Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How not to call over a dog

Before you rev up the backyard power tools, make sure your dog is in a secure place.

How not to call over a dog


November is a busy time for yardwork at our house. I'm scrambling to rake up the leaves, and finish the mowing, fertilizing and trimming before I stow the equipment away in the shed for the winter. I try to get all this done before the cold and frost shut me down.

The other day, I was using my electric chain saw to clean up the last of the debris from two trees that fell at the edge of the woods this year (one in a winter storm and one in the hurricane), as well as cutting out a large bush that died in the front yard.  I was making good progress on sawing up one of the trees when I felt a presence behind me, slightly to the left. I turned, and saw Sparkle standing there curiously watching me.  "Oops!" I realized that in my haste to get going on the project I forgot to secure Sparkle in the house.  I quickly shut off the saw and put her in her crate before resuming work.

I then moved around to the front yard and used the saw to cut out the bush.  Again, I sensed someone right behind me. I turned with a startle. My neighbor's black Lab was a foot or two behind me, sniffing and stretching out his nose. He seemed a bit unsettled that he had startled me, so I again shut off the saw, petting him with my heavy work gloves. With a little gentle encouragement, he was soon racing off to his own yard.

It's pretty obvious that power tools and pets do not mix, but haste can often lead to things getting overlooked, like securing a puppy snoozing on the back deck. These dogs are plenty curious, and the noise of the saw proved alluring.

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About this blog
George Carter, The Inquirer's weekend national/foreign editor, has always counted dogs among his closest companions. According to family lore, he learned to walk by clinging to the side of a saintly patient mutt named Spanker. In turn, one of his earliest hazy memories is of tossing treats to the family dogs gathered expectantly on the porch of their Maryland farmhouse. It was only natural then, that when George saw a newspaper ad looking for families to raise puppies for the Seeing Eye of Morristown, N.J., he bit at the chance. From the start, it has been a family project, with teenage daughter Betsy as the official puppy-raiser. First there was Porter, a big-hearted yellow Lab born on Memorial Day 2004. A few years later, the Carters raised Velma, a gorgeous Lab/golden cross. Just a couple weeks ago, Velma's 7-week-old daughter Sparkle arrived as the latest family charge. George, Betsy and mom Cathy are thrilled that Sparkle is from Velma's very first litter. You can reach George Carter at 215-854-2411 or by clicking here. Reach George at

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