“Honey, you really have to put Dex away before we leave. It’s important, he can’t be out and about like this!”
Months into recovery for his first two surgeries, we started letting Dex out from time to time, to hang out with us. He was still super-high most of the time, and generally just lay down and slept at my feet if I was on the couch. But it was still critical that he be supervised or “crated” at all times. It would be terrible to ruin his recovery so close to his final check-up.
It was 4th of July, and we had friends over to celebrate. We had a nice barbeque at the house and then went out to watch fireworks. As usual, we took Dexter outside to go potty (still using that sling), gave him some “doggy downers” and shut him into the recovery room.
Or so we thought. When we came back home, who greeted us at the door but Dexter!
This wasn’t actually the first time it had happened – that I had been so sure I’d locked him in, only to find him waiting for me at the door when I came home. Hence the loving chiding from Hubby. Yes, I really did need to lock him up – I was definitely a lax doggy-mommy, but some things need more vigilance.
But this time, I had witnesses! Yes, of course I’d locked him in – everyone saw it. Suspicions mounting, we devised a simple plan. We would set up some video cameras and lock him in the room. Then we’d pretend to leave, but stay outside on the front porch. After spending a few minutes outside (simulating “gone.”), we went back in. Sure enough, there was Dexter standing with his sister grinning his goofy grin.
Ah, but we had the instant replay! Video rarely lies, so we couldn’t really argue with the facts. There was Dexter standing at the door whining as we left. Within moments after hearing us go, he simply bit down on the knob (which was at nose height for him) and stepped back as he twisted his head. Viola! Door open, dog out.
This was adorable. Probably worthy of a submission to America’s Funniest Videos had we thought of it. However, it also posed something of a problem. After all, we were locking him in there for a very important reason. So he needed to stay stuck. This was when we learned how important a role bungee cords would play in bringing up baby. Locking Dexter in necessitated a chair under the knob and multiple bungee cords strung between his room and the door of the room across the hall. It was an elaborate set up, but it worked.
This 4th of July video of Dexter opening the door was a harbinger of doom things to come. Once he learned the doorknob trick, Dexter could open nearly any door in the house when he wanted to. If he couldn’t it was not for lack of trying, to be sure. We had to replace so many doorknobs from the bite marks, and because they all jangled from his attempts to open them.
For six months, Dexter and I lived in a small room, deepening our relationship and dependence on each other. And he continued to be a sweet, gentle giant through all of the pain and isolation. I was definitely in love. But after what seemed like an eternity, we got the go-ahead to come out of the cave and begin the next phase: It was time to start walking.
Oh boy….. here we go!