Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bonded at the Throat

Today is Wednesday but the way it started this morning I could swear it is Monday. . .

Forty West comes to dog camp three days a week for day care. His best buddies are Mikke & Bear, the two sheep dogs that are regulars at TBTB. When Forty is dropped off at 7:30 AM, the three of them always go out for a morning run to burn some energy before breakfast.
This morning they were running up and down the driveway, rolling in the snow and having their usual chaotic good time. When it was time to come in I open the door and call them but only Mikke girl shows up at the back door. Where are the boys I wonder? I wait a few more minutes and open the front sliding glass door and see them in the driveway. “Come on you guys,” I said. No one moves a muscle, or even looks my way. That’s weird.

It’s still a bit dark out at 7:45 AM so I venture out onto the deck to get their attention by reminding them it is time to eat. Still, neither dog budges an inch; they just sit there like stone. Bear was actually standing like a statute facing north and Forty was sitting very close to the right side of his face just looking up at him. What the hell? “Come on guys, let’s go.” Nothing. And then it dawns on me, “are you stuck?” I ask – although I can’t imagine HOW. Wearing only my PJ’s I hop over the railing in my sock feet to investigate. What I find gets my adrenalin pumping more than any caffeine in a double espresso.

Forty West has somehow gotten his entire bottom jaw underneath Bear’s collar and is stuck there with his mouth open. He can do nothing but stare at the side of Bear’s face. Of course the collar is so tight that Bear is gasping for air. Whenever Bear moves even a smidgen, it is excruciating pain for Forty. Being such a good buddy, he stays frozen to the spot, panting. I try prying Forty’s jaw loose but that is not possible because the collar is way too tight.

The mind creates incredible scenarios while in the fear mode. Should I scream for help and hope my neighbor hears me? Should I get some scissors and cut the cloth collar – but how would I get the blade under the collar without hurting Bear? Plus, I don’t dare leave their side. All the while I am frantically looking for the clasp, which isn’t easy in the mass of sheep dog hair. I’m wondering if it’s possible to make the collar just a bit tighter in order to open the buckle when I find it? Finally my fingers feel the buckle and I separate the long hair and find to my surprise, a snap collar! (thank God) In one quick movement I press the release button and the collar falls to the ground along with Forty’s jaw. OMG, relief spreads throughout my body as I begin to realize my feet at this point are frozen. Funny, I didn’t even remember that I only had my socks on until now.

The dogs are reluctant to move at first – they both look at me as if to say, “what the hell was that all about?” Neither one of them has any obvious injuries. I pry Forty’s mouth open to be sure he still has all his teeth and he does, plus there is no blood. That’s a good sign. I then look at Bear’s neck and inside his mouth. All clear, they are both okay just a little stunned. I hug them and race back inside the house past the crowd of fifteen dogs waiting at the door, cheering us on. Forty ran straight to his crate looking for breakfast with Bear close behind.

As quickly as it happened, it is over. Dogs truly live in the moment, and at this particular moment it is time to eat! The drama that just happened is already forgotten – at least for them. I still get weak in the knees just thinking about it! Shortly after breakfast they were back wrestling and rolling around like always. And me? Well it’s finally time for my first cup of coffee and a breather. Just when I begin to think my life as a dogsitter is predictable something happens to change that thought. There is never a dull moment at TBTB Dog Camp.

Woof! Woof!


  1. God! I know those moments and they take months off your life!

  2. Great story. Just thinking that you have 17 dogs at your house is ample proof that your life is not in the least bit ordinary. I want to come to stay and play!