We may not have any kids, but we do have a ‘furry baby’; a big, red-headed, stubborn, feisty, lovable Irish Setter dog. He is loyal and a lot of fun. This breed is known as a ‘call dog’. When they see a wild turkey, they go into ‘point position’, and chase after the bird. The bird then flies in the air and a hunter can find and shoot it. Once the dog chases after the bird, it is great at returning to his master. They like to do their own thing, but never be too far from their owner. They also thoroughly enjoy being the center of attention.
I always had small dogs in the house growing up on a farm, and a medium to large size dog outside. So, when I met and married my husband, it was a bit of a shock to me to have this hip-height massive dog stepping on my feet, sniffing in my face, and catching me off balance. However, over the years, I have come to love him as my own.
Declan was very territorial with my husband when we first got married. He would wiggle his way in between Michael and I when we tried to kiss or hug, or, he would stand there staring at us and barking incessantly until we stopped. I work for a school, so it wasn’t until I had my first summer off that Declan and I bonded. He decided he liked having a companion home with him every day. So, at that point, I was welcomed into the family by him.
Because of his hunting and territorial nature, we would leave him in our back room with the door closed when we went to work so that he couldn’t cause mischief while we were away. My husband, being the total softy that he is (I love him for his tender heart!), didn’t like the fact that Declan was stuck in one room for five hours every day. So, eventually we let him roam the house.
Declan was probably six years old at the time. We thought since he was getting older that the mischief would have decreased. Boy, were we wrong! It started with him lying on our nice beige couches, which he is not allowed! Thankfully they are Scotch Guarded; however, he still left his mark. Then it was the kitchen garbage. He figured out how to get his claw in the handle of the door and flick it open. We would come home with garbage strewn across the kitchen floor. Then, he really decided to get crafty…
I cooked a whole flat of chicken one day for our lunches for the week. I was in a rush to go somewhere, so I quickly threw foil over the casserole dish and put it in the fridge. I came home about an hour later to see the fridge door open. There lie the casserole dish half hanging out of the fridge. The foil had been taken off, and the WHOLE flat of chicken devoured!
Michael didn’t believe that Declan got into the fridge. He thought that maybe I hadn’t fully closed it before I left. It could have happened. However, we were brushing our teeth in the bathroom just off of the kitchen one day. Declan, having a momentary lapse, decided to get into the fridge again! Silently, we watched him as he worked his claws at the door and got it open. At that point, we made him very aware that we were watching his every move!
We contemplated putting him back into the back room every day again, but a friend suggested we try baby-proof locks for the fridge and cupboard. Yes, we baby-proofed our kitchen for a dog! We thought we had him; we thought we were so smart. Finally he could have the run of the house again, and we wouldn’t walk in to any surprises, until that ‘one fine day’…
People say that dogs, and specifically Irish Setters, are stupid. However, not our baby boy! Because he is so loving and so loyal, he gets really irritated when we go away. As he get older he gets more anxious. He doesn’t like it when we leave him for a couple of nights, so he finds ways to share that with us.
We had a few busy nights one week. We hadn’t been home at night as much as usual, so he didn’t think he got the attention he deserved. We walked in the door after another day of work. We turned the corner into the kitchen to quite the surprise! Declan had managed to chew and break the baby-proof lock off the kitchen cupboard! It was bloody and broken in half amongst all of our garbage…again. We were dumbfounded. A now eight-year-old dog was still up to his tricks. When he wants to tell us something, he sure gets his point across!
I can tell you that he has officially been moved to the back room again. We created a metal gate to block him from the kitchen. It’s held up so far. Let me just say that I look forward to getting our Dutch farm door made, now more for security purposes than for looks!
So, a note to you… if you have a furry baby, know that they are smarter than you may think. Enjoy their love and affection….and maybe invest in a Nanny cam next 😉