corner Fergus went over most often. He backflipped over it. No lie. He just jumped onto one side of the corner, and did the Flosbury flop over the other.

My husband added chicken wire. Fergus scrambled over it. My husband built a lip. Fergus went after a different corner of the yard. Finally, after much research, my husband strung a stout wire about three inches from the wood and about six inches from the top of the fence. It isn’t electrified, but the idea is that Fergus will hit it on the way up and be so startled it will break his concentration and make him drop back into the yard. It actually worked!

And then he learned to dig.

For the first year and half, our lives revolved around outwitting Fergus. In the process, we learned to love our determined escape artist. He’s much less likely to try to get out these days, which is a blessing! Although some days it's hard to find him among the pillows and stuffed animals on my son's bed. I also learned to understand why my friends are so devoted to their pets. That’s one of the reasons I included a dog in my November release from Love Inspired Historical, An Honorable Gentleman. Dolly is the largest mastiff ever bred in the Evendale Valley of England’s Lake District. She was meant to guard the Blackcliff Estate and its treasures, but she’s become a good friend to my heroine Gwen Allbridge. RT Book Reviews claimed, in fact, that Dolly nearly steals the show. Just like Fergus.

So what about your pets? Any other escape artists out there? Or other furry friends who like to steal the show?

16 comments:

  1. Hi Regina thanks for the laugh I was reading about how your dog jumped over the fence thinking boy Im glad I dont live next door when the said its all fixed and he started digging that set me laughing. (oh the comment about not living next to you is I have a major fear of dogs)

    I dont have any pets but have had about 3 cats. Touser, then Meggs (short for Ginger Meggs) then the neighbours cat that loved us more, Horse.

    Meggs loved food. he was a thief. One day when mum was having a meeting the cat got in and well they were having a sponge with cream on top. Well Meggs found it and there were a couple of paw marks where he scrapped the cream and ate it. Needless to say they didn't use it for that meeting but mum took the top layer of cream and part of the top off and put new cream and I took it to bible study!
    the neighbours celebrated 60 years of marriage and Meggs followed me. there were crumbs people dropped in the grass and there's my cat finding the crumbs and eating them.
    Not an escape artist but if we couldn't find Horse we just had to see if a cupboard was open even a crack and there would be Horse, it could be a box or bed too.

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  2. Oh, Regina, you started my morning with a smile. What a great commentary. We've been talking about getting a dog LOL. I'll not be letting my husband read your post. He loves our six foot block fence. an

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  3. Love your dog story! We have a mini Daschund( longhair), his name is Samson. He loves to play with our 4 boys: digging in the dirt, chasing after them on their bikes and playing with them in the bath. Also, enjoys chasing after small Hot Wheels cars on the racetracks. Small but mighty is how I would describe him.

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  4. What a fun post! We've had lots of pets in the past but do not currently have any. However a number of the neighborhood cats have adopted us and stop by regularly to visit.

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  5. Thanks, Ausjenny! My brother and I had a major fear of dogs growing up, but my parents insisted on getting us one to help us get over it. Nothing prepared me for Fergus, though! Your Meggs sounds like she was a character!

    Pamela--all I can say is go small! What's this with men and BIG dogs?

    Jennifer, that's so cute about your dog chasing the hot wheels! My boys would have loved that!

    Winnie--I like the idea of adopting other people's pets. You get to love them, then they go home. :-)

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  6. I had to laugh. I am so glad I could give Ollie back.

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  7. Hi Regina! Fun post!! Your story definitely made me smile.

    My husband and I are cat people, and we've had a few over the years. The one that got in the most trouble was a calico named Pitten that we brought home from the shelter while we were still building our house. One day when the furnace kicked on, we heard this pitiful mewing and discovered Pitten had crawled down the heat duct and couldn't back out. My husband reached down and hauled her out by the tail. Ouch! Then we immediately went out and bought duct grates. She was great for showing us how to "kitty proof" our house.

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  8. Fun post, Regina. We're animal people so we've had our share of escape artists over the years. Right now, we have what we call a "Swat Cat". She's small, just 3-4 pounds, but when she wants in the bedroom at night, it sounds like a Swat team with a battering ram!

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  9. Hey Regina!
    LOVE Fergus! What a boy. His face gives him away as a bit mischievous. Had to stop and say HI. Also, I will definitely look for Dolly's book...Ahem, I mean An Honorable Gentlemen this month! :)

    Our little beagle, Lana used to escape from our yard via climbing over the picket fence. And she was such a small beagle - we had to put up chicken wire until we could figure out what to do. My husband finally nailed thin slats between the pickets and that took away Lana's foothold.
    Now she's too fat and lazy to care. Plus, she loves us too much to wander away... LOL.

    Best of everything to you!

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  10. Thanks for sharing this fun post today, Regina. Fergus is precious (this comment coming from a CAT lady, LOL---and waving at Christine Johnson!). I enjoyed reading about the tricks Fergus performed to get over the fence--WOW! ~ I've never had a dog, but maybe one day...~ However, I've always owned cats (or should I say--they have owned ME?!). Cannot imagine life without my 6 furry children, especially now that my human children are not living at home *sigh*. Never a dull moment! Thanks again for sharing Fergus with us, and blessings on your day ~ Patti Jo :)

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  11. Pets bring us such joy and frustration--like kids.
    One of my cats was always trying to get out and then he did in deep winter one year. That taught him! no more roaming!

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  12. Waving back at you, CatMom! Six furry children? Wow! And I thought my sister's four cats and hamster were a lot. Around my house, there is only one mistress -- my cat. Was there any doubt? ((grin))

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  13. Lyn, oh, your poor baby! They do learn to dislike snow, don't they? We have indoor/outdoor cats, and they soon appreciate the comfort of the great indoors during the winter.

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  14. Hi, Christine and Jenna! You two are my heroes for being so kind to me this summer! Love all the cat stories from you all!

    Lyn and Christine mentioned winter keeping pets in. That's definitely true with Fergus. He actually escaped his first owners, who never came to rescue him from the shelter where we got him. The shelter workers figured he'd been homeless in a Palouse winter (read cold, snowy, empty farmland) for a couple months. Even now, when it gets cold, he'll hesitate to even go outside and do his duty. He looks at me as if he's not sure I'm going to let him back in again!

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  15. here the winter isn't bad so keeping them in or out isn't a major issue. although Horse knew when he was going to be put out at night and would hide under the chair or anything that I couldn't get to.

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  16. Fergus is adorable. I had dogs all my life until lately when three cats adopted us.

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