Perhaps it was the notion that the kids – all four of them – are getting older and (hopefully) they don’t need my wife and I like they used to. Or perhaps it’s the thought that Hespe – a border collie and husky mix – is 16 years-old and is nearing the end of the road sometime in the near future.
Whatever it is my wife and I defied the children and a couple years ago adopted a Westie. Her given name from the SPCA was Samantha but we call her Bella. She is spoiled rotten and it’s our fault. She gets to sleep on the couch, the bed, basically wherever she wants. We give her all kinds of affection and attention and it drives the kids nuts.
Now my wife and Hespe have never been tight. She likes smaller dogs and the fact that one time Hespe pulled a nylon leash so tight she tore tendons in my wife’s hand probably didn’t help her cause. Hespe isn’t allowed on the bed or the couch. Bella is definitely running the show, bullying Hespe around and getting her way.
But lately the kids have gotten into the act as well. They come in the house and ask where Bella is, find her, pick her up, squeeze her and give her kisses as well. So in my mind, the kids are just as bad.
When it comes to going out, Hespe gets the basic out to the yard for her business and comes right back in. Not Bella. She has to walk around the neighborhood, barking at people for attention, wagging the tail for all of the little kids and one neighbor did say that Bella gets more walks than any other dog she had ever seen. No argument there either.
Now all of us have our annoying habits. I spend too much time at the ice rink, my wife likes to clean up too much, both older boys are slobs, the younger son will never die of a heart attack from stress and my daughter could or should be an executive for Facebook.
For Hespe, it’s the barking. Non-stop barking. Random barking. Barking for absolutely no reason kind of barking. Sometimes I just stare at Hespe after she’s done barking. It’s strange but it’s almost like she’s looking at me and laughing like, “What a dope. He has no clue why I’m barking and I’m gonna just keep doing it.”
For Bella, it’s the running. As in out the door. She has done it almost a dozen times and each time we have managed to find her. My wife’s been in the car looking for her and once Bella took off out of the house and who chased her? Hespe of course. And on that day my wife found a rather pooped out Hespe panting and wagging while Bella was still doing the cross-country tour.
I, on at least three occasions, have been in pajamas when she has scooted out the door. One night before a schedule refereeing date she darted out forcing me to run about a mile full speed until I finally captured her as she stopped to do her business.
So when a public relations lady named Natalie Buyny pitched the Tagg Pet Tracker to me I made her an offer: you let me try it for a couple of weeks and I will write a review. I figured if this gizmo could help me track down this wild Westie it might be worth spending a few bucks.
So a week or so later the Tracker arrived. It took someone like me a night to figure out how the heck to work it but finally I got it going. Actually the Tracker is pretty cool. You simply hook the little tracking device to the dog’s collar, turn everything on and there you go. For a test run I took Bella to the local dog park figuring I could see how things work. However, Bella never got the memo that says it’s OK to RUN around a dog park. Nope. She preferred to sniff and talk to the other dog owners rather than chase their pooches and frolic through the trees and leaves.
So rather than risk the dog taking off and getting into trouble at our house my son and I took the tracker into the car and drove around the neighborhood. It actually worked. It’s basically a GPS for dogs, showing you on your laptop or other device just where the animal is headed.
I think Bella got freaked out a bit thinking it was a barking collar that was not so successful in the house other than making the dog think she was headed for some “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” shock treatment. One little buzz from that collar and she was a nervous wreck.
I think the Tagg product or others like it are well worth it. After running around in my PJs on a cool morning I’m sure the neighbors would agree. And I think I’m beginning to figure out why Hespe looks at me like and seems to laugh. She knows 14 pounds of nothing has me running the streets shouting for her to stop – like she’s really listening. So who’s the dumb animal now?
— Andy Hachadorian