Classic: The Night The Dog Ate The Plumbing

Yes, more “classic” web content from my past webpages. This is my wife’s experience with animal charity that went horribly, terribly wrong.

The Night the Dog Ate the Plumbing
Written by Suzan Richardson, Edited by Brian Richardson

On what started as an otherwise uneventful day, Marcie, one of my co-workers, saw a large chocolate Labrador dog wandering the streets. The dog was clearly lost and very relieved when Marcie pulled her car over and opened the door. She took “Hershey” home with her for the night, hoping to find the rightful owners the next day.

Well, Marcie has three dogs of her own and it turned out that they did not appreciate the newcomer. Marcie spent the entire night attempting to break up dogfights. The next morning she brought Hershey in to work, hoping that someone else could take the dog until the rightful owners could be found.
When I saw this large chocolate lab with the smiling face and big brown eyes I was immediately taken over by what I will refer to as the Cuteanimal instinct. Despite the feeble attempts of my brain to alert me to the fact that I only have one fenced area at the house and only one dog house (both of which are occupied), I found myself saying “Of course I can take her for a few days!”

Needless to say, when I arrive at home that evening with Hershey riding beside me in the cab, Brian’s (husband) first reaction was an exaggerated “What the hell?!?!”, but then the Cuteanimal instinct overcame him as well. “She just can’t be a stray,” he was heard to say, over and over.

Apparently the Cuteanimal instinct is only found in humans. Maxine, our pit bull cross, did not appreciate the newcomer either … so our fenced yard was out. The old chicken coop was the only place we could put her for the evening. I don’t know who had originally designed the coop, but there was enough room for a small pony to be comfortable in there. We fixed up the door so that it would close, fed Hershey and returned to the house for the night.

First, understand that this was not an excitable dog. She was peaceful with humans and had even been very good about riding home with me in the cab of a Mazda B2000 pickup (makes Skylab look spacious). She was the kind of dog you could imagine sleeping by the fireplace on a cold night. But, sometime during the night something possessed Hershey. Hershey decided she just had to get OUT!

The next morning, we discovered her sitting on our front porch. Inspection of the chicken coop revealed that she had chewed/clawed her way through the back wall. We’re talking half-inch particleboard here folks … not exactly a palatable late night snack. Ok, we’ve got to find another means of restraint. Metal cable looks good about now, twenty feet of it with metal snaps securing it to Hershey?s new collar and to a post sunk into the ground. Foolproof, right?

Wrong! I get home from work that evening to find Hershey once again sitting on my front porch. All I can say is “at least she didn?t go far.” Meanwhile, someone saw one of the signs Marcie had posted near where she found the dog and called. The woman didn’t know who the owners were either, but she did say that Hershey had managed to escape from her yard two days earlier. Scary part was, the woman lived about 20 miles from where Marcie had found her. No telling how far this dog had traveled in the past week.

The subsequent inspection of the chicken coop revealed a scene of destruction. The metal snap connecting Hershey’s lead to the post had broken (damn potmetal) and apparently as Hershey had run out the open coop door (no point in closing it if there’s a hole in the back wall, right?) the dragging lead had wrapped around said door. The door had been pulled off of its hinges and was lying in the field between the barn and the house. At that point it must have come untangled from her lead and dropped off.

I was beginning to understand that this was no ordinary dog. What I had on my hands was a veritable Jeckyll and Hyde. This seemingly placid dog was turning into demon spawn as soon as everyone’s back was turned. I began to pray that the rightful owners would respond to Marcie’s ads … and SOON!

Ok, take two on the metal cable. That night I looped the cable back through itself before attaching the other end to Hershey’s collar. I refilled Hershey’s water bowl and nonchalantly tossed the hose aside. I returned to the house hoping that Hershey would not somehow manage to pull down the rest of the barn while I slept.

Next morning … all is well. Hershey greets me at the end of her cable when I bring her breakfast. Water bowl is still relatively full. In hindsight, I realize that this was her way of lulling me into a false sense of security. All means of escape having been foiled, Hyde-dog was now out to destroy.

Get home from work that evening and I glance down at the barn to see Hershey relaxing at the end of her cable. Nothing to worry about, or so I thought. I go inside and start in on the usual evening chores. Sort the laundry, fill the washer, add detergent and pull the washer knob … to my dismay, only a pathetic dripping comes from the pipes. Go to the kitchen sink, hardly any water there either. Head out to the water meter to check to see if we’ve been shut off, cursing the Water Company the entire way (“we paid the water bill damnit!”). The water valve at the street has not been cut off. In fact, the water meter is spinning like a Multi-Axis Trainer on speed (oh &^%$).

I return to the house for a pair of pliers, then back to the water meter. Water valve turns out to be heavily rusted and it won’t budge. Back to the house and the telephone. Call water company, explain that there’s a lot of water going somewhere and I can?t stop it. They say they’ll have someone over by midnight.

It’s now 11:00 p.m.

Inspection of every pipe and faucet in the house reveals no leaks. Crawling under the house reveals no leaks. On a hunch I head for the barn to see if that’s where all the water’s going. Hershey is happily chewing away on a piece of PVC piping. The area in front of the barn resembles the opening scene of The Beverly Hillbillies (up from the ground came a bubbling TAPWATER!). It seems that at some point Hershey had grabbed the end of the garden hose that I had dropped and pulled it hard enough to break the pipe off at ground level. The PVC pipe that she was now chewing had been part of the faucet, located 12 feet from the end of her cable’s reach.

Meanwhile, Brian is blissfully re-building computers over at Freebytes, unaware of the mayhem at home. Guy from water company shows up. Looks tired, looks irritable. Shuts off the valve at the meter and says that they don’t do plumbing repair. Well, now that stops the leak, but we don’t have any water.

My mother taught me well. “When in trouble or in doubt, call your spouse and scream and shout!”

I page Brian, Brian calls back. In a hysterical screaming voice I explain the chaos that our plumbing is experiencing. Fortunately for us, Freebytes is across the street from the World’s Only 24-Hour Home Depot! Hoorah!!! I attempt to take measurements of a pipe that’s under a foot of water in the dark. It’s about an inch and a quarter diameter.

Brian picks up the appropriate parts from Home Depot and heads home … it’s about 1 a.m. when he arrives. He spends the next day repairing the plumbing. I take Hershey to work with me that day, where the horrors of the night before were recounted with much drama. Hershey spends the night with another co-worker (peaceful night even) and is taken to her new home with a veterinarian’s assistant. We have never heard from her prior owners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *