Saturday, February 03, 2007

Caught in the Act

A couple of months ago, these pictures could have brought tears to my eyes. Depending on my mood at the time, the sight of the destruction of something we've enjoyed so much could have easily put me over the edge.....but, now I have hope..... more on that in a bit-

Following the insurance settlement from the automobile accident I was in, John and I agreed that I could use a bit of the money to buy myself a present I've wanted ever since I was a small child. We researched and studied up - and by the end of June put together a trampoline we felt was safe for our whole family to play on. We even put together a contract for Brayden and Mikayla's friends to sign and agree to so that we could ensure safe play by all. The thing was a hit - for everyone. I loved it so much that I was willing to demonstrate just how much incontinence has taken over after two children, and risk the consequences of more pain in my neck from jarring myself unnecessarily.

We worried a bit about the dogs getting to it - I remember making some serious (albeit idle) threats in the events of "what if" - but there was little I could really do other than hope that Sydney and her various doggy playmates that frequently visit wouldn't destroy. But, destroy they did. It started small, little bits of foam from the enclosure poles, then a bit of the enclosure net itself. All the dogs shared blame. Koda taught Sydney that she was capable of jumping onto the trampoline (once that window got torn down to let them in), and if a piece of netting got low enough to the ground - Bogey loved to play tug of war with it. The ultimate destruction was a team effort. Little by little they took care of most of the foam surrounding the poles, the entire circular pad that protects a jumper from the springs (and holes in between them) and half of the enclosure netting. In addition, I've had to pay the kids several times to clean up the debris all over the yard from where the dogs have strewn it - I just haven't had the heart to clean it up myself. It just reminds me of the total ugliness my once beautiful backyard has become, full of dug up holes and yellow or dead patches from Sydney's toxic urine. Woes me....

The biggest struggle to this whole thing is thinking: if we replace this stuff, what's to prevent them from doing it all over again? Sydney loves to sun herself on the trampoline, why not, it's black, warm, comfy.....I don't see that being a willing thing for her to suddenly decide to change her behavior on. Furthermore, when we try to get her off, she thinks it's a fun game of chase. There's always the shock collar, but that would require me watching her all day to train her - and then having to start over with each new dog that visits - some of which don't even have those kind of collars.

Then, Dad came over, and as he was looking outside at the mess, suggested another option. What if we put one of those in-ground "fences" in, but instead of keeping dogs in, it would keep them out - or away - not only from the trampoline, but the grass and swingset/fort as well. We could put pea gravel underneath the trampoline (another problem, the grass is totally dead underneath, so it's one giant mudbath for the dogs to play in), reseed and re-border the reduced size yard, and ensure the kids could play in the sand pile or on the swings without the dogs messing with them. WOW!!!! Not only that, but according to Dad, once a dog is trained with one of the collars that goes with this, they won't revert, so on days Syd has company, we just put the collars on those dogs. It will still leave the area under the evergreens and the side of the house to run and play in, but will keep the rest of the yard "dog-free" and "kid-friendly". I can't tell you how happy this thought has made me, really there was a part of me mourning over the state of our outdoor space and what to do with it. This could really work! And, as an added bonus, because Mom and Dad have the same kind of system, anytime Sydney goes to their house, she's enclosed in their yard too - a big problem solved as her and Mackie do love to play together, and Mom and Dad's house is where she'd go most when we end up out of town. (Plus, we could run the "shock wire" all the way up to the corner of the fence and protect future break-outs from Mackie next time he comes for a visit)

So, after all of this rambling, I can now tell you that at the time I took these pictures, I was actually smiling - even laughing (ask Lisa, I was on the phone with her at the time). For, I knew the time for these dogs wreaking havoc on MY TOY was limited. The new trampoline parts have been ordered, the system is set to be installed next weekend - and then..... hee-hee.... these dogs will be in for a SHOCK if they think they can destroy my stuff anymore, a shock indeed, quite literally!


Anonymous said...

When I lived at the other house Shanne and I put in one electric fencing wire in a portion of the yard where we wanted McKenzie to do all her business. This also kept her from digging holes in the garden, etc...after being zapped in the nose only a couple times she never went near the fence again, even though she could have jumped over it. We eventually replaced the wire with string and she still rarely went past it.

I feel for you, but I'm also glad I'm not the only one with a dog-trashed yard. McKenzie has hard-packed dirt/mud paths, and in her old age she's decided it's fun to dig under the fence so I have an assortment of cement blocks and boards covering the holes I have no time or energy to fill. I love her....BUT!! I hope the invisible fence works wonders for your energetic baby and his friends.

Lacy said...

Great work.